First World War (1914-1918) = The Great War = The War to End all Wars = Total War Long Term Causes: [animal]

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Paper 2:

Causes Practices and Effects of War

Case Study:

World War One

First World War (1914-1918) = The Great War =

The War to End all Wars = Total War
Long Term Causes: [ANIMAL]

Awful Governments

  • Few countries were democracies

  • Italy - corrupt

  • Germany – Wilhelm was mad

  • Russia – tsar was weak

  • Turkey – was falling apart


  • Patriotism

  • self-determination

  • Panslavism

  • Weltpolitik - German colonial expansion policy = arms and naval races as well as rivalry between Britain and Germany

  • Franco-Prussian war

    • Alsace-Lorraine was lost to Germany  angered the French who believed this was a part of France and wanted the territory back


  • British Empire covered a fifth of the world

  • Superiority

  • Fight for resources mainly in Asia and Africa, but also Latin America and Middle East

  • Wilhelm wanted ‘a place in the sun’


  • Germany’s Navy Law 1900 - committed Germany to building up a navy capable of competing with the Royal Navy of Britain.

  • Schlieffen Plan – was no secret that Germany had plans to attack France through Belgium (Russia mobilized faster than Germany anticipated, drawing German resources away from Western Front and creating a stalemate in France)

  • Plan XVII: French plan to regain Alsace-Lorraine  Entirely offensive

  • Britain’s War Plan: Planned to send the British Expeditionary Force to Belgium if Belgium Neutrality was violated

  • Austria-Hungary Plans B and R: Plan B was to keep the war in the Balkans and Plan R was to be prepared to fight Russia

  • Plan G: Russian plan for full-scale war against Germany

  • Standing, professionally trained armies

  • Military was not just an arms race, it was a valid means of foreign policy

  • New Weapons - Submarines, dreadnoughts, zeppelins, airplanes, tanks, machine guns, etc


  • European countries thought alliance system would be a deterrent to war

  • Triple Alliance

  • Triple Entente

  • Assassination and ‘blank cheque’ lead to ultimatum

Short Term Causes

List of Events: [Beasts Fabricate Decisions Because Dads Assume Bad Activities]

1. Boer War 1899-1902

Germany opposed Britain's attempt to defeat the Boers in South Africa.

2. First Moroccan crisis 1905

Kaiser Wilhelm promised to support the sultan of Morocco against France's attempts to take over the country.

3. 'Daily Telegraph' article 1908

In a newspaper interview, Kaiser Wilhelm said the English were mad and the Germans hated them. This caused great offence in Britain.

4. Bosnia 1908

Austria annexed Bosnia in the Balkans from Turkey. This annoyed Serbia, which had wanted to take over the area. Russia wanted to help Serbia, but had to back down.

5. Dreadnought crisis 1909

Scared by the growing German navy, the British people demanded that the government build eight of the new Dreadnought battleships.

6. Agadir 1911

There was a revolution in Morocco, so France sent an army to take over. Kaiser Wilhelm sent the gunship 'Panther', but Britain and France forced him to back down.

7. Balkan Wars 1912-1913

Serbia and other countries in the Balkans conquered most of Turkey's land in Europe. Serbia became a powerful country, and said Austria-Hungary was its next target.

8. Assassination of Franz Ferdinand 1914

The heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was shot by GavriloPrincip, a young Serb terrorist, in Sarajevo in Bosnia.

Events and consequences

  1. The Boer War, the 'Daily Telegraph' article and the Dreadnought crisis made the British public hate the Germans.

  2. The first Moroccan crisis and Agadir made France think that Germany wanted to destroy its empire.

  3. The Dreadnought crisis showed that the British thought Germany wanted to challenge the British navy.

  4. Bosnia, the Balkan Wars and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand made Austria-Hungary determined to destroy Serbia.

  5. Bosnia made Russia determined to support the Serbs.

  6. The Balkan Wars made Austria-Hungary frightened of Serbia.

  7. The Boer War made Britain think that Germany wanted to destroy its empire.

  8. Agadir made Germany determined to stand up to France and Britain.

Immediate Causes

Assassination at Sarajevo

image icon: austro-hungarian empire in 1914

1. Sarajevo was in Bosnia, the province that - to Serbia's anger - had been annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908.

2. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. He was inspecting the army in Sarajevo with his wife Sophie.

image icon: six conspirators

3. Seven young Bosnian Serbs planned to assassinate Franz Ferdinand as he drove along the main road in Sarajevo, the Appel Quay.

4. The first conspirator who tried to kill Franz Ferdinand was Nedeljko Cabrinovic - he threw a bomb at his car. He missed and was arrested.

image icon: on the way back in the car

5. The Archduke escaped unhurt and went to the town hall. He decided to abandon the visit and return home via a different route to the one planned. The royal couple left the town hall immediately.

6. No one had told the driver the route had changed. On the way back, therefore, the driver turned into Franz Josef Street, following the published route and, when told of his error, stopped the car to turn around.

image icon: the duke was shot

7. Unfortunately, the car stopped in front of Gavrilo Princip, one of the conspirators, who was on his way home thinking he had failed.

8. Princip pulled out a gun and shot at Franz Ferdinand, hitting him in the jugular vein. There was a tussle, during which Princip shot and killed Sophie. By 11.30am, Franz Ferdinand had bled to death.

The steps to war 1914

If it was a Serbian who shot an Austrian, why did Germany, Russia, France and Britain become embroiled in a war? Why couldn't Serbia and Austria-Hungary sort out their own problems? Was Germany really to blame for the war? Alliances

Steps to war

July 5th

The Austrian government asks the German government if it will support Austria in a war against Russia, if Russia supports Serbia. The Germans say they will support whatever the Austrian government decides to do - the so called 'blank check'.

July 23rd

The Austrian government sends the Serbian government an ultimatum.

July 25th

The Serbians accept all the conditions except one - that Austrian police should be allowed into Serbia.

July 28th

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

July 30th

The Russian army is mobilized.

August 1st

Germany declares war on Russia.

August 3rd

Germany declares war on France and, following the Schlieffen Plan, attacks Belgium.

August 4th

Britain keeps the promise made in a treaty of 1839 to defend Belgium, and declares war on Germany.


New Kind of Warfare

  • WWI saw death and destruction on a scale never experienced before

  • Technological developments were seen as vital to both sides, but each new weapon brought further destruction

  • No one invention was decisive though as both sides quickly copied each other

Defensive War

  • Development of new weapons technology = defensive war

  • The development of machine guns made traditional methods of attack impossible

  • Attempts to break the stalemate with heavy artillery failed, so both sides turned to new technology


  • Poison chlorine gas was first used by the Germans at Ypres in 1915

  • The main weakness was that the wind could blow it back towards your own side

    • 1st - Chlorine gas, which was used at the battle of Ypres in 1915, killing thousands

    • 2nd - Phosgene gas

    • 3rd - Mustard gas - burned the lungs of the inhaler leaving them to die in agony. Gas masks were issued to everyone in the country, but they weren’t so useful and many people died.


  • Tanks were developed by the British and used in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme

  • unreliable – breaking down – and horrible to drive

  • The Chariots of God

  • Huge propaganda and morale boost, and proved to be very effective by the end of the war


  • Dreadnaughts – were developed but only involved at Jutland

  • German submarines (uboats) were a great threat, causing serious disruption

  • Following Lloyd George’s insistence, the convoy system was introduced


  • Planes were initially used for reconnaissance and dropping bombs by hand, but technological developments such as fixed machine guns made dogfights and attacks on enemy trenches possible

  • German airships called Zeppelins began to bomb London and other cities

Machine guns

  • 600 bullets a minute (the equivalent of 250 men with rifles),

  • weapons of mass destruction


  • upgraded versions of cannons

  • British = firing 170 million shells in that time

  • Big Bertha’- fire at the heart of Paris from 120 kilometers away

  • High-explosive shells were developed


  • British forces - train, lorries and even taxis.



The Schlieffen Planimage: map of britain, france, germany and russia

Trying to avoid war on two fronts with France and Russia.  

  • The plan assumed that France was weak and could be beaten quickly, and that Russia was much stronger, but would take longer to mobilize its army.  

  • The plan began to go wrong on 30 July 1914, when Russia mobilized its army, but France did not. Germany was forced to invent a pretext to declare war on France (3 August 1914).  

  • Things got worse when Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 because, in a Treaty of 1839, Britain had promised to defend Belgium.

Extra facts

  • In the event, Russia took only ten days to mobilize


  • Conditions in the trenches were unimaginably bad

  • Constant fear of attack, stench of dead bodies and site of rats feeding on corpses

  • Bitterly cold in winter, horribly hot in summer

  • Trenches were mainly in low-lying land, so soldiers were often up to knees in water or sewage, leading to trench foot

Mental Torture

  • For much of the time life was boring, on guard duty or repairing or digging trenches

  • When fighting took place casualties were great

  • Shelling, gas attacks and conditions led to nervous breakdowns. Initially soldiers were shot for refusal to obey orders, but later shell-shock was officially recognized


  • It was clear defense was far easier than offense

  • In some places the frontlines were very close (20 yards). Even the slightest movement could result in instant death via sniper

  • Other areas the gap could be much wider (1/2 mile or more). Unofficial truces were sometimes agreed upon

No Man’s Land

  • The ground separating the opposing trenches

  • Both sides put up barbed wire defenses and laid mines in front of their trenches to prevent attacks

  • Before attacks, whistles were blown and troops were ordered to advance across No Man’s Land – called going ‘over the top’

Artillery Barrages

  • Both sides tried to destroy the opposing trenches in immense artillery barrages

  • This was often inaccurate and caused huge craters in No Man’s Land

  • Heavy shelling always took place before each major attack, but usually failed to destroy trenches or barbed wire defenses

The Somme

  • The front line at the beginning of a major battle suffered terribly

  • At the Battle of the Somme (July 1916) 70% of the troops who went over the top in the first wave were killed or wounded

Home Front (US)


  • Until 1916, the US under Woodrow Wilson held a strong anti-war position

  • Isolationism - US made it clear that it did not wish to get involved in European affairs

  • He kept us out of the war” – Wilson

US Benefits

  • While Europe was involved in war, US was able to make technological and trade gains on European competitors

  • US filled trade markets left empty by alliance system and also developed new techniques and technology

Large War Loans

  • Yet by 1917, US had lent large sums of money to Britain and France

  • There was increasing sympathy for Britain and France from within the US, seen as fellow democratic countries

Submarine Warfare

  • In 1915, a German U-boat sunk the liner Lusitania, resulting in many US deaths. This had a profound impact on public opinion about the war

  • Sussex Pledge – no more attacks from German Uboats unless we were warned

  • In March 1917, Germany began unrestricted U-boat warfare, four US ships were sunk

  • The US prepared for war

Zimmerman Telegram

  • Early 1917 – America’s reason for declaring war

  • Britain intercepted a telegram and showed it to the US

  • The telegram was from the German foreign minister to his counterpart in Mexico

  • It suggested that Mexico should attack America if war broke out in exchange for land “stolen” by the US

Effect of US Involvement

  • In April 1917, US declared war on Germany

  • Germany made repeated attempts to finish the war before US troops arrived

  • A huge moral boost for the Allies (the yanks are comin’), the US soldiers showed immense bravery but weren’t fully prepared for modern warfare and suffered high casualty rates

Home Front (Germany)

The German Empire

  • Germany before 1918 was an empire in the center of Europe

  • It was created in 1871, but it was already one of the most powerful states in the world

  • It was ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II

  • The government did have some democratic features

Food Shortages

  • By the end of the war the German people were nearly starving

  • They lived on handouts of potatoes, turnips and sawdusty bread

  • Even basic foods were strictly rationed

  • The longer the war lasted, the more serious the shortages became

The Allied Naval Blockade

  • The British navy blockaded the sea approaches to Germany’s ports

  • This created food shortages and stopped basic supplies from overseas

  • British secret agents would report back to Britain about these shortages and the blockade’s effects on Germany

Winter 1918

  • As winter approached in 1918 conditions grew much worse

  • Adults lived on 1000 calories a day – starvation level

  • Fuel shortages led to power cuts, factory closures and transportation problems

  • The flu virus swept across Germany killing thousands


  • With defeat close on the battlefields, and conditions poor at home, the German army asked for peace

  • The allies agreed, but only if the Kaiser shared his power

  • This proved unpopular, and public opinion turned against the Kaiser

  • Revolution was being talked about


  • The Naval Mutiny at Kiel was the catalyst for mass unrest

  • The Kaiser was losing control of the country as soldiers and workers rose against him

  • Wilhelm had to abdicate

  • Freidrich Ebert, leader of the Social Democratic Party, became head of the government

Social Impact/Women

  • Fostered patriotism and nationalism.

  • Mental and physical trauma for the civilization (health impact after the war).

  • Civil casualties and death.

  • Enormous destruction of infrastructure.

  • Social order of the families changed due to the immense loss in the male population.

  • Status of the women was elevated because of their contribution in the war fare. (Examples, factory workers).

Paper 1:

Inter-War Period

Peace Settlements – Aims of the Participants

The positions of various countries on peace negotiations:

  • USA

    • Wilson wanted to make Germany pay to some extent for causing the war and establish a period of probation after which Germany would be able to join the League of Nations. 

    • Wilson was most concerned with the long term and the adoption of the Fourteen Point program (but not backed by SenateHenry Cabot Lodge)

The Fourteen Point Program (January 1918 — Woodrow Wilson)

  1. Open Diplomacy

  2. Freedom of Navigation

  3. Free trade

  4. Disarmament

  5. Self-determination

  6. Evacuation of all Russian Territory

  7. Belgium must be evacuated and restored (from German occup.)

  8. Freeing of French territory (Alsace-Lorraine)

  9. Readjustment of Italian borders

  10. Autonomous dev. for the peoples of A.H.

  11. Independence for the Balkan states

  12. Securing of Turkish territory/sovereignty / the Dardanelles as a free passage

  13. The establishment of an independent Poland

  14. The creation of the League of Nations

  • France

    • wanted a peace that would never allow German attack on France again

    • Georges Clemenceau was premier of France.

    • Wanted to weaken Germany by placing many restrictions on it

    • Extensive demilitarization of Germany

    • German territorial reductions

    • Reparations to weaken the German economy and also to pay for the damage Germany had caused.

    • The Rhineland to be taken from Germany and to be set up as an independent state

    • Take the Saar region from Germany as financial compensation

    • Regain Alsace-Lorraine which had been by Germany in 1871

    • Make the West area of the Rhine a French puppet state in case of future German attack

    • Wanted a guaranteed agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom to form a firm alliance in case of a future German attack.

  • G.B.

    • The popular opinion was very hostile towards Germany — cripple Germany

    • Promises were made by politicians in the December 1918 General Elections about making Germany pay for all the loss and damage it had caused. 

    • Germany to pay extensive reparations

    • Stop Germany from taking control of Europe

    • Stop Germany from becoming a potential source of conflict

    • Get rid of the German fleet

    • Germany to return the territories it had taken during the war

    • Self-Government for the nations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and for the non-Turkish people within the Ottoman Empire

    • The creation of an independent Polish state

    • However, Britain wanted to rebuild a strong economy by restoring European relations and trade. Unlike France, Britain wanted German economic recovery as Britain would benefit greatly from the trade with Germany who before 1914 was a very important buyer of British goods.

    • Wanted to keep the balance of power within Europe stable 

    • Did not want France to expand beyond Alsace-Lorraine and did not support France in the domination of Europe

    • Did not want to form a guaranteed alliance with France. Believed in freedom of action

    • Only wanted to intervene if the balance of power was threatened

  • Italy

    • Wanted the territories that had been promised to it in the Treaty of London

    • Did not take into account national self-determination

    • When Italy was denied these territories it walked out of the Versailles Conference. 

    • later gave rise to Fascism in Italy as Italians were not content on the peace terms

  • Japan

    • Wanted to be recognized for its dominant position in China

    • Wanted possession of the former German territories in China and the Pacific

    • Wanted to secure a larger empire for security and economic strength

    • Did not support self-determination

    • Wanted to be one of the major powers

    • Wanted racial equality in the peace settlement

  • Germany

    • influenced the conference in that the allies (especially Lloyd-George from G.B.) feared a communist revolution.

Paris Peace Conference

Signed on November 11th 1918 and WWI ended

(after Ebert the Socialist came to power in Germany following the abdication of the Kaiser)
Paris Peace Settlement:

  • The representatives of 32 countries met in 1919 in Paris to draw up the peace settlement.

  • The "Big Three" (France, USA and Britain) leaders were mostly in command of the decision makings and so was Italy but to a lesser extent.

  • The settlement was created from five treaties; the Treaty of Versailles, St Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, Sevres/Lausanne.

  • The Treaty of Versailles dealt specifically with Germany and was the major discussion during the draw up of the peace settlement whereas the other treaties dealt with the geo-political and economic future of Europe.

  • The agreement containing the principles on which the League of Nations was to operate on took into account all five treaties.

Treaty Of Versailles - Key clauses :

  • Article 231 : Germany recognizes the war guilt.

  • Article 119 : Germany is to lose all her colonies which will be placed under the authority of the allies.

  • Article 42 : Germany is not to construct any fortifications on either sides of the Rhine for the next 50 years.

  • Article 428 : As guarantee that the treaty will be carried out the west part of the Rhine will be occupied by allied troops for 15 years.

  • Article 160 : The German army is to be reduced to 100,000 men, also the construction of tanks submarines and airplanes was forbidden.

  • Article 45 : The Saar land will be given to France as part of the compensation for the war.

  • Article 80 : Germany is not allowed to ally ever again with Austria. (Anchluss)

  • Article 102 : The city of Danzig is to become a free city and to be placed under the protection of the League of Nations.

Territorial loses:

  • The Saar administered by the League of Nations

  • The creation of an independent Polish state

  • West Prussia and Posen were given to Poland

  • Alsace-Lorraine was given back to France

  • Danzig was appointed as an international city

  • Plebiscites in Upper Silesia, West Prussia and Schleswig

  • Germany lost colonies and investments

Military Restrictions on Germany:

  • Was only allowed a regular army that was limited to 100,000 military personnel 

  • No air force and only a very small fleet

  • End of compulsory enlistment into the armed forces

  • Rhineland to be occupied for 15 years by the allied military forces

  • All commissions in Germany controlled by the allies until 1927


  • Germany to pay £6,600 million (132 billion gold marks)

  • Reparations where to be paid in regular installments, some in gold and some in goods

  • The Allies struggled to get payments from Germany from 1921 to 1923

  • Dawes Commission 1924 – See below

  • France took over Ruhr in 1923 – See below

League of Nations

  • The USA refused to join which weakened the league

  • Collective security

  • New mandate principles

  • Germany and the defeated nations were at first left out

Four other treaties were made with the countries that had helped Germany during the war.

The Treaty of Versailles, however, was the template for these treaties, which were drawn up by officials (not by the big three) and which simply followed the principles of the Treaty of Versailles:  

  1. The defeated countries had to disarm.

  2. They had to pay reparations.

  3. They lost land.

  4. New countries were formed.

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