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World War I. 1914-1918. Causes Of World War I: complex and varied, but it all comes down to the…. M A N I A C. ilitarism. lliances. ationalism. mperialism. ssassination. ompetition. Nationalism. 19th c. --> rise of nationalistic spirit across Europe

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World war i

World War I


Causes of world war i complex and varied but it all comes down to the
Causes Of World War I:complex and varied, but it all comes down to the…

  • M

  • A

  • N

  • I

  • A

  • C








  • 19th c. --> rise of nationalistic spirit across Europe

    • Countries see own sovereignty and superiority as imptnt

    • Yet not all seeking independence had achieved sov.

      • Slavics in Balkans and in Austro-Hungary

  • Nationalism --> tendency to focus on own state’s interest,

    not interest of international community, which led to . . .

  • Imperialism as an important factor . . .


  • How so?

  • As European powers added foreign lands to their holdings--> inevitable that these spots would become HOT!

    • Argue over the land--> 1905 and 1911 Fr and Ger. Almost go to war over Morocco.

  • Brutality of new imperialism led nations to denounce each other--> increase tensions


  • Great Britain--> premier navy in Europe

  • Germany-->most powerful army

    • Kinda like Athens and Sparta… and you remember how that turned out . . . .

  • GB and Ger rush to outdo each other militarily

  • Other Euro powers worry and increase military

  • Military leaders exert influence on political leaders

  • Left Europe ready for war

  • Arms race-->defensive and paranoid

  • Seek strength in numbers, so powers form . . .


  • Bismarck worked HARD to keep peace by encouraging alliances

    • Why is Bismarck a “peace-nik?”

Bismarck worked hard to build Ger. Into a mighty

nation and saw war as a potential “un-doer!”

  • On eve of Great War--Europe divided into two powerful


    Triple Entente: Britain, France and Russia

    from earlier Entente Cordiale: Brit and Fr and later agreement btw Brit and Russia

    Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria and Italy

    Mutual defense pacts--> aggression to one=aggression to all


  • Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo (capital of Bosnia—Austrian province) on June 28, 1914

    • Heir to the Austrian throne

    • Assassins part of Serbian terrorist group, the Black Hand

    • Austria issue ultimatum to Serbia

    • Germany gives “Blank Check” to Austria

      • To act against Serbia

      • Russia backs Serbia

  • The spark!


  • Overall competitive nature of Europe at this time—militarily, imperialistically, nationally.

The balkans
The Balkans

  • The Eastern Question

    • What happens after the Ottoman Empire falls apart?

    • Between 1878 and 1913, Ottoman Empire loses all of its territories in the Balkans

      • Austria takes Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878

      • Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro gain independence

      • Russia tries to gain influence in the Balkans in 1878 but stopped at the Congress of Berlin

The balkans1
The Balkans

  • The Balkan Wars (1911, 1913)

    • Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria attack the Ottoman Empire

      • To gain more territory

    • Serbia becomes a threat to Austria

      • Serbia wants to extend into Austrian territory

      • Serbia allied with Russia in secret alliance

World war i1
World War I

  • The Central Powers

    • Germany, Austria, the Ottoman Empire

      • Ottoman Empire enters alliance with Germany in October 1914

  • The Triple Entente (Allies)

    • Britain, France, Russia

      • Italy joins Triple Entente in 1915 in secret alliance

  • World War I begins

World war i2
World War I

  • The Western Front

    • Germany invades Belgium on August 3, 1914

      • Schlieffen Plan

        • Invade and defeat France quickly through Belgium

        • Then concentrate on war v. Russia

    • Belgium puts up more resistance than expected

      • Buys time for the British to move into France

    • British and French stop Germans outside Paris-Stalemate develops

      • Beginning of trench warfare

        • Lasts for 3 years

The top 5 german excuses for schlieffen plan failure
The Top 5 German Excuses for Schlieffen Plan Failure:

  • 5. Hired a failed Austrian artist with a funny moustache to draw the maps.

  • 4. Those Belgians weren't waffles after all. 

  • 3. Legendary orders "Last man on the right should brush his sleeve in the English Channel" mistakenly heard as "...brush his TEETH...."

  • 2. Superior German planning, equipment and personnel no match for legendary, unsurpassed French panic.

  • And the number one reason why the Schlieffen Plan failed:

    • Hard to take seriously any plan that starts with the word "Schlieffen"!

World war i3
World War I

  • The Eastern Front

    • Germany invades Russia in 1914

      • Russian army no match for Germany

      • Germany takes Poland, the Baltic coast, and western Russia

    • The war becomes unpopular in Russia

      • Low morale in the army and shortage of supplies in the cities

World war i4
World War I

  • War expands outside Europe

    • Africa

      • British take German colonies

    • Asia

      • Japan takes German colonies in the Pacific and German interests in China

    • Middle East

      • British try to invade Ottoman Empire in Gallipoli campaign in 1915

      • British and French take Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia

World war i5
World War I

  • New weapons introduced

    • Tanks, airplanes, submarines, machine guns

    • But war fought with old tactics

  • Total war effort: a new form of warfare

    • Entire economy devoted to the war effort

    • More women work in factories to make up for men going to war

    • Mass media allows effective use of war propaganda

    • Burgfrieden (civil peace):

Twe propaganda1
TWE: Propaganda

“Think of your children!”


  • Reichstag-declared.

  • Duration of the war, all pre-war conflicts among Germans would be set aside.

  • Citizens would unite in the interest of defending the country.

  • Social Democrats/Women’s rights advocates/labor leaders

  • At first good, but then support waivered.

  • Food shortages, limited expression, anti-war sentiment.

World war i6
World War I

  • Russia gets out of the war

    • War going disastrously

    • Czar Nicholas II unable to provide leadership

    • Czar Nicholas II overthrown in February Revolution (March 1917)

    • Provisional government replaces monarchy

      • But continues fighting

    • Bolsheviks under Lenin gain control in October Revolution (November 1917)

      • Promise “Peace, Land, and Bread”

      • Sign Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918

        • R. yields Poland, Baltic States, Ukraine, Finland

        • War indemnity. $6 B marks

World war i7
World War I

  • The United States neutral for most of the war

  • Submarine warfare

    • German submarines target British shipping

    • Sometimes neutral ships sunk

      • Lusitania sunk in 1915. 120 Americans on board

    • US makes Germany promise to restrict submarine warfare. Germans agree, but then reneged.

World war i8
World War I

  • The US declares war on Germany in 1917

    • Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917

    • President Woodrow Wilson wants US to “make the world safe for democracy”

  • US tips the balance on the side of the Allies

    • American troops, money, and supplies give advantage to the Allies

World war i9
World War I

  • Losses in the war lead to revolution in Germany

    • Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates on November 9, 1918

    • Monarchy replaced by a republic

    • Germany calls for an armistice on November 11, 1918

  • World War I comes to an end

    • Estimated 10,000,000 deaths from the war

    • Most destructive war in history

    • Destroys European assumptions of progress

The treaty of versailles
The Treaty of Versailles

  • Representatives from Allied nations and Germany meet in Paris

    • Wilson represents the United States and tries to make peace

    • The Fourteen Points

      • National self-determination

      • Open agreements

      • League of Nations

      • Arms reductions

      • Free Trade

The treaty of versailles1
The Treaty of Versailles

  • Britain (George) and France (Clemenceau) don’t buy Wilson’s Fourteen Points

    • They want revenge on Germany

  • Britain and France make a harsh peace with Germany

    • Germany takes full responsibility for the war

    • Stripped all of its colonies

    • Occupy part of German territory. Fr gets A-L back.

    • Ger=No AF; restricted army and navy

    • Impose heavy reparations (132 B gold marks=$33B)

    • Germans feel angry and cheated

The treaty of versailles2
The Treaty of Versailles

  • End of World War I redraws the map of Europe

    • Austria-Hungary dismembered into new states

    • Ottoman Empire dissolved

      • New republic in Turkey

      • Middle East divided between Britain and France

    • Poland reappears as a republic

    • Yugoslavia comes into existence

    • Empires gone: Ottoman, Austria-Hungary, Russia, German

The league of nations
The League of Nations

  • Wilson compromises on Fourteen Points to get support for the League of Nations

  • Treaty of Versailles had to be ratified by the US

    • US Senate refuses to ratify the Treaty of Versailles in 1919

    • US does not join the League of Nations

    • League of Nations has no credibility


  • Between 1870 and 1914 European powers enter into alliances

  • Arms race makes Europe highly unstable

  • A series of decisions led Europe into World War I

  • Allies impose a harsh peace on Germany

  • World War I the most destructive war in history

Impact of war
Impact of War

  • 10,000,000 dead. 20,000,000+ wounded

  • $330 Billion total cost

  • European economy in shambles

    • Euro govs in debt w/ no way to repay—esp to USA

  • Psychologically scarring. Doubts and fears reflected in art, writing and philosophy of early 20th c.

  • 20th century was to be a century of prosperity and progress shakes belief in humanity, order and reason

  • Not the “war to end all wars.”

The alliance system
The Alliance System

  • After unifying Germany in 1871, Bismarck saw that Germany was vulnerable

    • Trapped between France and Russia in a two-front war

    • Formed alliances to prevent Germany from becoming isolated

      • Three Emperor’s League with Austria and Russia in 1873

      • Dual Alliance with Austria in 1879

      • Triple Alliance with Austria and Italy in 1882

  • All major European powers enter into an arms race

The alliance system1
The Alliance System

  • To assure Britain, Bismarck did not build a large navy

  • In 1888 Kaiser Wilhelm I died, grandson Wilhelm II becomes Kaiser

    • Queen Victoria’s grandson

    • Wanted Germany to be a Great Power like Britain with large navy and colonial empire

    • Fired Bismarck in 1890

The alliance system2
The Alliance System

  • Germany refuses to renew alliance with Russia

    • Russia allies with France in 1894

      • France invests in Russian industrialization

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II orders construction of large navy

    • British get worried

      • Germany industrializing at faster rate since 1871

    • Britain and Germany in naval arms race

      • Each country builds more battleships

    • Germany meddles in British colonial affairs

      • Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902)

The alliance system3
The Alliance System

  • Britain spent late 19th century in “splendid isolation”

    • No alliances—no reason for them at the time

    • Rise of Germany changes attitudes

  • Britain and France sign Entente Cordiale in 1904

    • Not quite an alliance but settles colonial disputes

    • Moroccan Crises (1905, 1911)

      • France tries to take over Morocco but Germany interferes

      • British intervention prevents war

    • Britain and Russia enter into same agreement in 1907

  • Britain signs alliance with Japan in 1902

World war i10
World War I

  • Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914

    • Heir to the Austrian throne

    • Assassins part of Serbian terrorist group, the Black Hand

    • Germany gives “Blank Check” to Austria

      • To act against Serbia

World war i11
World War I

  • The July Crisis

    • Austria issues ultimatum to Serbia on July 24, 1914

      • A list of 15 demands for Serbia in dealing with assassins

      • Serbia agrees to all but one; Austria planned it that way

      • Russia threatens Austria not to attack Serbia

      • Germany threatens Russia not to attack Austria

World war i12
World War I

  • The July Crisis

    • Austria declares war on Serbia on July 28, 1914

      • Russia and Austria mobilize

      • Germany threatens Russia not to mobilize

    • Germany declares war on Russia on August 1, 1914

    • Germany declares war on France on August 3, 1914

World war i13
World War I

  • The July Crisis

    • Britain had been staying neutral

      • Britain tries to mediate between Austria and Russia throughout crisis

        • But no one is listening

      • Germany plans to go through Belgium to attack France

        • Part of Schlieffen Plan

      • Britain threatens Germany not to march through Belgium

    • Britain declares war on Germany on August 4, 1914