Year 9

Great War

Comprehensive website of the Great War

Another comprehensive website on the Great War

A very detailed website on the Great War

Articles on the Great War

Students in Year 9 study events within the 20th century. The key topics are the Great War, Hitler and Nazis, the Second World War and the Holocaust. There are other topics however, in which students may only have one or two lessons. These are; the Russian Revolution, causes of the Second World War, Cold War, Prohibition, the Ku Klux Klan and Propaganda. Students will be able to gain an understanding of the demands of GCSE. Some topics, such as the British Home Front during the Second World War, are part of the GCSE course so students will be taught at a higher level in Year 10.

There are 5 assessments during Year 9 and between 1 and 2 exams. Each teacher will have their own preferred topic but all students will be told which they are to do. Among the topics in Year 9 are;

– What were the causes of the Great War?

– Was Field Marshall Haig a butcher?

– Letter from the Trenches.

– The Battle of the Somme project. The alternative to this is for groups of students to research and analyse different battles which took place during the First World War.

– A Hitler project.

– Was Dunkirk a success or a defeat?

– Holocaust Diary

Resources will be put onto the blog whenever possible. Dates of these assessments will be given by individual teachers.

What were the causes of the Great War?

Every war has more than one cause. Students should have an idea of the general causes of war as they studied the English Civil War in Year 8. Causes can be grouped together by students or they can be dealt with in chronological order. Importantly, students must be able to argue their opinion and show how causes are interlinked. Furthermore, they must also explain that there are different interpretations and give the reasons for them. Students who wish to achieve the highest grades on this essay must read independently. A textbook and the lessons taught are the minimum.

The clips and web pages below should help improve understanding and complete the essay. Some of the sites can be difficult for Year 9 students although are useful nevertheless.

Causes from

Various resources from

Causes from

A BBC page on the causes from the excellent Gary Sheffield.

The history of Austria-Hungary. It will help learning about the rivalries built up with the other Great Powers.

The two clips above are from History is Happening. This is from a series which is made for schools. How different is it to the clip below?

Summaries of the causes from History Home.Very detailed page about the causes from

The Franco-Prussian War was a long-term cause of the Great War. The clip below explains the war.

Those students wishing to achieve the highest grades in the causation essay should consider the following questions;

– Why did war occur in 1914? Who had the most to gain by going to war in this year?

– What would happen if there was not a war in 1914?

– Could war have been averted in 1914 and consequent years? Was there one particular moment that, if changed, war could not have occurred?

– If one country or one one cause is to blame, is the opinion today different from then?

– If Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated, would there have been a war?

The questions above only represent a few ideas for your essay. Many questions can be asked and those students who wish to achieve grade A+ need to continually ask them in order to do so. A high level judgment is required at all times and this is only achievable by reading a variety of sources.

Overview of the war by looking at the changing maps.

BBC animated maps of the war

Failure of the Schlieffen Plan

Failure of the Schlieffen Plan.

Letters from the trenches

A very useful blog giving examples of US soldiers writing home.

The clip above is an overview of the Great War. One of the comments on Youtube says it is a little bias towards the American forces but a good resource nevertheless.

A virtual tour of the trenches. An excellent site from the BBC.

Six clips from the BBC on conditions in the trenches.

Real accounts from soldiers from the BBC.

A slideshow about trench warfare.

Trench Tactics

Before analysing Field Marshall Haig, you need to know what it was like to command a battle during the First World War. One task which you may be given in Year 9 is to plan an attack across no man’s land. You are allocated a number of men and weapons and asked to develop a successful plan. You must understand the capabilities of weapons at the time and their impact on the First World War in general.

A First World War game from the BBC.

A First World War game from

Another First World War game from

A simple game based on aircraft dogfights during the First World War.

The clip above is a machine gun used in the Great War. How would you defeat such a weapon before the introduction of the tank in 1916? What if there were several weapons and they overlapped each other, therefore creating a crossfire?

Can you work out why trench warfare was so difficult?

Explanations of each weapons used during the First World War.

Your homework piece will be to write a letter from the perspective of a soldier in the Great War. To do this, you will need to have a very good understanding of the methods of fighting, the living conditions and the types of people who fought. Many soldiers were forced to join the armed services although many others volunteered. Would this have an effect on what was written in a letter?

Was Haig a Butcher of the Somme?

Field Marshall Douglas Haig is most associated with the Battle of the Somme in the Great War. He was Britain’s commander-in-chief during the battle and took much criticism for the sheer loss of life in this battle. Historians of past and present argue about whether Haig alone was responsible for so many casualties. John Laffin wrote his book, ‘British Butchers and Bunglers of World War One’, in 1996 and was strongly against Haig as a commander. Gary Sheffield wrote, ‘Forgotten Victory: The First World War – Myths and Realities‘ in 2002 and argues that Haig should be given credit for aiding the French cause at Verdun and ultimately winning the Great War. In fact his current research project is Field Marshall Haig.

The clip above is a student’s piece of work on Field Marshall Haig. Is he correct with his interpretation?

The clip above may give you an idea of how the war was fought. Survivors recall memories so what impression does this give of Haig.

One of the plans to attack the Germans on 1st July 1916 was to dig a tunnel under no man’s land and blow up enemy trenches. Explosives would be placed below their trenches and would be set off as soon as the attack started. Watch the clip below to see one of the explosions and the crater.


Evidence about the war with references to Haig.

Evidence from the same website about Haig.

Article from a history website.

A useful answer from a web page that may help.

Haig from Spartacus.schoolnet

Haig from the History Learning site

An article by the historian, Gary Sheffield, on whether the term, ‘Lions led by Donkeys’, is accurate?

A summary of the battle from the BBC

What did the Indian Army do at the Battle of the Somme?

How the Daily Mirror reported the battle at the time?

Very useful page from The National Archive website.

A one-sided article from

The 1918 ‘100 Days Offensive’ from

The 1918 ‘100 Days Offensive’ from

An analysis of Gary Sheffield’s Haig from a UK defence website.

When analysing Haig you must build on your skills developed in Year 8. Most pupils analysed Oliver Cromwell and several battles last year. Interpretations of historical events depend on many factors. People are influenced by emotions, current political events, the media and what evidence they read. For example when the book, ‘All quiet on the western front’, was published in 1929 it was one of the first anti-war publications. Previously people thought of the war as something to be remembered and celebrated. Other types of media changed people’s attitudes to war. A movie was made from the book above and made this view more widespread. The anti-war feeling was further developed in the 1960’s and since this period more and more books and documentaries have targeted Haig as a very poor commander. There are always two sides to a story so which do you agree with. The more research you do, the easier it will be to answer this question.

There are three further YouTube clips below, each giving a different point of view.

Below is a clip from the movie, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. It shows how the Germans faced similar conditions to all other armies. Were all commanders at the time seen as butchers as a result?

The clip below is from Gallipoli. A movie about the Allied invasions of Turkey during 1915. The story revolves around two Australian soldiers and their life before and during the war. Who is at fault for so many soldiers becoming casualties?

The Battle of the Somme was fought in northeast France. The map shows where the River Somme is although the battle was also fought alongside the River Ancre. The British and French armies over a four and a half month period only achieved a maximum distance of 11 km. At a cost of about 620, 000 casualties. Can the battle be considered a success and what impact does it have on the ability of Field Marshall Haig?

The Battles of the First World War

There were many battles of the First World War, generally on land but also on sea. The following battles can be studied to further your understanding and develop arguments yourself. One of the tasks set by your teacher may be to research and analyse one of the battles. Each has a selection of resources included and a summary of the key questions which should be answered.  The success criteria is explained at the end of this particular section.

Gallipoli 1915

Who devised the plan at Gallipoli and what were the consequences for him after its’ failure? Why was the invasion such a failure? What advantages did the Turkish Army have? Which nations fought against the Turks and why? Did Turkey win and if so, why? Why was the allied retreat so successful? Why is 25th April called ANZAC Day? Who won 6 VC’s before breakfast and why? Who were the Turkish heroes?

The Battle of Gallipoli from an ANZAC point of view.

Gallipoli from Eyewitness History.

Gallipoli from First World

Verdun 1916

What was the nickname of the battle and why? What was Verdun? Why was it so significant to the French? What were the consequences for the French Army and the war itself? Why were there so many casualties?

From the history learning site.


A very detailed site on the battle.

From First World Detailed.

Somme 1916

Who planned the battle and what previous experience did they have? Why was the battle fought? Which armies were involved on both sides? Why was the 1st July 1916 the worst day in British military history? Which parts of the battle are forever linked to specific nations and why? Why did the battle end? Who won? How were the German Army able to hold out against superior numbers?

From the BBC

From First World

From the History Learning Site

The clip above is the first of four available on Youtube. The series is narrated by Richard Holmes, a popular British historian. His series was broadcasted during the 1990’s for the BBC.

The following documentary gives a slightly different view of the battle.

Cambrai 1917

What were the successes and failures of the battle? What was learned from the battle? Which armies were involved? What was the key weapon and why? Who were the commanders? How did the German Army react to the offensive? Where is Cambrai?

The clip above is the first of a series of 5 available on Youtube. The documentary is from the Line of Fire series which was aired on the History Channel. Most of it should be able to be understood although some the analysis may be a little difficult.

From the History Learning Site.

From First World

A very detailed page from the site 1914-1918.

From Spartacus.schoolnet. A website for students.

From the History of War website.

A short summary from Schools History.

From a site focusing on Cambrai.

Photographs from the battle itself.

Ypres 1915

The Battle of Ypres can be a little confusing. The reason is that there 3 different battles there. Some sources may even say that there are 5. This therefore means that all students should be careful when analysing the Battle of Ypres. Focus upon the second battle which took place in April and May 1915.

Why was the town of Ypres so important? Who fought at Ypres? What did the German Army use for the first time?

From First World

From history of

Wikipedia. Useful for statistics.

From Canadian online.



Passchendaele 1917

This is another battle of Ypres.  Sometimes referred to as the Third Battle of Ypres so try not to get confused. The questions you need to answer are the same as above because the town was so important. Can you work out from the map why it was?

The clip above will not help you work out answers to the questions on the battle itself but useful nonetheless. Harry Patch, no longer with us, was the last survivor of the battle.

From the BBC.

From First World

From the History Learning Site.

From CBS, a Canadian site.

The Canadians at Passchendaele.

The clip above is from a documentary about the battle. It is only the first part but you can find the remainder on Youtube.

Brusilov Offensive 1916

The following websites will help you research the battle. The first two are aimed towards students and the remainder are good First World War websites. The key questions are;

Why was Brusilov successful when other Russian commanders were not? What did he do differently? What did the battle achieve? What was the quality of the armies involved? Did the Brusilov Offensive lead Russia to victory in the First World War? What effect did the operation have on the war as a whole? Why was the battle fought?

From the History Learning Site.

From Spartacus.schoolnet. This page is a general one about Russia in the war.

From Trenches on the Web.

From First World


From the History of War.

The link below has a map which you can use although it can only be understood after reading the description.

Brusilov Offensive from the War Times Journal.

How were civilians affected by the First World War?

Remembrance Day

The Mystery of Anastasia
The Russian Revolution took place in 1917. The ruling family of Russia, the Romanovs, had held power for over 300 years. In March 1917, the Tsar was forced to abdicate leaving a provisional, or temporary, government to rule. However, this was not popular so there was another revolution in October. This time the Bolsheviks, a communist political party, became the new leaders of Russia. Lenin and Trotsky were the leaders  A civil war began with the Bolsheviks, known as the Reds, against the supporters of the Tsar, and groups against Bolshevik rule, known as the Whites. It was during this war that the Reds decided to execute the Tsar and his family. It was hoped that the White forces would lose morale as a result.
One of the Tsar’s children was Anastasia. The controversy and debate about her continued for decades after her apparent execution with her family. There was no doubt that the family were executed on July 17th, 1918. However, there were rumours years and even decades afterwards that Anastasia survived.
Your task is to find the truth. Use the following resources to research the different arguments. Remember to think of the reasons why people want to believe a particular argument. Why did the mystery continue for so long?
A user friendly site although limited on the historical controversy.
A wikipedia page about Anastasia.
A health website with many mysteries explained.
A short section from a detailed website about the history of the time.
From Hub pages. This also has a forum where people are still discussing the mystery.

An online lesson fron history on the net.

In addition to the websites above, there has also been made several movies made about Anastasia. Obviously, if you search Youtube, you will find several documentaries as well.

What were the causes of the Second World War?

The Treaty of Versailles from the BBC.

An interesting clip about the causesfrom lew82.
The Road to War podcast

A GCSE revision podcast explaining the League of Nations and the causes of the Second World War

A page from BBC bitesize on the causes of the Second World War.

The Hitler Project.

There are a huge number of websites and pages you can use to research Hitler and the Nazis. As this topic is studied in more detail in Year 10, all the resources I would prefer you to use are under the GCSE Germany section. If you are revising for the Year 9 exam, make sure you know some of the key battles of the Second World War, Dunkirk and how to analyse sources. Explain why a source is useful and why it is not.

The Second World War

Was Dunkirk a success or a failure?

Dunkirk is a key event in 1940 during the Second World War. The British Expeditionary Force, (BEF), together with armies from Holland, Belgium, France and Denmark were defeated by the German armed forces, (the Wehrmacht), in six weeks. Remember that this was not possible in four years of conflict in the Great War. The German army inflicted a huge defeat on the allied armies with the use of blitzkrieg and stronger forces. As the allied armies were pushed further and further backwards, there was a danger that they could all become casualties or prisoners. The British Prime Minister, (now Winston Churchill), decided that the British army should be evacuated in case of a future invasion by the Wehrmacht. The allied armies were ordered to Dunkirk and taken back to Britain. Hundreds of thousands were ‘rescued’ and they were able to fight again later in the war.

In 1940 the media in Britain showed that Dunkirk was a victory for the British nation. One could argue that the government influenced the media and arguments can be put forward for both sides as to whether this is the right thing to do in a war. If it was a victory, who was it a victory for? If it was a defeat, again, who for? There are two different interpretations of Dunkirk so which one has the more evidence to support it? What evidence can you trust? Have interpretations changed since 1940?

Year 9 students are asked again to analyse an event in history and argue the different interpretations. The skills developed in previous pieces of work, (Waterloo, Cromwell, Haig etc.), should be used, and enhanced, here. All students should have been given a number of sources to analyse and use to support arguments. You should also be encouraged to research yourself as the better the understanding, the easier it is to develop interpretations. This piece of work is assessed with interpretations and source analysis in mind so it would be advisable to read the following websites. The National Archive in particular has a source you can include in your piece.

Dunkirk from the BBC.

Dunkirk from the History Learning website.

Multiple choice exercise on Dunkirk.

Dunkirk from the National Archive.

Memories of Dunkirk from the Daily Telegraph.

The two clips below show different interpretations of Dunkirk. You may have seen them in a lesson but there is no harm in seeing them again. Apologies for the swearing in Atonement but hopefully you will ignore it.


Pathe News

The clip below gives a different perspective of Dunkirk. It was a German failure rather than a success. The clip is the first in a series so you would have to find other links on YouTube.

North Africa

North African Campaign

Remember that the Axis powers included Germany and Italy at this time. The Allies included the British Empire and eventually the Soviet Union.


The British Armed Forces were initially successful against the Italians in North Africa. These forces included imperial soldiers, from countries such as India, Australia and France, (the Free French). Later, once the German and Italian forces laid siege to Tobruk, these included Troops from Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1940, the Allied forces pushed the Italian armies further into their own colony of Libya. The British were already located in Egypt in order to protect their own interests, (i.e. the Suez Canal). When the newly arrived German army, (called Deutschland Afrika Korps, or DAK), they began pushing the British back. Tobruk was a key port in Libya, (supplies could arrive from mainland Europe), and it formed a battleground between opposing forces. The port was won and lost by both sides. The success of the DAK in 1941 led to Battle of El Alamein, explained below.

From the Spartacus Educational website.

From the BBC.

From the Australian War Memorial web page.

The Rats of Tobruk. A website devoted to the Australians who fought in the battle.

From Google Earth.

Battle of El Alamein

Traditionally the Year 9 history group analyse the evacuation of Dunkirk. However, as we live in Egypt, we decided this year to study the Battle of El Alamein. This was a very important episode in the Second World War, involving over 300,000 men, and enabling the Allied forces to begin driving the Axis out of North Africa. It also saved Winston Churchill’s job! Many students have visited the battlefield sites and museum so have an idea of where the battle took place. In this study, pupils will focus upon what happened, why it resulted in an Allied victory, (this is where one analyses the different interpretations of the battle), and what the consequences were for the war and for Egypt.

From the Spartacus Educational website.

From the BBC.

The BBC also has an animated map of the battle.

This BBC page contains an audio clip from ‘Monty’ prior to the battle.

A timeline of the battle from Second World War history.

A Battle of El Alamein powerpoint.

Lost Evidence of El Alamein

Student Propaganda clips


The British Home Front

War in the Far East

The Holocaust

  1. Readers will also enjoy Soldier’s Mail: Letters Home from a New England Soldier 1916-1919 which features the writings of U.S. Sgt. Sam Avery from the front lines of American involvement in the Great War. A compelling eyewitness narrative from the hot sands along the Rio Grande to the cold mud along the Meuse.

  2. Mazen Sharaf says:

    I know this is a bit late but do we need to now anything about the Russian revolution?
    how about the the Rise of Hitler to power?
    thank you

  3. Mazen Sharaf says:

    I know this is a bit late but do we need to now anything about the Russian revolution?
    how about the the Rise of Hitler to power?
    On the sheet you gave us it said something about the eastern front?

  4. Yassin Omara says:

    i dont know how to link the causes of the great war e.g. aliances and iperialism with eachother, can some1 help me?
    thank you

    • adamkg1915 says:


      You know which countries make up the alliances and have explained this so far in your essay. Morocco is probably the easiest link to make between imperialism and the alliance system. Germany and France both wanted Morocco as a colony. There could have been a war between the two to gain the colony, although this was unlikely. Great Britain said they would help France gain the colony as they were in the alliance with them. Germany backed down as it could not take on both countries.

      Hopefully you can see the link above. Try to explain how one thing affects another. I always use football as an example. A team will lose a match because of a number of reasons. If your best player gets injured and has to be substituted, the morale of the team may be affected. The crowd may not cheer as loud. If the player was a centre forward, the team may think it is harder to score a goal so they may begin to think defence is more important than attack. I could go on here but you should get the picture. Every cause has a consequence and usually is linked to another cause. Email me if you still have problems.


  5. sir
    this may be a dumb question but im still asking….was serbia in the first world war?

    • adamkg1915 says:

      Yes although they were not one of the great powers. Their army fought against Austria-Hungary rather than the Germans. Serbia did not have much of a choice about entering into the war because A-H declared war on them.
      The clip you wanted is on the Year 9 page.

  6. Alexander says:

    i tried to send you my essay but i could not find your e-mail address
    could you please send it to me?
    thank you

  7. sir i have read everything but im not sure whether to mention the whole plot which is the answer to where.. but i need to shorten it so any advice?

  8. Yassin says:

    hi sir, what should i write in my essay to get the highest grade possible

    thank you, yassin

    • adamkg1915 says:

      You need a detailed argument on why Haig can be viewed as a hero and a villain. Obviously you need accurate historical evidence to support your arguments. To achieve high grades, you need to identify and explain the different interpretations of Haig. Which nationalities, commanders, politicians, historians etc. interpret him as a hero or villain and why? Would their opinion be accurate and would it change according to events? The quality of interpretations is very important but you must have a developed and balanced argument at the same time.


  9. Grace Onyancha says:

    Sir, where are theclips on anastasia? and if they aren’t on this website could you please recommmend som? Thanks

    • adamkg1915 says:


      I have included a few websites for you to have a look at. If I find any more useful material, I will update the blog. Remember to use the analytical skills from past pieces to write the piece and try to stick to two pages as much as you can.


  10. Yassin says:

    Dear Sir,

    currently i am doing my essay about “How did Hitler become dictator of germany”
    Can i change this to “how did hitler become chancellor moreover dictator of germany”

    thank you

  11. adamkg1915 says:

    Chancellor and dictator mean different things so I think you need to focus on one or the other. How Hitler became dictator will allow you to be argumentative so I think your original question is best. See me during the week to clarify what you need to do.

  12. Meghan says:

    Sir, this is the documentary I was talking about in class:

  13. zaki says:

    hi sir
    will the appeasement and wall street crash come on the test thank you

    • adamkg1915 says:

      They will both be on the examination. However, I will give you a list of what may be on the test in a week or so.


  14. Shahira says:

    Sir whenever i search ‘Battle of Dunkirk’ it says ‘Battle of Britain’ i dont know if thats right or not ?

    • adamkg1915 says:


      The Battle of Britain was after Dunkirk. There should be sufficient resources on the Year 9 page of this blog to do the piece. No need to use wikipedia or research yourself.

  15. James Bonney says:

    Hi sir,
    Where is that information on the Russian Revolution that you said was on this site?

    • adamkg1915 says:

      The material you want is under ‘The Mystery of Anastasia’. There are also resources on the GCSE Russia page.


  16. Fahd Elwan says:

    hey sir the videos really help witht the hiomewrok!!

    best regards
    fahd elwan

  17. Fatima Mansoor says:

    Hi Sir,
    Sir, is “London Can Take It” the only clip we analyse for the propaganda stuff? I thought there was more than 1 clip…

    • adamkg1915 says:


      There is ‘going’ to be more than one clip! Apologies but Mr. Upton and I presumed the other was going to put them on. However, I will try to upload two clips before tomorrow evening. It takes time to upload videos and is dependent on the internet connection. Good to see you are on the ball..

  18. Fatima Mansoor says:

    Thanks Sir!

  19. Fatima Mansoor says:

    Hi Sir,
    Mr. Upton gave us different questions, do we do the questions on this site or the ones Mr. Upton gave us?
    How long does each analysis have to be?
    Thanks Sir,

    • adamkg1915 says:

      I adapted the questions slightly but the gist is the same. I have updated the post with a few ideas so I hope it helps. Thanks for the question as it may help others.

  20. Edoardo Innaro says:

    Sir we have had a serious problem with our presentation. May we please give you our presentation tomorrow evening?

  21. danny arafa says:

    for the first video about haig , who was the guy that said haig was a donkey?

    • adamkg1915 says:

      Alan Clarke I think. He said it in the 1960’s although it is a subject which historians argue about. You can use him by all means. A high level answer offers why he may think this however. John Laffin is another who argues the same opinion incidentally.

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