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The Great War 1914-1918

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The Great War 1914-1918. Unexpected yet inevitable . Most early 20 th century Europeans believed an all out European war was unlikely. Economic growth and interdependence in trade and finance brought European states and the entire world closer than ever before.

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unexpected yet inevitable
Unexpected yet inevitable
  • Most early 20th century Europeans believed an all out European war was unlikely.
  • Economic growth and interdependence in trade and finance brought European states and the entire world closer than ever before.
  • Communications, advances in travel and tourism allowed people to appreciate other nations and cultures.
unexpected yet inevitable3
Unexpected yet inevitable
  • Despite growing interdependence, no international organization existed to diffuse crises (each state was sovereign.)
  • Most European nations increased the size of their armies, navies, and armaments.
  • Nations planned for war an instituted mandatory service requirements.
  • With heightened nationalism, most people welcomed war in 1914 in euphoria and the belief in quick victory (and little knowledge of war’s effects).
a war on two fronts
A War on Two Fronts
  • The Germans faced a war on two fronts on opposite sides of their nation; against Britain and France in the west and Russia in the East.
the schlieffen plan
The Schlieffen Plan
  • The German plan was developed by Alfred Graf von Schlieffen in 1905 in the event of a war against France and Russia.
  • It called for invasion of neutral Belgium and a defeat of France by taking Paris in 6 weeks.
  • The Russians would be slow to mobilize, so Germany could then move its troops to the east.
war in the west
War in the West
  • Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
    • German General Helmuth von Moltke led his troops through a heavily defended area of Belgium, slowing their advance.
    • The British forces sent to help the French further slowed the German advance.
    • The Russians mobilized faster than expected, necessitating the move of two German divisions to the Eastern Front.
war in the west8
War in the West
  • Battle of the Marne (Sept. 1914)
    • The French reorganized and launched a counterattack against the Germans.
    • On Sept. 5, the German and French Armies met in northern France near the Marne River.
    • The French were able to push the Germans back 50 miles and saved Paris from attack.
war in the west9
War in the West
  • Stalemate
    • In late 1914, each army tried to outflank the other to gain ground without success.
    • Despite heavy losses on both sides there were no major breakthroughs.
    • In 1915, the war in the west settled into a stable front the stretched from the Swiss border to the North Sea coast.
trench warfare
Trench Warfare
  • With the stability of the front lines, the war moved into trenches dug by armies on both sides, stretching for over 500 miles.
trench warfare11
Trench Warfare
  • Soldiers lived in the trenches for weeks faced with filth, rats, regular artillery attacks, and the danger of poison gas attacks.
trench warfare12
Trench Warfare
  • A “no-man’s-land” existed between the trenches of the two armies.
  • Soldiers would go “over the top” of their trenches and attempt to storm the other line, often being cut down by machine gun fire.
impact of new technology machine gun
Impact of New Technology Machine Gun
  • The introduction of the machine gun forced soldiers into the trenches to avoid being killed.
  • Many still were however when they attempted to charge enemy lines.
war in the west14
War in the West
  • Battle of Verdun
    • In Feb. 1916, Germany attempted an assault on the French stronghold at Verdun.
    • They failed, going on the defensive in July, but continuing the battle until December.
    • At Verdun, the French lost over 540,000 men, while the Germans lost over 430,000.
war in the west15
War in the West
  • Battle of the Somme
    • In July 1916, the British and French launched an assault along 38 miles of the Somme River.
    • By November, the Allies had only advanced 7 miles and the British lost 400,000 men while the French lost 200,000 (the Germans lost 650,000)
impact of new technology poison gas
Impact of New Technology Poison Gas
  • The French were the first to use gas, but it was not poisonous.
  • The Germans first used poison gas at the Battle of Ypres in 1915.
  • All other nations soon followed in using gas in war.
impact of new technology tanks
Impact of New Technology Tanks
  • Tanks were first used by the British in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
  • The early tanks were to slow and not well armed, but they foretold how tanks could be used as weapons in the future.
impact of new technology airplane
Impact of New Technology Airplane
  • The introduction of the airplane allowed for reconnaissance of enemy positions, bombing of enemy positions, and the first air-to-air combat known as “dog fighting.”
air ace the red baron
Air Ace - The Red Baron
  • Captain Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen was the greatest ace of World War I.
  • He had over 80 victories.
  • He was killed in combat on April 21, 1918, only months before the end of the war.
war in the east
War in the East
  • Eastern Front – Battle of Tannenberg
    • On August 13th, Russians invaded East Prussia (present day Poland) faster that the Germans expected.
    • The two armies met at Tannenberg and the Russian successes ended.
    • 30,000 Russian soldiers were killed and 92,000 were taken prisoner.
war in the east21
War in the East
  • Russia did have some success against Austria in taking Galicia.
  • But the Germans advanced into Russian Poland, taking Warsaw.
  • Russian offensives against the Austrians remained indecisive and they continued to lose territory to theGermans.
war in the east22
War in the East
  • Continued failures in the war forced Tsar Nicholas II to take direct command of the army in September 1915.
  • A Russian advance against Austria in June 1916 was halted with German assistance.
  • Rumania entered the war against Austria in August, but was defeated and Rumania was occupied by Austria.
war in the east23
War in the East
  • By the end of 1916, the Russian army began to crumble do to lack of supplies, men and effective leadership.
  • The revolutions of 1917 eventually ended any possibility of continued Russian fighting.
  • The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ended the war between Russian and the Central Powers in March 1918.
the italian front
The Italian Front
  • Italy stayed out of the war at the beginning.
  • The allies convinced her to join them through the Treaty of London which promised Italy Austrian and Turkish territory and land in Africa.
  • In May 1915, Italy attacked Austria.
  • Italy was unsuccessful and Austria defeated her at Caporetto in 1917.
  • The British and French then rushed in troops to stabilize the front.
the gallipoli campaign
The Gallipoli Campaign
  • Nov. 1914 the Ottomans entered the war supporting the Central Powers, closing the Turkish Straits to allied shipping.
  • Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, organized an amphibious campaign against the Gallipoli Peninsula in Feb 1915.
  • The force of British and ANZACs failed and they withdrew in January 1916.
war in the middle east
War in the Middle East
  • Russians succeeded in turning back a Turkish offensive in the Caucasus in 1915, but the Turks massacred and deported the Armenians.
  • The British took Baghdad and Jerusalem in 1917, hoping to open a route to Russia.
  • The British were successful in pushing the Arabs to revolt with the help of British Colonel T.E. Lawrence.

T.E. Lawrence

war at sea
War at Sea
  • The Battle of Jutland
    • British and Germans were wary to use their fleets in battle.
    • On May 31, 1916 they finally met at Jutland.
    • There was no clear winner in the greatest battleship battle ever.
    • British blockade continued and Germany denied access to the Baltic.
war at sea28
War at Sea
  • Submarine Warfare
    • In Feb. 1915 Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare to starve out Britain.
    • In May, the British liner Lusitania was sunk, killing 139 Americans, protests had the Germans put restrictions on their campaign.
    • German loses persuaded them to renew their campaign in Feb. 1917
entry of the united states
Entry of the United States
  • Tensions between the U.S. and Germany had grown throughout the war, but most citizens and President Wilson were determined to remain neutral.
  • In March, 1917 the British intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram.
    • German foreign minister Zimmerman had proposed to Mexico to attack the United States, in which in would receive the U.S. Southwest and prevent U.S. entry in the European War.
    • This enraged public opinion, and in April, 1917 the U.S. declared war on Germany.