Selected Websites with Primary Sources on the First World War

Websites with Primary Sources


For an extensive Webography on World War I with several websites that offer primary document collections, go here.


Institution: Free University of Berlin and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich

The International Encyclopedia of the First World War, based at the Free University of Berlin and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is a full-scale English–language reference for the war. International and collaborative, the site strives to offer multiple perspectives by combining the efforts of over 1,000 authors, editors, and partner institutions from over 50 countries. Seeking to offer an all-encompassing vision of the war, the site provides materials not only on the major belligerent powers of Europe, but also actions—and even neutral countries—all over the globe. Each article is extensively linked to other articles, providing users with the power to navigate for themselves through non-narrative and non-linear paths.



Institution: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries

Established at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project aims to document women's service in the military and related services—including the Red Cross and other civilian organizations—beginning with World War I. The digital collections include a wide range of primary source material, including photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, and oral histories, as well as physical artifacts from all of the period's wars—including World War I. Continuing to undertake acquisition and educational outreach, the project is working to study ongoing changes in the American military as gender integration becomes increasingly common in the armed forces. Site materials are searchable and browsable by war, branch, type of source, and by date.



Institution: European Union, Brussels, Belgium

Hosted by Oxford University but uniting libraries, archives, and organizations from across Europe with aid from the EU, Europeana 1914–1918 serves as a clearing house for resources on the Great War. It is designed to provide a multisided perspective and facilitate the collection and preservation of additional materials (nearly 200,000 to date). Users can browse according to source type (diaries, photographs) as well as subjects (women, trench life). A search function allows users to find keywords in the collections of the site, but also its partner sites, which include the Digital Public Library of America, DigitalNZ, Trove (Australia), and Canadiana. The site is also linked to the European Film, Gateway 1914.



Institution: German Historical Institute, Washington D.C.

Initiated by the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., German History in Documents and Images provides primary sources on German history dating back to the early modern period. The collection is divided into thematic sections, each curated by scholars, framed by introductory essays, and accompanied by primary sources (including English–language sources), as well as maps and images. Subjects include government and administration, military, economics, gender and family, and more. Materials are text-searchable and fully translated. One section focuses on World War I in Germany.



Institution: Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford CA

Documenting the wartime viewpoints and diverse political sentiments of the twentieth century, the Poster Collection has more than one hundred thousand posters from around the world and continues to grow. Some 33 thousand are available online. Posters from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia/Soviet Union, and France predominate, although items from more than eighty countries are included. Additional posters can be found in various individual archival collections. Posters are searchable by keyword, artist, agency, transcription, description, as well as by country of origin.



Institution: Christopher Newport University, Trible Library, Newport News, VA

This website by the library of Christopher Newport University provides a plethora of websites, primary and secondary sources on World War I organized by the main countries involved in the conflict and different types of primary source material, including movies, newspapers, propaganda, arts & culture, as well as autobiographical accounts.



Institution: Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Created by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, this collection gives users access to nearly 2,000 posters from the World War I era. The posters relate primarily but not exclusively to the war, and were collected from the United States in the main, but also from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Russia. Continuing to grow, the collection includes both text and graphic designs from a range of famous and anonymous creators. It is both searchable and browsable by creator, subject, and format, and includes an introductory essay, bibliography, and other supporting materials.