1914-1918 “The war to end all wars” WORLD WAR I
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • I • One cause of the war was imperialism. • Imperialism is when countries began expanding and adding new territories to increase their power. • Imperial states (such as Great Britain and the United States) began to take over territories and groups of people that they had NOTHING in common with. • Example: The United States and Philippines; Great Britain and India
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • Because these groups had nothing in common with their imperial rulers, it led to “nationalism.”
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • N • One cause of the war was nationalism. • A nation is a group of people who all share something in common. • A “nation” and a “country” are NOT the same thing. • Example: A nation would be the Jewish nation within the United States. • Nationalism is the pride in one’s country or group of people. It’s kind of like patriotism. • Ethnic groups began to take pride in their history and their similarities. • They did not like outside influence.
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • Many of these “nations” began to fight and try to kick out the imperial countries that owned them. • For example, Cuba rose up in revolt against Spain. • This would lead to the third cause of the war: “militarism.”
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • M • Militarism is when a country builds up its military for the purpose of intimidation. • As many “nations” began rising up against their imperial rulers, European powers and the U.S. began to respond. • They responded by building up their militaries in order to control the territories they had conquered. • They also wanted to build their militaries in order to intimidate and scare each other.
The M.A.I.N. Causes of WWI • A • Another cause of World War I was the formation of alliances. • Alliances are agreements between countries to help each other in the event of war. • If one country in an alliance is attacked, then the other countries in the alliance agree to come to that nation’s defense. • By 1914, virtually all of the countries in Europe were in an alliance.
“The Spark” • “The spark” that would start World War I happened on June 28th, 1914. • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, meaning he was going to be king one day. • He was visiting a province in Austria-Hungary called Bosnia for a reception. • There was a great deal of nationalist fervor in Bosnia. • One ethnic group called the “Serbs” in Bosnia wanted to be a part of Serbia, not Austria-Hungary.
“The Spark” • A Serb nationalist group called the “Black Hand” wanted to do everything in their power to make Bosnia become part of Serbia. • So, the Black Hand group planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand as he visited Bosnia. • After many of the assassins failed, a young man named GavriloPrincip shot and killed Ferdinand.
Beginning of War • Austria-Hungary accused Serbia of helping to plan the assassination. • So, Austria-Hungary threatened to go to war with Serbia. Because Russia was allied with Serbia, it mobilized its military. • Mobilization means planning and preparing for war. • Germany was also brought into the mix because of their alliance with Austria-Hungary. • Eventually, nearly all of Europe was divided into different sides.
Beginning of War • Great Britain, France, and Russia formed an alliance called the Triple Entente. • Meanwhile, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Central powers. • At first, the United States remained neutral. President Wilson vowed to keep America out of war. • Many people in the U.S. believed in isolationism, meaning America should stay out of international conflicts. • For nearly 3 years, fighting goes on in Europe while the U.S. remains neutral. • In fact, President Wilson won re-election in 1916 on the slogan, “He kept us out of war!”
Steps to War • Many recent immigrants in the U.S. were from Germany, so they supported Germany. • But most people in America supported Great Britain. • The biggest reason that Americans supported Great Britain was because of trade. GB was America’s chief trading partner. • Many banks in the U.S. had given loans to companies in GB. If GB lost the war, they would probably lose money.
Steps to War • Also, Great Britain cut telegraph cable lines to Germany. This meant that news from the war in America only came from Great Britain. • This allowed Great Britain to paint Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of Germany, as ruthless and violent and out to destroy freedom and democracy.
U-Boat Campaign • One reason the American public was against Germany was because of their unlimited U-boat campaign. • U-boats were German submarines. They were a very effective tool for Germany against the British Navy. • American commercial ships (carrying innocent people) began secretly carrying supplies to Great Britain. • In 1915, a German U-Boat sank the Lusitania, an American ship carrying innocent people and supplies to Great Britain.
U-Boat Campaign • 128 Americans died on the Lusitania. This outraged Americans. Anti-German feelings swept the nation. • After this, the Germans agreed to stop unlimited submarine warfare.
Zimmerman Telegram • Also in 1917, the U.S. intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram. • Arthur Zimmerman, who was the German Foreign Minister, sent a telegram to Mexico. • In this telegram, Germany asked Mexico to attack the United States if the U.S. decided to go to war against Germany. • In return, Germany would give back land that Mexico had lost as a result of the Mexican-American War. • This further alienated Germany from the American people.
The U.S. Enters WWI • In the Spring of 1917, Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare again. • This meant that American ships were being sunk again. • The United States could no longer remain neutral. • President Wilson made an idealistic case for war. He said the U.S. should get involved, saying that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” • Wilson wanted Americans to see the war as a battle between good vs. evil.
The U.S. Enters WWI • In April of 1917, America officially begins fighting WWI.
Technology of WWI • When the United States finally entered the fighting in 1917, Europe had already been bleeding for 3 years. • The war featured new technology like: the machine gun, hand grenades, and mustard gas. • These weapons meant very high death tolls for all sides. • Because of these new weapons, the European powers dug ditches called trenches in order to take cover. • Eventually, all sides were held up in trenches and the war reached a “stalemate.” • The area in between the trenches was called “no man’s land.”
Technology of WWI • The only way to break the stalemate was to send lots of troops into no man’s land to try and overwhelm the enemy. • This was called “going over the top.” • This caused heavy casualties.