War Literature: Images and Videos


Some of the most invaluable technology resources available to teachers today come in the form of online image and video collections.  Teach students that these “texts” are simply one way in which we read war “stories.”

The Cagle Post
We’ve discussed in the past how invaluable a resource this website is.   From memorials to commentary there are a selection of cartons you may consider using.

The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is a fantastic resource and expansive.  Their Matthew Brady Civil War Photography is a good bet if you’re teaching The Red Badge of Courage.  Have students use our image analysis assignment.  The Gettysburg & Antietam Collections are especially moving.  Below are the links to those pages.  Each page holds at least twenty images.  Some of the most moving are titled:  Gettysburg-Dead Confederate Soldier in Devil’s Den and Antietam-Confederate Dead by a Fence near Hagerstown.  Click on the images when you arrive at the page to make them larger.

TED Talks
TED Talks are a wonderful supplement for any unit of study.   Below are some useful TED Talks about war, technology, and the individual as well as some areas of focus.  Have students treat each video as if it were a text.  Have them SOAPSTone the videos as well as respond to the questions.

PW Singer on Military Robots and the Future of War
Singer discusses the changing role of technology/robotics within the realm of war.  This pairs perfectly with All Quiet on the Western Front in respect to the technological advancements of WWI.  Have students consider the questions below as they view the video.


Deborah Scranton The War Tapes
Scranton, a war documentarian, put hand held video cameras in the hands of soldiers in Iraq.  This is a perfect supplement for The Things They Carried.  You will want to pay attention to language and content.  Some elements are graphic.  Check the transcript (available in the right hand column on the webpage) to determine how much you will show.

  1. Scranton argues that, “a lot of us are very uncomfortable with having conversations about war because we’re worried that we disagree. “  What is she implying about the effect of war on the American public?
  2. Why would Scranton use handheld footage from active military?
  3. Identify two of Scranton’s implicit arguments about war.

Emanuel Jal; The Music of a War Child
If you teach Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, you can’t find a better TED Talk to use.  Trained as a child soldier, Jal now uses music as a means towards peace for himself and the world.  Have students consider the questions below as they view the video.

  1. Why is music both an apt and odd choice?
  2. Emmanuel Jal argues that he performs music because of the “voices” of the dead. What does he implicit argue about his music and performance?
  3. What is necessary to overcome the effects of being a “War Child?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *