Chapter 28
World War I and the Crisis of the European
Global Order
Ms. Sheets
AP World History
M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI (1914-1918)
Militarism: New industrial technologies; after
Germany began building a navy, all nations began
creating more weapons.
 Alliances
 Triple Alliance (aka Central Powers): Germany +
Austria-Hungary + Italy [initially] + Ottoman
Empire + Bulgaria.
 Triple Entente (aka Allied Powers): Russia +
France + Britain + Italy [in 1915] +Japan +US
 Imperialism: Tensions are high between alliance
systems who are in the midst of imperialist rivalries
over the few lands still not yet colonized
Colonists acted as resource-providers and combatants;
hoped to achieve independence after the war and were
often promised this
Nationalism (new Germany; Balkan independence)
World War I in Europe and Middle East
Outbreak of War
 Ethnic divisions and rivalries in the Balkans added
tension to Europe.
July 1914: Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist
assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
Franz Ferdinand, and his wife in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
July Crisis of 1914: Austria-Hungary demands political
and territorial concessions from Serbia; Serbia refuses;
Austria-Hungary invades Serbia
Russia supported Serbia via Pan-Slavic Movement
 Movement in 19th c., supported by Russia, aimed at
unification of Slavic peoples who had long been ruled
by others
Germany supported Austria-Hungary
Alliances fall into place and there exists no more
possibility of regional war.
War in Europe: Western Front
 Germany’s concern: fight war on both fronts.
Auxiliary Service Law of 1916: German law required all
males between 17 and 60 to only work at jobs critical to
the war effort
 Schlieffen Plan: plans to attack France first via Belgium
before turning east to the backward and slow Russia
Britain protected its ally, Belgium.
 Japan supports Britain (naval allies)
 Europeans thought war would be quick.
Yet, Germany did not have a quick victory in France 
Western Front: Germans halted by the French on the
Marne River.
 Trench warfare ensued along Western Front for three years
 War where new types of technology had been used:
airplanes; tanks; poison gas; radio technology
War Outside Europe
Only South America does not participate.
 Troops were recruited from colonies; mostly fighting for the
Triple Entente.
 Primarily occurs when Europeans realize war will not be
decisive or quick.
 Germany’s main support was the Ottoman Empire, who
entered WWI in 1915.
 Gallipoli Campaign, 1915-1916
British and French try to capture Istanbul; attempt fails with
casualties on both sides; seen as huge success for Ottomans
Effective British naval blockades ensured Germany could not
receive raw materials from its colonies, as German ships
were destroyed.
 The British Dominions (Canada, Australia and New Zealand)
contributed resources to Great Britain.
 China declared war on Germany in 1917.
Quick Review Question
1) What is the Schlieffen Plan? What problem does it try to solve?
2) How were non-Western regions involved in the war effort?
3) What did the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk accomplish?
War in the East and in Italy
Russia focused on Austria-Hungary and eastern Germany, but
easily defeated by Germany troops.
1915: Austria-Hungary crushed Serbia, but struggled against
Aristocratic generals commanded millions of illiterate and poorly
trained peasants
1917: Russia (Lenin) withdraws from WWI early; signs Treaty of
Brest-Litovsk (ceded Russian territory to Germans).
Inept generals; multiethnic armies with soldiers whose loyalties to
Austrian emperor was inconstant
British and French troops were deployed to stop Austrian advance
1915: Italy switched from the Triple Alliance to the Triple
Britain promised territory gains in war at Austria-Hungary’s
expense if Italy switched.
Most Entente-Italian assaults against Austria-Hungary ended in
Italy frustrated it did not receive additional territory at end of war.
Americans sold food, weapons, and gave loans to the
 1915: German submarine sank British luxury liner,
Lusitania; 100+ Americans died.
Germans claim Lusitania carrying secret shipments; Britain
denies it; later proven true
In 1916, Germany attacks U.S. merchant ships en route to
Germany declares unrestricted submarine warfare
1917 Zimmermann Telegram: Great Britain intercepts
telegram where Germany promised Mexico territory it
had lost in Mexican-American War in exchange for joining
 1917: The United States entered WWI; policy previously
was isolationism.
By 1918, millions of American men in training; makes Germany
believe they need to end war quickly
Will be the turn of the tide: US troops are freshly ready and
newly armed with supplies
The Home Fronts
 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic
 Governments developed propaganda to
promote patriotism and citizen support for the
Soldiers felt unsupported, and that citizens lacked
commitment for or understanding of war.
 British/Americans bombarded with stories of
German atrocities.
 Many aspects of industrialization were taken
over by the governments.
People either benefit from industrialization or are
excluded; sparks labor protests.
 Women participated greatly on the home front.
The End of War
 After Russia withdrew, a confident Germany
transferred more soldiers to the Western Front;
victory seemed near.
 Newly-arrived American soldiers stalled German
advance in northern France.
Germany (mounting casualties, sheer fatigue) vs America
(new; enthusiastic)
 Austro-Hungarian empire abdicated.
 German commanders agreed to an armistice on
November 11, 1918.
 WWI claimed 15 million and wounded 20 million.
Young generation of European men nearly wiped out.
 Bombs and troops had destroyed cities, towns, and
Quick Review Question
1) What events pushed America to enter WWI?
2) What did governments try to keep the focus on in the Home
Woodrow Wilson’s
Fourteen Points (1918)
Statement declaring that WWI was a just moral affair;
proposal for European peace
 List of fourteen post-war goals:
Free trade
Diplomatic end to the war
International disarmament to lowest point “consistent with domestic
Withdrawal of Central Powers from occupied territories
Creation of Poland
Territorial restructuring along ethnic lines
League of Nations
Return Alsace-Lorraine to France
Self-determination: right of people in region to determine whether
to be independent or not
Became the basis for terms of German surrender
 Wilson awarded 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in
Paris Peace Conference of 1919
 Meeting of Entente leaders to determine peace
terms for Europe and how to deal with defeated
empires after the armistice (end of war).
Outcome is Treaty of Versailles
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved into
Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
 Ottoman Empire reduced to present-day Turkey;
Great Britain control Iraq and Pakistan; France
control Syria and Lebanon.
 Russia lost territory to Poland and Romania.
 Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania receive
independence from Russia.
 Wartime promises of independence to colonial
leaders in return for their war support for
Entente were forgotten.
Treaty of Versailles (1919)
 Germany was given no part in drafting the Treaty
of Versailles.
 Goal: cripple Germany economically so it could
never again rise to power and threaten to invade
other European states.
 Major players disagreed about how to deal with
 Outcome for Germany:
Article 231: Clause included that placed total blame for
war upon Germany
Limit their army to 100,000 soldiers.
Alsace and Lorraine (won in Franco-Prussian War)
returned to France
Pay $33 billion in reparations to Entente members.
Lost all colonies (Tanzania, Rwanda, Cameroon, Samoa)
 League of Nations established (idea of US President
Woodrow Wilson)
League of Nations
 The League of Nations, proposed by
Woodrow Wilson, was established after
WWI to preserve peace and humanitarian
 Many nations refused to join it
 England and France hesitant
 Germany and Russia not allowed
 U.S. declines
 League of Nations was a pre-cursor to the
United Nations.
 Effective at functions such as providing
famine relief and dealing with refugee
issues, but was otherwise weak.
Cultural Ramifications
 Pointlessness of war and cynicism abound.
Traditional ideas of war’s nobility and heroism collapsed.
 Optimism of La Belle Époque had ended.
 Art, cinema, poems, literature respond.
 Writers’ War: soldiers wrote letters to loved ones; wrote
poems in trenches
Spread of liberal reforms (education) meant most soldiers (and
public) were literate.
 Soldiers’ experiences preserved
 Lost Generation
Term popularized by Ernest Hemingway
 Refers to F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein
 Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises captures the variety of losses in
war (masculinity)
 Artists transfer from Romanticism to Modernism.
Lost Generation
“A generation of innocent young men, their heads
full of high abstractions like Honour, Glory and
England, went off to war to make the world safe
for democracy. They were slaughtered in stupid
battles planned by stupid generals. Those who
survived were shocked, disillusioned and
embittered by their war experiences, and saw that
their real enemies were not the Germans, but the
old men at home who had lied to them. They
rejected the values of the society that had sent
them to war, and in doing so separated their own
generation from the past and from their cultural
- Samuel Hynes, historian
Quick Review Question
1) Describe the relationship between these three terms: Paris Peace
Conference; Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points; Treaty of Versailles
2) Is the League of Nations effective? Why or why not?
3) What does the term “Lost Generation” indicate about a postWWI West?
Weak European Imperialism
 To win support of Western-educated elites and new allies in different
regions, French and British made many promises regarding postwar
colonial relationships.
 Primarily promised independence; Created a great deal of postwar
strain when this did not come to pass
 War cast doubt on white racial supremacy
 War gave support to anti-colonial movements in European colonies
which are characterized by three themes.
1) Led by charismatic, Western-educated elites who support
2) Leaders will rally peasant and urban masses.
3) Leaders will often rely on nonviolent forms of protest.
India’s National Congress Party
 The National Congress Party led India to independence and governed India
through its postcolonial era.
 Formed by Indians in 1885 as an educated political club, and was supported by
many British officials.
 The NCP gave Indians a sense of identity.
 NCP became concerned over British Raj racism and budget, where most
money went to the British army and administrators.
Indian Nationalism
 India contributed significantly to World War I as a colony of
Great Britain.
 Wartime inflation affected all segments of Indian population.
 British leaders promised Indians self-government once WWI was
over; some steps were taken towards this:
Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909: provided Indians opportunities to
vote for and serve on all-Indian legislative councils.
 Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919: gave Indian legislators
increased control.
 Yet, the Rowlatt Act of 1919 restricted Indian civil rights
(freedom of the press, root out conspirators), which fueled local
protest and caused Indians to doubt British intentions.
1919: Protests led to Amritsar Massacre
Emergence of Gandhi (1919)
 Mahatma (born Mohandas) Gandhi emerged as
an Indian leader around 1919.
 He preached non-violent but aggressive protest
against British colonization.
Peaceful protests; boycotts; strikes;
noncooperation; demonstrations
 Built up a strong following with the middle-
class and Indian peasants.
 Combined Western-educated ideas about law
with Hindu values and asceticism.
 With Gandhi as leader, nationalist protest
surged in 1920s and 1930s.
Quick Review Question
1) What are the three themes seen in anti-colonial movements?
2) Describe the Indian National Congress Party (NCP).
3) Who is Gandhi and what was his political goal?
Egyptian Demands for Independence
 The British had occupied Egypt in 1882 since
Orabi’s revolt
 Egyptian dissent began in the early 1900s;
first nationalist parties formed,
frustrated by British monopolies and
 1906: Dinshaway Incident
 Revealed British arrogance and
superiority in an already tense
 Led to inflamed Egyptian nationalism.
 By 1913, British gave in and granted Egypt
representation in British Parliament.
1914: WWI begins; British distracted.
Egyptian Revolution of 1919
During WWI, the British defended the Suez Canal and
used critical resources (cotton) from Egypt in the war.
 1919: Demand Egyptian representatives at Paris Peace
Conference; denied.
 Egyptian Revolution of 1919: revolt against British
occupation of Egypt and Sudan
1922: Britain recognized Egyptian independence and
British withdrawal began.
Led by Wafd Party (nationalist liberal political party)
1923: New constitution that changes Egypt from dynastic
rule of khedives to a parliamentary monarchy that is
British presence continues until British withdrawal of the
Suez Canal zone in 1936.
Even though Egypt now had independence, later
Egyptian politicians were more concerned with power
and wealth than with poverty aide, education, health, or
Nationalism in the Middle East
 After WWI, the Ottoman Empire collapsed (1923)
and an independent Turkish Republic was
 In League of Nations, Britain and France divided
Arab portions of Ottoman Empire, despite
European promises of Arab independence after
France: Syria; Lebanon
 Britain: Iraq; Palestine and Lebanon
 Nationalism grows in these locations
 Palestine and a Jewish Holy Land?
1894: Dreyfus Affair spurred Jewish Zionists
(movement for a Jewish Middle Eastern holy land).
 1917: Balfour Declaration aggravated relationships
between Palestinian Arabs and Englishmen.
Quick Review Question
1) What did the Dinshaway Incident reveal about British-Egyptian
2) Describe the Dreyfus Affair; what did it promote?

Chapter 28 Descent into the Abyss: World War I and the Crisis of the