The World War I Era(1914–1920) Chapter 19
Section 1: The Road to War
A. Causes of World War I Main Causes of World War I 1 .Imperialism Competition for colonial lands in Africa and elsewhere led to conflict among the major European powers. 2 .Militarism By the early 1900s, powerful nations in Europe had adopted policies of militarism, or aggressively building up armed forces and giving the military more authority over government and foreign policy. 3.Nationalism One type of nationalism inspired the great powers of Europe to act in their own interests. Another emerged as ethnic minorities within larger nations sought self-government. 4. Alliances In a complicated system of alliances, different groups of European nations had pledged to come to one another’s aid in the event of attack. Chapter 19, Section 1
2. Militarism (& Arms Race) Total Defense Expenditures for the Great Powers [Ger., A-H, It., Fr., Br., Rus.] in millions of £s.
Militarism cont. • Germany was competing with the UK to build battleships. • The British feared an attack on their Empire
Militarism cont. • Germany was competing with Russia and France to expand their armies 1880 1914 • Germany 1.3m 5.0m • France 0.73m 4.0m • Russia 0.40m 1.2m
Allied Powers: Central Powers:
The Major Players: 1914-17 Allied Powers: Central Powers: Nicholas II [Rus] Wilhelm II [Ger] George V [Br] Victor Emmanuel II [It] Enver Pasha[Turkey] Pres. Poincare [Fr] Franz Josef [A-H]
B. How the War began-the spark The Assassination ofArchduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary The spark that ignited the power keg and started World War I:
Seal of the Black Hand group • Convinced that Serbia was behind the Archduke’s assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. • Russia, as Serbia’s protector, began mobilization, or the readying of troops for war. • France, Russia’s ally, and Germany, Austria-Hungary’s ally, also began mobilization. • Germany, located between France and Russia, wanted to conquer France quickly to avoid the need to fight on two fronts. To get to France, German forces had to pass through neutral Belgium; the invasion of Belgium brought Britain into the conflict as well. • One week after the war started, all the great powers of Europe had been drawn into it. Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Central Powers, while Russia, France, Serbia, and Great Britain were called the Allies.
The Crisis cont. • “Black Hand” terrorists attack the Arch Duke • Bomb attempt fails in morning • Gavrilo Princip shoots Archduke and wife in the afternoon. • Austrians blame Serbia for supporting terrorists.
C. The Schlieffen Plan • Germany’s military plan to defeat France and Russia. • Germany could not win a two front war. They must deliver a “Knock out blow” aimed at France first. • Avoid French defences by invasion of Belgium.
Britain’s Reaction to invasion of neutral Belgium • 1838- UK had signed a Treaty to protect Belgium. • Britain also scared of Germany controlling Channel ports. • Did not want Germany to defeat France and dominate Europe. Britain next? • UK issued ultimatum to Germany to withdraw troops from Belgium. War declared August 4 1914
D. Stalemate and Modern Warfare Stalemate on the Western Front • By September 1914 the German advance on Paris had been stopped. The war had reached a stalemate, a situation in which neither side is able to gain an advantage. • Both sides holed up in trenches separated by an empty “no man’s land.” Small gains in land resulted in huge numbers of human casualties. • Both sides continued to add new allies, hoping to gain an advantage. Central Powers Allied Powers
The soldiers had very little decent food, and what food they had was often attacked by rats. These rats were the size of small rabbits and badgers because they had fed on the decomposing bodies of dead soldiers.
Many men killed in the trenches were buried almost where they fell. If a trench subsided, or new trenches or dugouts were needed, large numbers of decomposing bodies would be found just below the surface. These corpses, as well as the food scraps that littered the trenches, attracted rats. One pair of rats can produce 880 offspring in a year and so the trenches were soon swarming with them. • Some of these rats grew extremely large. One soldier wrote: "The rats were huge. They were so big they would eat a wounded man if he couldn't defend himself." These rats became very bold and would attempt to take food from the pockets of sleeping men. Two or three rats would always be found on a dead body. They usually went for the eyes first and then they burrowed their way right into the corpse. • One soldier described finding a group of dead bodies while on patrol: "I saw some rats running from under the dead men's greatcoats, enormous rats, fat with human flesh. My heart pounded as we edged towards one of the bodies. His helmet had rolled off. The man displayed a grimacing face, stripped of flesh; the skull bare, the eyes devoured and from the yawning mouth leapt a rat."
The British government wanted to encourage men to enlist for war. They said the war would be safe, hardly any fighting, a good lark and over by Christmas. They used advertising posters to encourage this idea! A picture of soldiers going ‘Over the Top’
Modern Warfare • Neither soldiers nor officers were prepared for the new, highly efficient killing machines used in World War I. • New weapons killed thousands of soldiers who left their trenches to attack the enemy. • The machine gun / hand grenade / artillery / bayonet / poison gas / flame thrower / submarine / airplane /barbed wire /
Weapons of WWI New Technology + old tactics = horrible losses
Trench knife Trench Shovel-Germans Gas Masks
German stick grenade WWII grenade
At times electrified cable ran thru the mass of barbed wire-had to be cut first!! Barbed wire strung out over No Man’s Land slowed speed of the advance of the attacking troops
The Machine Gun Germans first to mass produce it– the British thought it was not “sporting”
Poison Gas Chlorine Gas – 1915 Germans first used it rags soaked in water or urine Gas Mask Mustard Gas-sulfuric acid gas - yellow
Mustard Gas The most lethal of all the poisonous chemicals used during the war, it was almost odorless and took twelve hours to take effect. Yperite was so powerful that only small amounts had to be added to high explosive shells to be effective. Once in the soil, mustard gas remained active for several weeks. The skin of victims of mustard gas blistered, the eyes became very sore and they began to vomit. Mustard gas caused internal and external bleeding and attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. This was extremely painful and most soldiers had to be strapped to their beds. It usually took a person four or five weeks to die of mustard gas poisoning. One nurse, Vera Brittain, wrote: "I wish those people who talk about going on with this war whatever it costs could see the soldiers suffering from mustard gas poisoning. Great mustard-coloured blisters, blind eyes, all sticky and stuck together, always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."
British-first tanks Tanks Early tank-Little Willie 1915 French Tank German Tank – lagged behind Allies in tank development
Both sides used bolt action rifles for the infantry
In the beginning they surfaced to warn the other ship 1918 depth charges improved
1917 Convoy system used by British + French to get US weapons to Europe