World War I: A History in Documents

By Frans Coetzee; Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee | Go to book overview

How to Read a Document

Documents are the raw materials of history. They may be textual, such as books, newspapers, letters, and diaries; visual, such as photographs, posters, and movies; or material, such as clothing and cathedrals. Documents are the sources from which historians attempt to reconstruct what happened in the past.

Authorship

The British Empire Union produced this poster in 1918. Even to a viewer not familiar with that organization’s specific goals, its name suggests a concern with preserving the power and integrity of the British Empire.

Caricature

The features of the German are ridiculously distorted. He is over-weight, with an ill-fitting jacket and a jolly grin despite the sinking ship and burning buildings in the margins. The poster urges people to join the British Empire Union to keep German influence out of Britain. So clearly it portrays Germans in the worst possible light.

Clothing

By juxtaposing a German soldier in uniform with the same figure in civilian clothes, the poster suggests that, after the war, the same people responsible for unforgivable wartime crimes such as bayoneting babies, shooting nurses, and ravishing women (detailed across the top) will attempt to resume normal relations as though nothing had happened. The British Empire Union’s attitude reveals the depths of wartime anti-German feeling, but it also betrays an anxiety about a possible postwar resurgence of German power.

Because historians are rarely eyewitnesses to the events they are trying to comprehend, they rely on primary sources that date from the period in question. The documents in this book are all primary sources, produced by people who experienced World War I. In relying on another person’s pair of eyes, on somebody else’s observations and arguments, we cannot take for granted what his or her document seems to say. History involves asking a series of questions about the source and drawing reasonable conclusions from our answers. When and where was the document produced? For what purpose? What assumptions does it reveal? Only after considering these issues can we begin to interpret the meaning of the individuals and the significance of the events that arouse our curiosity.

Location

Protestors claimed that the Wilson administration was squelching criticism of its policies through its censorship of the press and restriction of meetings. By making their point outside the White House, a symbol of the President’s democratic principles, they force the viewer to consider Wilson’s actual protection of the American ideal of freedom of speech.

Costume

Anti-government protestors dress up as Pilgrims in order to associate themselves with the long tradition of conscience stretching back to the arrival of the Mayflower. They are trying to show that they are closer to the original Americans than the President and his supporters, and they are using American history as a weapon in their struggle against the White House.

-8-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
World War I: A History in Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • World War I - A History in Documents 3
  • Contents 5
  • What Is a Document? 6
  • How to Read a Document 8
  • Introduction - The Great War 11
  • Chapter One - Into the Abyss 15
  • Chapter Two - Adjusting to War 39
  • Chapter Three - Meeting the Challenge 57
  • Chapter Four - War Without Mercy 81
  • Chapter Five: Picture Essay - Advertising the War 107
  • Chapter Six - Strains 115
  • Chapter Seven - Coming to Terms 141
  • Timeline 162
  • Further Reading 164
  • Websites 166
  • Text Credits 167
  • Picture Credits 169
  • Index 171
  • Acknowledgments 175
  • About the Authors 176
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 176

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.