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World War I The Great War Origins of Conflict • Competing ambitions in Europe over economics, military expansion, diplomatic maneuvering, and international tensions reached an all time peak. • Kaiser Wilhelm II becomes the next German ruler in 1888. • Foreign policy changes begin in 1890 with dismissal of Bismarck. • alliance with Russia dropped; Russia then allies with France. • effort to strengthen German navy, which alarms Britain. Crisis in the Balkans • Many groups in Balkans win independence during early 1900s. • New nation of Serbia made up largely of Slavs. • Austria-Hungary annexes Slavic region—Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908). • Serbia outraged, sees itself as rightful ruler of these Slavic lands. • On June 28, 1914, a Serbian terrorist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir of the AustroHungarian throne) and his wife, while in Sarajevo, Bosnia. • A Serbian terrorist by the name of Gavrilo Princip, a member of the group, the Black Hand, assassinated Franz Ferdinand during his visit to Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, thereby stalling his proposed reforms. • http://www.firstworldwar.com/video/ferdinand.htm • July 28, 1914, Austria (with Germany’s support) declared war on Serbia. • This caused a chain reaction which draws many European powers into war. • Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slavic nationalism once and for all. • Austria declared war on Serbia • As Russia supported Serbia, Austria-Hungary waited to declare war until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention, which would likely involve Russia's ally, France, and possibly Great Britain as well. • Germany declared war on Russia (to help Austria) and then France. • On July 5, Kaiser Wilhelm secretly pledged his support, giving Austria-Hungary a so-called carte blanche or "blank check" assurance of Germany's backing in the case of war. • The Dual Monarchy then sent an ultimatum to Serbia, with such harsh terms as to make it almost impossible to accept. Convinced that Vienna was readying for war, the Serbian government ordered the Serbian army to mobilize, and appealed to Russia for assistance. • On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun. Central Powers • • • • Austria-Hungary Germany Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Allied Powers • • • • • • Britain France Russia (plus Poland & Finland) Italy Japan United States (joins later) American Attitudes • Most Americans believed there was no reason to join the war. • However, economic, ethnic, and cultural ties connected them to the Allied Powers. • Woodrow Wilson admired Britain’s culture and government and distrusted Germany. • Due to International law, neutral nations (like the United States), were allowed to supply nations at war. • However, Britain’s navy blocked the Central Powers from receiving goods from the United States. • Only Allied forces could buy American goods, such as uniforms, steel, explosives, and wheat. (Helped stabilize the American economy). • Declaration of London • Statement drafted in 1909 that explained international law and specified the rights of neutral nations. • Britain’s naval blockade over Germany was seen as unlawful by Woodrow Wilson, but he did not want to sever ties with Britain. • January 1915, U.S. gives support to Britain of naval blockage over Germany. • As a response, Germany began to use submarines to attack Allied ships coming into the British Isles. • May 1915, a German submarine sank the British cruise liner “Lusitania.” • The Lusitania had been carrying weapons in its cargo hold. • 1,198 people died; 128 were Americans. • 761 people survived. • Angered by the attack, Wilson demands Germany cease all submarine use. • Still refusing to enter the war, Wilson’s u-boat policy was tested in March 1916, when a uboat torpedoed the French passenger ship, Sussex, injuring several Americans on board. • Still refusing to join the war the United States and Germany made a deal…The Sussex Pledge, which Germany promised to no longer sink passenger liners without warning and kept the United States out of the war. The Final Straw… • In January 1917, a German official named Arthur Zimmerman, sent a telegram to the German ambassador over in Mexico. • The telegram proposed that Mexico join forces with Germany during the war and to attack the United States. • In return, Mexico would regain its “lost territory,” Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. • However, British intelligence intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram. • Shortly, there after it was leaked to the American papers. • Germany resumed the use of their uboats, sinking six American merchant ships without warning. • On April 2, 1917 President Wilson went before Congress asking them to declare war on Germany. • America was now officially part of World War I The Home Front • With only 300,000 members in the Army and National Guard combined, the United States created draft called selective service, which required all men 21-30 to register for the draft. • Eventually 2.8 million men were drafted. • Another two million volunteered for military service. African Americans in the War • Soldiers encountered discrimination and prejudice in the army. • Blacks were segregated into separate units, often with white officers. Women in the War • First War women officially served in the armed forces, but not in combat positions. • Women performed clerical duties, served as radio operators, electricians, pharmacists, photographers, chemists, torpedo assemblers, an nurses. • One of the first agencies established was the War Industries Board (WIB). • Created in July 1917, the WIB’s job was to coordinate the production of war materials. • It controlled the flow of raw materials, ordered the construction of new factories, and occasionally with the president's approval, set prices. Food and Fuel • However, the most successful government agency was the Food Administration, run by Herbert Hoover. • This agency was responsible for increasing food production while reducing civilian consumption. • While Hoover managed food production, the Fuel Administration, run by Harry Garfield, tried to manage the nation’s use of coal and oil. • To conserve energy, Garfield introduced daylight savings time and shortening work weeks for factories that did not make war materials. Paying for the War • To fund the war, Congress raised income tax rates. • Congress also placed new taxes on corporate profits and an extra tax on the profits of arms factories. • To raise the money needed, the government borrowed more than $20 billion from the American people by selling Liberty Bonds and Victory Bonds. • Essentially, the American people were loaning the government money. • The Government promised to repay the money with interest. Civil Liberties ?? • Espionage or spying to acquire secret government information, was addressed in the Espionage Act of 1917, which established penalties and prison terms for anyone who gave aid to the enemy. • Disloyalty, giving false reports, or interfering with war efforts were also penalized. Supreme Court Limits Free Speech • Despite protests against the government’s tactics, the courts generally upheld the principle behind them. • In the case of Schenck v. the United States (1919), the Supreme Court ruled that an individual’s freedom of speech could be curbed when the words uttered constitute a “clear and present danger.” • Examples: • Yelling FIRE!! in an open crowd • Screaming BOMB in an airport • The Courts stated: • “When a nation is at war, many things that might be said at times of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as [soldiers] fight…” Advanced Weapon Technology • New weapons only lead to more deaths. • • • • poison gas machine gun tank submarine (uboat) • airplanes • World War I saw the first use of airplanes in combat. • First combat plane with a “synchronization gear,” which enabled a machine gun to fire through the arc of the propeller without hitting the blades, was the Fokker E. 1 War in the Trenches • Conflict descends into trench warfare—armies fighting from trenches. • Battles result in many deaths and small land gains. • Life in trenches is miserable, difficult, and unsanitary. • Trench foot – foot condition caused by prolonged exposure to damp, unsanitary, cold conditions. A Bloody Stalemate • Western Front—heavy battle zone in northern France. • Schlieffen Plan— German plan to defeat France, then fight Russia. • German army quickly advances to outskirts of Paris. • Forced to retreat at First Battle of the Marne. • Schlieffen Plan fails; Germany has to fight two-front war. The Battle on the Eastern Front • Eastern Front—site of main fighting along the GermanRussian border. • Russians push into Austria and Germany, but soon forced to retreat Russia’s Struggle • Russia’s war effort suffering by 1916; many casualties, few supplies. • Russian army runs low on food, guns, ammunition, clothes, boots and blankets. • Czar Nicholas II, leader of the Russian Empire stepped down after riots broke our across Russia for the handling of the war. • The Bolsheviks (group of Communists) competed for control of Russia. • In November 1917, Vladimir Lenin (leader of the Bolshevik Party) overthrew the Russian Government and established a Communist government. • Lenin pulls Russia out of the war by agreeing to the Treaty of BrestLitovsk with Germany on March 3, 1918. • Under this treaty Russia lost a large mount of land, including the Ukraine, its Polish and Baltic territories, and Finland. The war come to an end… • While fighting raged along the Western front, a revolution engulfed Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire surrendered. • Faced with the surrender of their allies and a naval mutiny at Kiel in early November, the people of Berlin rose in rebellion and forced the German emperor to step down. • At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, the fighting stopped… • Germany had finally signed an armistice (cease fire), that ended the war. War Statistics • Approximate death toll • • • • • • • • • • • Britain – 908,400 France – 1,385,000 Russia – 1,700,000 Germany – 1,773,000 Austria-Hungary – 1,200,000 Ottoman Empire – 325,000 Bulgaria – 87,500 United States – 107,000 Romania – 335,700 Italy – 650,000 Others – 74,200 A Flawed Peace • Group of leaders known as the Big Four dominate peace talks: • U.S. president Woodrow Wilson • French ruler Georges Clemenceau • David Lloyd George of Great Britain. • Vittorio Orlando of Italy • Wilson presented a plan, called the Fourteen Points, to Congress in January 1918. • Calls for free trade and end to secret alliances, military buildups. • Promotes self-determination—right of people to govern own nation. • Envisions international peace-keeping body to settle world disputes. • The fourteenth point, probably the most important, called for the creation of a “general association of nations” known as the League of Nations. • The League’s member nations would help preserve peace and prevent future wars pledging to respect and protect each other’s territory and political independence. Treaty of Versailles • Was signed by Germany on June 28, 1919, had weakened or discarded many of Wilson’s fourteen points. • Under the treaty, Germany was stripped of its armed forces and was made to pay reparations (war damages), in the amount of $33 billion to the Allies. • The war resulted in the dissolution of four empires: the Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, the German Empire, Austria Hungary became separate countries and the countries Yugoslavia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia were created. • Treaty of Versailles was greatly opposed by many U.S. lawmakers. • The “Irreconcilables,” were a group of Senators that criticized the League saying it would supersede Congress’ powers to declare war and thus force the United States to fight in numerous foreign conflicts. • However, the “Reservationists” a larger group of Congress supported the League, but wanted to ratify the treaty only with amendments that would preserve the nation’s freedom to act independently. • Wilson wanted the Senate to ratify the treaty without changes. • The Senate voted in November 1919 and again in March 1920, but it refused to ratify the treaty. • Consequently, the United States never joined the League of Nations. The War’s Impact • Government lifted all rationing demands on the American people. • However, as people raced out to stock up on supplies, businesses raised prices on all goods. • Inflation drastically increased the cost of living in the United States.