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Jul 2010

Video Review: World History: The Causes of World War I

This Topic is found on the Zane Education website under the Category History>20th Century World History> and comprises two K12 educational video titles: ‘From the Assassination’ and ‘To the Armistice’. Together these videos examine the world events of the early twentieth century that culminated in history’s first truly global conflict.

The two videos cover the following learning objectives:

  • Explain why the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, thus sparking World War I.
  • Survey the political, economic, and social effects of the nineteenth-century industrialization of the Continent, and discuss the reasons for the emergence of nationalist ideology as a dominant political force in Europe during the nineteenth century.
  • Discuss the reasons why colonial rule was so important to Europe’s imperialist powers.
  • Examine how the complex tensions resulting from nationalism and imperialist rivalries incited the formation of alliances and accelerated the arms race among European powers.
  • Explore how the imperialist rivalries and runaway nationalism that gripped Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century culminated in the outbreak of World War I.
  • Compare the political goals of nations that entered World War I with the war’s outcome.


  • Totals 35-minute multimedia presentation
  • 400 images

Suitable for: Grades 5 to adult / ages 10 plus


I have been studying World War I with my 13-year-old son over the past few weeks. The topic had caught his attention (yay!!) so I suggested he had a look on the Internet to help him research an essay he had to write on the subject. He found it quite difficult to find appropriate sites – too often the description on google looked promising, but when you click the link it turns out to be just a bunch of more links, half of which don’t work, or are trying to get you to buy something. He checked out Zane Education website and he found this title helped him to understand more about the causes of World War I.

Unfortunately, my son is a reluctant reader, so this presentation with text as well as audio is very helpful for him, as it subtly helps him improve his reading age without him realizing it!! An unexpected bonus was that reading and listening at the same time helped improved his recall of the facts. We also used the accompanying multiple-choice quizzes to help him consolidate his learning. I particularly like the way the quiz gives you an explanation of the students results, rather than just marking the answers right or wrong.

To sum up, we found this title very useful. It might not be particularly flashy, but is very effective. I really like the combination of subtitles and video, as it facilitates the retention of information, and also subtly increases the students reading age! The quizzes are a very handy revision aid when preparing for exams.

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