World War I The Great War?
The World on the Eve of WWI • In 1900, Europeans were enjoying greater peace and prosperity than ever before • Despite minor conflicts, Europeans had not experienced a major war for almost a century • But in some places of the world, forces for discontent were brewing • In Turkey, Mexico, China and Russia, reformers influenced by European ideas were outraged at sharp social divisions and authoritarian governments
The World on the Eve of WWI • In Austria-Hungary (Austria’s name after a compromise with Hungary in 1867), different ethnic minorities dreamt of independence and establishing their own nation states
The World on the Eve of WWI • Unable to achieve reform through moderate means, some reformers turned to forming secret revolutionary movements • Shortly after the turn of the century, different parts of the world exploded in social revolution
The World on the Eve of WWI • The powerful forces of nationalism and reform, which affected Russia, Turkey, Mexico and China had an equally explosive impact on the multi-ethnic empire of Austria-Hungary • In 1914, events in Austria-Hungary would bring the rest of Europe into armed conflict • This struggle, known at the time as the “Great War,” would be a major turning point in world history
The World on the Eve of WWI • New technologies made warfare tremendously more destructive than ever before • Imperial governments and the old class system of Europe were forever shattered • The peace that followed saw the momentary triumph of democracy, national self-determination and the creation of the new international peace organization • But the violence of the war also prepared the way for the rise of both communism and fascism
The Underlying Causes of WWI • Militarism • Alliance System • Imperialism • Nationalism
Nationalism • Nationalism is the belief that each ethnic group should have its own nation • Also, citizens belief that they should promote their nation’s interests • Nationalists sometimes also assert that their own nation is superior to others
Nationalism • Nationalism encouraged rivalries between France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia • The spread of nationalism also led to the creation of new independent nations in the Balkans—Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania and Rumania—where the Ottomans once ruled
Nationalism • Austria-Hungary itself still consisted of several different ethnic groups, including Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Rumanians, Poles, Serbs, and Croats • Some of these groups wanted their own nation-state and these demands threatened to beak the Austro-Hungarian Empire apart
Imperialism • Many Europeans believed that the sign of a great power was possession of overseas colonies • European powers had been competing for colonies in Africa and Asia and competing claims created an atmosphere of tension between the major powers • Mostly for economic interests in those areas
Imperialism • By 1900, one quarter of the world was under British rule • German industrialization threatened British economic supremacy • Russian interests in the Balkans threatened both Austria-Hungary and Turkey
The Alliance System Triple Entente: Triple Alliance:
Two Armed Camps! Allied Powers: Central Powers:
Militarism • Militarism occurs when military values and goals take over civilian society • By the end of the 19th century, societies had become increasingly militaristic
Militarism • Bismarck had united Germany through Prussia’s military power, and every European country tried to build up its army • Kings wore military uniforms even in daily life • Generals became more influential in government • Germany and Britain competed to build the most powerful navy
Militarism • Military planning played a key role in the outbreak of WWI • Because it took time to assemble and move armies on railroads, military leaders thought it was better to attack rather than be attacked • This created pressure to mobilize quickly
Militarism & Arms Race Total Defense Expenditures for the Great Powers [Ger., A-H, It., Fr., Br., Rus.] in millions of £s.
Apply it! • In what ways was Europe “ripe” for a war? • What motivations might have underlined animosity between European countries? • What is needed for war to start?
The Spark! • In July 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian Empire, was assassinated by a member of a terrorist group, the Black Hand, a Slav nationalist group • Austrian leaders correctly believed that Serb officials had secretly helped the assassins
The Spark! • The Austrians decided to teach Serbia a lesson • Austria-Hungary invaded tiny Serbia • This set off a chain reaction • Because of the various alliance treaties, Russia entered the conflict to protect Serbia and Germany entered the war to fulfill its treaty obligations to protect Austria
The Spark! • Finally, Britain and France came in to honor their alliance with Russia • Thus, within just a few weeks, Austria, Russia, Germany, Britain and France were all at war • What began as a minor regional crisis in the Balkans had quickly escalated into a major European conflict • Italy refused to join the Central Powers since Austria had attacked first • The Ottoman Empire quickly joined the Central Powers to oppose Russia, while Bulgaria joined to oppose Serbia
Apply it! • In what ways was the beginning of WWI a “domino effect”? • Could WWI have been avoided? Why or why not?
Fighting the War • Military leaders on both sides thought the war would be over quickly • To avoid a two-front war, German war plans called for Germany to march through the lowlands of neutral Belgium and take Paris quickly before Russia could enter the war
Fighting the War • The Germans advanced but were stopped before reaching Paris • Meanwhile, when war broke out President Woodrow Wilson called upon Americans to take no sides and to remain neutral
Trench Warfare “No Man’s Land”
Apply it! • What impact did the new weaponry have on the war? • Why was the war such a “stale” war?
The United States Helps Win the War • Serbia, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Greece, Portugal joined the Allied Powers • Although the United States was officially neutral, Americans were sympathetic to Britain and France
The United States Helps Win the War • The American boat, The Lusitania, was transporting passengers (as well as supplies) to the Allies and was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1917 killing 1,198 passengers • Americans also intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram from Germany to Mexico that encouraged Mexico to enter the war against the Allies in return for some territory in America after the war was over
The United States Helps Win the War • In response to those two items, the US finally entered the war in 1917 • In the same year, Russia dropped out • President Woodrow Wilson declared that the war would make the world “safe for democracy”
The United States Helps Win the War • President Wilson announced America’s war aims in the Fourteen Points • He wanted to redraw the map of Europe so each nationality had its own state (Independent Poland for example) • He demanded freedom of the seas, an end to secret diplomacy and the creation of a League of Nations
The United States Helps Win the War • America’s entry into the war broke the deadlock in Europe and in November 1918, Germans laid down their weapons and surrendered
The Airplane “Squadron Over the Brenta”Max Edler von Poosch, 1917