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World War I. The Stage is Set. Section 1 chp 14 pp. 376-379. 1. Setting the Scene. By 1914, Europe had enjoyed a century of relative peace. Many idealists hoped for a permanent end to the scourge of war. “The future belongs to peace,” said French economist Frederic Passy.

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section 1 chp 14 pp 376 379

World War I

The Stage is Set

Section 1 chp 14 pp. 376-379

setting the scene


Setting the Scene
  • By 1914, Europe had enjoyed a century of relative peace. Many idealists hoped for a permanent end to the scourge of war. “The future belongs to peace,” said French economist Frederic Passy.
  • Others were less hopeful. “I shall not live to see the Great War,” warned German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, “but you will see it, and it will start in the east.” It was Bismarck’s prediction, rather than Passy’s that came true.
the pursuit of peace


The Pursuit of Peace

By the early 1900s, many efforts were underway to end war and foster understanding between nations.

  • In 1896, the first modern Olympic games were held. Their founder hoped the games would promote “love of peace and respect for life.”
  • Alfred Nobel set up the annual Nobel Peace Prize to reward people who worked for peace.
  • Women’s suffrage organizations supported pacifism, or opposition to all war.
  • In 1899, world leaders attended the First Universal Peace Conference. There they set up the Hague Tribunal, a world court to settle disputes between nations.
aggressive nationalism


Aggressive Nationalism

At the same time, other powerful forces were pushing Europe to the brink of war. Aggressive nationalism was one leading cause of international tensions.

france and germany


France and Germany
  • Germans were proud of their new empire’s military power and industrial leadership
  • The French longed to regain its position of power in Europe lost after Napoleon and their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War with the continued occupation of Alsace and Lorrain by the Germans. French citizens wanted to recover the “lost provinces.”
eastern europe
Eastern Europe
  • Russia believed in Pan-Slavism the belief that all Slavic people shared a common nationality and they [Russia] had a duty to defend all Slavs. They were prepared to defend Serbia.
  • Austria-Hungary feared nationalism and worried that it might cause rebellion in its diverse population
  • The Ottoman Empire also felt threatened by Serbia and Greece
  • In 1912 many Balkan states attacked Turkey, then those same states fought each other over control of land.
  • By 1914 the Balkans were a “Powder Keg”
rivalries among european powers
Rivalries Among European Powers
  • Economic rivalries further poisoned the international atmosphere. Britain felt threatened by Germany’s rapid economic growth.
  • By 1900, Germany’s new factories were out producing Britain’s older ones. Britain, therefore, had strong economic reasons to oppose Germany in any conflict.
  • The Germans, in turn, thought the other great powers did not give them enough respect.
  • In 1905 and again in 1911 France and Germany almost went to war over the creation of colonies
  • Germany was trying to stop France from making Morocco a protectorate
  • Diplomats solved the disputes by allowing Germany some territory in Central Africa
  • Britain and France began to ally themselves against Germany
militarism and the arms race
Militarism and the Arms Race
  • Militarism is the glorification of the military and the build up of military forces.
  • Social Darwinism in “survival of the fittest” led to War being seen as a great quest to protect and increase the homeland.
  • As tensions grew so did the build up of the military in all nations
  • Military leaders had great influence and power in diplomacy and held important positions in society.
a tangle of alliances
A Tangle of Alliances
  • Distrust led to the great powers in Europe signing treaties with one another in hopes that no one would dare attack. Two huge alliances emerged
  • Central Powers dated back to Bismarck's days in which he formed the triple alliance with Italy and Austria-Hungary when war broke out in 1914 these still allied together
  • In 1894 France and Great Britain signed and ENTANTE or a nonbinding agreement to follow common policies. Britain later signed an entatne with Russia, and when war broke out these three countries were allied as the Allies.
  • Other alliances were formed between Germany and the Ottoman Empire, and Great Britain and Japan obviously a very localized event could lead to a huge war!
european alliances 1914


European Alliances, 1914

The time was right for an: