'British jigsaw map of Europe, showing the belligerents at the outbreak of war in August 1914', courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM, EPH 2600

British Council report "confirms low levels of knowledge about the international aspects of the First World War"

Posted on centenarynews.com on 13 February 2014
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The British Council has commissioned a report, entitled, Remember the World as well as the War, which states that the UK public has a "limited" knowledge of the First World War's global dimension and its legacy.

Whilst the report provides a particular focus on the British public's understanding of the First World War, the British Council commissioned YouGov to conduct research in Egypt, France, Germany, India, Russia and Turkey, as well as the United Kingdom.

As such, the report provides key insights into perceptions and knowledge about the conflict in both Britain and abroad.


The report concluded that the UK public's knowledge about the global aspects of the First World War and its global legacy is "limited". The majority of Britons understanding and knowledge of the conflict is based on the Western Front - which is more engrained in popular culture.

It also highlighted that people across the nations surveyed believe that their countries are still affected by the consequences of the First World War and the subsequent peace settlement, and that the conflict continues "to colour international perceptions of the UK".

However, people in the UK may be unaware of the historical events - including those of the First World War - which affect others' perceptions of them today, whether it be in political and business relationships or during cultural interactions.

The report also concluded that the Centenary is "an occasion to share a new, more sophisticated understanding of the conflict in public commemorations and educational programmes".

The British Council also pointed out that whilst its research points to the British public's "limited" knowledge of the conflict, half of UK respondents surveyed thought that creating a "lasting legacy" should be a central focus of the Centenary commemorations.

Helping Britons to appreciate the global reach of the conflict and its legacy will allow a more "sophisticated understanding" of the war and how others perceive them and the UK as a whole. This, the report concludes, will permit Britons to "better understand the world they live in today".

To read the Centenary News summary of the key findings of the report, click here.

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News