World War I

Until WWII, WWI was know as the Great War or the War to End All Wars. Its carnage was so massive and unprecedented that many observers felt it truly deserved this title; over 20 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives. WWI saw the advent of arial bombardment, trench, and widespread use of chemical, trench and mechanized warfare. It ended with the founding of the League of Nations, but despite this hopeful step, also set the stage for WWII. 

You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on the topic. This will give you an overview of the subject and help you to refine your search. Check out the starting your research project page before you start! \

Some suggestions are:
influenza pandemic of 1918
new technologies in World War I
pacifism in WWI
a soldier's life in the trenches

We can't fit every resource about World War I on to this list! A topic guide is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic. A good first stop would be any of the standard print encyclopedias in the Beaver collection: Encyclopedia Americana, World Book or Britannica.


Britannica Online Great for pre-search and primary sources, including speeches, essays, biographies, editorials and photos.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
General Reference Center Gold
Routledge Reference Resources


Books about WWI will usually be found around 940.3. Use the subject heading World War, 1914-1918. when searching the library catalog. Biographies can be found at 921, listed alphabetically by the subject's last name (for example, a biography of Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. president during WWI and the founder of the short-lived League of Nations, would carry the call number: 921 Wilson).

Cooper, Michael. (1997). Hell Fighters : African American Soldiers in World War I. 940.403 C78 1997 72 pages.
Jantzen, Steven. (1991). Hooray for peace, hurrah for war : the United States during World War I. 940.3 J26 1991 181 pages.
Keegan, John. (1999). The First World War. 940.3 K24 1999 475 pages.
Lewis, Jon (ed.). (1999). Mammouth book of war diaries and letters : life on the battlefield in the words of the ordinary soldier, 1775-1991. 808.883 M31 1999 498 pages. Primary sources!


The great war 1918. VIDEO/DVD 940.4 G79 2005 Part of the PBS American Experience series.


For these Gale Group Resources, use the subject term: World War I, 1914-1918. You can also search for more specific topics: try Eastern Front (World War I) or Postwar Reconstruction (World War I)
Academic OneFile
Expanded Academic ASAP
General OneFile
Student Edition
Biography Resource Center For information on famous people associated with WWII. Search by the person's last name.
History Study Center
SIRS Copy this subject heading: World War (1914-1918) and paste it into the search field. You also try more specific subject headings, such as U.S. Navy, History, World War (1914-1918)

Internet sites

Brigham Young University A wiki created at BYU that links to many authoritative WWI sites.
BBC the British Broadcasting Service maintains this authoritative site, which is full of primary and secondary sources.
First World War This WWI site is maintained by a devoted amateur historian. It contains primary sources, photographs, sound recordings, timelines, an encyclopedia, tours and descriptions of battlefields.
The National Archives of Great Britain Although the focus is on Great Britain, this is an excellent site for all WWI topics. Primary sources, explanations, maps.

updated -- April 2011