|THE CENTURY: AMERICA’S TIME
1. Why is this episode called Shell Shock? What does the term mean? When and how did it come into
- Shell Shock was a term used during the First World War to describe the physical and psychological
trauma suffered by men serving on the war's key battlefronts - France, Flanders, along the Isonzo,
and in Gallipoli. It came into use to reflect an assumed link between the symptoms and the effects of
explosions from artillery shells.
2. A German U-boat sank the Lusitania off the Irish Coast. Despite the knowledge of a war waging in the
Atlantic, passengers chose to sail in these waters. Why did the passengers of the Lusitania have a false
sense of security?
- The Lusitania was one of the fastest and most luxurious ships in the world. It was also a passenger
3. What were two causes of World War I?
A. While visiting in Sarajevo - the capital of Bosnia, Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife
(Sophie) both from Austria-Hungary were assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip out
of revenge because he believed that Austria-Hungary had no right to rule Bosnia (which had
recently been taken over and become a new province of Austria-Hungary).
B. Other causes may include – M-A-I-N:
* Militarism – “Arms Race” - The more one nation built up its army and navy, the more other
nations felt they had to do the same.
* Alliances – Each country would be protected by others in case of war, making it foolish for one
country to wage war on another because it could draw all the other nations allied
with it into a fight. This is just what happened when a conflict between Austria-
Hungary and Serbia led to World War I. When Austria-Hungary declared war on
Serbia, Russia began mobilizing its troops for war to aid Serbia, its ally. Germany
(Austria-Hungary’s ally) then declared war on Russia after they refused to give in to
Germany’s demands to stop readying its troops. This domino effect continued as
more and more nations became involved in the war to support their allies.
* Imperialism – European nations competed to build up national wealth and influence by owning
colonies, which caused conflicts/wars in many places.
* Nationalism - The belief that one’s own nation or culture is superior to all others, nationalism led
European nations to compete to build the largest army and navy. It also gave
groups of subject peoples the idea of forming independent nations of their own.
4. Why was World War I different from all previous wars? How was this war truly a product of the new
- It was to be the “war to end all wars” and involved significantly many more countries than ever
before (at least 60 countries represented the war). Also, new weapons, such as tanks, machine guns,
poison gas, etc., were being invented and used in war for the first time.
5. How did propaganda shape American views of World War I? How has propaganda shaped American
views and more during other twentieth century events?
- Movies were the perfect proving ground for the new art form called propaganda. Americans saw and
soon sympathized with the British view of the Germans. Also, as movie-making techniques
improved, movies became an American obsession. And it was in the movie houses that Americans
were exposed to the war in Europe, which still seemed glamorous. For example, Americans would
see and devour the pictures of the war – “Soldiers wearing beautiful uniforms, the dashing mounted
cavalry with their flashy sabers in the sun driving in the battle,” etc.,. These glamorous views made
Americans want to join the war and become a part of the action!