WWI Lecture

World War I
MAIN Causes
 Militarism
 Alliance System
 Imperialism of Western Powers
 Nationalism of Eastern peoples
 Britain- largest navy in world
 Germany- spent more on army & navy than all other
countries in Europe
End up with 2nd largest navy & largest army
 British navy creates Dreadnoughts (considered direct
threat by Germans
 Who respond w/unterseebooten (u-boats)
 Germany also creates Schlieffen Plan in case of 2
Front War
 Dual Alliance- Bismarck engineers alliance b/t
Germany & Austria
France & Russia enter into Entente Cordiale
Germany worries
Britain resolves differences w/ France & Russia
enter into another entente with France creating
Triple Entente
Germany now hedged in. Convinces Italy to join
Dual Alliance (with A-H) making it Triple Alliance
Imperialism in Africa
 Germany begins claiming empire in Africa
results in arguments w/ Great Britain, the
Dutch, & France
Moroccan Crisis I: (1905) provokes tension when
Kaiser Wilhelm visits Algeria tells residents they
should be independent- France cries foul. Conference
is called & rest of world (all white) agree w/ France Germany backs down
Moroccan Crisis II: (1911) Germ sends a gunboat to
Algeria to protest French occupation. Sees it will get
no support from rest of world, compromised- Algeria
is Fr. Protect. & Germ gets parts of Fr. Congo.
Imperialism in Eastern Europe
 Austria-Hungary begins increasing its empire
into Eastern Europe
Balkans Crisis I:(1908) A-H annexes Bosnia-Herz .
Serbia cries foul & Russia supports them. Germ
sides w/ A-H. Serbia backs down.
Balkan Crisis II: (1912-13) Serbia, Montenegro,
Bulgaria, & Greece all seize land from O.E.
Austria intervenes & forces creation of Albania.
Russia & Serbia draw closer together
 All the different ethnic groups in Austria-
Hungary wanted their own country- when
Hungary achieved limited autonomy they were
angry and resentful
 Serbians’ desire for a greater Empire led to
increased diplomatic forays w/ Bosnia
 The spark: Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip
assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand in
Sarajevo. Serbia is blamed.
Arrest of Gavrilo Princip
Chain of Events
Don’t copy this stuff down! We’ll summarize it all in one sentence for your class notes
 A-H sends ultimatum to Serbia asking for list of demands
which impinge on sovereignty.
Serbia looks to Russia for help. She agrees.
A-H calls on Germany for assistance in case of war.
Wilhelm not aware of provocative tone of telegraph
Russia turns to France for support. She agrees.
7/28 A-H declares war on Serbia. 7/30-Russia mobilizes.
8/1-Germany declares war on Russia. 8/3- then France.
When Belgium refuses German request to cross territory,
she invades, which causes Britain to enter the war- 8/4
8/6- A-H declares war on Russia
It’s on!
 WWI divides Europe into 2
Central Powers
(Bulgaria joins in 1915 to get revenge against Serbia)
25 other nations
•Japan joined in
1914 to acquire land
in Pacific
•Italy remained
neutral on the
grounds that
Germany had
provoked war
violating the
defensive nature of
the Triple Alliance
•US joined in 1917
German Strategy & the Western Front
 Schlieffen Plan to protect against 2 front
Sweep through n. France & Belgium in the West,
defeat it in 6 wks- then turn to Russia.
 Transport troops from West to East for a much longer,
harder battle.
 W/in 3 wks Germs 30 m from Paris, but defense of
Belgians, rapid mobilization of Russians forced Germ
to send troops back east sooner than planned.
Western Front
 @ Battle of Marne (9/5-10/1914), the French
fought back (using Parisian taxies to move troops);
Germs forced to retreat. Paris was saved
 Hope for quick war dashed as both sides settled
into trenches
@ Battle of Somme (7/1/16-11/18) a mill men were lost (the
Brits lost 60K in one day)
@ Verdun, over 700K were lost
@ Passchendaele Brits lost 250K for 5.0 square miles of Belgian
Eastern Front
 This front not as trench-ridden as West- so
more mobile.
 In beginning, Russians pushed into Germ, but
under Gens. Paul von Hindenburg (later president of
Weimar Repub) & Eric Ludendorff the Germs
defeated Russians @ Tannenburg (30,000 Russians
lost & 225,000 were lost in the fall of 1914)
 By 1915 over 2.5 million Russian soldiers were
either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner
Eastern Front
 B/c of losses, poor leadership of govt & lack
of food among pop & soldiers, a coup against
the tsar was hatched in 3/17.
 By 11/17, a Communist govt was installed
 Comms withdrew from war by signing Treaty
of Brest-Litovsk, giving away chunks of their
land to Germany
Southern Front
 In southeastern Europe, the Brits attacked the
 Under Winston Churchill (1st Lord of the Admiralty)
the Gallipoli Campaign was organized- designed to
strike at Germany & A-H through the Dardanelles &
 Complete failure: ANZAC (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps)
troops were killed, Gallipoli was never taken &
Churchill resigned.
New Ways O’ Killin’
The First Technological War
 Machine Gun
Lewis Guns- 500 shells/minute
 Large artillery- “Big Bertha” Cannons (Krupp)
15 miles away (by ’18, shelling Paris from 70 miles away)
 Tanks
1st used at Battle of Somme by Brits
 U-Boats
After Dreadnoughts, Germans focused on these to break Brit blockade
 Poison Gas
1st used by Germans at Ypres, eventually both sides used it
 Airplanes
Manfred von Richthofen- most famous ace
 Zeppelins
Dirigible bombers could level building in seconds; susceptible to ground fire
 Radios
1st used to communicate battlefield messages
The Tide Turns
 1917: Brits intercept Germ telegram to Mexico
offering support if Mex enters war on Germ side
(Zimmerman Note)
 US, already angry over Lusitania’s sinking in ’15, now
fighting mad
 Germ resumes unrestricted submarine warfare & US
enters war in 4/6/17- bring 2 million to France
 US troops stem tide in Argonne Forest in Sep-Nov of
Conclusion of Hostilities
 By fall of ‘18, OE & Bulgaria had sued for peace
& A-H’s govt has collapsed as its subject
nationalities finally revolted against Aus-Hun
 In Nov, generals convinced the Kaiser to
abdicate & he fled to Holland. A provisional
govt (Weimar Repub) was created which
sued for peace, based on WW’s 14 Points.
 The leaders met in Paris to discuss the
post war world.
The Big Four
 All men came to the table with competing goals
Woodrow Wilson- a “just peace” (“peace without victory”) &
model world through League of Nations
Lloyd George- preserve GB’s empire & maintain Britain’s naval &
industrial superiority
Vittorio Orlando- regain Italian territories from Austria & claim
colonies in Africa & M.E.
Clemenceau- revenge for loss of Alsace& Lorraine; protection
against future invasions
 Russia & Japan were excluded: 1st b/c she had dropped out & signed a
treaty w/ the enemy & the 2nd b/c she was not European.
 Italy ended up walking out of the Conference in disgust when her
demands were not met.
 GB & France thought the US was unrealistic-they wanted security (&
Provisions of T of V
 War-Guilt Clause- Germany accepts full blame for
 Germany pays all costs of the war in Allied countries
(including civilian damages, pensions for widows, etc.)
estimated to be 33 billion over 30 yrs.
 Germany loses her colonies; Alsace& Lorraine to France;
Schleswig to Denmark, E. Prussia to Poland
 German army & navy reduced to 100K & prohibited
manufacturing armored cars, tanks, submarines, airplanes,
and poison gas
 The Rhineland was a demilitarized zone & was
occupied by the Allies
 Austria required to recognize independence
of Czechoslovakia, Austria & Hungary now
2 separate nations
 Poland independent nation (from Russia,
Germany, & Austria)
Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, & Finland
 Yugoslavia created in Balkans & dominated
by the Serbs
Other Treaties (italicized not important)
 Trianon: Hungary loses 1/3 of territory to Romania,
Yugo, & Czech (anything not Magyar)
 Neuilly: Bulgaria lost land to Yugo & Greece
 Sevres: The OE is liquidated.
Iraq, Palestine (& Jordan) became British mandates
The British promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine with the Balfour
Declaration, when Arabs protested they issued various “White Papers”
which attempted to ameliorate the mess by limiting Jewish migration &
creating the kingdom of Transjordan out of Palestine
Syria (& Lebanon) became French mandates
Turkey became independent nation
Impact of the WWI
 Versailles had the opposite of Wilson’s desired effect.
Germany felt betrayed & used it as excuse as a rallying
cry for renewed militarism under the Nazis
 Russia felt betrayed at being excluded
 Italy felt betrayed at not getting all the colonies it had been
 France felt isolated when GB backed out of a defensive
alliance w/ her.
 Wilson felt betrayed by the Europeans who had subverted
his dream
 In the colonies, people from Africa throughout the M.E
felt their European leaders had betrayed them for
their own self-interests
Impact of the WWI
 10 million soldiers were dead & 20 million were
The O.E. was destroyed.
The Hohenzollern Dynasty of Germany, the Habsburg
Dynasty of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, & the Romanov
Dynasty of Russia had all collapsed
Russia was no more: the USSR had replaced it
The economies of Europe were ruined & America was
now a world banker
The world retreated into an isolationist pose for a
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