Alliances and the First World War: Essential Background - Fact 1 World War I was all about the place of Germany in Europe
Alliances and the First World War: Essential Background - Fact 2 France and Germany hated each other! When Germany became united country in 1870-1, France went to war to try to stop it … but got WHOPPED!
Alliances and the First World War: Essential Background Fact 2 (cont.) France also lost Alsace-Lorraine in 1870-1. The French never forgave the Germans. They wanted REVENGE.
Alliances and the First World War: Germany in the Middle Germany’s BIG problem was that it was IN THE MIDDLE. That made it VULNERABLE if it came to a war.
Alliances and the First World War: Three Emperors’ League, 1881 In the 19th century, Germany’s brilliant Chancellor, Bismarck, solved this problem by keeping friends with RUSSIA and AUSTRIA-HUNGARY (the Dreikaiserbund).
Alliances and the First World War: Triple Alliance, 1882 Then Bismarck allied with Italy and Austria-Hungary (the TRIPLE ALLIANCE, 1882). Together with his friendship with Russia, this kept Germany safe.
Alliances and the First World War: Germany encircled But when Kaiser Wilhelm became Emperor, he dumped the Russian alliance. He kept the Triple Alliance, but this did NOT solve the problem of Germany’s encirclement.
Alliances and the First World War: Franco-Russian Alliance, 1892 Instead, in 1892, Russia made an alliance with FRANCE. Although it was only a DEFENSIVE alliance, it was Germany’s worst nightmare!
Alliances and the First World War: Webs of Alliances There were many more alliances.
Alliances and the First World War: Anglo-Japanese Naval Agreement, 1902 A very important one was the 1902 Anglo-Japanese naval alliance, which freed up Great Britain from protecting its Empire in the far east…
Alliances and the First World War: Entente Cordiale, 1904 … whichallowed Britain to make the Entente Cordiale (‘friendly relationship’) with France in 1904.
Alliances and the First World War: Triple Entente, 1907 In 1907 Russia joined Britain and France to make the Triple Entente. So by 1914 Europe had divided into two massive superpower blocs. People thought this BALANCE OF POWER would keep the peace.
Alliances and the First World War: The Balkans But Russia was also allied to Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. When trouble erupted in the Balkans in 1914, the nations found their alliances dragged them into war…
Alliances and the First World War: How the Alliances caused war … like mountain climbers tied to the same rope. (i.e. it is arguable that THE SYSTEM OF ALLIANCES CAUSED WORLD WAR ONE.)
1. The Alliance System Triple Entente: Triple Alliance:
Two Armed Camps! Allied Powers: Central Powers:
Triple Alliance Germany Austria-Hungary Italy Central Powers Germany Austria-Hungary Ottoman Empire Triple Entente England France Russia Allied Powers England, France, Russia, United States, Italy, Serbia, Belgium, Switzerland The Two Sides
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]
Pan-Slavism in the Balkans 1914 “Powder Keg” of Europe
The Balkans: The Restless Region • Ottoman Empire declining • Nationalism = powerful force in the Balkans • Austria-Hungary takes over struggling nations and vows to crush any efforts to undermine authority • Serbia – supported by Russia; wants to break free from Austria-Hungary
The Crisis 1. • 28 June 1914 • Heir to Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand visits Sarajevo. • Capital of Bosnia, recently grabbed by Austria. • Hotbed of Slav nationalism Seal of the Black Hand group
The Crisis 2. • “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.
7 5 6 3 1 4 2
The Crisis 3. • Austrians, supported by Germany, send Serbia a tough ultimatum. • Serbia agrees to all but two terms of the ultimatum. • Russia mobilises her troops to support Serbia • Germany demands that Russia stands her armies down. • Germany declares war on Russia “Demands must be put to Serbia that would be wholly impossible for them to accept …”
Why did Britain get involved? • Britain had Ententes with France and Russia. • Only “friendly agreements” but French and Russians given impression Britain would fight. • The Schlieffen Plan Sir Edward Grey British Foreign Secretary … “There’s some devilry going on in Berlin”
The Schlieffen Plan • Germany’s military plan to defeat France and Russia. • “Knock out blow” aimed at France first. • Avoid French defences by invasion of Belgium. • Germans thought Britain would not intervene.
Britain’s Reaction • 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
German Poster Think of Your Children!
Technology: The Machine Gun It was used by both sides, hundreds of rounds a minute could be shot by one person. Chemical Weapons WWI was the first major war to use chemical weapons Mustard Gas and Chlorine Gas were the two most popular weapons: They caused suffocation, blindness, and death
Trench Warfare “No Man’s Land”
Technology:The U-boat (Submarine) Germany’s secret weapon during the war Sank dozens of British ships, controlled the oceans.
Why would the British think the U-boat was breaking the rules of War ?
Technology:Airpower Both sides used aircraft for observation, limited bombing, and air battles Airplanes were slow, clumsy, and unreliable, The most famous German pilot was Baron von Richthofen (The Red Baron)