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WorldWarI:

Notes
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Youshouldbeabletoanswerthefollowingquestionsbytheconclusionofthisunit:
WhatcausedtheGreatWar?(Notethecausesaresonumerousandinterwoventhat
thisisnotasimpletask)
HowdidtheWarleadtorevolutionandthefallofEmpires?(Payparticularattention
toRussia,AustriaHungaryandtheOttomanEmpire)
Howandwhydidwarandrevolutionhavesuchenormousanddestructive
consequences?(CheckthestudentPowerPointsfromyearspastonboththeUS
sectionandWorldsectionofthissite)
Howdidtheyearsoftraumaandbloodshedformelementsoftodaysworld?(What
arethelongtermimpacts?)
UnderstandthedynamicnatureofRussianrevolutionismduringtheWWIperiod.
(CheckthefabulousPowerPointforthisone)

WorldWarI:Perceptions

WorldWarIishistoricallynotedasalong/drawnoutevenfruitlessstrugglethatsawa
debtof300+billiondollarsandovertenmilliondead.Thewarisreferredtoasthe
GreatWarandasaneventhaddestructivecapacitiesthatexceedmodern
comprehension.Theviolenceandmayhemweretotal,theywerenotisolatedtoone
countryoroneregionandinfactalteredhumanhistorythroughitsdestructive
capacities.Thetwosidestriedtoweareachotherdownbutwithlittlesuccess,asthe
warevolvedintoaconflictpredicatedonchemicalandtrenchwarfare.

WorldWarI:TheCauses

HistoriansarguethatWorldWarI(hereonreferredtoasWWI)actuallysawitsroots
inthewakeofBismarcksrealpolitickofthe1870s.AsyoumayrecallBismarckused
thenotionofwarfaretomanipulatenationsintojoiningalliancesandintheprocess
strengtheningGermanythroughwarfare.Thispolicywillproveverydamagingtoall
involved.BismarckdefeatedtheFrenchin1870andofferedtheFrenchveryharsh
peacetermswhilestrengtheningbothGermany(Prussia)andAustriaHungaryinthe
process.WhileunitingGermanyheservedtocreatethebasisforasystemthatwas
predicatedontheacquisitionofpowerandalliances.Bismarckfeltthattheonlyway
topreservepeacewasthroughthefortificationofalliances.Bismarcksblueprint
calledfor:
AlienationofFrance
AlliancestopreventabusebyRussiaandAustriaHungary(fightingoverthe
dyingOttomanEmpireintheBalkans).
Bismarcksplaninvolved:Creationofthe1873ConservativeThree
EmperorsLeague:whichlinkedthemonarchsofAustriaHungary,Germanyand
Russiainanallianceagainstradicalmovements.In1877and1878thebalanceof
powerwasthreatened.ThisviolatedBismarcksinitiativestowardsbalancingpower
throughalliances.Thus,heinitiatedamilitaryalliancewithAustriaHungary,an
otherwiseenemyandintheprocesscheckedthepowerofFranceandRussia.Hereis
theearlyalliancestructure.

TripleAlliance(1882) AllianceofThreeEmperors
(1881)
Germany
AustriaHungary
Italy

Germany
AustriaHungary
Russia

BismarckscraftinesscontinuedwhenRussiabackedoutoftheAlliance
ofThreeEmperors,hereplaceditwiththeGermanReinsuranceTreaty,whichwasa
pactofmutualneutralitybetweenGermanyandRussia.
Bismarcksleadershipstabilizedanentiregenerationofforeignpolicy
initiativesforEuropeans.HisskillfulleadershipkeptEuropepeacefulduringthepost
FrancoPrussianwarperiod.Howeveritwasthesameleadershipthatwecanattribute
thecausesofWWItoo.ItisclearthatwhenWilhelmIImadethemistakeof
dismissingthepowerfulBismarckin1890thatEuropesfatewassealed;itwasjusta
matterofteam.Thearrangementrequiredapowerfulpersontoholdittogether.
WilhelmsrefusaltopursueapeacefulrelationshipwithRussiawasvital
tothecausalityofthiscrisis.ThisprovidedFrancewithagoldenopportunityally
itselfwithFranceandsandwichGermanybetweentwopowerfulfoes.Asthisalliance
cametotheforefront;thekeyimmediatelybecameEngland.Atthistimetheywere
theworldsonlyuncommittedsuperpower.
Britainssituationwasnearperilous;astheworldseemedtobeunitingin
alliancesaroundhershefoundthatherimperialpursuitshadplacedherinconflict
withtheUSA,Russia,Germany,andFrance.Althoughtheconflictswerenothing
comparedtotheperceptionthatmanynationshadforGermanyandheryoungKaiser
WilhelmII.Thekeyseemedtobeanalliancewiththedevelopingpowerofthe
UnitedStates.TheUnitedStateswasanoddpartnerforshehadbeeninconflictand
warwithBritainasrecentlyas1812duringwhichtheUKburneddownpartsof
WashingtonD.C.therelationshipshadstabilizedbutdidntbecomefullyco
operationaluntilafter1902.
Thealliancepicturebecameincreasinglycloudywhenpowersbegan
tradingimperialisticfavors.In1904FrancewaswillingtoallyitselfwithBritainand
overlooktheaggressiveBritishstanceinEgyptinexchangeforreturningthefavor
withtheFrenchplansinMorocco.
Germanywasunwillingtostandidlybyandacceptthisarrangementand
calledfortheAlgercirasConferencewhichwasdesignedtobringgloballighttothe
FrenchandBritishscheming,theycameawayangryandemptyhanded.Theyalso
cameawayfromtheconferencehavingacquiredthereputationasadangerousglobal
agitatorwhohadservedtoalienateEngland,USA,FranceandRussia.Russias
agreementinPersiawithBritain(toallowtheBritishtoabsorbtheirsphereof
commercialandpoliticalinfluenceinPersia{Iran})wasverydishearteningtothe
Germansituation,theyfelthighlythreatened.
Germanrespondedwithahistoricaltrendthatwasfamiliartotheirroots,
theageoldPrussianconceptofmilitarism.Whenindangerordoubtbuildupyour
armedforcesandmakeothersmatchorfeelthreatenedinreturn.Thus,in1907
GermanyrevolutionizedtheirNavymakingitamongstthemostmodernintheworld.
TheperceptionoftherestoftheworldwasthebeliefthatGermanywasmobilizing
forwaragainsttheEnglish,theworldsotherNavalpower.Englandrespondedby
temporaryabandoningthesocialwelfarestateandundertheleadershipofDavid
LloydGeorgespendingtheireconomicresourcesonmilitaryexpansion.

FourmaincausesofWWI
1. 1.Militarism
2. 2.Imperialism
3. 3.Nationalism
4. 4.Alliances

Theworldstroubledhotspotintheearliestpartofthe20
th
centurywas
clearlytheBalkans.TheBalkanswasanincrediblydiverseethnicregionthatwas
controlledbyacombinationoftheOttomanEmpireandtheAustroHungarians.The
nationsoftheBalkansclamoredforindependenceandwantedtofollowtheGreek
modelforliberationfromthesedyingempires.Whathadresultedintheregionwas
repressionbybothempiresinanefforttoholdontotheirclaims.Bismarckhad
thoughthehadsolvedthisproblematthe1873CongressofBerlininwhichhe
personallydividedupportionsoftheBalkansamongstthetwosuperpowers.(See
966)Theethnicmixwasatimebombwaitingtoexplode.TheSerbswereSlavicand
lookedtoRussiatoaidthemingainingindependenceaftertheirannexationby
AustriaHungaryafter1908.TheRussiansupportwascrucialtotheSerbgoals,but
wasitavailable.1912and1913sawsuccessiveyearsduringwhichaBalkanwarbroke
outwiththecountriesintheregionjockeyingforcontroloveroneanother.The
events,whichsawSerbsandBulgarianstakeMacedoniaeffectivelyendedthe
OttomanEmpireasweknowit.TheyhadnowhopedthatAustriaHungarywastobe
next.
TheSpark:chaosbrokeoutwhentheheirtotheAustroHungarian
throneArchdukeFranzFerdinandwastouringBosniaandtheircapitalofYugoslavia
whenultraradicalanarchistsfromanorganizationknownastheBlackHand
assassinatedhim.(HisslayerwasayoungmannamedGvrilloPrincip.)Austria
HungaryimmediatelyandwithoutknowledgelashedoutattheSerbiansandtheir
government,andwithablankcheckfromGermany,AustriaHungaryissuedadecree
thatSerbiasubmittoAustriancontrolandacceptblamefortheassassination.The
warwasonwiththefirstalliancestructureinplace.
o oAHdeclareswaronSerbia7/28/14thetwoallies
Germany(AH)andRussia(Serbia)aredraggedintotheconflictaswell.
Bismarckscarefullyconstructedparadigmofpeaceisfallinglikeasetof
dominoes.
o oRussiascloseallyFrancewouldenterinthewaron
theirsideandbeoutforRevengefromGermany.
o oOttomanswillbetalkedintothepossibilityof
reclaiminghergloryonthesideoftheGermans.
o oEnglandwillenterthewaraftertheGermansinitiate
theSchlieffenplan;amilitarymodeldesignedtoquicklyandradically
eliminateFrancefromthewarwitharapidlightningstrikethatwouldprevent
theGermansfromhavingtofightatwofrontwarwithbothRussiaand
France.TheproblemwastheGermansinordertoinvoketheirplanwere
forcedtoinvadeFrancefromthenorthandsweepthroughbacktoBerlinin
ordertodosotheyhadtogothroughBelgium,theGermandemandtheybe
allowedtogothroughBelgiumunmolestedwasdeniedandwhenthe
GermansinvadedBelgiuminAugustof1914theirworstfearswererealizedas
Englandimmediatelyenteredthewaronthesideoftheirclosealliesthe
Belgians.
Reflectingonthesituationitisclearthetwoaggressornationswere
AustriaHungaryandGermany,withSerbiaactingasanationalistagitatorinthe
cause.ItwasclearthatGermanynorEuropewereabletofillthevoidleftby
Bismarcksfiringin1890.

TheAllianceSystemofWWI
TripleEntente CentralPowers
GreatBritain
France
Russia
Italy
Greece

AustriaHungary
Germany
OttomanEmpire
Bulgaria

SimpleformulaforWWI:Nationalism(ArmsRace/Imperialism)+
Alliances=WWI

TheWar:
Theperceptionofthewarwasthatitwasgoingtobeashortwar.This
wasreallytheperceptionthatexistedinallnationscallitunbridledoptimism.The
dreamshouldhavebeenshatteredalmostimmediatelywhentheBelgiansinitiateda
gloriousstandagainsttheGermanaggressors,delayingwhatwasviewedtobean
instantdefeatfortheBelgians.
ThentheFrenchfollowedwithvaliancyattheBattleofMarneduring
whichtheycounteredabrilliantGermansiegewithacounteroffensivethatinvolved
everyonedowntothetaxisofParis!Atthispointthewarsrelativequickness
proceededtogrindtoahaltwiththemassivetrenchfortificationsthatwere
commonplaceonthewarswesternfront.
AsastyleofwarfareTrenchwarfarewasnotonlyremarkablyinefficient
whenmeasuringitagainstthetruepurposeofwarfareadvancingontheenemyand
drivingthembackintoaretreat.Botharmiesstandstalledandstagnantmaking
siegesupontheotherstrench.ThescopeoftrenchwarfareontheEuropeanscenewas
incompressiblerangingfromBelgiumtotheSwissFrontier.Thewarfarewasthen
foughtwithmines,gas,andgrenades.Lossoflifewasstaggering(seeonionpiece)see
informationon969.Theeffectonthosewhofoughtthewarandlivedwasstaggering,
astheywereshockedanddisillusionedthroughouttheirwholelives.
Theeasternfrontdidnotdegenerateintotrenchwarfare,ratherturned
outmuchmorelopsidedastheRussiansweresteamrolledbytheGermansandlosta
staggeringamountoflife.ThecombinationofAustriaHungaryandGermanywastoo
muchfortheillequippedRussianswholostupwardsof2.5millionmenduringthe
dreadful1915campaignalone.Territorialgainsbroughtnewforcesintothewar,
exampleItalywhoswitchedsidesin1915.Bulgariaweighedoffersfrombothsidesto
joinwiththeCentralPowersin1915followingtheleadoftheOttomanEmpire.
TheOttomanentranceintothewarcarriedthewarintotheMiddleEast.
BritishcolonialinterestsinPersia(Iran),Egypt,otherpartsoftheArabworldand
Indiaensureditsstatusasaworldwar.ThewarspreadintoEastAsiaasthebattle
forcolonialismragedasfarawayasJapan.
Theconflictturnedin1917withtheUSentranceintothewar.TheUS
wassteadfastintheirdesireforneutralitythroughthatpoint,howevertheyhada
dramaticchangeofheart,whichturnedthetideofwar.USdecisionwasadifficult
oneinlargepartbecauseoftheethnictensionsanddivisionsofimmigrantsinthe
UnitedStates.TheUSfinallyenteredintothewaraftertwomajorevents.Thefirst
wastheZimmermannote,apieceofintelligenceinterceptedbyBritishForcesin1917
whichwassentbyGermanysstatedepartmentleaderEdwardZimmermantothe
presidentofMexicopromisinghimarecoupoflostlandsfromtheUnitedStates
whenthewarinEuropewasdecidedandtheUSwasnotinitbecauseMexicohad
declaredawaronthemandkeptthembusyintheWesternHemisphere.Obviously
thatdidntoccur.Thesecondwas(1915)thesinkingoftheLusitaniabyGerman
submarinesorUBoats.TheseUBoatsproveddeadlyfortheywereabrandnew
phenomenon,forwhichlittledefensewasavailable.ThesinkingoftheLusitianiaa
luxurylinerloadedwithAmericancitizensputAmericaonguardaboutherfreedom
oftheseas.TheGermanintrusionuponthisrightcontinueduntil1917whentheUS
finallyenteredthewar.ThisGermansubwarfareagainstcommercewastoomuch
totolerate.
Mobilizingforthewarathome:commondenominators?
o oBuildingNationalism:propagandaveryeffective
inthisarena.
o oEconomicstrategies:looseningeconomiccontrols
oncompetitioninnoncapitalisteconomies.
o oEconomicplanning:rationing,economicplanning
o oImperialparticipation:Britainhadthegreatest
advantageherewithIndiaparticipatingveryintensely.
o oWomen:womenbeganfulfillingrolesinIndustry
intheabsenceofmen.
o oCurbingandmonitoringagriculturalproduction
forthestate.
o oGermanyandUStheexample.

TheSocialImpact:
Thewarssocialimpactswerenumerous.
Classdistinctionsbecameless,economicandsocialgrowthincreasedforwomenand
minorities.Laborunionsprovidedhugegainsforindustryafterthewarwiththeir
intenseparticipationandloyalty.Thelossofmenwasphenomenalforcingwomento
takeagreaterroleinsociety.

GrowingPoliticalTensions:
Wars,caneitherbeablessingforanation
stabilizingitbehindtheforcesofnationalismoritcanbeadisasterinthewakeof
defeatandthestingofreversenationalismandsocialsanctionslikecensorship.The
Europeansituationwassplit;manynationshadpositivegainsfromthewarsuchas
FranceandBritain.TheGermanandAustroHungarianresultswerenotascompelling
asthewarcarriedonandlossesandnationalismmounted.TheReichstagbeganvoting
againstwarfundingbehindsocialistsandCatholics.TheresultsinRussiawere
unspeakable,whichyouwillsee.

TheRussianRevolution:
SeePowerPoint

ThePeaceProcessandconclusions:

WorldWarIbeganin1914.Thewar
emergedoutofEuropesoldproblems.Themilitarismbestemphasizedby
Prussia/Germanybutpracticedbyall.TheNationalismofEurope,whichhadbeen
runningwildsincetheFrenchRevolutionof1848,ithadinspiredfeelingsof
independenceandgreatnessamongstallpeoplesofEurope.AustriaHungaryandthe
OttomanEmpirewererulingoverplacesthathadlittleincommonwiththeircultural
heritageandtheviolencebetweenempireslikeAustriaHungaryandneighboring
Serbiawereproofofthisphenomenon.TheBritishhadledadramaticmovement
towardsglobalimperialism.ThismovementwouldnotstopuntilThesunneversets
ontheBritishEmpire.Thewarforcolonieswasinfullforce.Europewasinterwoven
intoasystemofalliancessointricateandcomplexthatthestatesinvolvedhardlyknew
whotheirrespectiveallieswere.

Outofthesecausescameaspark,theassassinationofArchdukeFranzFerdinandinJuneof
1914.ThisminorpoliticalassassinationoftheunpopularheiroftheAustroHungarian
EmpiregavethemtheexcusetheyneededtotakecareofinsurrectioninSerbiawithfullforce.
TheassassinationofFerdinandwasbynomeansacauseofthewar,butitdidprovideaspark
thatputthewheelsinmotionforthemostdeadlyconfrontationthatmankindhaseverseen.
AwarfoughtintrenchesinFrance,intheairoverGermanyandinthecoldseasoftheNorth
Atlantic.Allinallthewarspanned6continentsandclaimed50millionlivesbysome
accounts.

LittledidweknowatthetimethattheWarwhichendedin1914wouldsetinmotionastring
ofeventssoterriblethatitwillenvelopustoday,nearly90yearsafterthegunsofAugust
cametoadeafeningsilence.TheGermans/AustroHungarianswillbeturnedbackintheir
effortsbyatiredbandofEuropeansandsomeeageryoungdoughboysfromtheburgeoning
powerfromacrosstheAtlantic.ThewarspeacewouldbesettledataconferenceinVersailles.
Littledidweknowthatthepeaceestablishedafterthisdevastatingwarwouldproveworse
thanthefightingthatreachedduringit.

VersailleswasastagefortheidealismofWoodrowWilsonandhiscounterpartsDavidLloyd
GeorgeofEngland,GeorgesClemenceauofFranceandVittorioOrlandoofItaly.Wilson
cametothepeaceconferenceatthelavishpalacearmedwithadream,adreamofendingwar
foralltimebydeclaringapeacewithoutvictory.Wilsonsdreamswouldbeshortlivedas
hisidealisticagendaforpeacethe14pointswillbecriticizedandwatereddownbothathome
andabroadbythefactthattheEuropeanpowerswereoutforvengeanceagainstGermanyand
nomatterwhatthisprofessorialpresidenthadtosaytherewouldbenopeacewithoutvictory.
Clemenceauwhosenationhadbeenpunishedfordecadesifnotcenturiesbytheirneighbors
totheEastleviedtheargumentthatthewarhadnotbeenfoughtonUSsoil,butonFrench
soil.Wilsonandhis1yearentryintothewarcouldnotcomprehendthetortureofdecadesof
abuseatthehandsofPrussiaandGermany,thushisidealismwouldhavenoplaceatthe
peacetable.

NoticeablyabsentfromthepeacetableweretheRussians.Theyhaddrawntheireofthe
westernnationswiththeirmomentousdecisiontowithdrawfromWWIwiththeTreatyof
BrestLitovsk.ThetreatywouldgiveRussiasomethingtheyhadnotachanceatduringthe
war;survivalandachancetoeatforitspopulous.ThewestfailedtoacknowledgetheRussian
needforpeacein1917anddespiteher3hardyearsoffighting,adeathtollthatexceededthe
otherpowerscombinedshewasabsentfromnegotiationsatthetable.Hardfeelingswouldbe
feltintothe1980s.

ThetermsofPeace.Germanywastobepunishedseverely.Shewouldhave33billiondollars
(1919)figureleviedagainsther,afiguresoastronomicallyridiculousitwouldhavebeen
impossibletorepayunderanyconditions.Itwasforcedtotakeblameforthewar,shelost
land,shelostprideandshelosttheabilitytoindustrializeinthewakeofdisaster.The
Germaneconomyinthepostwarperiodcrumbledunderthewakeofinflation,unpaidwar
debtsandthereparationsimposedonherbyVersailles.Germanywasindirestraitsby1930.
WhentheGreatDepressionsurfacedGermanywasintotaleconomicruin,inflationsohigh
thatbreadcostmillionsofmarks.Germanywouldlistentoanysolutiontodragheroutofher
economicmisery.Thevoicethatemergedisavoicethatcanneverbesilenced.

AdolfHitlercametopowerinGermanyontwopromises.First,hewouldrestorehereconomy
andbringbreadtoGermantables.Hesucceededinboth,howeverthepriceforsuccesswasan
atrocitythattheworldcanneverforget.Whatfollowsisaflowchartexplaininghowthe
settlementofVersaillesisindirectlyresponsiblefornearlyeverytragedythathasrockedthe
20
th
century.


Versailles:

Inflation in Germany
beyond imagination,
damage to her national
pride.

HighconsumerspendinginUS
during1920s,basedinsmallpart
onthepromiseofreparations
followingthewar.

Social Welfare initiatives of


the New Deal

RiseofAdolfHitler,thegenocideoftheJewsand
theSecondWorldWar,whichendedwithatomicdestruction.

ColdWar,NuclearArmsRace,problemswithUSSR Creationofthestateof
Israelin1945.

Vietnam/KoreaCubanMissileCrisisReaganomics/deficitspending


Conflicts over US policy in Middle East that resulted in Israeli wars with
Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etcinstability in the region and terrorism that has
been ravaging the region for 50 years. The violence has now extended
to US soil with the events of 9-11, which are a direct correlation to US
policy initiatives, economic and military presence in Israel and Saudi
Arabia.

Note: this doesnt even explain unresolved land issues that will lead to
conflicts in the Balkans and beyond. Nor does it consider the snubbing of
Ho Chi Minh an aspiring Vietnamese politician who turns to communism
in the wake of the snub at Versailles.