War timeline

War timeline 

This section of a digital timeline indicates how widely the First World War spread across the globe and how significant the battles at Passchendaele were to New Zealanders and the identity of this country.

Section of the New Zealand at War timeline from the WW100 website.(external link)

Section of the New Zealand at War timeline from the WW100 website.


Timelines are helpful in enabling the reader to understand the order of related events and to think about how one thing may have led to another. This section of an interactive online timeline shows some major events of the First World War in different parts of the world between the beginning of 1917 and July 1918. It indicates the Battle of Rafah, which occurred in the Middle East; the mines laid in New Zealand waters; and the return to the Somme in France. 

The other points on the timeline indicate the major battles near Passchendaele, a village in Belgium, where more New Zealanders lost their lives in one day than on any other since 1840. Although the Gallipoli battles are often thought of first when we consider the impact of the First World War on New Zealand, the images and stories of Passchendaele are very much part of New Zealand’s history and memory. 

Key questions 

What can we observe? 

What do we already know? 

How might people view this timeline in different ways? 


Possible discussion questions: 

What can you learn from this timeline? What are the significant events on it? What do you think is the most important event on it? What do you think is the least important? What events are missing that you think should be on it? 

Why was 12 October 1917 described as New Zealand’s blackest day? Do you think it remains New Zealand’s blackest day, or has another day surpassed it? 

What do you know about other countries that were impacted by the First World War? 

What do you know about Passchendaele? Who was fighting there? Why were they fighting there? 

What was Belgium’s role in the First World War? 

Why do you think we hear more about the battles at Gallipoli than those at Passchendaele? 

What are some other days that we sometimes describe as “New Zealand’s blackest days”? 

What else have you seen timelines used for? How do timelines 

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