The United States WWI Centennial Commission and America’s National World War I Museum & Memorial have teamed up to create a new online teaching resource aimed at increasing awareness of the Great War, writes CN’s Patrick Gregory.

‘Understanding the Great War’ is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter featuring information and features from WWI organisations across the U.S. Each edition focuses on a different aspect of the First World War and includes an extensive array of articles, lessons and primary sources along with teaching guidelines for their use in schools and colleges.

Organisers say they hope to reach more than 5 million students by the end of this year and over time to create one of the most comprehensive collections of education-related materials on the war in the country.

‘Essential mission’

World War One Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique Brouillet Seefried says it’s imperative to drive up understanding of the war: “Giving teachers a vast array of topics and resources to educate young generations about the impact of WWI on today’s world is an essential mission of the WWI Centennial Commission.

“So many of the causes and consequences of WWI are routed in our current events, from terrorism to the events in the Middle East or many other corners of the world and young Americans need to know about it.

“Peace didn’t last for long 100 years ago. We owe it to our fellow Americans who didn’t return from the battlefields of WWI to continue to work for peace and to defend it.”

It’s a point echoed by National World War I Museum and Memorial President Dr. Matthew Naylor: “A primary goal of the museum is to educate the public about the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. Understanding the Great War is a phenomenal tool for educators comprised of content from some of the world’s leading academic organisations.”

Other partners in the initiative include the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the American Battle Monuments Commission, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AFS Intercultural Programs, Stanford History Education Group and the History Channel.

The inaugural issue in June focused on understanding why World War I began and August’s addresses the global impact of World War I.