The First World War

Watch The First World War

  • 2003
  • 1 Season
  • 8.6  (1,447)

The "First World War" is a captivating documentary series from Pure History that explores the complex history of the world's first global conflict. The show serves as an educational tool that seeks to bring to life, chronicle, and analyze the interwoven factors and events that led to the war and its consequences.

The series comprises six episodes that blend archival footage, interviews with historians, and photographs to tell the tale of the war that changed the world. Each episode focuses on a unique aspect of the war that had a profound impact on its outcome, including the causes of the war, the military strategies employed by the belligerents, the role of technology in warfare, and the human cost of the conflict.

The first episode, "The Road to War," sets the stage for the series and examines the political and diplomatic maneuvering in Europe leading up to the outbreak of war. The episode dives into factors such as the alliances formed before the war, the nationalist movements like Pan-Slavism and how it contributed to tensions, and the Imperial competition. Thus, viewers learn how the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, which sparked the events that ignited the First World War.

The second episode, "The Battle of the Frontiers," examines the early months of the war, the rush for resources and supplies, and the significant advances made by the German army as it pushed into France. The episode also sheds light on the French defenses at the Battle of the Frontiers that stopped the Germans' initial push.

The third episode, "War in the Trenches," focuses on the trench warfare that dominated the Western Front for most of the war. It delves into the conditions at the front lines, which led to many soldiers suffering from illness, injury, and mental health issues. It also explores the new weapons technology invented by both sides, including new artillery, poison gases, flamethrowers and machine guns, which made the trenches unbearable, and caused terrible fatalities.

The fourth episode, "War in the Air," elaborates on the aerial warfare tactics used in the First World War, including fixed-wing aircraft, balloons, and zeppelins. Viewers learn how air combat played an integral role in the war, with pilots engaging in dogfights over the front lines and performing important reconnaissance tasks.

The fifth episode, "The War at Sea," looks at the naval conflict in the Atlantic and beyond. The episode covers the arms race that preceded the war, the use of submarines, the Battle of Jutland, and the war's broader impact on maritime trade and commerce worldwide. It highlights how the British blockade of German ports proved decisive in the Allies' eventual victory and the challenges faced by Germany as a result of the blockade.

The final episode, "The End of the War," details how the tide of the war turned in favor of the Allies after the entry of the United States in 1917 and the 1918 Hundred Days Offensive of the Allied dynamism that left the Central Powers exhausted, leading to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The episode also examines the aftermath of the war, including the political, social, and economic implications that would shape the course of the twentieth century.

Overall, Pure History's "First World War" provides a comprehensive overview of the events leading up to the conflict, the war's conduct, and its outcomes. It is a show that educates and entertains viewers and that will remain an outstanding reference point for anyone interested in learning about the war that shook the world.

The First World War is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (10 episodes). The series first aired on May 4, 2003.

The First World War
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War Without End
10. War Without End
June 4, 2003
The dramatic Allied victory at Amiens led to victory in just 100 days and the signing of a bitterly resented peace, while other nations stumbled towards their own ceasefire agreements.
Germany's Last Gamble
9. Germany's Last Gamble
June 4, 2003
Over 1 million German troops were committed to Kaiserschlacht -the last great offensive of the war, while conflict still raged on many other fronts.
8. Revolution
June 4, 2003
The effects of The Great War shattered nations, inspired mass mutinies by desperate troops, caused great upheaval on the home front and changed the world forever.
7. Blockade
June 4, 2003
The war at sea was every bit as bitter as the war on land. The battle at Jutland proved inconclusive, but the U-Boat menace threatened Britain as never before. Meanwhile America entered the war.
Breaking the Deadlock
6. Breaking the Deadlock
June 4, 2003
The Somme and Verdun saw carnage on an unprecedented scale, as armies fought to break the stalemate on the Western Front.
Shackled to a Corpse
5. Shackled to a Corpse
June 4, 2003
As the Germans and Austrians clashed with the Russians on the bitter Eastern Front, Italy became embroiled in a terrible slaughter.
4. Jihad
June 4, 2003
The Turkish Ottoman Empire proved a formidable foe, as Allies found to their cost at Gallipoli and in the Middle East.
Global War
3. Global War
June 4, 2003
The European Empires clashed all across the world, from the South Atlantic Seas to the plains of Africa.
Under the Eagle
2. Under the Eagle
June 4, 2003
The German invasion of Belgium and France was brutal and fanned the flames of war. It was only the beginning of the slaughter.
To Arms
1. To Arms
May 4, 2003
The First World War began as a clash in the Balkans and grew to engulf Europe and the world.
Where to Watch The First World War
The First World War is available for streaming on the Pure History website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The First World War on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, The Roku Channel Free, Google Play and Tubi TV.
  • Premiere Date
    May 4, 2003
  • IMDB Rating
    8.6  (1,447)