Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

World War I ended 100 years ago. But do you know why it began?


Fair Use

John Burger - published on 01/17/18

Yale offers a free online course examining the tensions in Europe leading to "The Great War."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. In the lead-up to November 11, Veteran’s Day, the day on which the armistice was signed in 1918, there’s bound to be lots of discussion on the origins and causes of the war, and debate over how the way it was resolved led to World War II.

Now’s the time to start boning up on history, so you can join the discussion.

One resource is Prof. John Merriman’s “European Civilization, 1648-1945,” presented by Open Yale Courses. With Merriman’s help, you will be well prepared to respond to the friend who says, “World War I was started by some crazy guy in Sarajevo who shot the Archduke Ferdinand.”

“Ah, there’s more to it than that, my friend,” you can say.

The fate of the Alsace-Lorraine region, which Germany won in a war with France in 1870, played a big role in the gathering storms preceding the war. At the same time, Russia’s interest in the Balkans, seeking to protect its Slavic Orthodox peoples, contributed to the tension.

Merriman, the Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale, recorded the course in the Fall semester of 2008. He is the author of A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present. The segment of his course dealing with the “Coming of the Great War” requires close attention, and perhaps a couple of hearings, but it’s sure to give the viewer a better appreciation for why Europe found itself engulfed in conflict.

World War I
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.