The Great War

Picture for a World War 1 era propaganda poster with the title "Adventure and Action."World War I permanently changed the world in profound ways. Before World War II it was known as the Great War because of its unprecendented scale both geographically and socially. It was the first war to effectively use modern weapons, chemical and automated. The resulting bloodbath killed and maimed the prime of an entire generation of young men and the resulting disillusionment ended the era of Victorian romanticism and idealism. In its place literature, art, and music all took on darker and more disturbing tones and images. The exuberant dissipation of the "Roaring Twenties" was an effort by some to forget what had happened or longing by others for normal life to be restored. Neither were to happen. Even as President Woodrow Wilson hoped to bring peace back to the world through his Fourteen Points and proposal for a League of Nations, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles simply sowed the seeds that would lead directly to World War II.

The Great War program series will provide participants opportunity to explore the era of World War I, to relate to the experience of both civilians and soldiers, and to understand how the war changed the world politically and culturally.


Image of the Pinterest icon.  See the Great War Pinterest Board for library resources about World War I. Check back throughout the year to see new items.


All events are free and open to the public. 

Campus Map

Date Description Location
September 18, 2014
3-6 p.m.
Experience the Great War: A Library Fair Event. During this library open house, participants learn about life on both the homefront and the battlefront. Attendees are encouraged to dress in period costumes for a role of their choice. Union College Library, Don Love- Building
September 21, 2014
2-4 p.m.
1914-1918 Clothing & Lifestyles presented by Sue McClain, Yesterday's Lady of Beatrice, Nebraska. Come see fashion as it was before and during the war.  See WWI military & Red Cross uniforms. This program is sponsored by the Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society. Woods Auditorium, Don Love Building
October 28, 2014
7 p.m.
America and the Great War 1914-1918 presented by David Wells. The role of America in "the war to end all wars" is misunderstood. Most people think only of the 1917-1918 period when U.S. soldiers marched off to save the world, not realizing that from 1914-1917 the nation was opposed to the war. Songs of the period show the changing attitude of the American public, from neutrality to anti-war sentiments to entry in the war and the ultimate defeat of Germany. World War II and the Cold war make more sense when you understand what happened between 1914-1918.

Humanities Nebraska provides major funding for this program. The NHC receives support from the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Nebraska State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Room 121, Union College Library, Don Love Building

November 12, 2014
7 p.m.

All Quiet on the Western Front - a book and film discussion led by Chris Blake, Associate Professor of English and Communication.

Program Resources:
All Quiet on the Western Front (book)
All Quiet on the Western Front (DVD)
100 Years of Hollywood: Carl Laemmle and Universal Studios (Streaming video segment about the film All Quiet on the Western Front)
All Quiet on the Western Front: The Story of a Film - an ebook about the making of and reaction to the movie.

Room 121, Union College Library, Don Love Building
January 28, 2014
7 p.m.

Poetic Lines on the Front Lines: Exploring Poetry from WWI’s Soldier-poets - presented by Mike Mennard, Assistant Professor of English and Communication.

Through the blast of warheads and the constant threat of poisonous gas, soldiers huddled in the trenches and wrote some of the finest poetry in the language. Come experience the terror, the hope, the despair of the first World War.

Room 121, Union College Library, Don Love Building

March 25, 2014
7 p.m.

Total War and Propaganda - presented by Ben Tyner, Assistant Professor of History, explores the use of propaganda by both Allies and Central Powers during World War I. Room 121, Union College Library, Don Love Building
April 14, 2014
7 p.m.
Conscientious Objectors in World War I - presented by Thomas Berg, Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Room 121, Union College Library, Don Love Building