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Fighting the First World War

  • Military History
  • Secondary – Junior

This lesson plan was created by members of Historica Canada’s teacher community. Historica Canada does not take responsibility for the accuracy or availability of any links herein, and the views reflected in these learning tools may not necessary reflect those of Historica Canada. We welcome feedback regarding the content that may be linked to or included in these learning tools; email us at


This lesson will introduce students the following issues and questions:

1. Why was the war so brutal?
2. Why did Canadians want to fight?
3. Literature during the First World War
4. Was the war a needless or necessary sacrifice?


To make students think about the issues that face soldiers and officers during the war. Students will be encouraged to examine the content from a contemporary perspective instead of their own post-modern perspective. 


The background is established in the notes [see attachment]. Essentially, this lesson aims to answer pertinent questions about the fighting and brutality of the war and how it is remembered. The lesson seeks to challenge perceived notions about the war.


Time Allowance:
1 Class [1 hour 15 minutes]


1. Discussion Questions:

Was the First World War justified?
Was the First World War a needless sacrifice of men by Generals?
Why was the war so bloody?
Why did men continue to fight?

2. Go through the Notes to answer and address these questions.

3. Re-visit the questions and discuss further.


Make sure you are marking or are aware of student participation.

Required Materials:

The notes [see attached] and whatever else one can bring to the lesson.


Supporting documents for this Learning Tool

File type File size Action
Fighting the First World War PDF 19 KB Download

Supporting documents for this Learning Tool