cache 470 320 0 50 92 16777215 0813250 Im World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare

Defining Moments

World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare

  • Author/Editor: Kevin Hillstrom
  • Binding: Library binding
  • Trim Size: 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • Page Count: 234
  • Book Level:
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1325-0
  • List Price: $60.00
  • Sample Pages
  • Printable Information Sheet

Web Price: $54.00

During the early 20th century, optimism and confidence about the future was rising across much of the world. Industrialization and international trade had lifted many economies to new heights of productivity and prosperity, while advances in scientific knowledge, political reforms, and exciting new artistic and cultural movements captured the imaginations of people in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world. All of this forward momentum, however, came to a screeching halt in the days and weeks following the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and the start of what came to be known as World War I.

Defining Moments: World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare provides a comprehensive and understandable account of the tangled alliances and simmering nationalistic tensions that triggered the Great War; discusses the misconceptions and rationalizations that guided the decisions of many world leaders during the war; details the horrors of trench warfare; describes the fearsome new generation of weapons used in the conflict; provides a broad overview of the war’s key battles and offensives; and explains how the Treaty of Versailles ensured that World War I was not, in fact, the war to end all wars.

The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to World War I, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with World War I
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, military accounts of the battles, first-hand accounts, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: World War I and the Age of Modern Warfare are below:

  • Explain how the death of a single man—Archduke Franz Ferdinand—set in motion the events that resulted in World War I
  • Investigate whether Great Britain could have avoided entering the war by ignoring its treaty obligations to Belgium after that country was invaded by Germany, and explain the possible consequences of such a decision
  • Review the key military and political factors that contributed to the stalemate during the Great War, especially on the Western Front
  • Discuss the reasons for some of the most notable outbursts of troop and civilian unrest and explain why you agree or disagree with those who engaged in these active rebellions against their leaders
  • Explain Germany’s policy of “unrestricted submarine warfare” and detail the reasons why you think it was—or was not—a legitimate position to take in wartime
  • Research and evaluate why Germany—Turkey’s most important wartime ally—did not act to halt the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, which many historians consider the single most reprehensible and terrifying event of the entire war
  • Explore the factors that led to the temporary truces in December 1914, when opposing troops up and down the Western Front suspended hostilities and celebrated Christmas together, and discuss how the soldiers must have felt when the Christmas truces ended and they had to take up arms against men they had come to know
  • Provide a brief summary of each of the many new and frightening military technologies unveiled during the Great War and explain which one would have been the most terrifying to face if you were in a World War I trench
  • Summarize the main reasons for the United States’ decision to stay on the sidelines until 1917, nearly three years after the war started, and argue whether America’s decision to eventually join the Allies was the correct one
  • Discuss the various reasons why the Treaty of Versailles has been so often cited as an important factor in the political rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany
  • Analyze how World War I changed the social landscape for women and for African Americans, both during the war and after


“The writing is appropriate for the target audience and the volumes are attractive and appealing. The pictures are one of the best features. With photographs from most of the adversaries as well as affected populations such as Serbian and Armenian refugees, the author has done a good job of demonstrating that indeed the conflict touched the entire European community.”

—American Reference Books Annual, 2014