WORLD WAR ONE “The War to End All Wars” • Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the general outlook for the future by most Europeans were highly optimistic with material progress expected to create an “earthly paradise.” • The First World War would not only kill millions of human beings, it would also destroy one of the basic intellectual precepts upon which Western Civilization had been founded -the belief in progress. The Road to World War I Nationalism • The rise of nationalism did not give rise to the liberal-envisioned international fraternity of the 19th century. Deutschland Uber Alles • It led instead to competition and rivalry over colonial claims and commercial interests. The Alliance System • The division of Europe’s great powers into two loose alliances (Germany, Austria and Italy vs. France, Russia and Great Britain) added to the tensions. Brinkmanship • The crises at the turn of the century taught the lesson that those powers exercising restraint in order to avoid war were humiliated and those that went to the brink of war won international prestige. Ethnic Minorities • Ethnic Slavs in the Balkans, Poles in Russia and the Irish in Great Britain all dreamed of having their own national states. Socialist Unrest • Socialist labor movements increasingly relied on violent strikes to gain worker’s benefits. • Some historians have argued that conservatives, fearing socialist revolution, sought to use war to “smother internal troubles.” Militarism • Massive military build up increased tension and guaranteed that if war came it would be incredibly destructive. • Universal conscription had become the norm in Europe by 1914. • Great Britain was the exception. • European standing armies had doubled in size between 1890 and 1914. Comparative figures on army increase, 1870-1914: Russia France Germany Austria-Hungary Britain Italy Japan U.S.A. 1870 1914 700,000 380,000 403,000 247,000 302,000 334,000 70,000 37,000 1,300,000 846,000 812,000 424,000 381,000 305,000 250,000 98,000 • Most European armies were made up of rural peasants, since most urban workingclass males could not pass the physical. • Many German generals did not trust the loyalty of the urban youth. Mobilization and Planning • Modern European armies followed the Prussian model of complex mobilization and strategic planning involving timetables and railroad deployment of troops and supplies. To move one German army corps (or just 2.5% of the German Army) it took this many railway cars : Officers 170 cars Infantry 965 cars Cavalry 2960 cars Artillery 1915 cars ... in 140 trains Average train length 42 cars. • These plans lacked flexibility and And it took the same number of cars forced diplomats - aboutand 6000 -political of their supplies. leaderstototransport makealldecisions based on the fixed programs of the military. “War is too important a matter to be left to the military.” –Georges Clemenceau. The Outbreak of War The Summer of 1914 • The Balkan Crises between 1908 and 1913 had increased tensions in the region. • The desire of the Serbs to create a “Greater Serbia” was opposed by Austria but encouraged by Russia. The Assassination • On June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austrian throne, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophia, were assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian nationalist group the Black Hand. The Funeral of Franz Ferdinand • The Austrian government was not certain that the Serbian government was directly involved but it wanted revenge and a war to destroy the Serbian kingdom. “The Blank Check” • Fear of Russian intervention led the Austrians to seek the support of the German Kaiser. • William II responded with the infamous “blank check” – Germany would fight Russia to aid Austria in its war. The Ultimatum • Austria then gave demands to Serbia that were so extreme that Serbia had to reject them. • Austria then declared war on Serbia on July 23. Serbian Army during its retreat towards Albania Russian Reaction • On July 28, Russia ordered partial mobilization of its troops against Austria. • The Russian General Staff informed the Tsar that a partial mobilization was not possible it was either Germany and Austria or nothing. More Ultimatums • Germany then gave an ultimatum to Russia to halt their mobilization or face war. • Russia ignored the demands and Germany declared war on Russia on August 1st. The Schlieffen Plan • Following the establishment of the Franco-Russian entente, the German chief of staff Alfred von Schlieffen had created a plan of attack based on a two front war. • The Schlieffen Plan called for a limited mobilization against Russia to fight a defensive holding action while the bulk of German troops would be sent against France. • In order to by-pass the French defensives along the Alsatian border, the plan called for a flanking maneuver through neutral Belgium and then southward to envelop Paris and the French Army. • After the planned quick defeat of the French, the German Army would re-deploy to defeat the Russians. • Germany could not mobilize against Russia only and therefore had to declare war on France as well. Belgian Neutrality • Belgium had been guaranteed neutrality by the major European powers, including Great Britain. Another Ultimatum • Germany issued an ultimatum to the Belgians to allow its troops to cross through the country – Belgium refused. Declarations of War • Germany declared war on France on August 3rd and crossed into Belgium. • Britain declared war on Germany August 4th. The Great War Illusions of the Times • Economists had written before the war that economic conditions made a great war unlikely and if it occurred it would be brief. • Many political pundits believed that “rational” diplomats would prevail and control the situation making war unlikely or at least shortlived. • Government propaganda had stirred up national feelings and now played on those feelings to stir up a war fever. • Even many socialists and labor leaders rose to join the cause in the country’s campaign for justice and revenge. “Over by Christmas” • Most believed the war would only last a few weeks. • Hadn’t all the other wars since the age of Napoleon been over quickly? Wars of Nationalism • The Europeans failed to recognize that the real prototype for the modern war of nationalism was the American Civil War – four years, 364,000 dead. • Many also believed that the sheer cost of the modern mechanized war would not allow for a sustained effort. The Glorious Adventure • Many young people saw the war as a great adventure – a chance to escape their boring bourgeois lives. The Great Redemption • Others saw the war as a chance to bring their nations together through self-sacrifice, heroism and nobility. • “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetimes.” - Sir Edward Grey The Schlieffen Plan in Action • The German plan for success relied on speed and mobility. • Hundreds of thousands of troops crossed the Belgian border and in four weeks reached the Marne River outside of Paris. British Expeditionary Force • The Germans had not counted on the speed at which the British were able to mobilize and bring troops across the Channel. The First Battle of the Marne • The British and French troops, under French General Joseph Joffre, stopped the German advance at the Marne on September 6-10. • The Germans were forced to retreat but the allies were unable to pursue. • The war immediately broke into a stalemate as both sides dug trenches. Trench Warfare • The trenches would soon stretch from Switzerland to the English Channel – the front line would hardly move for four years. The Eastern Front • The Russians began the war with a major offensive into German territory in the north. • Their advance was halted at the Battles of Tannenberg (August 30) and Lake Masurian (September 15). • These battles established the reputations of the German generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. • The Russians were effectively knocked out of the war. The Austrian War • The Austrians were initially defeated by the Russians in Galicia and by the Serbians. • Germany eventually came to their aid in defeating the Serbs and pushing the Russians back 300 miles. • The Russians lost 2.5 million men -- either dead, wounded or captured. The Italians • The Italians in the mean time had switched sides and launched an attack against their old enemy the Austrians. • The Italian front also became a stalemate of trench warfare. The Great Slaughter 1916 –1917 The Trenches • The Western Front became an elaborate system of breastworks and interconnected trenches, protected by barbed wire, machinegun nests and artillery batteries. "Trenches full of liquid mud. Smelt horribly. Full of dead Frenchmen too bad to touch. Men quite nauseated." No Man’s Land • The opposing forces were separated by open fields of bombed out craters and destroyed villages, across which the troops would launch suicidal bayonet charges. No Man’s Land “Over the Top” • Pressure was constantly put on the generals to break through and bring about a victory. • The breakthrough was believed possible if enough fire power could be brought to bear to “soften up” the lines and then mass enough troops to charge the enemies lines. • The machine guns doomed the charges to failure millions of men lost their lives trying to gain a few miles of territory. The Battle of Verdun • The Germans launched an attack at the French town of Verdun in February of 1916. • The initial advances were soon halted by the French General HenriPhilippe Petain. • Unprecedented bombardment, aerial dogfights and the use of poison gas took the lives of over 700,000 men in ten months of fighting. War in the Air "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" "[It] climbed like a monkey and maneuvered like the devil." Manfred von Richthofen THE RED BARON The Price of Glory The Blue Max The Battle of the Somme • In order to take pressure of the French at Verdun, the British launched an attack to the west at the Somme River. • The Germans were forced to move troops to counter this attack. The British suffered 420,000 casualties. The French lost nearly 200,000 and it is estimated that German casualties were in the region of 500,000. • The outcomes of these battles were indecisive, with neither side gaining nor losing territory. Life in the Trenches • For men in the trenches it was a life of long days of boredom followed by days of pure terror and living hell. • During combat the men in the trenches lived with constant bombardment, the threat or reality of mustard gas, the corpses of the fallen and the rats that fed on them. Gassed • The only relief from the mud and the terror of the trench was the suicide that came with the order to “fix bayonets.” • As soldiers on both sides realized that no one could gain an advantage in trench warfare daily life for the soldier became increasingly squalid, regimented, and miserable in the filthy, rat-infested, and liceridden trenches. “live and let live” • Men on both sides developed a “live and let live” policy that let men go about their daily lives in some safety. • Men produced humorous magazines and sang soldiers songs. • The Germans sang “The Watch on the Rhine.” • The Americans would sing “Over There.” Johnnie, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun, Take it on the run, on the run, on the run, Hear them calling you and me, ev'ry son of liberty Hurry right away, no delay, go today Make your Daddy glad to have had such a lad, Tell your sweetheart not to pine, to be proud her boy's in line The Widening of the War • The British, in an attempt to attack the Ottoman Empire, attempted a landing at Gallipoli on the Dardanelles. • The Bulgarians joined the war on the side of the Central Powers and brought the Gallipoli campaign to an end. The Landing at Gallipoli “Your news is indeed serious. But there is nothing for it but to dig yourselves right in and stick it out. You have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig, until you are safe." Lawrence of Arabia • A British officer named T.E. Lawrence incited the Arabs tribes to rally behind Prince Faisel and attack the Ottoman Turks. Prince Faisel T.E.Lawrence "All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." - The Seven Pillars of Wisdom "A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on Earth." --T.E. Lawrence • The British were able to move from Cairo in Egypt to take Jerusalem and Damascus in the Middle East. The War at Sea • The British and the German navies fought only one major naval engagement during the war – the Battle of Jutland. • While the Germans outmaneuvered the British and lost less ships, the British ended up blockading the North Sea. The German U-Boat • The Germans retaliated by imposing a counter-blockade of England using unrestricted submarine warfare. Freedom of the Seas • While the US tried to remain neutral in the war, the use of submarines to sink unarmed passenger ships outraged the Americans and violated President Wilson’s call for “Freedom of the Seas.” The Sinking of the Lusitania • On May 7, 1915, a German UBoat torpedoed and sank the British passenger ship the Lusitania. • 100 Americans were killed. RMS Lusitania • The protests over this incident and the sinking of other passenger liners led the Germans to pledge not to use unrestricted submarine warfare. Breaking the Pledge • Eager to break the deadlock of the Western Front, the Germans resumed the use of submarines in January of 1917. • The Germans were willing to gamble that the British would be starved out of the war before the US would respond. The Zimmerman Note • An intercepted note from the German Foreign Minister to the Mexican government called on the Mexicans to join the war and regain their lost territories from the US. The US Joins the War • The note caused outrage in America and led to Wilson seeking a declaration of war. • The US declared war on Germany April 6, 1917. General John “Blackjack” Pershing The War in 1917 • The US would not arrive in great numbers until 1918, in 1917 the war was not going well for the allies. Ypres -Winter 1917 • The Italians were smashed in October and in November the Bolshevik Revolution took Russia out of the war. The Home Front Total War • European governments gradually took full control of all aspects of their economies. • Millions of people were mobilized to fight or work. • This led to increased centralization of the government and the widespread use of propaganda to manipulate public opinion. • As public morale and support for the war ebbed police powers were widely expanded to include the arrest of all dissenters as traitors to the state. • Internal opposition to the war came largely from liberals and socialists appalled by the scale of human slaughter and the terrible costs of rampant nationalism and militarism. Women in the War • Many women went to work in the factories to replace the men sent to the trenches. • Expectations for women during the war were that they would return to their "normal" lives when the war ended. • These women workers played an important role in winning women the right to vote immediately following the war. Death - the Great Leveler • Death rates at the front in World War One were high for all soldiers regardless of their prior social status, but mortality was especially great among junior officers drawn largely from the nobility and the unskilled laborers and peasants comprising the mass of infantry troops. • The fortunate ones were the skilled and highly skilled workers that were exempted from going to battle. • The new British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was misguided in his optimism that the war was ending class conflicts through the common hardship and loss of war. • By the end of the war it was very apparent that not all classes had suffered equally during the war -- large industrialists, especially owners of factories making weapons and munitions did very well. Krups Factory in Germany WAR CASUALTIES In Flanders Fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.