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World War I

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  1. World War I The Great War

  2. Two Predictions • “The Future Belongs to Peace” – French economist • “I shall not live to see the Great War” – Bismarck

  3. Pursuit of Peace • 1896: Olympic games in Athens • Emphasized “love of peace and respect for life” • 1895: Nobel Peace Prize began • Women’s Suffrage • Support for peace movements • “Women don’t feel as men do about war They are the mothers of the race”

  4. Pacifism • First Universal Peace Conference • Can not force nations to submit their disputes • Cannot enforce its ruling • Important step toward the idea of peace

  5. Counterbalance to Peace: Aggressive Nationalism • France and Germany • Strong nationalism • Germans proud of military power/industrial leadership • France • wants to regain leadership of Europe • bitter about 1871 defeat, German occupation of A/L

  6. Treaties/Alliances Upset Balance of Power • 1870: Balance of power upset • Bismarck feared French revenge; negotiated treaties to isolate France; also feared Russia • 1881-1887: Alliance of the Three Emperors • Germany, Austria, and Russia • mutual defense pact concerning Balkans (Russia refused to renew in 1887) – desire to influence Serbia • Triple Alliance, 1881: Germany, Austria and Italy

  7. Treaties/Alliances • Russian-German Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 • neutrality if other was attacked • Kaiser refused to renew after removing Bismarck in 1890 • Germany developed closer ties to Austria • France courted Russia, became allies • "Splendid Isolation": After 1891, Britain was the only uncommitted power • Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902): • Britain sought Japanese agreement to "benevolent neutrality" to counter possible Russian threat in Asia

  8. Treaties/Alliances • Entente Cordial (1904): • Anglo-German naval arms race, causes Britain and France to settle all outstanding colonial disputes in Africa • Triple Entente, 1907: • Britain, France and Russia • formed to check Triple Alliance • King of England and Tsar are cousins

  9. German View of Entente Cordiale

  10. Triple Entente

  11. King George V and Tsar Nichols II: 1913 (below): Kaiser Wilhelm II – another cousin

  12. Anglo-German Arms Race • British policy = larger fleet than combined fleets of any two rival nations • 1898: Expansion of German navy to protect a growing international trade and colonialism • Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz • Haldane Mission (1912): British tried unsuccessfully to end naval arms race with Germany

  13. Eastern Europe: Russia • Pan Slavism • Nationalist movement • encouraged Serbs, Bosnians, Slovenes, and Croats to seek a single political entity in Southern Europe • Sponsored by Russia • Lead and defend all Slavs • All Slavs share a common nationality • 1914: Russia supported Serbia against Austria

  14. Eastern Europe: Fears and Tensions • Austria-Hungary feared nationalism would foster rebellion • Ottoman Empire: weak, threatened by new nations such as Serbia and Greece • 1912: Balkan states attacked Turkey • Constant state of warfare • “Powder Keg of Europe”

  15. Weaknesses of the Ottoman Empire • Young Turks set up parliamentary government in Ottoman Empire (1906-1917) • 1911-12: Italy took Turkish province of Libya; showed how weak Ottomans had become

  16. Balkan Wars • First Balkan War (1908) • Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria allied to drive the Turks out of the Balkans • Serbia wants spot on the Adriatic, bitter when Austria created Albania (to deter Serbia) • Second Balkan War (1913) • Serbia defeated Bulgaria, Macedonia and gained Albania; Russia backed Serbia • Austria, with German support against Russia, prevented Serbia from holding Albania • Serbia still frustrated it had no access to Adriatic Sea • The “Third Balkan War" between Austria and Serbia became World War I

  17. Rivalries • Economic Interests – Europe and abroad • Britain threatened by Germany’s rapid industrial growth • 1900: Germany out-producing Britain • Imperialism • 1905, 1911 Germany and France nearly go to war over colonial claims in Morocco

  18. Imperialism • Tensions over Africa • Berlin Conference, 1885 • Kruger Telegram (1902) • Germany congratulated Boers on victory over British troops in South Africa. • 1906: Algeciras Conference settled First Moroccan Crisis • Kaiser urged Moroccan independence, despite it being a French colony • Britain and Italy supported French imperialism in Morocco and Tunisia

  19. The German Issue • Britain, France, Russia, and U.S. saw Germany as potential threat • Germany isolated (except for Austria's support) • Claimed "encirclement" by other powers to block Germany's emergence as world power • Second Moroccan Crisis (1911) • German troops in Morocco protest French occupation of the city of Fez. • Britain supported France again • Germany backed down for minor concessions in equatorial Africa

  20. More Causes • Social Darwinism: “survival of the fittest” • “War is a biological necessity” – German general • Militarism: • War romanticized, enlistment increases • Expansion of armies, navies leads to arms race • Naval rivalry between GB and Germany • As tensions increase, military strategists gain influence

  21. M.A.I.N. Causes of World War I M = Militarism A = Alliances I = Imperialism N = Nationalism

  22. The Spark

  23. Sarajevo: June 20, 1914 • Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand visits Bosnia (under Austrian rule) • Ethnic, political tension: Serbs vs. Slavs • Serbs see Austria as foreign oppressor • June 20 is a nationalist holiday for Serbs • “Unity or Death” (sometimes known as “Black Hand”) decided to assassinate the “tyrant”

  24. The Conflict Begins • Austrian Government sees this event as an excuse to harshly punish Serbian nationalists • Ultimatum: Serbia must end all anti-Austrian agitation • Any Serbian official involved in the murder plot must be punished • Austrians will “oversee” murder investigation • Serbia refused these conditions • July 28: Austria declared war on Serbia

  25. The Conflict Grows • Germany supports Austria’s ultimatum • Serbia gets help from Russia to defend itself • Russia begins mobilizing for war • Germany sees this as an act of aggression, declares war on Russia • French nationalists see war as opportunity to regain losses to Germany; support Russia • Germany sees this as a threat, declares war on France • GB and Italy - neutral

  26. The Conflict Grows: The Schlieffen Plan • Plan for attacking France • Designed to avoid a two-front war against France and Russia • Schlieffen assumes Russia would be slow to mobilize, so Germany must defeat France quickly first

  27. The Schlieffen Plan

  28. The Schlieffen Plan in Action • Germany must march through Belgium, swing south behind French lines • August 3: Germany invades Belgium • Big Problem: Belgium is neutral • Britain declares war on Germany • Schlieffen Plan failed • Russia mobilized quickly, German troops needed to return to eastern border • Battle of the Marne destroys German offense

  29. Battle of the Marne • August 1914: German troops approaching Paris • Government flees to Bordeaux • British and French forces keep Germans from advancing to Paris • About 250,000 casualties for each side in a 3-day battle

  30. The “Guns of August” • War seemed inevitable • Countries were in a hurry to go to war • “Military staffs, goaded by relentless timetables, were pounding the table for the signal to move, lest their opponents gain an hour’s head start” – Barbara Tuchman, “The Guns of August”

  31. Another View of Impending War “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”– Edward Gray, British diplomat

  32. Warfare Reborn • “The Great War” • Largest conflict ever (at that time) • French mobilized 8.5 million men • British mobilized 9 million • Russians: 12 million • Germans: 11 million • Devastating loss of life, dramatic social changes

  33. Case Study: France • 1/5 of French population fought in the war • The Somme: 600,000 French and British dead • Allies “win” • 8 kilometers of advance = 75,000 lives lost per kilometer • “Missing Generation” • Bombed out cities are referred to as “martyred cities”

  34. Total Casualties = 19 million military and civilian

  35. The Western Front

  36. Trench Warfare • French/Swiss border to the English Channel • Rats, lice • “no man’s land” • “over the top” • Little gain

  37. Major Battles • Marne, 1914 • Verdun, 1916 • 11 months, 600,000 dead • 750,000 wounded • Somme (summer, fall 1916) • 60,000 British killed and wounded in one day • 1 million dead in 5 months, no significant gain

  38. Modern Warfare • Machine guns • Artillery launchers (10 mile range) • Poison gas • Armored tank • Aircraft, zeppelins • U-boats: unrestricted submarine warfare against US-led supply convoys

  39. British/Allied Naval Blockades • Goal: strangle Central Powers • 1914: Central Powers cut off from overseas trade • Germany loses control of its colonial empire • Germany responded by sinking Allied vessels • Lusitania, 1915: 1,200 killed, including 129 Americans • Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 sinking all ships with its U-boats