I. The rise of nationalism (deep devotion to one’s country)- nationalism was a unifying force within each European country however, it caused intense competition among the nations, each seeking to overpower the others.
A. Fierce rivalry developed between Europe’s Great Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and France.
1. Competition for material’s and markets
2. Territorial disputes
a. France lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in the Franco-Prussian War (1870)
b. Austria-Hungary and Russia both tried to dominate the Balkans
c. In the Balkans – Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians and other ethnic groups all wanted their independence.
II. Imperialism helped set the stage for war.
A. Europeans competed for colonies in Africa and Asia.
1. created rivalry and distrust among nations
III. Militarism – rise of a dangerous European arms race. The policy of glorifying military power and keeping an army prepared for war was known as militarism.
A. Europeans believed greatness as a nation depended on a powerful military.
1. Military experts stressed the importance of being able to mobilize quickly for war.
2. Generals developed highly detailed plans for such a mobilization.
IV. Alliances – growing rivalries and mistrust among nations led to the creation of several military alliances.
A. Germany formed the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Russia.
1. Wanted to isolate France, whom Germany saw as a threat to peace.
a. Prussian chancellor (leader) Otto von Bismark believed France wanted revenge for its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war.
B. When Kaiser Wilhelm II became the ruler of Germany, he forced Bismark to resign.
1. Kaiser Wilhelm let the German treaty with Russia end.
2. Russia formed a military alliance with France instead.
3. Kaiser Wilhelm started a huge ship building program to strengthen the Germany navy.
C. Alarmed by Wilhelm’s actions, Great Britain formed an alliance with France, and later with Russia, called the Triple Entente.
1. Two rival camps now existed in Europe:
a. Triple Alliance – Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.
b. Triple Entente – Great Britain, France, and Russia.
Causes for World War I: Short term/Immediate:
I. Trouble in the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe – referred to as the “powder keg” of Europe.
A. Many very nationalistic ethnic groups, all wanted their own nation
1. Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia all had gained freedom from their master, the Ottoman Empire.
2. Serbia wanted to absorb all the Slavic peoples in the Peninsula, which Russia supported.
a. Austria-Hungary had a large Slavic population and feared Serbian efforts would create rebellion among its Slavic people.
3. So Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina to control their large Slavic population.
a. Serbian leaders were angry and vowed to take Bosnia Herzegovina away from Austria.
b. In return, Austria vowed to crush Serbian efforts to undermine Austrian authority in the Balkans.
II. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.
A. June 1914 – Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and wife made state visit to Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia.
1. Rode through the city in an open car and were shot by Gavril Principe a Serbian, and member of terrorist group the Black Hand, committed to ridding Bosnia of Austrian rule.
2. Because assassin was Serbian, Austria decided to punish Serbia, issuing demands.
3. Serbia agreed to most demands but wanted to settle others through an international conference.
4. Austria rejected Serbia’s offer and declared war.
a. Russia, an ally of Serbia, ordered the mobilization of Russian troops toward the Austrian border.
Events of World War I:
Austria declared war on Serbia……….so, Russia, Serbia’s ally mobilized its troops toward Russian-Austrian border……..and also to the border of Germany, Austria’s ally…………so Germany then declared war on Russia.
Germany also declared war on France, Russia’s ally…… and then Great Britain, France’s ally, declared war on Germany.
The two sides of the war were:
Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, and later, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.
Allies: Great Britain, France, Russia and later Japan, and Italy. Towards the end of the States entered WWI on the side of the Allies.
Summer and Fall of 1914:
1. Germany had a war plan called the Schlieffen Plan – Attack and defeat France in the west and then go east to defeat Russia. Speed was essential for the plan’s success, so Germany needed a quick victory of over France.
2. Germany marched through neural Belgium and swept into France, reaching the outskirts of Paris.
3. Allies attacked Germans NE of Paris in the Marne valley and defeated them.
4. This Battle of the Marne most important of WWI because it ruined the Schlieffen Plan – no quick victory in France for the Germans.
5. To the east, Russia had invaded Germany. Now Germany had to fight war on two fronts: Russia and France.
1. Germany and the Allies had both dug miles of parallel trenches to protect themselves from enemy fire. This became known as trench warfare – armies traded huge losses of human life for pitifully small land gains.
a. Space between opposing armies known as “no man’s land”.
b. When officers ordered an attack, men went over the top of their trenches into the bombed-out no man’s land, being cut down by rounds of machine-gunfire that cut them down like mown grass.
c. Artillery fire killed men hiding in their trenches.
d. The Western Front of the war in France was 500 miles of trench systems littered with the detritus of weaponry and the dead bodies of both armies.
e. The trenches stretched across France from the North Sea to the Swiss border and neither army was able to make any significant gains. Hundreds of thousands of men died senselessly defending a few yards of territory around their trenches.
2. New tools of war: machine guns, poison gas, armored tanks, larger artillery killed freater numberbers of men but did not speed up the process of the war.
1. The slaughter on the Western Front reached its peak.
1. Germans launched an offensive against the French near Verdun, called the Battle of Verdun.
Each side lost over 300,000 men
1. The British army tried to relieve the pressure on the French army by attacking the Germans NW of Verdun in the Somme Valley.
By the time the Battle of the Somme ended in November, each side had lost another 500.00 casualties.
What did each side win? Germans advanced 4 miles. In the Somme valley, the British gained 5 miles.Over 1.5 million young men died to gain less than ten miles of territory. The Western Front of WWI was a stalemate. (Neither side could win).
Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, on the German and Russian border:
1. Russians and Serbs fought against the Germans and Austro-Hungarians.
2. Millions of soldiers were sent to the Eastern Front of WWI.
3. Russian forces attacked into Austria and Germany
1. Germans counterattacked near Tannenberg and defeated the Russians. 30.000 Russian solders were killed, the rest retreated.
1. Russian forces defeated the Austrians twice driving ddep into Autria.
1. Austrian army defeated the Russians and pushed them out of Austria-Hungary.
1. German submarine U-boat sank the British passenger ship Lusitania, killing 1, 198 passengers, including 128 U. S. citizens.
2. Germany claimed the Lusitania was carrying ammunition to the Allies, which was true.
3. Americans were outraged at the sinking and President Woodrow Wilson sent a letter of protest to Germany.
4. Germany, after two further attacks, agreed to stop attacking neutral and passenger ships.
2. For 3 years Russian forces managed to tie up hundreds of thousands of German troops in the east.Result: Germany could not concentrate its fighting forces in the west, in France.
3. The war spread to Africa, Southwest and Southwest Asia.
4. The Eastern Front had also become a stalemate.
1. Focus of the war shifted to the seas when Germany intensified submarine warfare in the Atlantic Ocean.
1. Germany announced that their submarines would sink without warning any ship in the ocean around Great Britain, a policy called unrestricted submarine warfare.
2 Germany feared this policy would bring the United States into the war, but decided a submarine blockade of Great Britain might starve the British into defeat before the Americans could mobilize.
3. U. S. President Wilson warned Germany to stop, but instead, Germany sank three American ships.
1. U. S. officials intercepted a telegram written by Germany’s foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman, stating that Germany would help Mexico “reconquer” land it lost to the United States, if Mexico would ally itself with Germany.
1. Civil unrest in Russia, related to shortages in fuel and food, forced Czar Nicolas to step down and a provisional Russian government took his place.
2. The new government pledged to continue fighting the war.
3. 5.5 million Russian soldiers had been wounded, killed or taken prisoner and the Russian army refused to continue fighting.
1. President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany and the United States entered WWI on the side of the Allies.
2. World War I became a total war – countries devoted all their resourced to the war effort, the entire force of government was dedicated to winning the conflict. The nations’ economies were controlled by the war effort.
a. Many countries had a shortage of goods and instituted rationing – people could only buy a small amount of items that were needed for the war effort.
b. Governments suppressed anti-war activity
c. Governments used pro-war propaganda – one-sided information designed tp persuade, in order to keep up morale and support the war.
3. Governments turned to women to replace men in factories, offices and shops
a. Women built tanks, and munitions, plowed fields, paved streets, ran hospitals.
b. Most women left the job market at the end of the war and returned to their homes
c. Yet, the role of women was changed forever
e. Some women went to war as nurses.
1. A Revolution shakes Russia: Communist leader Vladimir Lenin seized power and ended Russia’s involvement in the war, offering Germany a truce.
1. Germany and Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending the war between their countries.
2. Germany sent all its troops to the Western Front in France.
3. Germany launched one final massive attack on the Allies, crushing Allied troops.
c. Germany and its allies were not allowed any representation.
2. President Woodrow Wilson had already drawn up a peace plan in 1918, called The FourteenPoints, whose guiding principal was self-determination (allowing people to decide for themselves under what government they wished to live).
3. Britain and France did not agree with Wilson’s ideas for peace; they were concerned about national security and wanted to strip Germany of its war-making power.
4. A compromise was reached, called the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on June 28, 1919.
5. The treaty formed the League of Nations, one of Wilson’s ideas, an international association to keekp peace among nations.
6. The treaty also punished Germany by forcing it to surrender substantial territory and imposing severe restrictions on its military operations.
a. The harshest part was Article 231, known as the “ war guilt ”clause, which placed sole responsibility for the war on Germany’s shoulders.
b. As a result, Germany had to pay reparations ($$$$$) to the Allies for the damage the war had caused.
7. All of Germany’s territories in Africa and the Pacific were declared territories to be managed by the League of Nations until the colonies were judged ready for independence.
2. Tens of thousands of civilians died of starvation, disease, and slaughter – an entire generation was wiped out.
3. Devastating economic impact on Europe – cost of the war stood around $338 billion.
4. War destroyed acres of farmland, homes, villages, towns.
5. The enormous suffering left a scar on Western society – a sense of disillusionment, insecurity and despair settled over survivors and is reflected in the art and literature of the time.
6. The peace agreement ending World War I prompted anger and resentment by Germany, which was left with an enormous war debt it could not pay, and the humiliation of its defeat. This final legacy would help fan the flames of World War II.