What is Total War?

School children examining a First World War recruiting poster

Investigate the concept of Total War by tracing the steps taken to prepare for industrialised conflict in the First and Second World Wars.

How did the two World Wars change our understanding of warfare?  

Learners will explore the changing relationship between the state and individuals from Britain and its Empire, from recruitment and training to communication and control, mass production, and public support for the war. Using our extensive handling collection of artefacts, learners can understand the impact of Total War on British society.  

This unique workshop provides learners with the opportunity to analyse sources with healthy scepticism and a critical eye, and to use primary evidence to construct and present a convincing historical argument to peers.

This workshop can be adapted to focus on both World Wars, or either the First or Second World War.

This session is 60 minutes long.

The session includes:

  • Handling objects (including weaponry)
  • Archival materials 
  • Historic images
  • Group presentation
  • Group working and curation task
  • Peer-to-peer learning 
  • Gallery visit and related trails (optional)

Curriculum areas:

  • History

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."