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Origin of World War 1

  • In the year 1979, German statesman Bismarck helped forge an alliance with Austria

and Hungary. Thus Germany would help these countries in their resistance against the Russians in the Balkans.

  • Italy also joined the alliance a year later but it was basically a loose canon.

  • This alliance propped up to be a major threat to France, who were in a constant tussle with Germany.

  • Thus France started looking for allies in case Germany attacked France. This led

France to join hands with Russia even though their relationship wasn’t ideal either.

  • The Czar of Russia showed up in Paris in the year 1889 to sign a military treaty in opposition to Germany.

  • Britain entered the war for a number of reasons but the most basic reason was that in the years prior to the war Germany was emerging as a fast growing industrial giant.

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  • Germany was making huge strides in steel production and Chemistry. They were making advanced battleship thus threatening Britain’s naval supremacy.

  • Britain did not want to loose control of the seas. Thus their entry into the war was inevitable.

Treaty of Versailles

  • An Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918 signaling the end of war.

  • Cost of war was unparalleled, millions of people died in the warring nations. These costs would be counted for and the defeated would have to pay.

  • In January 1919, the delegates of victorious nations got together in Paris for the peace conference to draw up the terms to be offered to Germany.

  • France wanted revenge, reparations that they had suffered and guarantees that their would be no war after this.

  • Britain’s Lloyd George fought strongly for Germany's stabilization

  • US’s Woodrow Wilson wanted just and lasting peace not punishment. He suggested 14 points for new moral order in international affairs, one of which was establishing league of nations to prevent countries from aggression

Terms of the Treaty

  • Meanwhile, their was infighting in Berlin with the communist staging a revolt which

was quickly suppressed by the German army.

  • In Paris the allied leaders were discussing the future of Germany. The map of Europe was redrawn and after 3 months the terms of treaty were presented to Germany.

  • According to the treaty, Germany would lose land in the north , east and west.

  • Their army would be reduced to 100000 men with no air force, no submarines, and they had to accept the blame for starting the war and pay reparations.

  • So in 1919 the German delegates were brought to the city of Versailles to sign the peace treaty.

  • In the year 1921, the allies were still discussing about the reparations and a figure of $6600m was arrived at.

  • Germany would have to pay this both in goods and money.

Repercussions

  • In 1922, Germany fell back on its payments and France decided to take matter in their own hands. On January 11 , 1923 French troops entered the industrial heart of Germany, Ruhr.

  • The German workers refused to comply and the country was stuck in the middle of the worst inflation it had ever faced.

  • The life savings of people were blown away by this wave.

  • The German chancellor tried to mediate the problems and accepted a new scaled down version of the reparations proposed by a committee headed by Charles Dawes

  • Eventually, Germany became a full member of the League of nations in September 1926 and life in Germany returned to relative normalcy.

League of Nations

  • The League of Nations was a brainchild of US president Woodrow Wilson. It was an international organization that existed between 1920 and 1946.

  • It vowed to promote international cooperation, preserve global peace and prevent another world war. The League arbitrated disputes between member countries in order to peacefully preserve sovereignty and territorial rights.

  • The League encouraged countries to reduce their amount of military weapons. Any country that resorted to war would be subject to economic sanctions such as a halt to trade.

  • The League of Nations was founded in 1920 by forty-two countries. At its height in 1934 and 1935, the League had 58 member countries.

  • The League of Nations was unable to enforce many of its own regulations

because it did not have a military. It was considered a political failure.

End of the League of Nations

  • The members of the League of Nations knew that many changes within the organization had to occur after World War II.

  • The League of Nations was disbanded in 1946.

  • An improved international organization, the United Nations, was carefully discussed and formed, based on many of the political and social goals of the

League of Nations.

  • The League of Nations had the diplomatic, compassionate goal of generating permanent international stability, but the organization was

unable to avert conflicts which would ultimately change human history.

  • The world's leaders realized the League's shortcomings and reinforced its objectives in the modern-day successful United Nations