WWI- A global Conflict World at War The Home Front U.S. Entry Allied Victory Treaty of Versailles
The War Goes Global • As the Stalemate in Europe dragged on, many additional nations joined the war effort hoping to better their own world standing if victorious. • The Allied and Central Powers also looked to gain an advantage by forming new alliances around the world, hoping that the extra support would lead them towards victory.
“Total War” • Due to the tremendous amount of human and financial resources needed to wage a war of this size and scale, nations embraced a policy of total war, meaning all available resources were devoted to the cause. • To achieve such goals, many economies shifted from consumer based production to military supply based production.
War at the “Home Front” • By rationing or limiting the consumption of certain goods, nations/civilians could insure their troops would have all they need on the front lines. • Employment rates increased as demand for supplies increased • To replace men who were off at war, women filled jobs in factories, offices, and shops, as well as kept their soldiers supplied with food, clothing, and weapons.
Propaganda • To suppress antiwar activity, many nations censored news about the war. • Propaganda was often utilized to persuade public opinion and keep up morale and support for the war effort.
U.S. Entry into WWI • Prior to WWI, the United States followed a policy ofIsolationism, attempting to avoid foreign conflicts. • Yet 2 events eventually created tremendous anger and resentment towards Germany, causing the U.S.A. to join the Allies in April of 1917. • Unrestricted Submarine Warfare & the Sinking of the Lusitania • The Zimmerman Note
Sinking of the Lusitania • Since the beginning of the war, Germany had looked to cut off Allied trade/supply ships in the Atlantic, sinking any enemy vessels without warning. Although not officially in the war yet, the U.S. was secretly supplying the Allies with munitions. • In May of 1915, the British passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat, killing 128 Americans in the process. Americans were outraged, but the ship was later found to be transporting munitions to England.
Zimmerman Note • In 1917, German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman attempted to convince Mexico via telegram to create “war” with America, thus keeping them out of the war in Europe. In exchange, Germany would help Mexico regain territory lost to America (Texas, Arizona, & New Mexico).
Declaration of War • When the British intercepted this note, they informed the U.S. of the plot, causing America to act on this direct threat. War was declared on April 6th, 1917. The U.S. had entered the war! U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
Russia Withdraws • Due to increasing civil unrest and massive casualties on the Eastern front, radicals in Russia forced Czar Nicholas II to step down. • Bolshevik party leader V.I. Lenin soon toppled the provisional government and promised to end the suffering by withdrawing from WWI. • In March 1918, Russia and Germany signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, allowing Russia to drop out and Germany the ability to focus troops and supplies to the Western Front.
2nd Battle of the Marne • In May of 1918, Germany mounted one final massive attack on the Allies in France. • The Germans once again reached the Marne River (40 Miles from Paris), but they had exhausted most of their resources to get there. • By July, 350 tanks and 2 million fresh American troops, allowed the Allies to defeat the Germans at the Second Battle of the Marne.
Allied Victory • On November 9th of 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany stepped down. • The new republican government (The Weimar Republic) that replaced him surrendered to the French on a railcar outside of Paris, signing an armistice, or end to fighting • On November 11th, 1918, WWI had come to an end!
WWI Statistics & Impact • Total cost of war: $338 Billion • 8.5 million killed, 21 million wounded • Tremendous damage to homes, farmland, factories, towns & villages. • Disease and starvation affected millions
Treaty Of Versailles • In January of 1919, The Paris Peace Conference was held at the Palace of Versailles consisting of delegates from 32 countries. • Russia and Germany were excluded. • Goal: To establish the terms of peace and decide the fate of post-WWI Germany.
“A Peace Built on Quicksand” • Heated debates erupted between the leaders of the “Big Four” (Britain, USA, France, & Italy), • The result was a compromise, based in part from President Wilson’s “Fourteen Points”. • Despite Wilson’s efforts to support self-determination, France’s desire to punish Germany clearly dominated the Treaty.
Impact of Treaty • Many old empires crumbled and new nations were created • Japan and Italy felt embittered by lack of new territory gained • U.S. congress denies American entrance into League of Nations • The harsh and unfair nature of the Treaty of Versailles ultimately causes resentment and hatred in the German people, sowing the seeds of revenge for future war (WWII)