Causes of wwi m. A. N. I. A. C. S started wwi

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WWI Study Guide

Causes of WWI

M.A.N.I.A.C.S started WWI

M. Militarism – glorification of war and the military

  • Competition for military power and strength

    • Arms race – competition to build up armed forces and weapons

    • Standing armies – soldiers trained and ready to fight

    • Conscription – mandatory participation of civilians in the military

    • Increase in military spending

    • Increasing influence of military in the government

  • Example: Germany expanded its navy, Britain soon followed with a bigger and better navy

A. Alliances – Partnership agreement to go to war in the event one country in the partnership is attacked. Aim was to discourage other countries from attacking members of the alliance

  • Triple Alliance

    • Germany

    • Austria-Hungary

    • Italy

  • Triple Entente

    • Russia

    • France

    • Great Britain

N. Nationalism –

  • Extreme love and devotion for one’s country

    • determination of European nations to show power and strength

  • Freedom from foreign rule

    • France wants Germany to return Alsace and Lorraine lost in Franco-Prussian war

  • People of the same nationality wanted to form their own nation-state

    • Pan-Slavism – Slavs had a long-term goal to develop their culture and unite into an empire

      • Serbian nationals wanting to unite Bosnia with Serbia

      • Russia – protector of the Slavs

I. Imperialism – One country’s domination of the economic, political and social life of another country

  • Competition for colonies – countries had some and wanted more, others had none and wanted some

A. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Spark – immediate cause that creates a chain of diplomatic failures setting WWI in motion

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria assassinated

    • Heir to the Austrian throne in Bosnia-Herzegovina (territory annexed by Austria, containing many Serbian-Slavs)

    • Black Hand – secret Serbian nationalists group with ties to the Serbian government

      • Gavrilo Princip - leader of the black hand assassinates Franz Ferdinand and his wife

C. Conflict in the Balkan Peninsula

  • Large # of different religions, nationalities

  • Russia and A-H wanted to colonize the Balkan Peninsula

  • Called the “Europe’s powder keg” – waiting for an event that would start a major war

S. Series of diplomatic failures resulting in war

  • Domino effect - chain or series of diplomatic failures resulting in war

    • U. Ultimatum from A-H to Serbia fails. A-H declares war on Serbia

    • R. Russia, Protector of the Slavs, and France mobilize against Germany,

    • G. Germany declares war on France using the Schlieffan plan, going through neutral Belgium

    • E. England, declares war on Germany for attacking neutral Belgium

The War

Central Powers

  • Austria-Hungary

  • Germany

  • Ottoman Empire (Turks)

  • Bulgaria

Allied Powers

  • Great Britain

  • Russia

  • France

  • Belgium

  • Later – Japan, Montenegro

  • Italy – initially remained neutral (felt A.H. and Germany had acted aggressively, rather than defensively), but later entered on the side of the allies

  • US joins (April 2, 1917)

Key Leaders during WWI

William II - Germany

  • Emperor of Germany in World War I.

  • 1890, he broke off the old ties with Russia, causing Germany to have to fight a two-front war. This blunder led Germany to defeat.

Czar Nicholas II – Russia

  • last czar of Russia, Absolute Monarch

George Clemenceau – France

  • Prime Minister of France during WWI

  • Nicknamed ‘Tiger’ for his ruthless and bold leadership

Woodrow Wilson – US

  • the 28th President of the United States

  • At the outbreak of the WWI, he tried to maintain American neutrality as long as possible

David Lloyd George – Great Britain

  • Prime minister of England

Schlieffen Plan – war plan for Germany, created by Alfred von Schlieffen

  • Germany had to fight a war on two fronts (east with France/Great Britain and west with Russia)

  • Plan to reach Paris and defeat French in 6 weeks before Russia can mobilize, then attack Russia

  • Problems encountered by Helmuth von Moltke – German commander

      • Heavily fortified areas in Belgium

      • Strong resistance from France

      • Russia mobilized quicker

      • Britain attacked from the north

Battle of the Marne

  • French and German troops collide in Marne (NE France) just outside of Paris

  • French under Commander Joseph Jacques Joffre push German’s back 50 miles

  • Results

    • German’s forced to retreat signifying end to Schlieffen plan

    • Establishes the western front

Western Front:

1. Stalemate – a state of deadlock where neither side gains an advantage

2. Trench warfare - a type of armed combat in which the two opposing sides fight from trenches that face each other to protect soldiers from the onslaught of machine gun fire and other weaponry

  • A series of trenches stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland

  • No man’s land – the desolate area that separated the two sides of trenches

  • Barbed wire and land mines protected the area in front of each trench

  • Attacks – soldiers charged “over the top” of their own trenches, through no man’s land to enemy trenches, facing heavily artillery, machine guns, barbed wire, and land-mines

  • Soldiers lived in the trenches for several weeks

    • Disease, cold, mud, rats, rain

3. War of Attrition – a war in which each side tries to wear the other side down by constant attacks.
Battle of Tannenberg

  • 1st Battle on the Eastern Front

  • Russia attacks Germany quickly and force Germany to divert troops away from France to fight on the Eastern front (End to Schlieffen Plan)

  • Russians defeated at Tannenberg – 30K killed, 92K imprisoned

  • Signified the weakness of the Russian Army

  • Russian advantage: 15:1 ratio of Russian to German Soldiers (1 in 10 soldiers return from war)

  • Russian weakness: least industrialized - lack of supplies, weapons, food

Eastern Front

  • Fought in Russia

  • More mobile than Western Front (ground too hard to dig trenches)

  • Front much longer, covered more territory

  • Battle lines moved often

New Weapons

  • Machine guns – allowed one man to kill hundreds of men in seconds

  • Poisonous gas – German army was first ever to used

    • Chlorine gas – caused blindness, choking, vomiting, torn lungs, and death

    • Mustard gas – most deadly, caused skin blisters, sore eyes, vomiting, internal and external bleeding, a long slow death

  • Tanks – allowed for movement across rugged terrain, eventually designed to cross trenches

  • Airplanes – first used for reconnaissance work (spying), later in war to deliver bombs and fight enemy aircraft in they air

  • Submarines – German u-boats destroyed warships, supply ships, and commercial and passenger ships

Battle of Verdun

  • German surprise attack on French (under command of Henri-Phillippe Petain) at Verdun

  • No clear winner

  • One of the bloodiest battles of the War

  • Both sides suffer casualties of more than 500K

Battle of the Somme

  • British and French surprise attack against Germany

  • No clear winner

  • Both sides suffer casualties of more than 500K

Gallipoli Campaign

  • Goal: To open a supply route to Russia

  • British navy (under command of Winston Churchill) attacks Dardanelles strait controlled by Turkey to get control of only way to get supplies to Russia

  • Lack of planning and reinforcements causes Allies to withdraw

War on the Seas

  • Great Britain blockade all ports under German control to stop supplies from reaching Germany

  • Germany could only get goods through neutral countries

  • Britain stopped ships carrying contraband (prohibited goods such as weapons and ammo)

  • German’s use u-boats to blockade Great Britain and stop supplies from reaching allies

U.S. Entry into the War

Reasons did not enter in 1914

  • U.S. late entry – believed war was a European conflict and had nothing to do with the US

  • Economic Reasons – keep trade open with both sides

  • Reasons U.S. Enters – April 2, 1917

    1. Lusitania – British passenger ship torpedoed by German u-boats; 1,200 die including 128 Americans

    2. Zimmerman note – message from Arthur Zimmerman (German Foreign Minister) to his ambassador in Mexico. Info. Intended for Mexican President:

      • Germany to reinstate unrestricted submarine warfare

      • Germany wanted alliance with Mexico

        • Germany would help Mexico regain New Mexico, Texas and Arizona from the US, if Mexico would start a war with US to keep them “occupied” and out of the war in Europe

        • Mexico promised money

      • Suggested Mexico get Japan involved in 2 front war against US

    3. Un-restricted submarine warfare – German U-boats continue to sink American merchant ships

US prepares for WAR

Total war – all of country’s resources going toward war effort – US prepared for War

    • Government influences production of goods and services toward needs of the war

    • Unemployment drops – workers need to produce war goods

    • Food Rationing – meatless Monday, wheat-less Wednesday leaves more food for troops

    • Price controls on food and wages

    • Propaganda – intended to persuade people to support the war, make sacrifices, keep moral high

    • Women – join the workforce and special branches of the military; aided in getting women the right to vote in 1920

First US troops arrive in Europe in April 1918 under General John Pershing

  • Fought primarily in France

Propaganda – ideas or rumors used to harm an opposing cause

Common objectives of Wartime Propaganda

  1. Recruitment of Soldiers

  2. Financing the war effort

  3. Unify the country behind the war

  4. Conserve resources needed for war (steel, oil, food)

  5. Encourage participation in organizations that support the war

Common Propaganda Tools

  1. Demonization – portraying the enemy as evil, murderous, aggressive

  2. Emotional Appeal – play on people’s fear about war

  3. Name Calling – using labels to encourage hatred of the enemy (Huns, Commie’s)

  4. Patriotic Appeals – using patriotic symbols to appeal to national pride (Statue of Liberty, flags)

  5. Half-truth’s and lies – deception and twisting the truth

  6. Catchy Slogans - memorable phrases to create support (Remember the Maine)

  7. Evocative Visual Symbols – visual images that appeal to peoples emotions (i.e. Women, children, etc)

  8. Humor – using the enemy as the butt of jokes

Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution:

Poor leadership caused the Bolshevik R.E.V.O.L.T. in 1917

R. Rasputin’s influence over the Czar

E. Every landless peasant demanded land

V. Violence broke out over bread shortages and military


O. Overthrow of provisional government was led by the


L. Lenin promises “Peace, Land, Bread”

T. Tzar’s Incompetence

Fall of the Tzar

  • Rasputin – Mystic leader of the Romanov’s increasing influence

  • Food and Fuel Shortages

  • Mounting defeats in WWI

  • Strikes and riots broke out across the country

  • March Revolution – spontaneous uprising of working people and soldiers

  • March 15, 1917 Czar Nicholas Abdicates (steps down)

Provisional Government

  1. Temporary Central Government

  2. Mostly made up of Middle Class Duma reps.

  3. Alexander Kerensky – Prime Minister

  4. Big Mistake: Didn’t withdraw from the war

  5. Challenged by Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies (Mensheviks & small number of Bolsheviks)


  1. Leader of the Bolsheviks

  2. Bolsheviks beliefs: small number of professional revolutionaries would lead a VIOLENT revolution against Aristocrats (Noblemen & Lords), and Middle Class

  3. Promised: Peace, Land, and Bread

Bolshevik Revolution – Nov. 1917

Leader – Vladimir Lenin

Slogan – “Peace (end war), Land (give more land to the peasants), Bread (food)”

Coup d’état – sudden overthrow of the government by people from with the country

Socialist stateNo private property, economic equality for all citizens (distribution of land to peasants, worker control of factories)

*Based on the ideas of Karl Marx and Communism

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk –

**Lenin wanted to concentrate on stabilizing their government and economy

  • Peace treaty between Germany and Russia, ending Russian participation in the WWI

  • Russians lose much of western territory and 1/3 of population

  • Germans get land from Russia

  • Allows Germany to concentrate on western front

Civil War

Red Army (communists) vs. White Army (liberal democrats, moderate socialists, and royalists)

Leon Trotsky – communist leader of the Red Army

White Army defeated

Lenin establishes communist control throughout Russia

End of war

  • 2nd Battle of the Marne (July 1918)

    • Ferdinand Foch puts 200K new U.S. soldiers intermixed with experienced soldiers

    • Pushes German army out of France to German border

    • German Generals tell Kaiser Wilhelm II war can’t be won

  • Austria-Hungary quits (Oct 1918)

  • German soldiers revolt (Nov 1918) “ No more fighting” – Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates

  • Nov. 11 – Armistice day – Germans agree to end fighting

Effects of WWI

  • 9 Million soldiers dead

  • 21 Million soldiers wounded

  • 13 Million civilians were dead of disease or starvation

  • Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks – massacre of 500K-1M Armenians for their support in helping the Allies

  • Absolute Monarchies in Europe destroyed

  • Increased political and social instability

WWI different from other wars:

  • Number of casualties

  • Use of new technologies

  • Scope of war – number of countries involved

    • Colonies participated in hopes of gaining their independence

      • Asian and African colonies expected citizenship or independence

      • Arabs wanting freedom from Ottoman Turks helped the British

  • Amount of destruction

Woodrow Wilson’s (US President) 14 points – peace plan

  • Freedom of the seas and trade

  • Arms limitations

  • End to secret alliances

  • Self-rule for all nations

  • No punishments to Germany

  • League of Nations – an organization of world nations to settle future problems peacefully

Paris Peace Conference – delegates from 27 nations signed the Treaty of Versailles

  • “Big Four” - George Clemenceau (France), David Lloyd George (Britain), Vittorio Orlando (Italy), Woodrow Wilson, (US)

  • Central Powers not invited

  • Each nation had differing goals, Wilson had to compromise on his 14 Points

  • Five different Treaties signed with each of the Central Powers ( including a separate one with newly created Hungary)

  • Most Important – Treaty of Versailles with Germany

Treaty of Versailles – the treaty was a R.A.W. deal for Germany

R. Reparations were forced on Germany

  • German war reparations – $33 B

A. Allies Punish Germany - took German land/limit German military

  • German army reduced,

  • German weapons - can’t manufacture or buy weapons, no airforce

  • German to return Alsace-Lorraine to France

  • France gets control of Saar Basin (rich in coal deposits)

  • Occupation of the Rhineland

  • Germany stripped of Colonies

W. War Guilt was forced on Germany

  • Germany must sign “war blame” clause

New nations established

  • Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland

    • Yugoslavia created a united Slavic country on the Balkan Peninsula

Other nations not granted independence

  • Ottoman Empire partitioned by France and Great Britain

    • mandates were created over territories in the Middle East (Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria)

    • Arabs did not receive independence that G.B. had promised

  • France and Great Britain did not give independence to colonies

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