Published Date

January 1, 2004

From Teaching Difficult Legal or Political Concepts: Using Online Primary Sources in Writing Assignments (2004)

Located at
Reviewed by Sue Patrick

Volunteers active in the World War I Military History List have assembled The World War I Document Archive. The approach is international, and there is a mirror site for those in Europe. The home page divides the archive into seven main parts. First is “Conventions, Treaties, & Official Papers.” The treaties and conventions range from the Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law (April 16, 1856) to the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of Poisonous Gases and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (June 17, 1925). All these seem to be in English. For some reason, the link to official papers is separate from the other documents under this heading. The papers are divided into headings under 16 nations and appear in a variety of languages. The British papers, for example, range from 1904 to 1922, but most of the papers for all nations are in the 1914-1919 period.

The second section of the archive divides documents by year, with subheadings that range from pre-1914 to post-1918. Many of these documents are in English, but those that are not are clearly indicated in the master list for each time period. This listing is simply another way of reaching the same documents that were available under “Conventions, Treaties, & Official Papers.”

The rest of the home page covers other items of interest to students of World War I. The third section on the home page contains “Memorials, Personal Reminiscences.” Dates on these range from 1914 to 1999 and about 80% are in English. The fourth part is the “WWI Biographical Dictionary,” which is divided into a separate list for each letter of the alphabet. The “WWI Image Archive” makes up the fifth part of the site. This contains medals and photos. The 1546 photos are in 15 categories for ease of access. “Special Topics and Commentary Articles” contains three special topics and more than 40 articles. Most of the articles were published between 1915 and 1925, but several appeared in the 1990s. The special topics cover the war at sea, medical developments, and recommended reading. The final section is “WWI Sites: Links to Other Resources.” The links are subdivided into the names of 19 countries, so that all sites related to Australia in World War I appear under the heading of Australia (for example). There are also headings such as general and miscellaneous in this section.

While anyone doing research on the war would no doubt also want to visit World War I–Trenches on the Web (located at, The World War I Document Archive is much more complete when it comes to documents related to the Great War. This site contains sufficient documents to study almost any aspect of the war.

Next section: The Versailles Treaty