The Sinking of the Lusitania

When the RMS Lusitania was sunk off the coast of Ireland in May of 1915, it became the rallying cry that led America to enter the war.  Roughly 2,000 people were on board, including 200 Americans, and 129 children.  As we near the 100 year anniversary, I expect to see a lot of information hitting the internet.  Until then, there is an interesting account of a WW1 propaganda animation done by Windsor McCay over at, which includes the film in it entirety. It’s a very interesting little film.

There’s a neat little Lego video done by Big Jake Studios.

There’s also a movie, the Discovery Channel’s 2007 Sinking of the Lusitania, starring John Hannah.  The full movie is on Youtube, until the copyright gets enforced and it gets pulled down.  I haven’t watched the full movie yet, so parents may want to preview it before showing it.  At this writing, I’m a half hour in, and nothing objectionable yet. Enjoy.

UPDATE:  I watched the film. There is nothing objectionable that I saw. It’s very well done.  Enjoy!

Trenches & The Christmas Truce

Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916Life in the trenches of World War 1 sucked. It was almost always wet, and the constant sounds of shelling & gun fire drove many men insane. There is a great documentary called “Digging Up the Trenches” where a team of archeologists dug up the front line trenches of the both the Allies & the Germans in Ypres, Belgium.  I’m including it here, even though my kids likely won’t want to watch it, because I thought it was very well done.

christmastruceJust about the only highlight to come out of the trenches was the famed “Christmas Truce of 1914”.  This is when both sides came out of their trenches and played soccer in No Man’s Land for a while on Christmas day.  There was a crap-ton of information about this event put out just this last Christmas, because it was the 100 year anniversary of the event.  There’s a wonderful website – The Christmas Truce – that has alot of great information, and really, just hit up google.  You could not go anywhere this past Christmas and not hear this story.


Propaganda – A Valuable Tactic of War

tlc0090 Propaganda posters went up all across Europe at the start of the war.  At first, the posters targeted recruitment and assured a swift victory.  As the war waged on, propaganda posters were used to raise support for the war and demonize the enemy as well.

America also had posters.  In fact, the famous Uncle Sam image comes from a World War 1 poster by James Montgomery Flagg.

More Resources:

The Start of The Great War (WW1)


  • Nationalism – Strong patriotic feelings for one’s own county.
  • Alliance – Agreement between 2 or more parties to help each other
  • Neutral Country – One that does not take sides in a war.

The Great War, as it was known at the time, got it’s start when a 19 year old Serbian man shot and killed the crown prince of Austria-Hungary.

1914 Europe is a powder keg, any little thing could set them all off.  A long history of fighting and back and forth had led to the formation of alliances. The alliances are pulled into play when the Archduke of Austria-Hungary is assassinated in Bosnia. Nationalism is one of the main causes of the war, as many countries see this as an opportunity to settle old scores.  This is an neat little 6 minute video about the causes of World War 1:

Everyone thought it would be a short war. No one expected it to last as long as it did, and cost nearly as much as it did in both money and manpower.


More Resources:

Because we in the midst of the 100 year anniversary of WW1, there are many resources and new stories being released almost daily.  Mental Floss has an excellent section on WW1 that is being updated almost daily right now.

Netflix has a GREAT 8 part docmentary available for streaming right now.  The Great War Diary is an awesome documentary put out by the BBC.  Word of warning, the 4th chapter, “The Heart’s Desire” is all about love and big pimping during the war.  As this is done by the BBC, there were no qualms about flashing ta-tas and culos all over the place.  As such, the fourth chapter is not suitable for kids in my opinion, and I’d urge parents to watch it ahead of time to determine if it is suitable for your teens.

Of course, Ducksters has a nice piece on the Assassination.

I’m including a link to this one, but the BBC has a really fun Rap Battle. There is some language so parents be warned.  But Origins: Rap Battle – WW1 is overall pretty funny.

There is a History Documentary that goes a bit beyond just the assassination and into the start of the war on youtube.

An of course, again by the BBC, Horrible Histories has a WW1 episode, found on Daily Motion.  Frightful First War is hilarious and good fun, like we’ve all come to expect from the Horrible Histories series.

Horrible Histories – Frightful First World War by VithusanRaguwaran21