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Chapter 25. World War i and its aftermath. The Great War, 1914-1918. The Totality of WWI Full mobilization of entire societies – soldiers and civilians – and complete technological capacities of nations involved. The unexpected horror is what made WWI great.

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the great war 1914 1918
The Great War, 1914-1918

The Totality of WWI

  • Full mobilization of entire societies – soldiers and civilians – and complete technological capacities of nations involved.
  • The unexpected horror is what made WWI great.
    • Machines and new technologies drove the war into new depths
      • Machine guns, airplanes, battleships, submarines, gas, tanks, bombs all came to the fore from 1914-1919.
  • The war became a testing ground for new weapons. But old generals were unwilling to abandon old techniques.
    • The Cult of the Offensive would cost millions of lives in the face of new technologies.
the great war 1914 19181
The Great War, 1914-1918
  • What was supposed to be an offensive war was turned into a stationary standoff.
    • When the British and French met the Germans on the Marne, neither side could defeat the other.
    • 75-mm Howitzers made advancement almost impossible.
      • Trench warfare
the sides of wwi
The Sides of WWI
  • Central Powers
    • Austria-Hungary and Germany
    • Evolved out of Bismarck’s Triple Alliance
      • Ottoman Empire joined in order to fight Russia
  • Allies
    • France, Great Britain, and Russia
    • Emerged as a bloc from the Entente Cordiale b/t FR and BR.
      • Japan joined in 1914 hoping to extend into China.
  • In 1915 Italy switch from the Triple Alliance to the Allies in hopes of postwar gain.
the wants and needs of wwi
The Wants and Needs of WWI…
  • Germany: wanted a bigger empire, to be gained by annexing Russian territory
    • Wanted to incorporate Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
  • Russia: wanted to reassert its status as a great power.
    • Wanted to be protector of the Slavs
    • Wanted a reunified Poland
  • France: wanted the return of the Alsace-Lorraine, lost to Germany after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
  • British: wanted to cement their hold on the Suez Canal and keep their empire in place.
  • Italy: promised territory in Africa, Asia Minor, and the Balkans in return for joining the Allies
the empire and its people
The Empire and Its People

Those involved extended beyond the European powers and Japan.

  • 1 million Africans
  • 1 million Indians
  • More than a million members of the British Commonwealth fought in battles.

The opening months crushed any hope of quick victory.

  • Schlieff Plan: an outline for combating enemies on two fronts by focusing on one at a time.
    • Quick, concentrated attack on France in the West (blitzkrieg?)
    • Light holding action against Russia in the East.
    • Planned to continue into Belgium (neutral) after France falls.
western leaders sound off
Western Leaders Sound Off…

“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas… I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes... It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses; gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.”

- Winston Churchill

Others agreed, indeed we must “insist on reserving the right to bomb niggers.”

- Lloyd George, British Prime Minister shortly after WWI

wwi the home front
WWI – The Home Front
  • Total war means the participation of virtually every member of society.
    • Manufacturing of shells, machine guns, poisonous gasses, bombs, and airplanes skyrocketed.
    • Production of coffins, canes, wheelchairs, and artificial limbs increased too.
    • To keep the war machine going gov’ts oversaw production.
      • What would have angered liberals in the past now became a necessity.
  • Political squabbling was put on hold in many countries.
    • Socialists became as patriotic as anyone else
    • Some feminists shelved their pacifism
    • Wilhelm II proclaim “I no longer recognize political parties. I recognize only Germans.
wwi the home front1
WWI – The Home Front

During any time of crisis, Governments will seek to place tighter controls on their citizens.

  • Throughout Europe gov’ts pass sedition laws that make it a crime to criticize official policies.
  • Gov’ts created propaganda agencies to paint the war as a patriotic duty.
    • Brits call the Germans “Huns” and fabricated atrocities.
    • Germans warned that French-African troops would rape German women if Germany were defeated.
    • In Russia, St. Petersburg is changed to Petrograd in 1914.
wwi the home front2
WWI – The Home Front

Dissident Groups Attempt to End the Brutality

  • 1915: Women’s activists meet in The Hague to call for an end to the fighting.
  • In Austria-Hungary, nationalists groups stay focused on their own problems.
    • Czechs launch anti-Habsburg campaign
    • In the Balkans Croats, Slovenes, and Serbs form a committee to form an independent state, free from Austria-Hungary.
wwi the home front3
WWI – The Home Front

The Civilians War

  • Many nonessential businesses closed in the face of the need for wartime production.
  • Women working in textiles, luxury shops, and domestic sectors lost their jobs.
    • They took over higher paying jobs in the war industry.
    • Munitions, metallurgical factories, truck driving, street car operating.
  • Social tensions return during wartime
    • Gov’ts allow businesses high rates of profits
      • Costs of living surge
      • Shortages make life difficult – bread, sugar, meat.
      • 1916-1917: Known as the turnip winter because that’s all their was.
wwi the home front4
WWI – The Home Front
  • Social tensions return during wartime
    • Both sides begin deporting or conscripting people in the territories they occupied
      • French bring 100,000 Vietnamese to work in France for the war effort.
      • Africans faced grueling forced labor.
      • This suffering during wartime set the stage for ordinary people to become politicized.
protest revolution and war s end 1917 1918
Protest, Revolution, and War’s End, 1917-1918

Russia and Revolution – Why?

  • By 1917 Russia has 7.5 million casualties, the most of any country.
  • Fighting on the eastern front droves peasants to the interior.
    • Hunger, homelessness, and disease spread.
  • March 1917: Crowds begin protesting, then looting shops for food.
  • Most of the army, instead of remaining loyal to the tsar, became embittered about the loss of life.
  • As riots continue throughout March 1917, Nicholas II abdicates, thus ending 300 years of Romanov rule in Russia (alliteration aside…)
what to do now
What to Do Now?

Provisional Government – Their Goals

  • Needed to pursue the war successfully
  • Manage internal affairs better
  • Set gov’t on constitutional grounds to gain credibility with the people
  • Soviets: councils of elected workers and soldiers. Mostly under the control of the Socialist-Revolutionaries
    • The SR’s were disbanded by the Bolsheviks after 1917.
what to do now1
What to Do Now?

Vladimir Lenin

  • Germans help Lenin back into Russia in order to add to the chaos.
  • April Theses: 1917, calls for Russia to withdraw from the war, the Soviets to take power, and for all private land to be nationalized.
  • Overthrows the Provisional Government in a coup.
    • Failed to obtain a plurality, so they used Bolshevik troops to take over the gov’t. Disbands the SR’s
  • Signs Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
    • Cedes vast regions of Russian empire to the Germans.
    • Moves Russian capital from Petrograd to Moscow.
  • Lenin’s tactics and the Brest-Litovsk treaty divide Russia.
russian civil war
Russian Civil War
  • Pro-Bolsheviks
  • Cheka
  • Third International
  • Tsarist military leadership
  • Landlords
  • Supporters of aristocratic rule
  • Businessmen whose property had been seized
  • Ukrainians, Estonians, Lithuanians

The Reds

The Whites

russian civil war1
Russian Civil War
  • Mid-1921: Reds defeat the Whites in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Muslim borderlands.
    • Japanese withdraw from Siberia in 1922 thus ending the Russian Civil War.
    • Bolsheviks in full control of Russia.
ending the war 1918
Ending the War, 1918
  • After Russia withdraws, there’s a new balance of force.
    • Central Powers use offensive tactic – focusing on one point in the enemy line an attempting to punch through.
    • Worked against Italians but failed against FR and BR.
      • FR and BR begin to use tanks and planes more effectively.
ending the war establishment of the german republic
Ending the War, Establishment of the German Republic
  • October 1918: German revolution begins.
    • Mostly among sailors at first who resented the establishment’s attempt to continue the war.
      • German gov’t pushed for a final battle with the BR on the high seas. Sailors see it as a suicide mission.
      • Spreads to include “leftists,” essentially led by Rosa Luxemburg.
    • Combat troops had to be pulled from the front lines to quell the uprisings
      • Czechs and Slovaks begin declaring independence in Austria-Hungary
    • November 9, 1918: Kaiser Wilhelm II flees and Central Powers collapse on all fronts.
      • Two days later both sides sign an armistice and guns fall silent on the Western Front.
mass culture and the rise of modern dictators
Mass Culture and the Rise of Modern Dictators

How Do You Control the Public in Democratic Societies?

  • It’s much more efficient to shape opinion than it is to control with the lash.
  • Intellectuals take up the task of “manufacturing consent.”
  • Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays, Harold Lasswell, Reinhold Niebuhr.
walter lippmann
Walter Lippmann

Known as the dean of American journalism

Advisor to Woodrow Wilson

Helps draft the 14 Points

Liberal intellectual who believes that the public should not be controlled by force but by manipulation of opinion.

rise of mass propaganda
Rise of Mass Propaganda
  • WalterLippmann:
    • describes a "revolution" in "the practice of democracy" because "the manufacture of consent" has become "a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government."
    • When institutions of indoctrination don’t do their job, “the common interests very largely elude public opinion entirely, and can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality,“
    • When this “specialized class” be protected from the "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders," (the general public), who are incapable of dealing "with the substance of the problem."
    • “The public must be put in its place,” so that the “specialized class” may "live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd," whose "function" is to be "interested spectators of action," not participants.
    • It is, therefore, a “precarious assumption” to think that the “bewildered herd” is capable of the “dignity” needed to “instinctively [enact] wise laws and good government.
edward bernays
Edward Bernays

Known as the “father of public relations”

Sits with Lippmann on the Committee on Public Information (Creel Commission)

Writes a book called Propaganda claiming that :

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

edward bernays1
Edward Bernays

Goes on to explain that "the very essence of the democratic process" is "the freedom to persuade and suggest," what he calls "the engineering of consent.”

harold lasswell
Harold Lasswell:

American political scientists and communications theorist

Helped analyze Nazi propaganda films in order to discern their methods of persuasion.

He explained in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences that we should not succumb to "democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests."

When governments can’t use force to control the population, "a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda“ is needed because of the "ignorance and superstition [of]...the masses.”

reinhold niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr

American theologian, ethicist, public intellectual.

The “cool observers,” Reinhold Niebuhr explained, must recognize "the stupidity of the average man," and must provide the "necessary illusion" and the "emotionally potent oversimplifications" that will keep the naive simpletons on course.

totalitarianism takes hold
Totalitarianism Takes Hold…

Stalin Takes Power, 1928

  • Served as the general secretary of Communist Party under Lenin.
  • After Lenin dies, Stalin creates a kind of cult of Lenin – displaying his body for public view.
    • Cults can control the public mind
    • In his will, Lenin says “the comrades must find a way to remove Stalin.”
    • Stalin keeps the will secret and consolidates power.
    • Has Trotsky exiled and institutes a kind of spoils system, surrounding himself with supporters.
totalitarianism takes hold1
Totalitarianism Takes Hold…

Mussolini Takes Power, 1922

  • Europeans had begun to blame parliaments and constitutions for international problems.
    • Italians approves Mussolini’s march on Rome in 1922.
    • Personal army (Black Shirts) force King Victor Emmanuel III to make Mussolini prime minister.
totalitarianism takes hold2
Totalitarianism Takes Hold…


  • Italians feel cheated out of wartime glory
  • Promoted male violence and opposed parliamentary rule and antinationalist socialism.
  • Criticism of the state is outlawed
  • Violently put down labor movements
  • Businesses like Fascists because of their attacks on labor
    • $$ support for Mussolini, allowing him to hire the unemployed
    • Give illusion that Fascism can rescue the economy.
  • Recognizes the importance of Catholicism to Italians
    • Lateran Agreement, 1929 makes Vatican an independent state under papal authority.
    • Church ends criticism of Fascist tactics.
totalitarianism takes hold3
Totalitarianism Takes Hold…

Praise for Mussolini’s New Direction

  • US State Department, “Italians are like children”…“and must be led and assisted more than almost any other nation.”
  • The US embassy praised the “fine young revolution” albeit with “enthusiastic and violent young men” that is “perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of bolshevism in Italy.”
  • “All patriotic Italians” “hunger for strong leadership and enjoy being dramatically governed.”
  • The so-called US “Left” praised the Fascists
    • Samuel Gompers says they were “capable of decisive action on a national scale,” which was “rapidly reconstructing a nation of collaborating units of usefulness.”
totalitarianism takes hold4
Totalitarianism Takes Hold…

Business Praise for Mussolini

J.P. Morgan & Co.

  • expressed admiration for Mussolini as "a very upstanding chap" who had "done a great job in Italy," and praised his "sound ideas"

Kuhn, Loeb, and Co.

  • praised the Fascists for ending "parliamentary wrangling and wasteful impotent bureaucracy" and bringing "a spirit of order, discipline, hard work, patriotic devotion and faith" under "the clear sighted and masterful guidance of that remarkable man, Benito Mussolini."

United Steel

  • Asks whether "we, too, need a man like Mussolini."

The U.S. Embassy

  • was particularly impressed that "there has not been a single strike in the whole of Italy" since the Fascist takeover.
civil war in spain
Civil War in Spain

What Led to It?

  • Great Depression
    • Spain lagged behind much of the rest of Europe in terms of industrialization
    • Largely agricultural society is thrown into poverty.
  • By April 1931, King Alfonso abdicates.
    • Democracy established by liberals, socialists, and antimonarchists.
    • Constitution establishes a republic under Alcala Zamora.
      • Power of the Catholic church was greatly reduced
      • Anti-clericalism spread.
      • Labor unions gain power, but economic problems continued.
civil war in spain1
Civil War in Spain

Cortes Generales

  • National election in 1933 sees a coalition of supporters of the Catholic Church, landowners, and monarchists gain control of the Cortes.
  • Catalan separatists rise up against the gov’t.
    • Communists, socialists, liberals, labor unions.
  • Spanish political factions now divided between Right and Left.

February, 1936

  • Parliament is dissolved and a call for new elections was issued.
  • Popular Front (alliance of leftist groups) won control of parliament.
  • Began to seize land from wealthy landowners.
  • Fascists (the losers) encouraged strikes, riots, and plotted military coups.

July, 1936

  • Army units in Morocco, led by General Francisco Franco, declared war on the republican gov’t
    • Gains control of the South and West.
    • Republicans still control the North and East.
    • Guernica is bombed by Germans and Italians at the behest of Franco’s forces.