World War I
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World War I 1914-1918. The Great War Begins. Main Idea: Europe in 1914 was on the brink of war. After an assassination, the nations of Europe were drawn one by one into what would be called the Great War, or World War I. Questions to think about: Why was Europe on the brink of war in 1914?

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World War I


The Great War Begins

Main Idea:

Europe in 1914 was on the brink of war. After an assassination, the nations of Europe were drawn one by one into what would be called the Great War, or World War I.

  • Questions to think about:

  • Why was Europe on the brink of war in 1914?

  • Why did war break out?

  • What were the results of the fighting in 1914?

Europe on the Brink of War

Rising tensions in Europe, 1914

  • Tensions result of four factors

    • Militarism

    • Alliances

    • Imperialism

    • Nationalism



  • Nations formed partnerships to protect against opposing forces

  • Triple Alliance united Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy

  • Great Britain joined France, Russia in Triple Entente

  • Believed no one nation would attack another, because allies would join fight

  • Massive military buildup in European countries, late 1800s and early 1900s

  • Wanted to protect overseas colonies from other nations

  • Growing power of armed forces left all sides ready to act at first sign of trouble

  • Minor disagreements had potential to turn to armed conflict

Europe on the Brink of War



  • Strong devotion to one’s national group or culture, increased in late 1800s

  • Led to formation of new countries, struggles for power

  • Most visible in Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe

  • Home to many ethnic groups trying to break free from Ottoman Empire

  • Late 1800s and early 1900s saw quest to build empires

  • Created rivalry, ill will among European nations

  • Germany, France, Russia, Great Britain vied to become great imperial nations

  • Each did not want others to gain power

Europe on the Brink of War

Europe on the Brink of War

Some of strongest nationalist tensions in Balkans in Serbia, independent nation

  • Serbian leaders wanted to expand borders, unite people in “greater Serbia”

  • Austria-Hungary, powerful empire to north, opposed expansion

  • Feared growth might encourage ethnic groups there to rebel

  • Tensions continued to rise in early 1900s

The Impact

Fighting Begins

  • Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated archduke, wife

  • Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia

  • Russia prepared to support Serbia

  • Austria-Hungary ally Germany saw Russia as threat

  • Germany declared war on Russia, ally France

  • Germany faced war on two fronts: Russia to east, France to west

  • Decided to strike France quickly then move to Russia

  • Began with quick strike into neutral Belgium

  • Attack on neutral country led Great Britain to declare war on Germany

War Breaks Out

In the midst of the tensions with Serbia, archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary decided to visit the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.

War Breaks Out

Main players in World War I in place

  • Central Powers

    • Germany

    • Austria-Hungary

  • Allied Powers

    • Great Britain

    • France

    • Russia

    • Serbia

Fighting in 1914

  • Germany’s plan

  • Germany wanted to quickly defeat France, move east to fight Russia

  • Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany doomed its plan

  • The Great War became bloody stalemate

  • Early battles

  • Battle of the Frontiers pitted German troops against both French and British

  • Both sides suffered heavy losses

  • Germany victorious

  • Russia enters fighting

  • Russia attacked German territory from the east

  • Russians defeated in Battle of Tannenberg

  • Germany distracted from France, Allies turned on German invaders

Fighting in 1914

Trench warfare begins

  • Allied troops drove Germans back, Battle of the Marne, September 1914

  • Retreating Germans dug series of trenches along Aisne River

    • Waited in trenches for Allied attack

    • Trenches elaborately constructed, cleverly concealed

  • Allies dug trenches of their own

    • Major battles for months with little change in positions

    • Deadlocked region became known as Western Front

Trench foot
Trench Foot

Many soldiers fighting in the WWI suffered from trench foot. This was an infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and insanitary conditions. In the trenches men stood for hours on end in waterlogged trenches without being able to remove wet socks or boots. The feet would gradually go numb and the skin would turn red or blue. If untreated, trench foot could turn gangrenous and result in amputation. Trench foot was a particular problem in the early stages of the war. For example, during the winter of 1914-15 over 20,000 men in the British Army were treated for trench foot.

Poison gas in wwi
Poison Gas in WWI

  • The use of poison gases in World War I ranged from disabling chemicals, such as tear gas and the severe mustard gas, to lethal agents like phosgene and chlorine. This chemical warfare was a major component of the first global war and first total war of the 20th century. The killing capacity of gas, however, was limited – only four percent of combat deaths were due to gas.

All quiet on the western front erich maria remarque
All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria Remarque

Background information on erich remarque
Background Information on Erich Remarque

  • He was born in Osnabrück, Germany, in 1898 into a lower-middle-class family

  • In 1916, he was drafted into the German army to fight in World War I, in which he was badly wounded.

  • Ten years after the war ended he published All Quiet on the Western Front (it was translated into English a year later).

Novel information
Novel Information

  • Not the typical war novel that romanticizes war

  • Anti-war novel

  • Although he was a German soldier, there were soldiers from every country during the war that related to the horrors he experienced

Major characters in all quiet on the western front
Major Characters in All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Paul Bäumer- A 19 year old German soldier fighting in the trenches during WWI. He is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is a kind young man, but the brutal experience of warfare teaches him to detach himself from his feelings. His feelings become anti-war throughout the novel.

Major characters in all quiet on the western front1
Major Characters in All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Kantorek -  A pompous, ignorant, authoritarian schoolmaster in Paul’s high school during the years before the war. Kantorek places intense pressure on Paul and his classmates to fulfill their “patriotic duty” by enlisting in the army.

Major characters in all quiet on the western front2
Major Characters in All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Corporal Himmelstoss- a power-hungry man who torments Paul and his friends during their training. He was a postman before the war.

  • Stanislaus Katczinsky -  A soldier belonging to Paul’s company and Paul’s best friend in the army. Kat has a family at home and is very resourceful.