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The Road to the Great War. WWI. Imperialism. As America has been building its empire, so have other nations Germany industrializes, and starts competing with France and Britain for colonies and military bases, in places like Africa, the Pacific, and China. Setting the scene. Nationalism.

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  1. The Road to the Great War WWI

  2. Imperialism • As America has been building its empire, so have other nations • Germany industrializes, and starts competing with France and Britain for colonies and military bases, in places like Africa, the Pacific, and China Setting the scene

  3. Nationalism • As countries start to expand, they become more protective of their national ethnicities…becoming competitive with other ethnicities as well as countries. • Countries like Russia start becoming protective of other Slavic nations like Serbia…which is going to create tensions with Austria-Hungary Setting the scene

  4. Militarism • Countries no longer question if there will be a war, but when, so they start building up forces and glorifying military • Germany and Britain build up their navies to be able to compete at sea. Germany, Russia, and France build up their armies so they will be able to fight on land. • Guaranteeing that any war will involve more troops and advanced weaponry than ever before. Setting the scene

  5. The Alliance System • Countries start allying with other countries as a security measure (nobody will disturb the balance of power). • Alliances make countries reckless as they start thinking that the advantages of peacetime aren’t as appealing as the benefits of war. Setting the scene

  6. Triple alliance Triple entente • Germany • Austria-Hungary • Italy • Britain • France • Russia Alliances before the great war

  7. Balkan Peninsula becomes “Powder Keg in Europe” -Ethnic Rivalries among Balkan peoples -Russian need for access to the Mediterranean Sea -German need for rail link to the Ottoman Empire -Austria-Hungary control over Bosnia, which was contested by Serbia

  8. Assassination Leads to War • In June, 1914, heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, takes a trip to Sarajevo with his wife. • He is shot by a Serbian ultra-nationalist organization, the Black Hand • When Serbia refuses to help investigate into the assassination, Austria-Hungary declares war

  9. Activating the alliance system – this takes less than a week 1 – Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia due to the assassination 2 – Russia declares war on Austria-Hungary to protect its Slavic ally 3 – Germany declares war on Russia because they have an alliance with Austria-Hungary 4 – France declares war on Germany to protect their alliance with Russia 5 – Germany declares war on Belgium (neutral) so that they can invade France from the north 6 – Britain declares war on Germany to defend their ally France, and neutral Belgium.

  10. Schlieffen Plan • Germany has a plan in place in case of a war with enemies on both sides…it is called the Schlieffen Plan. • Phase 1: Germany invades Belgium to quickly surround and defeat Paris, and the French • Phase 2: After Germany no longer has to worry about French resistance, they can shift their entire forces to defeat Russia

  11. The War • Once Germany invaded Belgium, the allies were quickly pushed back to France, and stopped at the Battle of the Marne. • At the Marne, troops literally dug-in to defend their positions, leading to a long trench warfare siege on both sides.

  12. Trench Warfare • In rows of dug-in trenches, usually less than a mile from the enemy, troops fought for 3 years to gain any kind of ground. • Trenches stretched from Belgium to Switzerland. • Between the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Verdun, more than 2 million troops were killed, and only 7 miles of ground changed sides.

  13. Where was America? • The Popular Opinion: • American’s had no need to join a struggle 3000 miles away • No American lives were being threatened • No American property or land was being threatened

  14. Other Reasons to Stay Out • Socialists believed the war was just a struggle between Germany and England over markets and land • Pacifists believed that war was evil and the US should set an example of peace for the world • Many Americans did not want to expose their families to the horrors of warfare

  15. America’s Interests at Stake • Many Americans still had ties to European nations from which they had emigrated • Americans shared common ancestries and languages • America had similar democratic institutions and legal systems • America had strong economic ties to the Allies – and sympathized with Belgium, who had tried to be neutral

  16. American Involvement • US provided many war supplies to all of the European nations at war, items like dynamite, cannon powder, submarines, copper wire and tubing, and armored cars. • The quick outcome of the war was important, as we wanted to ensure repayment of debts

  17. Anti-German Sentiment • Anti-German propaganda showed how Germans were “bullying” Europe by destroying villages, libraries, and hospitals • The US wanted to prevent the German Navy from blocking and threatening US shipping

  18. Blockade and Response • British ships blocked the German coast to prevent military supplies from getting in – which also prevented food from getting in (Germans starved from lack of food and fertilizer for crops). Americans were angry because it doesn’t allow American goods into Germany either. • Germany responded by sinking British and allied boats with their submarines (U-Boats), many of which had Americans on board

  19. Steps to US Entering War • Wilson re-elected, calling for “a peace without victory…a peace between equals” • Germans announce plans to sink all ships in British waters

  20. Step #1 - Sinking Americans • When German submarines sank the British liner Lusitania on May 1, 1915, more than 1200 people died, including 128 Americans (it was carrying ammunition, which Germany pointed out.) (Lusitania Reading) • Wilson demanded a formal apology, which they received. • 3 more times Germany sank ships carrying Americans, and 3 more times Wilson formally protested, and Germany apologized.

  21. Step #2 Alliance with Mexico • US intercept “Zimmerman Note”, proposing alliance between Mexico and Germany, so Mexico could gain lost territory

  22. Step #3 – Russian Revolution • Vladimir Lenin leads the Bolsheviks in Russia to overthrow Czar Nicholas II – giving Russia something of a representative government • Now war in Europe is democracy vs. brutal monarchy

  23. War Resolution • April 2, 1917, Wilson delivers his war resolution, which is passed by Congress • Americans hoped and believed that United States joined war to fight for future peace and freedom

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