Visualising the First World War
To many people history is a bit… well, dull. Having taken the time to speak to hundreds of people up and down the country on the matter, there seems to be a general perception amongst the wider public that many history books are old fashioned and are not necessarily written for the ordinary man/woman in the street. Especially when it comes to the First World War.
Many people in this country still do not really know too much about the First World War, despite the forests of trees that have been sacrificed to tell the story of this particular part of our history. Why is this?
Well I have my theories, but the bottom line is that the majority of the population are becoming less and less inclined to read those 1,000 page historiacal epics written by ‘professor this’ and ‘professor that’. They do not alway want or need intimate detail of every single tiny aspect of the subject – they want a general overview that gives the main points, gets straight to the point in an easy to digest format that doesn’t take up hours and hours of their lives.
This is why I decided to try and ‘visualise’ the story of the First World War using infographics.
When I am not writing about history I spend my 9-to-5 working as a marketing director for a global software company. I spend most of my day trying to convince a relatively unengaged audience that they want to spend the thick end of a million quid on a highly complex piece of software. It is a difficult thing to do – the business executives I am talking with have very little time and make very quick decisions on whether they are interested or not in what you are trying to say to them. Over the years I have found infographics a very effective way to convey a complex message quickly and simply.
If it works with multi million pound software, surely it could work with history?
So a couple of years ago I started work on a project – The Great War 100 – to try and tell the story of the First World War using nothing but infographics. The graphics convey just enough information to give the reader some general knowledge and facts and cover many different topics of the war, my hope is that it could help bring the telling of history into the modern era, overcome short attention spans and open up the subject of the war to an audience that perhaps haven’t read too much history before – especially kids.
Since I started I have developed over 300 different infographics covering many different aspects of the war including the soldiers of each side, the major battles, weapons, the war in the air, the war at sea, casualties, remembrance and more.
You can see a selection of the graphics on my Pinterest Page.