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Section II: The War is Fought
(Pages 618-623)
This section is about:
How new technology and
fighting methods led to a
long, drawn out war with
heavy losses sustained by the
armies of many nations.
How the entrance into war by
fresh troops from the United
States led Germany to seek
an end to the fighting.
We know there’s a “Great
War” in Europe
Today we see what that
has to do with the United
Look at the Main Ideas
on page 618.
Look at the “Critical
Question” on the bottom
of page 622 (keep
thinking about that).
The War is Fought / The War Unfolds
The Great War was the
first war to include most
of the nations of the
Battles were fought in
many countries, on every
ocean, and for the first
time, in the skies.
Newer and deadlier
weapons were also
changing the nature of
Military Resources and Strategy
In just a few days
Austria Hungary bombed Serbia.
Russia mobilized it’s troops.
Austria-Hungary gathered it’s troops on the
Russian border.
Germany gave Russia 12 hours to stop
moving it’s troops.
Germany gave France 18 hours to announce
it was staying neutral.
Russia and France ignored Germany.
Germany declared war on Russia.
France mobilized it’s troops.
Germany demanded Belgium let their troops
pass through to France.
Germany declared war on France and
Britain declared war on Germany (to back
The Allies
Had more troops.
But the Russians were slow.
The Central Powers
Germany had superior railroads, a
large, well trained army, and a good
Germany had been planning
strategy for 5 years.
They knew they’d probably have to
fight on two fronts.
They were going to use: “the
Schlieffen Plan” – Northern France
first and then Russia.
A New Kind of War
Many new weapons were used
for the first time in the Great
Machine guns
Giant Cannons
First armored tanks
Fighter Planes
Bombs dropped from planes
(German U-Boats)
Poison Gas
Trench Warfare
The War From 1914 to 1916
For Germany, the war
starting in Belgium was
more about geography
than politics.
Belgium had good, flat
land - and lots of
They were also in the
center of Europe and
directly on the way to
The Western Front
By early September (in two
months), the Germans were 15
miles from Paris.
But they were stopped at the
Marne River.
The Germans now couldn’t get a
quick French victory.
The fighting reached a stalemate
– with neither side gaining an
Both sides “dug in” with trench
warfare – digging trenches and
ditches - also with barbed wire for
This trench warfare was fought
over a 400 mile stretch in France.
The area in between the two sides
was called “no-mans-land”
because no-one ever controlled it
(and everything in the area was
destroyed – buildings, roads, and
even the trees and grass.
The Germans tried a second
attack – in northwest Belgium.
On the first day of the attack,
the French soldiers were first
distracted by a grayish-green
They had no experience with
this vapor – but it was poison
Many suffered terrible pain and
death (92,000 deaths, 1.2
million casualties).
The Germans kept attacking
and next tried a 6 mile stretch
of land near Verdun.
After 10 more months of
fighting, the French had
stopped the Germans from
advancing with the rallying cry:
“they shall not pass.”
The Eastern Front
There was also fighting at the
same time near Poland and
Russia is so big, it took a lot of
German soldiers to try and take
their land.
The Germans and Austrians did
win some battles on the Eastern
Russia had 4 times as many
soldiers as the Germans – but bad
Russia had poor leaders (they
even gave orders on open radios)
and poorly trained soldiers,
Russian soldiers didn’t have
enough food, and their soldiers
were just getting tired of fighting.
In two battles in a row, more than
350,000 Russians were captured
– and their fighting equipment
was taken/destroyed.
Most of the war was
in Europe, but…
There was some
fighting in Asia and
Africa, usually
involving colonies of
the countries fighting
in Europe.
Fighting on the Sea
Great Britain and Germany
both set up sea blockades to
cut off each other’s supplies
(including food).
On May 7th, 1915, the
Germans sank the British ship
“Lusitania” (with 100
Americans on board).
The Germans killed more
Americans in 1916 (on the
President Wilson told Germany
we’d break off ties with them if
they didn’t stop shooting at
ships with Americans.
The United States Gets Involved
President Wilson had kept the
U.S. out of the war, but…
In 1917, the Germans resumed
“unrestricted submarine
warfare” – sinking 5 American
ships in a month.
And, the British intercepted a
message from Germany to
Mexico (The Zimmerman
In it Germany promised if
Mexico helped them fight the
Americans, they’d get the land
back that they last in their war
with the U.S. (The MexicanAmerican War).
Americans were furious.
On April 2nd, 1917, President
Woodrow Wilson asked
Congress to declare war on
Germany – in order to “make
the world safe for democracy.”
On April 6th, war was
It took until about 1918 to get
our soldiers to Europe, but 1.2
million Americans helped the
Clashes in
The Russians were tired of
fighting and signed a peace
treaty with the Central Powers
in March, 1918.
Russia was now out of the war.
The agreement was that they’d
give up:
30% of their farmlands
50% of their industry
90% of their coal mines
German could now go back
and concentrate on the
fighting on the Western Front.