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Exploring American History. Unit VII- The Beginning of Modern America Chapter 23 Section 1 The Road to War. The Road to War. The Big Idea In 1914 tensions in Europe exploded into the deadliest war the world had ever seen. Main Ideas Many factors contributed to the outbreak of World War I.

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exploring american history

Exploring American History

Unit VII- The Beginning of Modern America

Chapter 23 Section 1

The Road to War

the road to war
The Road to War
  • The Big Idea
  • In 1914 tensions in Europe exploded into the deadliest war the world had ever seen.
  • Main Ideas
  • Many factors contributed to the outbreak of World War I.
  • European nations suffered massive casualties in the war’s early battles.
causes of world war i
No one event or person caused the Great War. There were many factors that contributed to mobilization of the belligerents

Five Major factors often identified as causes of World War I (but not causes of U.S. entry)





Events or Economics

Causes of World War I
main idea 1 many factors contributed to the outbreak of world war i
Main Idea 1: Many factors contributed to the outbreak of World War I.
  • Nationalism
  • Nationalism, a strong sense of pride and loyalty to one’s nation or culture, created tension between nations.
  • Austria-Hungary included people from many cultural groups.
  • Slavic nationalists wanted to break away from Austria-Hungary and join the independent Slavic country of Serbia.
  • Imperialism
  • Nations competed for control of territories both in Europe and overseas.
  • Germany took the Alsace-Lorraine region from France in 1871, and France wanted it back.
  • Militarism
  • Nations focused resources on militarism, the aggressive strengthening of armed forces.
  • Raced to build armies and navies
  • Made alliances to protect themselves
the spark
The Spark
  • Feelings of fear and distrust grew among European powers in the early 1900s.
  • In 1908 Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Slavic nationalists resisted violently; wanted to be a part of Serbia
  • June 28, 1914: Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo.
    • Killed by a Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip
  • Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia
  • Nations began to mobilize, or prepare their militaries, for war.
pulled into the fighting
Pulled into the Fighting

Allied Powers

  • Russia, an ally of Serbia
  • France, an ally of Russia
  • Belgium, brought into the fighting because Germany marched through it to get to France
  • Great Britain, an ally of Belgium

Central Powers

  • Austria-Hungary
  • Germany, an ally of Austria-Hungary
the great war two sides
Allied Powers- Triple Entente




Great Britain






United States

Central Powers- Triple Alliance


Germany Empire


Turkish Empire


The Great War- Two Sides
The Great War, as contemporaries called it -- was the first man-made catastrophe of the 20th century.
  • In the weeks after the assassination, none of the critical leaders had the power or will to slow down the decisions, actions, reactions and attitude shifts of key government and military leaders.
  • By August, millions of Europeans -- especially the military and diplomatic leaders of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia -- saw war as the way to save their honor, as well as to solve the internal and international problems that needed to be resolved.
world war i begins the great war
World War I Begins - The Great War
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II on July 5th pledged that Germany would fully support Austria-Hungary in any action against Serbia.
  • On July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a lengthy list of demands.
  • On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. World War I had begun.
schlieffen plan1
Schlieffen Plan
  • Both sides originally believed that the Great War would be over quickly.
  • In Germany, this belief was based on a long established war strategy called the Schlieffen Plan. Start with a German army invading Belgium(avoiding eastern French Forts) to reach Paris.
  • The German generals were so confident of success that Kaiser Wilhelm II proclaimed that he would have "Paris for lunch, St. Petersburg for dinner."
  • The plan required precise timing, with no interruptions in the timetable -- its first objective was to capture Paris in precisely 42 days, and force the French to surrender. The German armies would then shift their focus to the eastern front and defeat the Russians before they were fully prepared to fight.
  • It started quickly on Aug. 2, 1914 with Germany invading Luxembourg and Belgium, but the British, French and Russians mobilized quicker than expected.
outbreak of war
Outbreak of War
  • Define- What is nationalism?
  • Identify Cause and Effect- Why did other countries join the fight between Austria-Hungary and Serbia?
  • Analyze- How had European Nations prepared for war?
main idea 2 european nations suffered massive casualties in the war s early battles
Main Idea 2:European nations suffered massive casualties in the war’s early battles.
  • The French army blocked the German advance at the Marne River, east of Paris, in September 1914.
    • The First Battle of Marne marked the first major battle of the war.
    • French and German forces faced each other along a long battle line known as the western front.
  • Russian and German armies struggled back and forth on the eastern front.
  • The war became a stalemate– a situation in which neither side can win a decisive victory.
  • Clear that this war would be longer than expected.
the first battle of the marne

The German army quickly advanced through northern France and after only one month of fighting were barely 25 miles from Paris.

  • The French, however, would not give up.

The Aftermath

  • The French paid a heavy price, as countless red-coated French troops had fallen in the battle.
  • Despite the loss of life, it helped the Allies by giving Russia more time to mobilize for war.
  • Once Russia mobilized, Germany had to pull some of its troops out of France and send them to fight Russia on the Eastern Front, which stretched from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.

The Battle

  • The French launched a counterattack along the Marne River east of Paris on September 7, 1914.
  • This battle became known as the First Battle of the Marne.
  • 2 million men fought on a battle-front that stretched 125 miles.
  • After five days and 250,000 deaths, the French had rallied and pushed the Germans back some 40 miles. 600 taxicabs were even used to get men to the front.
The First Battle of the Marne

Poison gas attack, Flanders, Belgium

the war reaches a stalemate
The War Reaches a Stalemate
  • The First Battle of the Marne ended in a stalemate, and both French and German soldiers dug trenches, or deep ditches, to defend their positions and seek shelter from enemy fire.
  • By late 1914, two massive systems of trenches stretched 400 miles across Western Europe, and the battle lines known as the Western Front extended from Switzerland to the North Sea.
  • Trench warfare, or fighting from trenches, was an old strategy that had been used in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
  • This trench warfare, however, was different because of its scale.
    • Soldiers lived in trenches, surrounded by machine-gun fire, flying grenades, and exploding artillery shells.
    • Opposing forces had machine guns pointed at enemy trenches at all times, firing whenever a helmet or rifle appeared over the top.
    • Thousands of men that ran into the area between the trenches, known as “no-man’s-land,” were chopped down by enemy fire.
  • Neither the Allies nor the Germans were able to make significant advances, creating a stalemate, or deadlock.
technology of war
Technology of War


  • Trench warfare, defending a position by fighting from the protection of deep ditches, helped make the war long and deadly.
    • Cold, wet, and muddy
    • Disease ran rampant
  • New technologies made land warfare even more deadly
    • Machine guns
    • Poison gases
    • Tanks
  • Airplanes used in large-scale battle for the first time
    • Fired down on soldiers in the trenches
    • Gathered information on enemy locations
    • Battled each other in the air in “dogfights”


  • Fighting in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea
  • Used Naval blockades and mines to block supply lines
  • U-boats, German submarines, launched torpedoes against Allied supply ships.


new weapons of war


  • When soldiers began to carry gas masks, they still faced a stalemate.
  • British forces soon developed armored tanks to move into no-man’s-land.
  • These tanks had limited success because many got stuck in the mud.
  • Germans soon found ways to destroy the tanks with artillery fire.
  • Poisonous Gas
  • German military scientists experimented with gas as a weapon.
  • Gas in battle was risky: Soldiers didn’t know how much to use, and wind changes could backfire the gas.
  • Then Germans threw canisters of gas into the Allies’ trenches.
  • Many regretted using gas, but British and French forces began using it too, to keep things even.
  • Airplanes
  • Both sides used planes to map and to attack trenches from above.
  • Planes first dropped bricks and heavy objects on enemy troops.
  • Soon they mounted guns and bombs on planes.
  • Skilled pilots sought in air battles called dogfights.
  • The German Red Baron downed 80 Allied planes, until he was shot down.
New Weapons of War
a new kind of warfare
A New Kind of Warfare
  • Word of Germany’s invasion of Belgium quickly spread to France and other European nations.
  • French troops mobilized to meet approaching German divisions.
    • They looked much as French soldiers did over 40 years earlier, wearing bright red coats and heavy brass helmets.
    • The German troops dressed in gray uniforms that worked as camouflage on the battlefield.
  • French war strategy had not changed much since the 1800s.
    • French soldiers marched row by row onto the battlefield, with bayonets mounted to their field rifles, preparing for close combat with the Germans.
    • The Germans, however, had many machine guns, and mowed down some 15,000 French troops per day in early battle.
    • A well-trained German machine-gun team could set up equipment in four seconds, and each machine gun matched the firepower of 50 to 100 French rifles.
  • Many Europeans wrongly thought these technological advances would make the war short and that France would be defeated in two months.
  • The Allies used four "types" of trenches.
    • The first, the front-line trench
    • support trench,
    • reserve trench
    • communication trenches
life in the trenches
Life in the Trenches
  • Death
  • Rat Infestation
  • Frogs, Lice and Worse
  • The Trench Cycle
  • the Smell
trenches suffering
Trenches- Suffering
  • Trench Foot
  • Trench Mouth
  • Trench Fever
early battles of the war
Early Battles of the War
  • Make Inferences- What effect did having fronts in the west, north and east have on the German and Russian Armies?
  • Evaluate- What is a possible reason that soldiers felt safe in the trenches at the onset of the war?
  • Describe- What was living in a trench like?
  • Identify Cause and Effect- The arrival of tanks ended what type of fighting technique?
early battles of the war1
Early Battles of the War
  • Explain- How did the Germans respond to the British port blockade?
  • Predict- What do you think neutral countries might do after German U-boats attacked their ships?
world war i casualties

Belgium 45,550

British Empire 942,135

France 1,368,000

Greece 23,098

Italy 680,000

Japan 1,344

Montenegro 3,000

Portugal 8,145

Romania 300,000

Russia 1,700,000

Serbia 45,000

United States 116,516

Central Powers

Austria-Hungary 1,200,000

Bulgaria 87,495

Germany 1,935,000

Ottoman Empire 725,000

Total Casualties

65 million mobilized both sides

8.5 million killed

21 million wounded

7.7 million POW’s and missing

37million total casualties

57% of all men mobilized

World War I Casualties
weapons of world war i

Weapons of World War I

If there is time

rifles bayonets and hand guns
Rifles, Bayonets and Hand guns

There was undeniably psychological value to the infantry in carrying a bayonet, even if in practice it was seldom used. Bayonets continued to be commonly issued in the Second World War.

hand guns
Hand guns


German Luger

Colt 45

poison gas
Poison Gas
  • Country Casualties Deaths
  • Austria-Hungary 100,000 3,000
  • British Empire 88,706 8,109
  • France 190,000 8,000
  • Germany 200,000 9,000
  • Italy 60,000 4,627
  • Russia 419,340 56,000
  • USA 72,807 1,462
  • Others 10,000 1,000
poison gas2
Poison Gas
  • Mustard Gas
flame throwers

During the war the Germans launched in excess of 650 flame-thrower attacks; no numbers exist for British or French attacks.

  • The Zeppelin
  • ‘dogfights’
  • interrupter equipment