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WWI Study Guide
Causes of WWI
M.A.N.I.A.C.S started WWI
M. Militarism – glorification of war and the military
 Competition for military power and strength
o Arms race – competition to build up armed forces and weapons
o Standing armies – soldiers trained and ready to fight
o Conscription – mandatory participation of civilians in the military
o Increase in military spending
o Increasing influence of military in the government
 Example: Germany expanded its navy, Britain soon followed with a bigger and better navy
A. Alliances – Partnership agreement to go to war in the event one country in the partnership is attacked.
Aim was to discourage other countries from attacking members of the alliance
 Triple Alliance
o Germany
o Austria-Hungary
o Italy
 Triple Entente
o Russia
o France
o Great Britain
N. Nationalism –
 Extreme love and devotion for one’s country
o determination of European nations to show power and strength
 Freedom from foreign rule
o France wants Germany to return Alsace and Lorraine lost in Franco-Prussian war
 People of the same nationality wanted to form their own nation-state
o Pan-Slavism – Slavs had a long-term goal to develop their culture and unite into an empire
 Serbian nationals wanting to unite Bosnia with Serbia
 Russia – protector of the Slavs
I. Imperialism – One country’s domination of the economic, political and social life of another country
 Competition for colonies – countries had some and wanted more, others had none and wanted some
o Economic growth – countries wanted to new markets to sell products
o Power and prestige of expanding global empires
A. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Spark – immediate cause that creates a chain of diplomatic failures setting WWI in motion
 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria assassinated
o Heir to the Austrian throne in Bosnia-Herzegovina (territory annexed by Austria, containing
many Serbian-Slavs)
o Black Hand – secret Serbian nationalists group with ties to the Serbian government
 Gavrilo Princip - leader of the black hand assassinates Franz Ferdinand and his wife
C. Conflict in the Balkan Peninsula
 Large # of different religions, nationalities
 Russia and A-H wanted to colonize the Balkan Peninsula
 Called the “Europe’s powder keg” – waiting for an event that would start a major war
S. Series of diplomatic failures resulting in war
 Domino effect - chain or series of diplomatic failures resulting in war
o U. Ultimatum from A-H to Serbia fails. A-H declares war on Serbia
o R. Russia, Protector of the Slavs, and France mobilize against Germany,
G. Germany declares war on France using the Schlieffan plan, going through neutral Belgium
E. England, declares war on Germany for attacking neutral Belgium
The War
Central Powers
 Austria-Hungary
 Germany
 Ottoman Empire (Turks)
 Bulgaria
Allied Powers
 Great Britain
 Russia
 France
 Belgium
 Later – Japan, Montenegro
 Italy – initially remained neutral (felt A.H. and Germany had acted aggressively, rather than
defensively), but later entered on the side of the allies
 US joins (April 2, 1917)
Key Leaders during WWI
William II - Germany
o Emperor of Germany in World War I.
1890, he broke off the old ties with Russia, causing Germany to have to fight a two-front war. This
blunder led Germany to defeat.
Czar Nicholas II – Russia
o last czar of Russia, Absolute Monarch
George Clemenceau – France
o Prime Minister of France during WWI
o Nicknamed ‘Tiger’ for his ruthless and bold leadership
Woodrow Wilson – US
o the 28th President of the United States
o At the outbreak of the WWI, he tried to maintain American neutrality as long as possible
David Lloyd George – Great Britain
o Prime minister of England
Schlieffen Plan – war plan for Germany, created by Alfred von Schlieffen
 Germany had to fight a war on two fronts (east with France/Great Britain and west with Russia)
 Plan to reach Paris and defeat French in 6 weeks before Russia can mobilize, then attack Russia
 Problems encountered by Helmuth von Moltke – German commander
 Heavily fortified areas in Belgium
 Strong resistance from France
 Russia mobilized quicker
 Britain attacked from the north
of the Marne
French and German troops collide in Marne (NE France) just outside of Paris
French under Commander Joseph Jacques Joffre push German’s back 50 miles
o German’s forced to retreat signifying end to Schlieffen plan
o Establishes the western front
Western Front:
1. Stalemate – a state of deadlock where neither side gains an advantage
2. Trench warfare - a type of armed combat in which the two opposing sides fight from trenches that face
each other to protect soldiers from the onslaught of machine gun fire and other weaponry
 A series of trenches stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland
 No man’s land – the desolate area that separated the two sides of trenches
 Barbed wire and land mines protected the area in front of each trench
 Attacks – soldiers charged “over the top” of their own trenches, through no man’s land to enemy
trenches, facing heavily artillery, machine guns, barbed wire, and land-mines
 Soldiers lived in the trenches for several weeks
o Disease, cold, mud, rats, rain
3. War of Attrition – a war in which each side tries to wear the other side down by constant attacks.
Battle of Tannenberg
 1st Battle on the Eastern Front
 Russia attacks Germany quickly and force Germany to divert troops away from France to fight on
the Eastern front (End to Schlieffen Plan)
 Russians defeated at Tannenberg – 30K killed, 92K imprisoned
 Signified the weakness of the Russian Army
 Russian advantage: 15:1 ratio of Russian to German Soldiers (1 in 10 soldiers return from war)
 Russian weakness: least industrialized - lack of supplies, weapons, food
Eastern Front
 Fought in Russia
 More mobile than Western Front (ground too hard to dig trenches)
 Front much longer, covered more territory
 Battle lines moved often
New Weapons
 Machine guns – allowed one man to kill hundreds of men in seconds
 Poisonous gas – German army was first ever to used
o Chlorine gas – caused blindness, choking, vomiting, torn lungs, and death
o Mustard gas – most deadly, caused skin blisters, sore eyes, vomiting, internal and external
bleeding, a long slow death
 Tanks – allowed for movement across rugged terrain, eventually designed to cross trenches
 Airplanes – first used for reconnaissance work (spying), later in war to deliver bombs and fight enemy
aircraft in they air
 Submarines – German u-boats destroyed warships, supply ships, and commercial and passenger ships
of Verdun
German surprise attack on French (under command of Henri-Phillippe Petain) at Verdun
No clear winner
One of the bloodiest battles of the War
Both sides suffer casualties of more than 500K
of the Somme
British and French surprise attack against Germany
No clear winner
Both sides suffer casualties of more than 500K
Gallipoli Campaign
 Goal: To open a supply route to Russia
 British navy (under command of Winston Churchill) attacks Dardanelles strait controlled by Turkey
to get control of only way to get supplies to Russia
 Lack of planning and reinforcements causes Allies to withdraw
War on the Seas
 Great Britain blockade all ports under German control to stop supplies from reaching Germany
 Germany could only get goods through neutral countries
 Britain stopped ships carrying contraband (prohibited goods such as weapons and ammo)
 German’s use u-boats to blockade Great Britain and stop supplies from reaching allies
U.S. Entry into the War
Reasons did not enter in 1914
 Policy of neutrality – policy of not choosing sides
 U.S. late entry – believed war was a European conflict and had nothing to do with the US
 Economic Reasons – keep trade open with both sides
 Reasons U.S. Enters – April 2, 1917
1. Lusitania – British passenger ship torpedoed by German u-boats; 1,200 die including 128
2. Zimmerman note – message from Arthur Zimmerman (German Foreign Minister) to his
ambassador in Mexico. Info. Intended for Mexican President:
 Germany to reinstate unrestricted submarine warfare
 Germany wanted alliance with Mexico
 Germany would help Mexico regain New Mexico, Texas and Arizona from the
US, if Mexico would start a war with US to keep them “occupied” and out of
the war in Europe
 Mexico promised money
 Suggested Mexico get Japan involved in 2 front war against US
3. Un-restricted submarine warfare – German U-boats continue to sink American merchant
US prepares for WAR
Total war – all of country’s resources going toward war effort – US prepared for War
o Government influences production of goods and services toward needs of the war
o Unemployment drops – workers need to produce war goods
o Food Rationing – meatless Monday, wheat-less Wednesday leaves more food for troops
o Price controls on food and wages
o Propaganda – intended to persuade people to support the war, make sacrifices, keep moral
o Women – join the workforce and special branches of the military; aided in getting women the
right to vote in 1920
First US troops arrive in Europe in April 1918 under General John Pershing
 Fought primarily in France
First American army ever sent to Europe
Propaganda – ideas or rumors used to harm an opposing cause
Common objectives of Wartime Propaganda
1. Recruitment of Soldiers
2. Financing the war effort
3. Unify the country behind the war
4. Conserve resources needed for war (steel, oil, food)
5. Encourage participation in organizations that support the war
Common Propaganda Tools
1. Demonization – portraying the enemy as evil, murderous, aggressive
2. Emotional Appeal – play on people’s fear about war
3. Name Calling – using labels to encourage hatred of the enemy (Huns, Commie’s)
4. Patriotic Appeals – using patriotic symbols to appeal to national pride (Statue of Liberty, flags)
5. Half-truth’s and lies – deception and twisting the truth
6. Catchy Slogans - memorable phrases to create support (Remember the Maine)
7. Evocative Visual Symbols – visual images that appeal to peoples emotions (i.e. Women, children, etc)
8. Humor – using the enemy as the butt of jokes
Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution:
Poor leadership caused the Bolshevik R.E.V.O.L.T. in 1917
R. Rasputin’s influence over the Czar
E. Every landless peasant demanded land
V. Violence broke out over bread shortages and military
O. Overthrow of provisional government was led by the
L. Lenin promises “Peace, Land, Bread”
T. Tzar’s Incompetence
Fall of the Tzar
 Rasputin – Mystic leader of the Romanov’s increasing influence
 Food and Fuel Shortages
 Mounting defeats in WWI
 Strikes and riots broke out across the country
 March Revolution – spontaneous uprising of working people and soldiers
 March 15, 1917 Czar Nicholas Abdicates (steps down)
Temporary Central Government
Mostly made up of Middle Class Duma reps.
Alexander Kerensky – Prime Minister
Big Mistake: Didn’t withdraw from the war
Challenged by Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies (Mensheviks & small
number of Bolsheviks)
Leader of the Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks beliefs: small number of professional revolutionaries would lead a VIOLENT
revolution against Aristocrats (Noblemen & Lords), and Middle Class
Promised: Peace, Land, and Bread
Bolshevik Revolution – Nov. 1917
Leader – Vladimir Lenin
Slogan – “Peace (end war), Land (give more land to the peasants), Bread (food)”
Coup d’état – sudden overthrow of the government by people from with the country
Socialist state – No private property, economic equality for all citizens (distribution of land to
peasants, worker control of factories)
*Based on the ideas of Karl Marx and Communism
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk –
**Lenin wanted to concentrate on stabilizing their government and economy
 Peace treaty between Germany and Russia, ending Russian participation in the WWI
 Russians lose much of western territory and 1/3 of population
 Germans get land from Russia
 Allows Germany to concentrate on western front
Civil War
Red Army (communists) vs. White Army (liberal democrats, moderate socialists, and royalists)
Leon Trotsky – communist leader of the Red Army
White Army defeated
Lenin establishes communist control throughout Russia
End of war
 2nd Battle of the Marne (July 1918)
o Ferdinand Foch puts 200K new U.S. soldiers intermixed with experienced soldiers
o Pushes German army out of France to German border
o German Generals tell Kaiser Wilhelm II war can’t be won
 Austria-Hungary quits (Oct 1918)
 German soldiers revolt (Nov 1918) “ No more fighting” – Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates
 Nov. 11 – Armistice day – Germans agree to end fighting
Effects of WWI
o 9 Million soldiers dead
o 21 Million soldiers wounded
o 13 Million civilians were dead of disease or starvation
o Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks – massacre of 500K-1M Armenians for their support in helping
the Allies
o Absolute Monarchies in Europe destroyed
o Increased political and social instability
different from other wars:
Number of casualties
Use of new technologies
Scope of war – number of countries involved
 Colonies participated in hopes of gaining their independence
 Asian and African colonies expected citizenship or independence
 Arabs wanting freedom from Ottoman Turks helped the British
o Amount of destruction
Woodrow Wilson’s (US President) 14 points – peace plan
o Freedom of the seas and trade
o Arms limitations
o End to secret alliances
o Self-rule for all nations
o No punishments to Germany
o League of Nations – an organization of world nations to settle future problems peacefully
Paris Peace Conference – delegates from 27 nations signed the Treaty of Versailles
o “Big Four” - George Clemenceau (France), David Lloyd George (Britain), Vittorio Orlando (Italy),
Woodrow Wilson, (US)
o Central Powers not invited
o Each nation had differing goals, Wilson had to compromise on his 14 Points
o Five different Treaties signed with each of the Central Powers ( including a separate one with newly
created Hungary)
o Most Important – Treaty of Versailles with Germany
Treaty of Versailles – the treaty was a R.A.W. deal for Germany
R. Reparations were forced on Germany
o German war reparations – $33 B
A. Allies Punish Germany - took German land/limit German military
o German army reduced,
o German weapons - can’t manufacture or buy weapons, no airforce
o German to return Alsace-Lorraine to France
o France gets control of Saar Basin (rich in coal deposits)
o Occupation of the Rhineland
o Germany stripped of Colonies
W. War Guilt was forced on Germany
o Germany must sign “war blame” clause
New nations established
o Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland
 Yugoslavia created a united Slavic country on the Balkan Peninsula
Other nations not granted independence
o Ottoman Empire partitioned by France and Great Britain
 mandates were created over territories in the Middle East (Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria)
 Arabs did not receive independence that G.B. had promised
o France and Great Britain did not give independence to colonies