The Great War (YouTube channel)

The Great War is a history YouTube channel and web series which covered the events of World War I week-by-week from July 2014 to November 2018,[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][excessive citations] now focusing on the events that followed it in longer episodes. The Great War is operated and owned by Real Time History. The series debuted on July 28, 2014. It is currently hosted and written by Jesse Alexander, a Canadian historian. It has been previously hosted by American historian and actor Indy Neidell. The channel produced weekly content that follows the events that occurred one hundred years prior during the war.[11]

The Great War
The Great War YouTube Logo
The Great War YouTube Logo
YouTube information
Also known asRealTimeHistory
Presented by
Years active2014-present
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2015
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2019


After the centennial's conclusion, Indy Neidell, the first host and writer of the series, left the project and now presents the World War Two channel.[12] Jesse Alexander was picked to replace Neidell. It currently focuses on World War I's aftermath, abandoning the week-by-week format and focusing on longer, more in-depth documentaries about events that followed it, such as the German Revolution and the Russian Civil War.


The Great War channel produces a number of different types of content, the main feature being a weekly recap of the war that corresponds to the events of the same week 100 years prior. The events presented are also summarized quarterly in their own videos.

The channel also presents other segments such as:

  • "Out of the Trenches" - an informative segment in which the host answers questions asked by subscribers on a wide range of topics.
  • "Who Did What in World War I?" - a biographical segment that focuses on the actions of famous individuals during the First World War.
  • "Countries in World War I" - A segment that gives a summary of the situation of individual countries just before and during the war.
  • Technology and Warfare in World War I - Experts inspect and discuss weapons and tools from the war.
  • World War I Essential Knowledge - A segment which is designed to provide background information on the war, such as tactics and politics.
  • Visits to significant European sites of the war, including Verdun and Przemyśl fortress.

From 2019/1919, Out of the Trenches was renamed Beyond the Great War. Although it is only one episode per month, it is longer than the old 10 minutes Out of the Trenches.


Indiana Neidell and the producers of the channel tried a number of different show formats with only The Great War surviving. Mediakraft Networks, the production company of The Great War, originally planned to launch as well German, Polish and Turkish language versions of the show.[13] However, unlike the English channel, these ambiguous projects did not prove to have a chance to recoup their costs.[14] This quickly led to the termination of the Polish channel. On August 17, 2015, the German series ended its run after a total of 102 episodes. The English channel continued substantially due to support by crowdfunding.

The show got a big boost in viewership when the Battlefield 1 first-person shooter video game developed by EA DICE and published by Electronic Arts was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 21, 2016. Neidell, with research assistant Markus Linke, also contributed research and wrote in-game codex entries for Battlefield 1 and named the "medals" that serve as the game's achievement trophies.[15]

The channel has been in operation since May 2014. It continued to produce its regular content, involving the war's centennial, until December 2018. In early 2019, the channel started to produce longer in-depth episodes[16] under a new host, Jesse Alexander,[17] who replaced Neidell as he moved on to other projects such as World War Two. As of March 2019, the channel has posted more than 650 videos.[18]


The web series has been well received by digital media.[19][20]



  1. ^ "About TheGreatWar". YouTube.
  2. ^ Creative Freedom,Patreon Blog .
  3. ^ Kaye, Jeremy (January 25, 2017). "8 Entertaining History Shows on YouTube That You Should Subscribe To". Medium. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Motta, Alberto (November 6, 2016). "The Great War, un canale YouTube sulla Grande Guerra fatto davvero bene". Wired Italia. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Sharma, Nandini (July 23, 2015). "YouTube Channel Of The Week: The Great War". Gizmodo. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  6. ^ 2017
  7. ^ Lewis, Danny (September 27, 2016). "This Documentary Series Will Teach You About World War I in Real Time; A week-by-week approach to the Great War". Smithsonian. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Martin 2014
  9. ^ Miklosz 2016
  10. ^ Brown 2014
  11. ^ Winkie 2016
  12. ^ "Creative Freedom: Why the 'Great War' Creators Are Going Independent for World War II | Patreon Blog". Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  13. ^ Briel, Robert (December 5, 2014). "YouTube series follows Great War week-by-week". Broadband TV News. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Willner, Marcus (August 8, 2015). "YouTube-Produktion "Der Erste Weltkrieg" wird eingestellt". watson. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  15. ^ The Great War (YouTube Channel) (November 22, 2016). Our Contribution To Battlefield 1 (Video) (YouTube). Mediakraft Networks. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  16. ^ Wittig, Florian. "THE GREAT WAR IS NOT OVER". The Great War Channel. Mediakraft Networks. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  17. ^ Wittig, Florian. "WTF is Jesse? Introducing the new Great War Host". The Great War Channel. Mediakraft Networks. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  18. ^ The Great War (YouTube Channel) 2017
  19. ^ Langlois, Shawn. "10 YouTube channels for binge-watching". MarketWatch. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  20. ^ "5 emerging education channels on YouTube". The Daily Dot. 2015-05-09. Retrieved 28 May 2021.


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