World War I was an uneccessary war, that destroyed Europe's unity and leadership of the world. The carnage was on a scale not seen since the Thirty Years War of the 17th century. But once Germany invaded Belgium Britain had no option but to fight to defend democracy, so the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Flanders did not die in vain. And the world we see in 2014 is very much the creation of the Great War, from today's conflict in Syria to the Balkan wars of the 1990s, as well as of course being the cause of World War II in 1939.
So it is not just battles about which we need to know - though that is fascinating and highly educative - but why it all happened and with what results for our own time.
Artist/speaker: Christopher Catherwood
Christopher Catherwood is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the author of many books on Winston Churchill, including on Churchill's creation of Iraq in 1921, for which he was given a Ph.D by the University of East Anglia. He lives in Little Abington with his wife Paulette, and is an Senior Combination Room member of both St Edmund's and Churchill Colleges and a Supervisor in British History since 1867 for the History Faculty. He is the author of THE BATTLEFIELDS OF WORLD WAR I(2014) for Allison and Busby and his book on World War II will soon be published by oneworld.