|Ch 28 Review and Remediation
Although powerful forces were pushing Europe towards war, the great powers had formed alliances signing non-binding agreements, called ententes, to try to keep the peace. The Triple Alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Russia and France, and later Britain, formed the Triple Entente. During World War I, Germany and Austria fought together as the Central Powers. At that time, Russia, France, and Britain became known as the Allies. In the decades before 1914, European powers competed to protect their status. Overseas rivalries divided them, as they fought for new colonies in Africa and elsewhere. They began to build up their armies and navies. The rise of militarism helped to feed this arms race. At the same time, sensational journalism stirred the public against rival nations.
Nationalism also increased tensions. Germans were proud of their military and economic might. The French yearned for the return of Alsace and Lorraine. Russia supported a powerful form of nationalism called Pan-Slavism. This led Russia to support nationalists in Serbia. Austria-Hungary worried that nationalism might lead to rebellions within its empire, while Ottoman Turkey felt threatened by nearby new nations in the Balkans, such as Serbia and Greece. Serbia's dreams of a South Slav state could take land away from both Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Soon, unrest made the Balkans a “powder keg.”
Then, in 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne at Sarajevo, Bosnia. Some Austrian leaders saw this as an opportunity to crush Serbian nationalism. They sent Serbia an ultimatum, which Serbia refused to meet completely. Austria, with the full support of Germany, declared war on Serbia in July 1914. Soon, the network of alliances drew other great powers into the conflict. Russia, in support of Serbia, began to mobilize its army. Germany declared war on Russia. France claimed it would honor its treaty with Russia, so Germany declared war on France, too. When the Germans violated Belgian neutrality to reach France, Britain declared war on Germany. World War I had begun.
Review Questions 1. How did the network of European alliances cause World War I to develop?
2. What act caused Britain to declare war?
The Great War was the largest conflict in history up to that time. Millions of French, British, Russian, and German soldiers mobilized for battle. German forces fought their way toward France, but Belgian resistance foiled Germany’s plans for a quick victory. Both sides dug deep trenches along the battlefront to protect their armies from enemy fire. The fighting on this Western Front turned into a long, deadly stalemate, a deadlock that neither side could break. Technology made World War I different from earlier wars.
Modern weapons caused high casualties. In 1915, first Germany then the Allies began using poison gas. Advances in technology brought about the introduction of tanks, airplanes, and modern submarines. Germany used zeppelins to bomb the English coast. Both sides equipped airplanes with machine guns. Pilots known as “flying aces” confronted each other in the skies, but these “dog fights” had little effect on the ground war. German submarines, called U-boats, did tremendous damage to the Allied shipping. To defend against them, the Allies organized convoys, or groups of merchant ships protected by warships. On Europe’s Eastern Front, battle lines shifted back and forth, sometimes over large areas. Casualties rose higher than on the Western Front.
Russia was ill-prepared and suffered a disastrous defeat when pushing into eastern Germany. In 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary and Germany. In 1917, the Austrians and Germans launched a major offensive against the Italians. Although most of the fighting took place in Europe, World War I was a global conflict. Japan used the war to seize German outposts in China and islands in the Pacific. The Ottoman empire joined the Central Powers. Its strategic location enabled it to cut off Allied supply lines to Russia through the Dardanelles, a vital strait..
The Ottoman Turks were hard hit in the Middle East, however. Arab nationalists revolted against Ottoman rule. The British sent T.E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, to aid the Arabs. European colonies in Africa and Asia were also drawn into the war.
Review Questions 1. Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front?
2. How did technology make World War I different from earlier wars?
WWI Total War
World War I was a total war, in which the participants channeled all their resources into the war effort. Both sides set up systems to recruit, arm, transport, and supply their armies. Nations imposed universal military conscription, or “the draft,” requiring all young men to be ready to fight. Women also played a critical role. As millions of men left to fight, women took over their jobs and kept national economies going. International law allowed wartime blockades to confiscate contraband, but British blockades kept ships from carrying other supplies, such as food, in and out of Germany.
In retaliation, German U-boats torpedoed the British passenger liner Lusitania. Both sides used propaganda to control public opinion, circulating tales of atrocities, some true and others completely made up. As time passed, war fatigue set in. Long casualty lists, food shortages, and the failure to win led to calls for peace. The morale of both troops and civilians plunged. In Russia, stories of incompetent generals and corruption eroded public confidence and led to revolution.
Until 1917, the United States had been neutral, but in that year it declared war on Germany. Many factors contributed to this decision, including Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare. Also, many Americans supported the Allies because of cultural ties with Britain and sympathy for its fellow democracy, France.
By 1918, about two million fresh American soldiers had joined the war-weary Allied troops on the Western Front. In that year, President Wilson also issued his Fourteen Points, his terms for resolving this and future wars. Among the most important was self-determination for peoples in Eastern Europe. A final showdown on the Western Front began in March 1918. With American troops, the Allies drove back German forces. In September, German generals told the kaiser that the war could not be won. The kaiser stepped down and the new German government sought an armistice with the Allies. At 11 A.M. on November 11, 1918, the Great War at last came to an end.
Review Questions 1. What caused the morale of troops and civilians to plunge?
2. What are two factors that caused the United States to enter the war?
Costs of the War
The human, material, and political costs of World War I were staggering. The huge loss of life was made even worse in 1918 by a deadly pandemic of influenza. From France to Russia, homes, farms, factories, and roads had been bombed into rubble. Reconstruction costs and war debts would burden an already battered world. The Allies blamed the war on their defeated foes and insisted that they make reparations. Governments had collapsed in Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman empire. Out of the chaos, political radicals dreamed of building a new social order.
The victorious Allies met at the Paris Peace Conference to discuss the fate of Europe, the former Ottoman empire, and various colonies around the world. The Central Powers and Russia were not allowed to participate. This would lead to problems regarding the issue of self-determination. The three main Allied leaders had con- flicting goals. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George focused on rebuilding Britain. French leader Georges Clemenceau wanted to punish Germany severely. American President Wilson insisted on the creation of an international League of Nations, based on the idea of collective security. In this system, a group of nations acts as one to preserve the peace of all.
In June 1919, the Allies ordered representatives of the new German Republic to sign the Treaty of Versailles. The German delegates were horrified. The treaty forced Germany to assume full blame for the war. The treaty also imposed huge reparations that would burden an already damaged German economy and limited the size of Germany’s military. The Allies drew up treaties with the other Central Powers. Like the Treaty of Versailles, these treaties left widespread dissatisfaction, especially among many colonies that had hoped for an end to imperial rule. Many nations felt betrayed by the peacemakers.
As a result of these treaties, new nations emerged where the German, Austrian, and Russian empires had once ruled. Outside Europe, the Allies added to their overseas empires. The treaties also created a system of mandates. The one ray of hope was the establishment of the League of Nations. The failure of the United States to support the League, however, weakened the League’s power.
Review Questions 1. What were some of the human, material, and political costs of the war?
2. Why were German representatives at Versailles horrified?
At the beginning of the 1900s, Russia had many political, economic, and social problems. Tsar Nicholas II resisted change. Marxists tried to ignite revolution among the proletariat. World War I quickly strained Russian resources. By March 1917, disasters on the battle- field and shortages at home brought the monarchy to collapse, and the tsar abdicated. While politicians set up a temporary government, revolutionary socialists set up soviets, or councils of workers and soldiers. These radical socialists were called Bolsheviks and were led by V. I. Lenin. Lenin believed revolution could bring change. Leon Trotsky, another Marxist leader, helped Lenin lead the fight. To the weary Russian people, Lenin promised “Peace, Land, and Bread.”
In November 1917, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, renamed Communists, overthrew the government and seized power. After the Bolshevik Revolution, events in Russia led to the nation’s withdrawal from World War I. After the withdrawal, civil war raged for three years between the Communist “Reds” and the “White” armies of tsarist imperial officers. The Russians now fought only among themselves. The Communists shot the former tsar and his family. They organized the Cheka, a brutal secret police force, to control their own people. Trotsky kept Red Army officers under the close watch of commissars—Communist Party officials. The Reds’ position in the center of Russia gave them a strategic advantage, and they defeated the White armies.
After the civil war, Lenin had to rebuild a shattered state and economy. The new nation was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union. The Communist constitution set up an elected legislature. All political power, resources, and means of production would now belong to workers and peasants. In reality, however, the Communist Party, not the people, had all the power. Lenin did, however, allow some capitalist ventures that helped the Soviet economy recover. After Lenin’s death, party leader Joseph Stalin took ruthless steps to win total control of the nation.
Review Questions 1. What brought about the tsar’s abdication and the end of the monarchy in Russia?
2. Why did Lenin want revolution?
Conflict in China
When the Qing dynasty collapsed in 1911, Sun Yixian became president of China’s new republic. He hoped to rebuild China, but he made little progress. The country fell into chaos when local warlords seized power and the economy fell apart. Millions of peasants suffered severe hardships. Sun Yixian stepped down as president in 1912. Amid the upheaval, foreign imperialism increased in China. During World War I, Japan presented Chinese leaders the Twenty-One Demands. These were intended to give Japan control over China, and the Chinese gave into some of the demands. After the war, the Allies gave Japan control over some former German possessions in China. This infuriated Chinese nationalists.
As protests spread, students led a cultural and intellectual rebellion known as the May Fourth Movement. Leaders of this movement rejected Confucian tradition and looked to Western knowledge and learning. Other Chinese people embraced Marxism. Also at this time, the Soviet Union trained Chinese students and military officers, hoping they would become the vanguard of a communist revolution in China. In 1921, Sun Yixian led the Guomindang, or Nationalist party, as it established a government in south China. To defeat the warlords he joined forces with the Chinese communists. After Sun’s death, Jiang Jieshi assumed leadership of the party. Jiang felt the Communists threatened his power. He ordered his troops to slaughter Communists and their supporters. Led by Mao Zedong, the Communist army escaped north in what became known as the Long March. During the March, Mao’s soldiers fought back using guerrilla tactics. Along the way, Mao’s soldiers treated the peasants kindly. They paid for the goods they needed and were careful not to destroy crops.
Many peasants had suffered because of the Guomindang, so they supported the Communists. While Jiang pursued the Communists across China, the Japanese invaded Manchuria, adding it to their growing empire. Then, in 1937, Japanese planes bombed Chinese cities and Japanese soldiers marched into Nanjing, killing hundreds of thousands of people. In response, Jiang and Mao formed an alliance to fight the invaders. The alliance held up until the end of the war with Japan.
Review Questions 1. How did Japan gain territory and control of areas of China during World War I?
2. Why did Jiang and Mao form an alliance?
The Japanese economy grew during World War I, based on the export of goods to the Allies and increased production. At this time, Japan also expanded its influence throughout East Asia and sought further rights in China. Additionally, Japan gained control of some former German possessions in China after the war. Hirohito became emperor of Japan in 1926, and during his reign, the country experienced both success and tragedy In the 1920s, the Japanese government moved toward greater democracy. All adult men gained the right to vote, regardless of social class. Despite greater democratic freedoms, however, the zaibatsu, a group of powerful business leaders, manipulated politicians.
By donating to political parties, the zaibatsu were able to push for policies that favored their interests. Peasants and factory workers did not share in the nation’s prosperity. Young Japanese rejected tradition and family authority. There was tension between the government and the military. The Great Depression fed the discontent of the military and the extreme nationalists, or ultranationalists. They resented Western limits on the expansion of Japan’s empire. As the economic crisis worsened, the ultranationalists set their sights on Manchuria in northern China. In 1931, a group of Japanese army officers set explosives to blow up railroad tracks in Manchuria. They blamed it on the Chinese and used it as an excuse to invade. Without consulting government leaders, the military conquered Manchuria. Politicians objected to the army’s actions, but the people sided with the military.
When the League of Nations condemned the invasion, Japan withdrew from the organization. Militarists and ultranationalists increased their power in the 1930s. Extremists killed some politicians and business leaders who opposed expansion. To please the ultranationalists, the government suppressed most democratic freedoms. Japan planned to take advantage of China’s civil war and conquer the country. In 1939, however, World War II broke out in Europe. The fighting quickly spread to Asia. Earlier, Japan had formed an alliance with Germany and Italy. In September 1940, Japan’s leaders signed the Tripartite Pact linking the three nations. Together, the three nations formed the Axis Powers.
Review Questions 1. Describe the economic success of Japan in the 1920s.
2. How did militarists and ultranationalists increase their power in the 1930s?