The Human Face of the Great War, 1914-1918

Dan Leclerc

Mondays, October 2-November 13 10:00 a.m. - noon 7 sessions
The Engineering Center, One Walnut Street

The unprecedented and shocking cost of World War I staggered all involved, raised doubts about dominant military strategy, and had a deep impact on culture, art, literature, religion, social organization, and geopolitical reality. The shockwave of this massive loss of life and collateral suffering still resonates to this day. The course will examine the impact of industrialized warfare, the concept of total war, life in the trenches, shellshock, frontiers of medicine and psychiatry, and the impact of devastating sorrow and grief, then and now.

Participants will be asked to read Back to the Front: An Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I by Stephen O’Shea. We will also read selected chapters from 14-18: Understanding the Great War by Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and  Annette Becker. This book delves into such sociological, ethical, and anthropological topics as the nature of combat, violence, atrocities, and occupation; civilization, barbarism, and war fervor; and collective mourning and personal bereavement.  In addition, participants will be provided with two-page readings on topics for subsequent classes. 

Teaching Style: Lecture with discussion     Weekly Preparation: 2 hours

    Dan Leclerc

    Dan Leclerc holds a masters degree in history from Northeastern University and has taught history and served as a school administrator in several high-performing school districts.  He has been to France five times, always devoting a portion of each visit to research and visitation of specific battle sites on the Western Front. He has presented numerous World War I talks in libraries and historical societies throughout New England, and currently teaches