WWI Power Point Notes

World War I
• “powder keg”
– During the 1800s European countries began
to stockpile weapons in the name of defense
– No country wanted to fall behind
– This led to an arms race
– Secret friendships were formed between
countries for security reasons.
– When Austria-Hungary and Serbia began the
conflict, all of their alliances were brought into
the confliction
– Snowball effect
– Competition for territory led the countries of
Europe into direct conflict with each other
– Definition: extreme pride in one’s country
• The intense loyalty European’s felt to their country
and/or ethnic group provided a cause for fighting
– Industrialization caused a desire for resources
and markets
– As nations competed for these elements,
natural conflicts arose
The Roots of War: nationalism, militarism
and alliances cause tension
Nationalism = extreme feelings of national pride
Countries were in competition for colonies
Militarism = acquiring arms to compete with other
large, sophisticated armies and navies were developed
Alliances = countries asked other countries for
support in the event of a conflict
Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, and Italy formed the
Triple Alliance
France, Great Britain and Russia formed the Triple Entente
The United States stays Neutral
US has a long history of non-involvement in European affairs
George Washington advised, “steer clear of permanent alliances”
Thomas Jefferson vowed, “entangling alliances with none”
Americans saw themselves at morally distanced from the power
struggles of Europe.
The American Empire was more concerned with
establishing power in the Western Hemisphere
(Latin America)
– The Assassination of the Archduke Franz
Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia, taking it from the
Ottoman Empire
Serbia, a country to the south of Austria-Hungary,
opposed this control
June 18, 1914 – Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black
Hand (a secret Serbian nationalist society) killed the
Archduke and his wife during a tour of Bosnia
– The War Begins as Austria-Hungary strikes
• Knowing it had German support, A-H
demanded that Serbia investigate the
• Confident that it would be backed by
Russia, Serbia refused.
• A-H declared war July 28.
– All of Europe was quickly involved because
of the alliance system
Germany declared war on Russia when
Russian troops mobilized
Germany declared war on France when
it chose to honor an alliance with Russia
rather than taking a neutral position.
Germany traveled through Belgium to
attack France, breaking a treaty with
Great Britain, so GB declared war on
U.S. President Wilson declares
neutrality, but not all Americans agree
Equally matched opponents reached a
bloody stalemate
Winston Churchill: “It’s going to be a long
war, in spite of the fact that on both sides
every wince man in it wants it stopped at
– Trench warfare
Modern weaponry (machine guns) leads
both sides to dig trenches for protection.
475 miles of trenches reached from
Switzerland to the North Sea
First, one side would bombard the other
with artillery, then send in infantry
Cold, cramped, and wet conditions led to
problems for soldiers
Trench foot
– US stays neutral
Many Americans were horrified
by the brutality, and many felt
connected to their ancestors in
Europe, but President Wilson
still stayed out.
American relief organizations
(Red Cross) offered help to the
Allies (Triple Entente)
The German U-Boat and Unrestricted
Submarine Warfare
A British Naval blockade kept all kinds of
necessary supplies out of Germany
Unterseeboot, or undersea boats =
submarines were developed by the
Germans to challenge the powerful British
Germany warned that it would use its uboats to fire without warning on any ships
that entered the waters around Great
Between February and May 1915, u-boats
sunk over 90 ships
British passenger ship, Lusitania had traveled from
NYC and was torpedoed and sunk
Of 2000 passengers, 1200 died, including 128
Americans and 125 children
Lusitania contained secret cargo of war materials
German attacks, especially the Lusitania, angered
Americans. Germany feared US entry.
The Zimmermann Note brings the US
into the war
January 1917- a telegram was intercepted
by the US on its way from Germany to
Mexico which proposed that Mexico should
ally itself with Germany if the US entered
the war
Promised to help Mexico regain the
territories of New Mexico, Texas and
This note was published in American
papers, causing outrage
– April 1917 - President Wilson asked
congress for a declaration of war against
– “The World must be made safe for
Democracy…” -- Congress passed the
– Peace groups in the US continued to
oppose the war
War brought changes to
the American Home-front
The US scrambled to
prepare for war
To increase the number of
troops, Wilson initiated a
draft in addition to the
Production of food, weapons
and fuel increased
Propaganda campaigns were
launched to unite public
opinion in favor of the war
– Civil liberties were
Harsh punishments were
doled out to people who
expressed public
opposition to war
Conscientious objectors
who refused to fight were
fined, jailed and
sentenced to death
Rejection of all things
German led to
– Sauerkraut renamed “liberty
– German-Americans were
fired from jobs, harassed,
placed in prison camps
– American soldiers were excited and
optimistic, yet scared of what was to come.
– Inexperienced US troops had trouble at first,
but their force pushed the Germans back
– Decisive battles of Chateau-Thierry and
Meuse-Argonne helped end the war
– Central Powers began to surrender:
First Bulgaria, then Turkey, and finally AustriaHungary
In Berlin, Germans overthrew Kaiser Wilhelm
The Punishment of
Required to admit total
blame for starting WWI
Pay reparations
(payment for war
damages) as much as
$300 billion
For destroyed homes and
Pensions for Allied
Cost of ammunitions and
– Limitations on size of army
– All German colonies divided among the
Allied powers
Changes in other territories
Austria-Hungary divided into four countries:
Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and
To prevent the spread of communism, other
independent countries were set up along
Germany’s border with the Soviet Union:
Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
International Peacekeeping
Organizations created
League of Nations (Later became the
United Nations)
Countries of the world work together to stop
international aggression
World Court
To peaceably mediate disputes between
The United States rejects the Treaty of
Even though President Wilson was a key player
in creating the Treaty, he could not convince
Congress to ratify it
Most Americans agreed with the main
provisions, but had some problems with the
Covenant establishing the League of Nations
The Republican-controlled Senate opposed the
treaty as long as it contained the Covenant
– Concern was that the League of Nations would cause
the US to get involved in other countries’ conflicts and
would interfere with domestic issues
After months of debate and speeches, Wilson
was still unable to get the support of the Senate
unless he made changes to the Covenant
Warren G. Harding replaced Wilson in 1920, and
the US never joined the League of Nations