The World War I Era(1914–1920) Chapter 19
Section 1: WWI Begins (p.578-586)
1. Causes of World War I Main Causes of World War I A .Imperialism Competition for colonial lands in Africa and elsewhere led to conflict among the major European powers. B .Militarism By the early 1900s, powerful nations in Europe had adopted policies of militarism, or aggressively building up armed forces and giving the military more authority over government and foreign policy. C. Nationalism One type of nationalism inspired the great powers of Europe to act in their own interests. Another emerged as ethnic minorities within larger nations sought self-government. D. Alliances In a complicated system of alliances, different groups of European nations had pledged to come to one another’s aid in the event of attack. Chapter 19, Section 1
1B. Militarism (& Arms Race) Total Defense Expenditures for the Great Powers [Ger., A-H, It., Fr., Br., Rus.] in millions of £s.
Militarism cont. • Germany was competing with the UK to build battleships. • The British feared an attack on their Empire
Militarism cont. • Germany was competing with Russia and France to expand their armies 1880 1914 • Germany 1.3m 5.0m • France 0.73m 4.0m • Russia 0.40m 1.2m
Allied Powers: Central Powers:
2.The Major Players: 1914-17 Allied Powers: Central Powers: Nicholas II [Rus] Wilhelm II [Ger] George V [Br] Victor Emmanuel II [It] Enver Pasha[Turkey] Pres. Poincare [Fr] Franz Josef [A-H]
The First World War (1914-1919): • Who? Allied Powers: Central Powers: Germany Austria-Hungary Ottoman Empire Bulgaria • Russia (leaves 1917) • France • Great Britain • Italy • Japan • United States (enters 1917)
4. The spark that started WWI • Princip was a member of the Serbian Nationalist terrorist group, Black Hand. • Franz Ferdinand, the sole heir to the Austria-Hungary Empire was just gunned down by a Serbian Nationalist.
The Crisis cont. • “Black Hand” terrorists attack the Arch Duke • Bomb attempt fails in morning • Gavrilo Princip shoots Archduke and wife in the afternoon. • Austrians blame Serbia for supporting terrorists.
Seal of the Black Hand group • Convinced that Serbia was behind the Archduke’s assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Germany is ready to help it’s ally, Austria-Hungary. • Russia, as Serbia’s protector, began mobilization, or the readying of troops for war. France is ready to help it’s ally, Russia.
6. Germany’s Situation • Germany, located between France and Russia, wanted to conquer France quickly to avoid the need to fight on two fronts. To get to France, German forces had to pass through neutral Belgium; the invasion of Belgium brought Britain into the conflict as well. • One week after the war started, all the great powers of Europe had been drawn into it. Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Central Powers, while Russia, France, Serbia, and Great Britain were called the Allies.
6. The Schlieffen Plan • Germany’s military plan to defeat France and Russia. • Germany could not win a two front war. They must deliver a “Knock out blow” aimed at France first. • Avoid French defences by invasion of Belgium.
Britain’s Reaction to invasion of neutral Belgium • 1838- UK had signed a Treaty to protect Belgium. • Britain also scared of Germany controlling Channel ports. • Did not want Germany to defeat France and dominate Europe. Britain next? • UK issued ultimatum to Germany to withdraw troops from Belgium. War declared August 4 1914
D. Stalemate and Modern Warfare Stalemate on the Western Front • By September 1914 the German advance on Paris had been stopped. The war had reached a stalemate, a situation in which neither side is able to gain an advantage. • Both sides holed up in trenches separated by an empty “no man’s land.” Small gains in land resulted in huge numbers of human casualties. • Both sides continued to add new allies, hoping to gain an advantage. Central Powers Allied Powers
The soldiers had very little decent food, and what food they had was often attacked by rats. These rats were the size of small rabbits and badgers because they had fed on the decomposing bodies of dead soldiers.
The British government wanted to encourage men to enlist for war. They said the war would be safe, hardly any fighting, a good lark and over by Christmas. They used advertising posters to encourage this idea! A picture of soldiers going ‘Over the Top’
Modern Warfare • Neither soldiers nor officers were prepared for the new, highly efficient killing machines used in World War I. • New weapons killed thousands of soldiers who left their trenches to attack the enemy. • What are examples of new weapons? • The machine gun / hand grenade / artillery / bayonet / poison gas / flame thrower / submarine / airplane /barbed wire /
Which side should the US pick? Central Powers: Allied Powers: • 11 million German-Americans • Irish-Americans hated Great Britain • Close cultural ties with France and Britain • Shared transatlantic cables (so censored stories) • Big business loaned much $ to allies • Close business ties
What did it take to get the US involved? 1. Blockades • Britain blockaded (stopped) all German ships going to America • Germany announced a submarine war around Britain
What did it take to get the US involved? 1. Blockades • In April, 1915 Germany told Americans to stay off of British ships • They could/would sink them
What did it take to get the US involved? 1. Blockades • Lusitania torpedoed, sinking with 1200 passengers and crew (including 128 Americans) • Was eventually found to be carrying 4200 cases of ammunition
What did it take to get the US involved? 1. Blockades • The US sharply criticized Germany for their action • Germany agreed not to sink passenger ships without warning in the future, this became known as the Sussex Pledge.
What did it take to get the US involved? 2. Unlimited Submarine Warfare • 1917 Germany announced “unlimited submarine warfare” in the war zone Why? Otherwise their blockade would not be successful
What did it take to get the US involved? 3. Zimmerman Note • US intercepted a note from Germany to Mexico • It promised Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona back in return for an alliance
C. Early 1917 –The pivotal time. • Germans gamble on (Feb. 1917) unrestricted submarine blockade of England and France. (They know that the U.S. may enter the war against them but they believe that the U.S. can not help enough in time.) • The all out sub blockade works!! The Allies are in danger of loosing the war!!! • April 1917— Wilson asks for and Congress issues a declaration of war against Germany ETC. • The U.S. does make a difference—Convoy System of escorting merchant ships across the Atlantic brings supplies to Br. and Fr.
Allied Ships Sunk by U-Boats Sept. 1916-April 1917 May 1917-Jan 1918
What did it take to get the US involved? • Zimmerman Note and the sinking of 4 unarmed American ships led to a declaration of war
Examine the issue: • Should we tell the story of WWI with Germany as the “bad guy”? Explain.