On the Lighter Side

We’ve talked in very serious terms recently about the first World War. It is absolutely a serious and tragic piece of history for all the reasons we’ve gone over plus many more.

However,  there is something to be said for making fun of history. The great thing about good historical jokes is that you really have to know the history to get the punchlines fully. The more you know about the time or event or person in question the funnier it is and the more it feels like an inside joke. It also proves how deep your knowledge goes, because the jokes are only funny if you know the topic well.

I have memories of studying for history exams my sophomore year of college and the entire study group was in tears laughing because the Mamertines were compared to cattle rustlers of the post-gold rush American west…..

(Why aren’t you laughing? The Mamertines are freaking hilarious!)


Below is a link to one of my favorite historical jokes. I have no idea who came up with it originally but it is comedic gold. The writer also didn’t get lazy about their history research. Every segment (22 in all) are direct references to actual events in WWI.

Your first job is to read the whole thing through slowly. Then read Chapter 27 Sec 1 in your textbook, which starts on page 698. This will give you most of the necessary background knowledge.

Next, reread the first 16 sections. Remember that each section is a separate event or set of events.

Lastly write one to two sentences explaining each section of the joke and what events it is referencing from the beginning of WWI. Each section of the joke must have its own separate explanation (1-2 sentences).


In total you will be writing a page or more of explanation. Make sure each section is numbered and distinct. This assignment is worth 20 points and must be hand written so you can have a hard copy. It will be turned in to me upon my return next week.

If World War I Was a Bar Fight 




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