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An Oxford WWI Conference: Remembering The Great War

Program Number: 21453RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/24/2015 - 4/2/2015; 3/29/2016 - 4/7/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $2,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: ; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 8 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian    

On July 28, 1914 in Serbia, the first shots of the Great War were fired. Four years later, more than 9 million soldiers had lost their lives, while another 21 million suffered injuries. We invite you to join distinguished scholars and historians in Oxford, England for a historic conference event. Delve into the battles, the strategy, the weapons, the politics and the lasting effects of the war with leading experts at the conference.


• Gain insight into the events of the First World War with renowned experts, authors, historians and broadcasters during a private conference in Oxford.
• Explore Bletchley Park, known as Station X during WWII.
• Join speakers for discussions of the major events of 1916.

Activity Particulars

Walking and standing up to 2 hours on some field trips.

Date Specific Information


Renowned speakers, authors and expert historians confirmed to date include Nigel West, Professor Saul David, Professor Andrew Lambert, Professor Richard Toye, Professor Stephen Badsey, Dr Warren Dockter, Dr Edward Madigan, Dr Spencer Jones, Dr Catriona Pennell, Dr Gajendra Singh and Colonel Andrew Duff.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Lectures will focus mainly on events in 1916 including the Battles of the Somme and Verdun, the Eastern Front, French, German and Austro-Hungarian perspectives, Jutland and naval battles of 1916, Irish units, British intelligence, evaluations of General Haig and the home front.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival London, coach to Oxford, 8 nights; coach to London, departure.

Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival London
Coach to Oxford
8 nights

Welcome a glimpse of university life as you as you begin your study of World War I at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford. With academic advisor, Dr Spencer Jones, professors and WWI experts, authors, historians and broadcasters, take part in lectures on events focusing on 1916.

Departure London


It was the seat of an empire on which the sun never set. It has been Merry, Dickensian and Victorian. It has given us common law, Shakespeare, tennis, the Rolls-Royce and the Beatles. England and its people have played an outsize role in shaping world history. It is a country whose past, politics, culture and characters never cease to captivate.

Oxford: Single student rooms with private "wet room" bathrooms at St. Hugh’s College. Limited number of student "sets" available. These are two separate bedrooms with a shared bathroom and entrance area (couples may request these sets). Note: there are no double beds in this college accommodation.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Spencer Jones

Dr. Spencer Jones is a senior lecturer in armed forces and war studies at the University of Wolverhampton, and currently serves as regimental historian of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. His interest in history focuses on the British Army, the Boer War and the Frist World War. He is the author of several books, including “From Boer War to World War: Tactical Reform of the British Army 1902-1914” and “Stemming the tide: Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914.”
Meals and Lodgings
   St Hugh's College
  Oxford, UK:England 5 nights
   Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
  London, England, UK:England 3 nights
 St Hugh's College
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Description: Set within fourteen acres of quiet, leafy North Oxford, St Hugh’s College, part of the University of Oxford is one of the loveliest hidden delights of Oxford.
  Contact info: St Margaret Street
Oxford,  OX UK:England
phone: +44 1865 274424
  Room amenities: Tea and coffee making facilities, towels, bedware. Shower kit.
  Facility amenities: Ten and a half acres of gardens that you are allowed to walk on-unlike othe Oxford colleges, with imposing Victorian houses, elegant Edwardian neo-classical and contemporary Maplethorpe Building. Modern lecture and living accommodation on one site with gym facillties, library and Boathouse.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBC In Oxford hotels. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located close to West End. Was formerly Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel. Name change.
  Contact info: 130 Tottenham Court Road
London.,  W1T 5AY UK:England
phone: +44 20 7388 4131
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal phone numbers. Satellite TV, hairdryer, mini bar, in room safe, iron and trouser press, and tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary wireless Internet access. US 110v sockets.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business centre, fitness room and complimentary wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration in college on arrival. Welcome meeting at 5:30pm in St Hugh's followed by a reception and dinner. You will be staying at St Hugh's College that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast in the hotel in London. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains, coaches and buses are frequent.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oxford
  Nearest city or town:  Oxford
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow
  Transportation to site: Trains, coaches available from London Heathrow to Oxford. Oxford bus's Airline Service is a frequent regular service running day and night, seven days a week from the central bus station and Terminal 5 bus stops 10-12. Vehicles are wheelchair-accessible and a free wi-fi service is available. see Tel: +44 (0)1865 785 400 From central London trains depart London Paddington Station for Oxford. The Heathrow Express departs the airport every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes add 6 minutes from T5.) to London Paddington. An Express single costs 16.50 (2010 prices), 1st Class is 26, return is 32. Paddington Station is situated in the west end of central London. It connects to the Bakerloo, District and Circle lines on the London Underground and is also a short walk to the Hammersmith and City line. From central London one option is the Oxford Tube-a motorcoach beginning near Victoria Station on Buckingham Palace Road and travelling to the Oxford Gloucester Road Bus Station.
  From End of Program
  Location:  London, England
  Nearest city or town:  London.
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow
  Transportation from site: Underground and buses available. Warren Street underground is adjacent to the hotel and runs on the Northern; Victoria lines.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Tuesday, March 24)
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight to London.

Day 2: Arrival to St Hugh's College, University of Oxford.
(Wednesday, March 25)
 Arrive To: London Heathrow. Transfers from LHR to Oxford.
 Lunch: Excluded. The college is within walking distance of central Oxford and Summertown, North Oxford with its cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops. 15 minutes walk and on a frequent bus route.
 Afternoon: Registration at St Hugh's College. At leisure until the welcome meeting at 5:30pm followed by a reception in the college.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in Hall at St Hugh's.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: St Hugh's College
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Expert lecturers.
(Thursday, March 26)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in college.
 Morning: Lecture: Mata Hari, Basil Thomson and Allied Counter Intelligence in the Great War by Nigel West, Internationally renowned historian and intelligence expert. Tea and coffee served mid morning. Lecture: The Dardenelles: the Limits of Sea Power by Professor Andrew Lambert
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in college.
 Afternoon: Lecture: Understanding the Political Crisis 1915 by Professor Richard Toye. Followed by free time (3:30pm).
 Dinner: In college.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: St Hugh's College
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Expert lectures on the First World War.
(Friday, March 27)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in college.
 Morning: Lecture: The Worst Day of the War: The Battle of Aubers Ridge 9 May 1915 by Dr Spencer Jones. Tea and coffee served mid morning. Lecture: The Gallipoli Campaign and British Grand Strategy by Professor Stephen Badsey.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in college.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon..
 Dinner: In college.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: St Hugh's College
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Churchill's Blenheim Palace.
(Saturday, March 28)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in college
 Morning: Field trip to Sir Winston Churchill's Blenheim Palace and Bladon.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues. Return to Oxford 3:00pm. Optional college walk with John Harris-learn the stories behind the "dreaming spires".
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: St Hugh's College
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Reception and Gala Dinner in St Hugh's.
(Sunday, March 29)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in college.
 Morning: Lecture: Churchill and the Ottoman Empire by Dr Warren Dockter. Tea and coffee served mid morning. Lecture: Indian Soldiers in France and the Middle East by Dr Gajendra Singh.
 Lunch: In college.
 Afternoon: Lecture: Religion and the Clergy and the Mobilisation for War by Dr Edward Madigan. Free time. Reception at 6:30pm.
 Dinner: Gala dinner.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: St Hugh's College
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Imperial War Museum.
(Monday, March 30)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in college.
 Morning: Depart Oxford by coach to Lambeth and The Imperial War Museum which is hosting the Centenary of the First World War with special exhibitions and displays. Talk by a member of the curatorial staff such as Senior Historian Nigel Steel.
 Lunch: Excluded. There is a cafe in the IWM.
 Afternoon: The field trip continues. Transfer by coach to the Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel. Room keys will be allocated and luggage taken to your room as you attend the lectures. 2:30pm Lecture: From the sea to the sky: the evolution of the fear of invasion on the British home front, 1914-1915 by Dr Catriona Pennell. Lecture: 100 Days to Victory by Professor Saul David.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8:
(Tuesday, March 31)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Westminster Abbey to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and other memorials. Take a walk along Whitehall passing the Cenotaph, the memorial to Britain's war dead, statues of famous figures and the Ministry of Defence and Downing Street, home to the Prime Minister. Continue to the Churchill War Rooms where the wartime Cabinet War Rooms are housed and Churchill Museum. (three groups will take reverse walks but include all these sights)
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: At leisure.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: National Maritime Museum
(Wednesday, April 1)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the National Maritime Museum.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Return by coach to the hotel for your final lecture: Ypres 1914/5 and the Death of the BEF and the Loss of Innocence nby Colonel Andrew Duff. . 6:00pm Reception and private dinner with wine.
 Dinner: Farewell private dinner in the hotel.
 Evening: Free time.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10:
(Thursday, April 2)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel. Some departures may leave before breakfast which opens at 7:00am and closes at 10:00am.
 In Transit: Check out is by 11:00am. Transfers to London Heathrow Airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The First World War: A New History

Author: Hew Strachan

Description: Hew Strachan is one of the world's foremost experts on the Great War of 1914-18. His ongoing three-volume history of the conflict, the first of which was published in 2001, is likely to become the standard academic reference work: Max Hastings called it 'one of the most impressive books of modern history in a generation', while Richard Holmes hailed it as a 'towering achievement'. Now, Hew Strachan brings his immense knowledge to a one-volume work aimed squarely at the general reader. The inspiration behind the major Channel 4 series of the same name, to which Hew was chief consultant, "The First World War" is a significant addition to the literature on this subject, taking as it does a uniquely global view of what is often misconceived as a prolonged skirmish on the Western Front. Exploring such theatres as the Balkans, Africa and the Ottoman Empire, Strachan assesses Britain's participation in the light of what became a struggle for the defense of liberalism, and show how the war shaped the 'short' twentieth century that followed it. Accessible, compelling and utterly convincing, this is modern history writing at its finest.

The First World War: Vol. 1 To Arms

Author: Hew Strachan

Description: Hew Strachan's The First World War Vol I: A Call to Arms counteracts the argument that of the two world wars in the 20th century, it is usually only the second that is thought of as "global"--spanning from the Pacific to Normandy as Hollywood continues to remind us, from the River Plate to Scapa Flow as naval buffs will recall. By contrast the First World War is often assumed to be a European war, literally bogged down in the Somme and the Dardanelles. But as Hew Strachan argues in this magisterial and wide-ranging book we would do better to use the German phrase, "weltkrieg" to describe the conflicts of 1914-18 as well. The Call to Arms is the latest in a long line of Strachan's distinguished and subtle works of military history at its best: his recent The Politics of the British Army is particularly good. A Call to Arms covers the war in every part of the globe--chapters on Turkey, Africa and Japan sit alongside sections devoted to the Western and Eastern fronts. And Strachan shows too that the war was global not just in its geography, but also in its outcome. The entente powers had better access to international finance than their foes; the war accelerated religious and tribal nationalism in the old colonial empires; industrial mobilisation fuelled the growth of heavy industry in 'undeveloped' parts of the world. This is a big book--1,000 pages plus, and it is only the first of three volumes. It needs time and attentive reading to absorb the range of its scholarship and the originality of its arguments. But anyone wanting to understand how and why the First World War, as one French writer put it in 1914, extended "to the whole universe" must read this book

The First World War: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael Howard

Description: By the time the First World War ended in 1918, eight million people had died in what had been perhaps the most apocalyptic episode the world had known. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise and insightful history of the 'Great War', focusing on why it happened, how it was fought, and why it had the consequences it did. It examines the state of Europe in 1914 and the outbreak of war; the onset of attrition and crisis; the role of the US; the collapse of Russia; and the weakening and eventual surrender of the Central Powers. Looking at the historical controversies surrounding the causes and conduct of war, Michael Howard also describes how peace was ultimately made, and the potent legacy of resentment left to Germany. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The First World War

Author: John Keegan

Description: The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unparalleled ferocity far beyond its European epicentre, it broke the century of relative peace and prosperity which we associate with the Victorian era. It unleashed both the demons of the twenieth century - pestilence, military destruction and mass death - and the ideas which continue to shape our world today - modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, and radical ideas about economics and society. An event of this scale and complexity needs a great historian to portray it, and in his new book, John Keegan fulfils a life-long ambition to write the definitive book on the war. It was of course foremost a fascinating new interpretations of the military events. But the war also acted as a formidable engine for social change throughout the world, and this too is brilliantly conveyed in Keegan's fascinating and magisterial work.

1914-1918: The History of the Frist Wolrd War

Author: David Stevenson

Description: David Stevenson is the real deal ... His defining characteristic is his outstanding rigour as an historian ... tremendously clever (Niall Ferguson) It's harder to imagine a better single-volume comprehensive history of the conflict than this superb study (Ian Kershaw) Perhaps the best comprehensive one-volume history of the war yet written (New Yorker) This history of the 1914-1918 conflict surpasses all others. It is tough, erudite and comprehensive (Independent)

Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914

Author: Max Hastings

Description: The Amazon History Book of the Year 2013 is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war. In 1914, Europe plunged into the 20th century’s first terrible act of self-immolation- what was then called The Great War. On the eve of its centenary, Max Hastings seeks to explain both how the conflict came about and what befell millions of men and women during the first months of strife. He finds the evidence overwhelming, that Austria and Germany must accept principal blame for the outbreak. While what followed was a vast tragedy, he argues passionately against the ‘poets’ view’, that the war was not worth winning. It was vital to the freedom of Europe, he says, that the Kaiser’s Germany should be defeated. His narrative of the early battles will astonish those whose images of the war are simply of mud, wire, trenches and steel helmets. Hastings describes how the French Army marched into action amid virgin rural landscapes, in uniforms of red and blue, led by mounted officers, with flags flying and bands playing. The bloodiest day of the entire Western war fell on 22 August 1914, when the French lost 27,000 dead. Four days later, at Le Cateau the British fought an extraordinary action against the oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history. In October, at terrible cost they held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres.

100 Days to Victory: How the Great War Was Fought and Won

Author: Saul David

Description: 100 Days to Victory adopts a remarkably original approach to telling the story of the First World War in an accessible fashion ... the author is gifted with acute judgement as well as accomplished narrative skills. His book offers a really admirable introduction to the conflict. (Max Hastings The Times) Original and effective...Professor David exceeds the reader's of the best measured accounts. (Times Literary Supplement) A splendid read... a specialist in 19th century colonial wars and a fine writer, David has intelligently boiled down recent scholarship on the war. (The Observer) Saul David has come up with an ingenious approach... The charm of this unorthodox technique becomes clear as soon as you open the book... a remarkable book. (Daily Mail) Splendidly well written - fluent, engaging, well paced and, despite the grim subject matter, often entertaining. (New Statesman) Fascinating, original...vivid...brilliantly conveys the global scale of the conflict...if you usually find military history rather turgid you must read this. (The Bookseller) A free-flowing work of great originality and insight (Charles Spencer) All the really important dates are here, as well as some inspired choices ... If any book will inspire readers to investigate further, this one will. (Mail on Sunday) David picks out 100 individual days from the war that allow him to paint the entire picture ... as ever, he is at his best when shells are landing and whistles are blowing. (Sunday Times) Absorbing because of, not despite, the harrowing detail. (The Independent)

Stemming the Tide. Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914

Author: Spencer Jones ed.

Description: The British Expeditionary Force of 1914 was described by the official historian as "incomparably the best trained, best organised, and best equipped British Army that ever went forth to war." The BEF proved its fighting qualities in the fierce battles of 1914 and its reputation has endured. However, the same cannot be said for many of its commanders, who have frequently been portrayed as old fashioned, incompetent, and out of touch with events on the battlefield. Yet the officers who led the BEF to war were every bit as professional and hard-bitten as the soldiers they commanded. These officers had learned their craft in the unforgiving school of colonial warfare and honed their understanding of conflict in the period of reform that reshaped the army between 1902 and 1914. As this book reveals, when faced with the realities of modern combat, the officers of the BEF were prepared for the challenge. This collection offers a broad picture of command at all levels of the BEF through a series of biographical essays on key officers. Drawing upon much original research, each chapter explores the pre-war background and experience of the officer and assesses his performance in combat in the opening months of the First World War. The book features insightful reappraisals of famous figures including John French and Douglas Haig, fresh studies of staff officers such as William Robertson and Henry Wilson, and a thorough discussion of officers at the sharp end, with chapters covering divisional, brigade, battalion and company commanders. The essays reveal an officer class that, despite certain weaknesses, provided highly effective leadership during the chaotic fighting of August to November 1914. Without their influence it is unlikely that the BEF would have been able to survive the difficulties of the Great Retreat, much less halt the German invasions of France and Belgium.

The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century

Author: David Reynolds

Description: In Britain we have lost touch with the Great War. Our overriding sense now is of a meaningless, futile bloodbath in the mud of Flanders -- of young men whose lives were cut off in their prime for no evident purpose. But by reducing the conflict to personal tragedies, however moving, we have lost the big picture: the history has been distilled into poetry. In The Long Shadow, critically acclaimed author David Reynolds seeks to redress the balance by exploring the true impact of 1914-18 on the 20th century. Some of the Great War's legacies were negative and pernicious but others proved transformative in a positive sense. Exploring big themes such as democracy and empire, nationalism and capitalism and re-examining the differing impacts of the War on Britain, Ireland and the United States, The Long Shadow throws light on the whole of the last century and demonstrates that 1914-18 is a conflict that Britain, more than any other nation, is still struggling to comprehend. Stunningly broad in its historical perspective, The Long Shadow is a magisterial and seismic re-presentation of the Great War.

The War that Ended Peace : How Europe Abanonded Peace For the First World War

Author: Margaret Macmillan

Description: The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict which killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe's dominance of the world. It was a war which could have been avoided up to the last moment - so why did it happen? Beginning in the early nineteenth century, and ending with the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, award-winning historian Margaret MacMillan uncovers the huge political and technological changes, national decisions and - just as important - the small moments of human muddle and weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster. This masterful exploration of how Europe chose its path towards war will change and enrich how we see this defining moment in our history.

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918

Author: Richard Holmes

Description: Tommy is Richard Holmes's tribute to the ghosts of the millions of ordinary soldiers who fought in the First World War. The book also reflects the dissatisfaction he feels at the way we still remember it. Too often we approach World War I through the literature it inspired. The poems of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and others have their own truths to offer, but Holmes would dispute the assumption that they represent the experiences of the majority of those who endured the trench warfare of the Western Front. To discover new voices and new perspectives on the war he has trawled through the rich archives of letters, diaries and memoirs that still exist, most of them written while the fighting still continued. From these he has constructed an extraordinarily vivid and moving picture of what it felt like to be one of the millions of men who served in the British army during the four years between August 1914 and the armistice on November 11, 1918. From Private Albert Bullock rejoicing in the discovery of 200 Woodbines in the pack of a fellow soldier who had fled the front line, to Private Eric Hiscock describing the horrors of finding himself entangled in barbed wire. The Tommies, whom Richard Holmes rescues from obscurity, prove powerful witnesses to the diverse realities of the war. Beneath the stereotyped images of the First World War that we all carry in our heads, the real lives of the men who fought it are still there to be discovered and Holmes’s book brings them forcefully to our attention

A Kingdom United: Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland

Author: Catriona Pennell

Description: In this, the first fully documented study of British and Irish popular reactions to the outbreak of the First World War, Catriona Pennell explores UK public opinion of the time and successfully challenges the myth of British 'war enthusiasm'. A Kingdom United explores what people felt, and how they acted, in response to an unanticipated and unprecedented crisis. It is a history of both ordinary people and elite figures in extraordinary times. Dr Pennell demonstrates that describing the reactions of over 40 million British and Irish people to the outbreak of war as either enthusiastic in the British case, or disengaged in the Irish, is over-simplified and inadequate. Emotional reactions to the war were ambiguous and complex, and changed over time. By the end of 1914 the populations of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland had largely embraced the war, but the war had also embraced them and showed no signs of relinquishing its grip. The five months from August to December 1914 set the shape of much that was to follow. A Kingdom United describes and explains that twenty-week formative process. Pennell draws from a vast array of diaries, letters, journals, and newspaper accounts by the very people who experienced the war in its first dramatic five months. She outlines the variety of responses felt amongst both the ordinary people and elite figures from across the country.

MI5 In the Great War

Author: Nigel West

Description: In 1921, MI5 commissioned a comprehensive, top-secret review of the organisation’s operations during the First World War. Never intended for circulation outside of the government, all seven volumes of this fascinating and unique document remained locked away in MI5’s registry … until now. Recently declassified and published here for the first time, MI5 in the Great War is filled with detailed, and previously undisclosed, accounts centring on the Security Service’s activities during the conflict. The main narrative examines MI5’s various attempts to both manage and detect double agents; the detection and execution of enemy spies; its study of German pre-war espionage; and the Kaiser’s personal network of spies seeking to infiltrate British intelligence. Coinciding with the centenary of the start of the Great War, this historically significant document has been edited and brought up to date by bestselling writer and historian Nigel West, providing an extraordinary insight into the early years of MI5 and its first counterintelligence operations.

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