History GCSE / National 5: Remembrance Day, the end of WW1

Jeremy Paxman describes the end of the First World War and reflects on whether the popular belief that the war was futile is true, and the influence that this total war had on the creation of modern Britain.

The end of the war in 1918 brought celebration to Britain’s streets and war memorials built across the country.

Footage and photos of the three-day celebration are shown, and Paxman shows where the stones of the Trafalgar Square fountain still bear the marks of a celebratory bonfire.

A wounded soldier recalls silence and sadness in the hospital where he was being treated on hearing the news, with so much loss and the end of the comradeship of the army.

We look at some of the 5000 war memorials erected within two years of the Armistice, mostly remembering the loss and suffering of troops rather than celebrating a victory.

Teacher Notes

KS3: Use as a stimulus for ideas in the creation of a remembrance and memorial design or poster.

KS4 / GCSE: Could be used as a starter piece to study memorials for what they suggest about changing attitudes to war and social class after the war, in particular the acknowledgement of ordinary troops as never before.

National 5 / Higher: Use as a starter piece to study memorials for what they suggest about changing attitudes to war and social class after the war. In particular consider the acknowledgement of ordinary troops as never before. Students could look at memorials in their own area and compare these to national monuments. The class could discuss what impact the involvement of people from all classes in the war effort had on the growth of democracy.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History. This topic appears in at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and OCR, Edexcel, AQA and WJEC/Eduqas GCSE/KS4 in England and Wales and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland. It also appears in National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

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