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World War One

01 Jul 2015

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Where can I find information about World War One?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

World War One, also called the First World War, took place between 1914 and 1918. New Zealand fought on the side of the Allies (British Empire, France, Russia etc) against the Ottoman Turks at Gallipoli and against the Germans on the Western Front in France and Belgium. The Germans, Turks and their allies were known as the Central Powers. Due to the centenary of the war, from 2014 to 2018, new and updated information will be being added to the websites mentioned below all the time.

BBC History is a great website to start with. We entered "world war one" into the search bar at the top-right of the homepage. One great result we got was for the BBC's World War One site, which includes a series of interactive guides presented by well-known historians and experts on world war one topics such as war poetry and women at war. These are being added to all the time.

BBC Schools is also a handy place to find information about the war. Click on the "world war one schools" box on the right-hand side of the page with the picture of soldiers in a trench. Going to the "secondary" section towards the middle of the page will lead you to to the Bitesize revision area about the war. Please note that a number of links on BBC Schools also appear on BBC History.

HOT TIP: A reliable place to find information on stories currently in the news and historical events around the world is the BBC website.

Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand has some excellent material about New Zealand's involvement in the war. Type "world war one" into the search bar – this should take you to a helpful article about the First World War. Don’t forget to look through all the sections!

Another website that has heaps of information about New Zealand's involvement in the World War One is NZHistory. To find the World War One (aka First World War) area choose 'New Zealand at war' from the three links under the main introduction. Next, choose 'First World War' from the options. Scroll down this page to get an idea of all the topics covered. These include: the home front and the world at war.

WW100 is a website dedicated to remembering the First World War, one hundred years on. They have information on the commemorations around the conflict and by visiting the Discover WW1 part of the site you will bring up facts and stories along with an interactive timeline of New Zealand's involvement.  

HOT TIP: We like these sites because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or education organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

The School Journal is a collection of resources supported by the Ministry of Education for New Zealand school students. Their issues from June 2014 contain lots of information about the First World War that are worth exploring. The articles cover everything from timelines to how World War One affected children in New Zealand, to the animal mascots of the war! You can either download pdfs of the entire Journal or pdfs of the article you are interested in. 

The website of the Imperial War Museum, one of the world’s best military history museums, has some cool mini-guides to First World War topics all written by experts. You can find out about the Gallipoli Campaign, living in the trenches and air aces (World War One fighter pilots). Please note that some of these contain videos that may not work in New Zealand and sound recordings which should.

If you still need more information, you can try searching World History in Context, an electronic resource that can you can access through the EPIC databases. This database includes, amongst other entries World War One, a useful overview of the whole of the conflict. To find the best information we suggest using the keywords "world war i".

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.

Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

We have looked for sources online which give a reliable and referenced list of countries that were involved in World War One and those which were neutral. Unfortunately we have not been able to find a trustworthy source that provides these details and the lists that are available contain information that is contradictory. To find some answers we suggest looking in books in your local or school library - for example atlases or encyclopedias about the war.

If you need more facts do check out our other entries on ManyAnswers on World War OneAnzac, causes of the war and war poetry amongst others.

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