World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism

Learn how the war moved us away from traditional views of heroism and created new kinds of heroes and heroines.

About The Course

Did World War 1 make heroism meaningless or was it the conflict that gave it the most meaning? We’ve designed this course in partnership with the BBC to help you explore, discuss and challenge the ways in which World War 1 heroism has been remembered. Our experts will take you through the changing British, French and German views of heroism and discuss important similarities and differences.

Through discussion and analysis of art, literature, film and television, guided by our experts, you will explore the portrayals of heroism before, during and after the war. Drawing on rarely seen archive, you will be curating a mini exhibition, exploring a war memorial and writing a review of a representation of war.

Together we will examine the changing faces of heroism, from distant figureheads and brave warriors to the ordinary “Tommy” and front-line nurses. The emergence of alternative hero figures, including anti-war campaigners and vulnerable, shell shocked soldiers, is also covered. We hope you will join the University of Leeds and the BBC in a fascinating reflection on the place of heroism, in the centenary commemorations of World War 1.

This course will give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

This course is part of a series designed in partnership with the BBC to commemorate the war.

  • World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order? (University of Glasgow)

  • World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age (University of Birmingham)

  • World War 1: Trauma and Memory (The Open University)

Recommended Background

No previous knowledge or experience is required, just an interest in the war and how it has shaped culture and society in Britain, France and Germany over the last hundred years. You could be at school or college, working or retired. The course is designed to be flexible so you can study at a time and place convenient to you.