WORLD WAR I 1914-1918
Great Britain Background: GB is a small country, but at the start of this century she was the greatest of the world’s great powers. Under Queen Victoria (1837-1901) Britain had become the richest and most powerful nation on the earth. She had the richest industries, the most trade, the largest number of colonies and the biggest navy. Her immediate rival was Germany. Ruler: King George V ruled 1910-1936 Character: The man who ruled the greatest country in the world was shy and quiet. He spend 15 years in the Royal Navy before becoming King in 1910, aged 45. Unlike his father, he was a devoted family man. There was nothing very unusual about him except that, as one historian has pointed out, his trousers were creased at the sides, not back to front. In comparison with many rulers of the time, he had little power. He could not make his own laws, as that was Parliaments’ job.
Germany Background: In 1914 Germany was less than 50 years old. Before 1870 there was no such country, only a collection of small states, each with its own ruler. One of the states Prussia was bigger than the rest and its ruler wanted to unite all the states to be more powerful. France and Austria did not want them to unify so they declared war on Prussia. Both countries lost to Prussia. In 1871 Prussia’s Wilhelm and Prime Minister Bismarck unified the German Empire. Her immediate rival was France and Great Britain. Ruler: Kaiser Wilhelm II 1888-1918 Character: Kaiser Wilhelm was King George V’s cousin, but was the exact opposite in character. He was energetic and had a strong, outgoing personality. Although, he was born with a withered left arm, he was an excellent horseman who could also swim, shoot, fence and hunt. Just as his cousin George spent his youth in the navy, so Wilhelm spent most of his youth in the army. When he grew up, he loved the army and enjoyed dressing up in military uniform. He could be very charming and friendly, but was often impatience and rude. He was very popular with his subjects.
Russia Background: Russia is the largest country in the world, but in 1900 she was also one of the poorest. She was very rich in minerals-oil, coal, iron ore, gold etc-but these were not much used. She had a huge population, but most people lived in the western half of the country. Hardly anyone at all lived in Siberia. Russia had great amounts of land, but much of it was too cold for farming. She had a long coast line, but most of it was frozen for half the year, making sea transport impossible. Russia was friendly with France as it had loaned them money to modernize their military after Germany had said no. Russia was an empire of many peoples, each speaking a different language. The Russian Empire was a very weak giant. Her immediate rival Austria-Hungary Ruler: Tsar Nicholas II 1894-1917 Character: He was a weak man and not very clever. He was a bad judge of people and was easily influenced by poor advisers. Example: Rasputin, who helped his son, who was a hemophiliac with hypnotic powers of healing. Nicholas’ greatest weakness was trying to rule Russia as an autocrat, meaning he had complete control of all and would not share his power. This made him unpopular with his subjects, who believed in democracy.
Austria-Hungary Background: You can tell from its’ name that Austria-Hungary was actually a union of two separate countries. Inside each country lived many different peoples, or nationalities, each with its own language, its own customs and its own way of life. Like Russia, this made the country very hard to govern, especially as many of the peoples wanted to be independent of Austria-Hungary, so that they could rule themselves their own ways. The patchwork of peoples was falling apart. Example-Bosnia wants to join with their independent Serb brothers in the country of Serbia. Immediate rival Serbia and Russia. Ruler: Emperor Franz Joseph II 1848-1916 Character: At 84, he was the oldest of all Europe’s rulers. He was a quiet, serious and religious man, devoted to his work. His long life had been a sad one: his brother Maximilian, the ruler of Mexico had been killed by rebels, his son Rudolf had committed suicide and his wife had been stabbed to death by an assassin. In 1900, he was saddened when his nephew, Franz Ferdinand married beneath him to a Countess named Sophie Chotek. Should have married a princess. Franz Joseph was well liked by his subjects, but his people hated the government officials who ran the country.
France Background: Twice the size of Britain and about the same size as Germany. The land was fertile and her people hard working. She owned many Colonies, but was weaker than Britain and Germany. The French people had lost a lot of pride when they lost the Franco-Prussian war and the new German Empire had taken Alsace and Lorraine a valuable area rich in minerals. France hated Germany for this. Immediate rival Germany. Ruler: President Raymond Poincare (1913-1920) Character: Clever man, honest, outspoken, sometimes short tempered; he was also cold and unsympathetic. He was born in Lorraine. The people of France respected him, but did not like him very much.
United States Background-Not much interested in Europe. Concerned with our own back yard. Ruler: President Woodrow Wilson Character: Honest, honorable a political science professor. Like Roosevelt before him, Woodrow Wilson regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. "No one but the President," he said, "seems to be expected ... to look out for the general interests of the country." He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917, he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy."
CAUSES OF WWI • Historians have four long-term causes of the World War I: • NATIONALISM – a devotion to the interests and culture of one’s nation. Pride in your nation. • IMPERIALISM – Economic and political control over weaker nations. Take over the world for raw materials and markets. • MILITARISM – Increased military spending. Be as strong as the country you may have to go to war against. • ALLIANCE SYSTEM – By 1907 Europe was divided into two armed camps. I got your back.
NATIONALISM • Often nationalism led to competition and conflicts between nations. • It led to alliances as well.
NATIONALISM • Also, ethnic groups resented being dominated by others and wanted to create their own nations. • Russians wanted to protect their Serb brothers, both Slavic.
IMPERIALISM • For many centuries, European nations built empires. • Colonies supplied European nations with raw materials and provided markets for manufactured goods. • As Germany industrialized it competed directly with France and Britain. • Major European countries also competed for land in Africa and other parts of the world. This leads to conflict.
Imperialism…one country takes control of the economic and political affairs of another country
MILITARISM-Arms Race • Empires had to be defended and European nations increased military spending enormously in the late 19th and early 20th century. • By 1890 the strongest nation militarily in Europe was Germany. • Germany had a strong army and built up a navy to challenge England’s fleet. • France, Italy, Japan and the United States quickly joined in the naval buildup.
ALLIANCE SYSTEM • By 1907 there were two major defense alliances in Europe: • The Triple Entente, later known as the Allies, consisted of France, Britain, and Russia. Later Italy • The Triple Alliance, later known as the Central Powers, consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy (soon joined by the Ottoman Empire). TRIPLE ENTENTE FRANCE BRITAIN RUSSIA
Leaders - Central Powers Kaiser Wilhelm II (William II) Germany Emperor Franz Joseph, Austria-Hungary Enver Pasha, Ottoman Empire (Young Turks)
Leaders – Allied Powers Raymond Poincare – President of France, he had been born in Lorraine and hated the Germans Georges “The Tiger” Clemenceau – Premier of France Nicholas II – Czar of Russia.. Overthrown/murdered by Bolsheviks David Lloyd George – PM of UK at Treaty of Versailles George V-Ruler of Great Britain
THE SPARK: AN ASSASSINATION • The Balkan region was considered “the powder keg of Europe” Many ethnic groups living together. • Russia wanted access to the Mediterranean Sea/warm water port. • Austria-Hungary, which had taken control of Bosnia in 1878, accused Serbia of trying to get the Bosnians to revolt and join them. • Finally, in June of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne was gunned down by a group of Bosnian Serb radicals, igniting a crisis.
Inevitability of War June 28, 1914 - Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria Hungary assassinated. July 5, 1914 - Germany pledges military assistance if Austria-Hungary goes to war against Russia July 23, 1914 - Austria-Hungary issues Serbia an ultimatum.
The Inevitability of War - Entangling Alliances July 28, 1914 - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. July 29, 1914 - Russia orders full mobilization of its troops. August 1, 1914 - Germany declares war on Russia. August 2, 1914 - Germany demands Belgium declare access to German troops.
THE FIGHTING BEGINS • The Alliance system pulled one nation after another into the conflict. Domino Effect – The Great War had begun. • On August 3, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, following a strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan (Swinging Hammer). • This plan called for a quick strike through Belgium to Paris, France. • Next, Germany would attack Russia. • The plan was designed to prevent a two-front war for Germany .
1914 – 1915 Illusions Belief that modern industrial war could not be conducted for more than a few months. “Fatal attraction of war” Exhilarating release from every day life A glorious adventure War would rid the nations of selfishness Sparked a national re-birth based on heroism “Home by Christmas”
First Battle of the Marne, 1914 Casualties at the battle were heavy. The French incurred 250,000 losses, and it is believed that the Germans suffered similar casualties (no official figures are available). The British recorded 12,733 casualties. Important: Stopped the advance of the Germans led to a stalemate.
THE WAR BECOMES A STALEMATE • Unable to save Belgium, the Allies retreated to the Marne River in France where they halted the German advance in September of 1914 • Both sides dug in for a long siege • By the spring of 1915, two parallel systems of deep trenches crossed France from Belgium to Switzerland Western Front • There were 3 types of trenches; front line, support, and reserve • Between enemy trenches was “no man’s land” – an area with shell craters and filled with barbed wire
Trenches dug from English Channel to Switzerland • 6,250 miles • 6 to 8 feet deep • Stalemated both sides for 4 years The conditions in these trenches were horrific; aside from the fear of bombardment, soldiers also had to contend with the mud, flooding and disease associated with living in such a harsh environment.
FIRST BATTLE OF THE SOMME • During the First Battle of the Somme - which began July 1, 1916 and lasted until mid-November – the British suffered 60,000 casualties the first day • Final casualties for the First Battle of the Somme totaled 1.2 million, yet only 7 miles of ground was gained • This bloody trench warfare, in which armies fought for mere yards of ground, lasted for three years Gas attacks were common features of trench life and often caused blindness and lung disease
The Eastern Front Russian army moved into Eastern Germany on August 30, 1914 Defeated The Austrians kicked out of Serbia Italians attacked Austria in 1915 G. came to Austrian aid and pushed Russians back 300 miles into own territory Much more mobile more than the West But loss of life still very high 1915: 2.5 million Russians killed, captured, or wounded
Life in the Trenches Boredom Soldiers read to pass the time Sarah Bernhardt came out to the front to read poetry to the soldiers We all had on us the stench of dead bodies.” Death numbed the soldier’s minds. Shell shock Psychological devastation
NEW WEAPONS USED • Machine Guns – Guns could now fire 600 rounds per minute • The Tank – New steel tanks ran on caterpillar treads • Flame Throwers • Airplanes – Early dogfights resembled duals, however by 1918 the British had a fleet of planes that could deliver bomb loads • Poison Gas – mustard gas was used to subdue the enemy
Poison Gas Germans used Chlorine gas 1915 Phosgene: an improved lung gas Mustard gas: no smell and its effect were not noticed for 12 hours
1st used in 1916 by Brits at the Battle of the Somme Tank limitations: a speed of four mph and restricted to forward fire Mechanically very primitive At the Battle of Amien 1918, allied commanders had 342 tanks available the first day 145 on the second 85 on the third 38 on the fourth 6 on the fifth day!
The changes of war-Airplanes Airplanes Dog fights in the air Bombing inaccurate Romanticized the battlefields Paris and London bombed Pilots fired pistols and threw hand grenades Fragile w/limited speed Limited to: 1. surveillance: observation 2. “dog fighting” – personal combat (public loved this.)
AMERICANS QUESTION NEUTRALITY • In 1914, most Americans saw no reason to join a struggle 3,000 miles away – they wanted neutrality • Some simply did not want their sons to experience the horror of warfare • German-Americans (and some Irish-Americans) supported Germany in World War I • However, many Americans felt close to the British because of a shared ancestry and language • Most importantly, American economic interests were far stronger with the Allies
THE WAR HITS HOME • During the first two years of the war, America was providing (selling) the allied forces dynamite, cannon powder, submarines, copper wire and tubing and other war material. Cash and Carry • Both the Germans and British imposed naval blockades on each other. • The Germans used U-boats (submarines) to prevent shipments to the North Atlantic • Any ship found in the waters around Britain would be sunk Unrestricted Sub Warfare. German U-boat 1919
THE LUSITANIA DISASTER • United States involvement in World War I was hurried up by the Lusitania disaster • The Lusitania was a British passenger liner that carried 1,198 persons on a fateful trip on May 7, 1915 • A German U-boat sank the British passenger liner killing all aboard including 128 American tourists. No warning. • The Germans claimed the ship was carrying Allied ammunition. It was! 4,200 cases of guns. • Americans were outraged and public opinion turned against Germany and the Central Powers
1916 ELECTION • The November 1916 election pitted incumbent Democrat Woodrow Wilson vs. Republican candidate Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes • Wilson won a close election using the slogan, “He kept us out of war” • That slogan would prove ironic because within a few months the United States would be embroiled in World War I Wilson
AMERICA EDGES CLOSER TO WAR • Several factors came together to bring the U.S. into the war; • 1) Germany ignored Wilson’s plea for peace • 2) The Zimmerman Note, a telegram from the German foreign minister to the German Ambassador in Mexico, proposed an alliance • Germany promised Mexico a return of their “lost territory” in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona • 3) Next came the sinking of four unarmed U.S. merchant ships by German subs
AMERICA DECLARES WAR • A light drizzle fell on Washington on April 2, 1917, as senators, representatives, ambassadors, members of the Supreme Court, and other guests crowded into the Capital building to hear Wilson deliver his declaration of war • Wilson said, “The world must be safe for democracy” • Congress passed the resolution a few days later
The U.S. involvement in WWI ended a long tradition of avoiding involvement in European conflicts… …and set the stage for the U.S. to emerge as a global superpower later in the 20th century.
AMERICAN POWER TIPS THE BALANCE • America was not ready for war – only 200,000 men were in service when war was declared • Congress passed the Selective Service Act in May of 1917 Draft • By the end of 1918, 24 million had signed up and almost 3 million were called to duty
FRESH U.S. SOLDIERS JOIN FIGHT • After 2 ½ years of fighting, the Allied forces were exhausted • One of the main contributions of the Americans was fresh and enthusiastic troops • American infantry were nicknamed “doughboys” because of their white belts • Most doughboys had never ventured far from the farms or small towns they lived in
AMERICAN TROOPS GO ON THE OFFENSIVE • When Russia surrendered to the Germans in 1917, it allowed the Central Powers to focus on the Western Front. Lucky U.S. had joined. Russia now communist! • By May, the Germans were within 50 miles of Paris • The Americans arrived and immediately played a major role in pushing the Germans back • In July and August the Americans helped the Allies win the Second Battle of the Marne
AMERICAN WAR HERO • Alvin York, a blacksmith from Tennessee, originally sought an exemption from the war as a Conscientious Objector • York eventually decided it was morally acceptable to fight if the cause was right • On October 8, 1918, armed with only a rifle and a revolver, York killed 25 Germans and (with six doughboys) captured 132 prisoners • Upon his return home he was promoted to Sergeant and hailed a hero
GERMANY COLLAPSES, WORLD WAR I ENDS • On November 3, 1918, Germany’s partner, Austria-Hungary, surrendered to the Allies • That same day, German sailors mutinied against their government • Other revolts followed, and Germany was too exhausted to continue • So at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, Germany signed a truce (armistice) ending the Great War
THE WAR AT HOMEPerformed a Production Miracle • The entire U.S. economy was focused on the war effort • The shift from a consumer economy to war economy required business and government working together • In the process, the power of the U.S. government expanded • Congress gave President Wilson direct control over the economy
SELLING THE WAR • The U.S. had two major tasks; raising money and convincing the public to support the war • The U.S. spent $35.5 billion on the war effort • The government raised about 1/3 of that through an income tax and “sin” taxes • The rest was raised through war bonds sold to the public (Liberty Loans & Victory Loans)
VICTORY GARDENS • To conserve food, Wilson set up the Food Administration (FA) • The FA declared one day a week “meatless” another “sweetless” and two days “wheatless” • Homeowners planted “victory gardens” in their yards • Schoolchildren worked after-school growing tomatoes and cucumbers in public parks • Farmers increased production by almost 30% by adding 40 million acres of farmland
PROPAGANDA • To popularize the war, the government set up the nations first propaganda agency called the Committee on Public Information (CPI) • George Creel led the agency and persuaded many of the nation’s artists to create thousands of paintings, posters, cartoons and sculptures to promote the war
SOCIAL CHANGE DURING THE WAR • The greatest effect of the First World War on the African American population was that it sped up the Great Migration • The Great Migration was when hundreds of thousands of blacks from the south moved to Northern cities • They left to escape discrimination and to seek greater job opportunities • Popular destinations included Chicago, New York and Philadelphia
WOMEN IN THE WAR • Many women were called upon to take on jobs previously held by men who were serving in the war • They became railroad workers, cooks, dockworkers, factory workers, and miners • Many women served as volunteers in organizations such as the Red Cross • Their service helped the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving women the right to vote