World War I

Section 1ZO, Fall 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/16
Credits: 3

Course Description

World War One. One hundred years ago, the United States joined World War I on the side of Britain, France, and Russia. President Woodrow Wilson (who briefly attended the law school) felt strongly that Germany’s adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare was a barbaric violation of international law that required the United States to abandon its carefully crafted neutrality. The contours of that neutrality, and its abandonment in light of German violations of the law of the sea, were hardly the only times during World War One when the great powers treated international law as highly relevant -- despite the fact that many might assume a vanishingly small relevance for international law amidst a bloody global war among great powers. Many blame the start of the war on an interlocking system of treaties of alliance. British entry into the war, which was not required by any treaty of alliance, nonetheless appeared to depend importantly on British obligations under a treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium, the earliest target of German aggression. The Versailles Treaty, which ended World War One, exercised such a hold over European powers that almost every account of the causes of World War Two begins with a description of that international legal document. This course will examine the wealth of international law that was relevant to a conflict that a prominent historian called “the moment of birth for our contemporary world.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None
Final Exam Notes:


Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Written Work Product: Either (a) a substantial research paper or (b) a short paper and an analytically rigorous project reflecting substantial research, such as a group presentation to the class or the creation of a website. Students will choose their topics from among a broad array of options provided by the instructor. The submission deadline is on or before the last day of the exam period at noon (submitted via EXPO). NOTE: Students seeking to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement must timely submit a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office - retroactive exceptions will not be granted.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: