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Big Era Eight: Landscape Unit 8.1

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The Causes and Consequences of World War I
1900 - 1920 CE

Why This Unit?

This unit examines the mistakes that brought the world to the battlefields of World War I. It explores how alliances were formed, and how millions of youths died defending those alliances and misspending dreams of glory. It investigates why four empires crumbled in the ashes of the war. It demonstrates how the first “industrial war” ushered in the twentieth century. Students will examine what values were worth taking into the new century, and which ones should have been left behind. It provides a foundation from which to examine many of the world’s contemporary dilemmas, especially as they followed from the war’s devastation and the Treaty of Versailles.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Describe and analyze various factors contributing to the outbreak of World War I.

2. Describe characteristics, goals, and aspirations of the people of the Ottoman empire.

3. Imagine how the goals and aspirations of the combatants might have been met if the war had been avoided.

4. Analyze the Armenian holocaust and compare it to genocide of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

5. Describe the effects of nationalism in the twentieth century, and speculate about the place of nationalism in the twenty-first century.

6. Evaluate the characteristics of a good treaty as they apply or do not apply to the Treaty of Versailles.

Time and Materials

This unit is divided into four lessons. Each lesson should take two or more class days, depending on classroom circumstances. If time is limited, parts of each lesson may be used at the discretion of the instructor.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

  2

Unit objectives

  2

Time and materials

  2

Author

  2

The historical context

  3

This unit in the Big Era time line

  7

Lesson 1: Schools of Thought: Causes of World War I

  8

Lesson 2: Benjamin Britten: War Requiem, Op. 66-Offertorium

14

Lesson 3: Disillusionment

18

Lesson 4: Armenian Holocaust: Legacy for the Twentieth Century

22

Lesson 5: Dear Abdullah

27

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

33

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

33

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

33

Resources

34

Correlations to National and State Standards

35

Conceptual links to other lessons

36

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

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