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"THE GREAT WAR". WORLD WAR I. 1914-1919. Causes of World War I. “The war to end all wars” Nationalism. The strong feeling people have for their own country.

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causes of world war i

Causes of World War I

“The war to end all wars”

  • The strong feeling people have for their own country.
    • Often results in revolutions.
  • Belief that peoples who share the same language, heritage, and history belong behind the same borders.
  • The desire of a country to have colonies for the purpose of raw materials and prestige.
    • Great Britain- “The sun never set on the British Empire.”
    • Germany- wanted more colonies than the few it had.
  • Building up of military and weaponry to gain new colonies and prepare for war.
    • “The one with the most toys wins.”
system of alliances
System of Alliances
  • Balance of Power- every nation tried to increase its strength by securing as many allies as possible.
    • Triple Alliance
      • Germany
      • Austria-Hungary
      • Italy
    • Triple Entente
      • Great Britain
      • France
      • Russia
  • When one or the other was threatened- the allies would come to their aid.
    • Many secret alliances created between nations– leads to distrust.
austria hungary



  • Empire in Eastern Europe.
  • Late 1870’s- experiences numerous nationalistic revolts amongst the Balkan peoples.
  • 1908- takes Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Angers the independent Serbia.
    • Asks for Russian help, but is refused.
  • Small nation of Slavic speaking peoples south of the Empire.
  • Serbian nationalists want to free all Slavic speaking peoples in Austria-Hungary and create a new independent country called Bosnia.
emperor franz joseph
Emperor Franz Joseph
  • 1848- Became emperor of Austria-Hungary.
  • Nearly 80 years old, and in need of an heir to the throne.
archduke franz ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • Heir to the Austria-Hungary throne.
  • Visits the city of Sarajevo w/ wife.
    • Capital of Bosnian province.
  • Both assassinated by Serbian nationalists.
    • Gavrilo Princip
  • Assassins captured and tried.
    • Franz Joseph demands an investigation into the plot.
    • Serbia refuses.
European nations attempt to arbitrate the dispute.

July 28, 1914- Austria- Hungary declares war on Serbia.

Germany’s alliance with Austria-Hungary brings them into the war.

Russia comes to the aid of Serbia believing that they were the protectors of all Slavic speaking nations.

War !!!
July 29, 1914- Russia declares war on Austria-Hungary and Germany

Cannot take both powers on.

French alliance with Russia brings them into the war.

Germany asks neutral Belgium for right to pass through to invade France.

Belgium refuses

August 1, 1914- Germany invades France via Belgium.

This “act of aggression” forces Britain to declare war on Germany.

war time alliances
Central Powers



Ottoman Empire

Secret alliance with both nations brings the Ottoman-Turks into the war.

Triple Entente or Allied Powers





Joins Allies because of promises of new colonies.

War-time Alliances
american neutrality
American Neutrality
  • President Woodrow Wilson urges American neutrality despite ties to immigrant families in Europe.
  • War violated progressive reform.
    • Why use factories to build weapons to destroy things?
  • Plans to end war early.
  • Create a western front before Russia could mobilize.
    • Invades France through Belgium.
  • Takes 18 days to defeat Belgium.
    • French able to get aid from 90,000 British troops.
trench warfare
Trench Warfare
  • Western Front
  • German, French, and British armies dig 600 miles of trenches throughout France.
  • For 3 years both sides battle over narrow strip of land between the trenches.
    • “No man’s land”
  • Protected by mines and barbed wire.
  • Muddy and rat-infested– troops lived in their own “filth.”

new weapons
New Weapons
  • Long-range guns
  • Machine guns
  • Gas warfare
    • Effects of Mustard Gas.
  • Camels
  • Tanks
  • Airplanes
  • Zeppelins
submarine warfare
Submarine Warfare
  • Germans build U-boats (Unterseeboot) in response to the powerful British Navy.
  • Designed to lurk under the water, strike w/out warning, and slip away quickly.
    • Germany uses on many trading vessels.
the lusitania
The Lusitania
  • German U-boats patrol the North Atlantic shipping lanes.
  • May 7, 1915- British passenger boat is sunk by U-boats.
    • 1,200 people are killed, including 128 Americans.
  • New Secretary of State Robert Lansing issues strong protests.
    • Germans issue a statement that ocean liners would no longer be targets.
election of 1916
Election of 1916
  • Democrats
    • Woodrow Wilson
  • Republicans
    • Charles Evans Hughes
  • Wilson runs on campaign slogan- “He kept us out of war.”
    • Highly criticized for neutrality policies, but orders a massive buildup of arms and munitions.
  • Wilson narrowly wins.
renewal of submarine warfare
Renewal of Submarine Warfare
  • February, 1917- Germany informs United States that it would allow one (1) American passenger ship to sail to England each week.
  • Wilson breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany.
zimmerman telegram
Zimmerman Telegram
  • February, 1917
  • British intercept a telegram from German Foreign Secretary Alfred Zimmerman to Mexico.
    • Germany offers alliance with Mexico.
    • Urges to invade the United States and “reclaim its lost land.”
      • Purpose to create a 3rd front to the war, and keep the U.S. from aiding Britain.
  • American public demands U.S. enter the war!
  • Wilson announces that all American trading ships would be armed for defense.
america enters the war
America Enters the War
  • March 12- 21 German U-boats sink 5 American ships.
  • April 2, 1917- Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany.
  • Wants to make the world safe for peace and democracy.
  • Calls on Americans to support a “war effort.”
raising an army
Raising an Army
  • Selective Service Act
    • Required the registration of all men between the ages of 21 and 30 (later amended to 18 and 45)
      • 2.8 million “boys” are drafted into the army.
      • 371,000 blacks join “black only” units commanded by whites.
financing the war
Financing the War
  • War bonds
    • Governments ability to borrow money from the people.
  • Liberty Bonds raised over $21 million for the war.
conserving food
Conserving Food
  • 18th Amendment- Prohibition
    • Attempt to conserve grain for the war effort.
  • Food Administration
    • Herbert Hoover leads.
    • Encouraged expansion of agriculture and reduced waste.
    • “Food will win the war.”
    • “Wheatless Mondays”
    • “Meatless Tuesdays”
dissension among the people
Dissension Among the People
  • Committee on Public Information
    • Circulated pro-war pamphlets to gain American citizenry support.
  • Espionage Act
    • Sentences of up to 20 years for persons found guilty of being disloyal to America or aiding the enemy.
  • Sedition Act
    • Penalties for using “disloyal language” against the government.
  • Many who speak out against the war are jailed.
    • Eugene V. Debs
  • Possible Constitutional right violations??
end of the german empire
End of the German Empire
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II slowly loses control of the Empire to his generals.
  • Faced with revolution in Germany.
  • Abdicates on November 9, 1918.
  • A German Republic is created.
  • Escapes to the Netherlands.
  • Died in 1941 of a heart attack at age 82.
the end of the austrian hungarian empire
The End of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire
  • November, 1916- Emperor Franz Joseph dies at age 86.
  • Karl I (great-nephew) comes to the throne at age 29.
    • Tries to make peace with France by giving back Alsace-Lorraine.
    • Germany angered.
  • November 4, 1918- Signs an armistice with Britain and France.
  • November 11, 1918- Abdicates and flees to Switzerland.
  • 1922- dies of tuberculosis.
the armistice
The Armistice
  • November 11, 1918 at 11:00 a.m.- Germany signs the armistice and fighting ceases.
  • Terms of the armistice
    • Germans would evacuate France.
    • Germany would surrender all war materials and release all prisoners.
war statistics total killed
Entente Powers

France- 1.4 million

Russia- 3.7 million

Britain- 733,000

United States- 126,000

America only fought for 16 months.

Central Powers

Austria-Hungary- 1.5 million

Germany- 2.5 million

War Statistics- Total Killed

A total of 10-15 million people were killed between the two powers.

fourteen points
Fourteen Points
  • Woodrow Wilson’s proposal for world peace.
  • Presented to Congress in January, 1918.
  • End all “secret agreements” between nations.
  • Freedom of the seas.
  • De-militarization of nations.
  • Called for self-determination
    • National groups should have the right to choose where to live w/in their own borders.
  • Creation of the League of Nations
league of nations
League of Nations
  • Wilson’s 14th point
  • Urged the creation of a general association of nations to protect the independence of both large and small nations.
the league of nations
The League of Nations
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Executive Council
    • United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan.
  • League Covenant
    • Each member nation agreed to solve problems in a “friendly way” before going to war.
  • Weaknesses
    • “aggressor nations” never defined
    • Forcing peoples to live inside boundaries they did not want to.
    • No way to solve economic problems that led to wars.
the treaty of versailles
The Treaty of Versailles
  • June, 1919
  • Germany would accept full responsibility for the war.
  • Germany would pay war reparations.
  • Germany was disarmed.
  • Allies took German colonies.
  • Creation of the League of Nations.
senate rejection of league
Senate Rejection of League
  • Henry Cabot Lodge- leading Republican opponent.
    • Objects to Article 10- League members would act together to put down any threats to peace.
    • Wants America to become isolated again.
wilson s response
Wilson’s Response
  • Does not want to see the League of Nations weakened.
  • Travels around the country by train making speeches in defense of the Treaty.
  • Fall, 1919- collapses from exhaustion and suffers a mild stroke.
    • Wife secretly runs the country during his illness.
senate vote
Senate Vote
  • November, 1919
  • Senate rejects The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.
    • Never becomes a member.
  • 1921- signs a separate peace treaty with Germany.
red scare
Red Scare
  • Communism in Russia after Lenin takes over and socialism in the United States lead to the first Red Scare
  • Fear of the reds, a term used to describe communists (taken from their red flag)
  • Result is immigrant restriction.

“don’t let those commies in here”