The Roots of War European nationalism was bolstered by each nation’s increased militarism. European nations adopted a militaristic stance in the late 1800s in order to acquire and protect their colonies, as well as discourage aggression by rivals. Militarism, the glorification of armed strength and the ideals of war, led to the rise of large, sophisticated armies and navies as various European nations competed to develop military strength. Between 1870 and 1914 military spending among European nations increased by 300 percent. Great Britain and Germany in particular competed for domination of the seas by building up huge navies. By 1914 Russia was able to mobilize over 6 million troops, prompting Germany to double the size of its army between 1892 and 1913. As each nation increased its military power, an intricate web of alliances arose to deter acts of aggression among the European nations. In 1882 the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany and Italy formed the Triple Alliance. By 1907 France, Great Britain, and Russia had formed an alliance known as the Triple Entente. By 1914 Europe was a virtual pwder keg of tensions; its great economic, imperial powers, armed with massive, modern armies and inclined to support the idea of war for a national glory, were tied to one another n a series of binding military treaties.
As hostilities among European nations grew, President Woodrow Wilson-who led the United States from 1913 to 1921-carried on the U.S. tradition of U.S. Neutrality toward Europe. From its earliest days as a nation, the United States had observed a policy of noninvolvement in European affairs and conflicts. George Washington, n his last speech as president, argued that Europe “had a set of primary interests which to [the United States] have none or a very remote relation.” Therefore, Washington advised his successors to “steer clear of permanent alliances” with European nations. In his 1801 inaugural address President Thomas Jefferson vowed, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” In addition, Americans historically viewed themselves as morally, as well as geographically, distanced from the Old World. They believed that the United States was above engaging in the continual-and often bloody-power struggles the often characterized European relations. Although during the 1900s the United States was similarly concerned with establishing economic and political dominance in the Western Hemisphere-particularly in the Caribbean and Latin America-President Woodrow Wilson disavowed what he saw as Europe’s imperialistic, militaristic tendencies. However, U.S. neutrality was almost immediately challenged in the summer of 1914, when the situation in Europe exploded.
The Assassination of the Archduke World War I-or the Great War, as it was called at the time-began when the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungry. Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and his wife, Archduchess Sofia, were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914. Serbian nationalism was rooted in the Austro-Hungarian empire’s attempts to control the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. In 1908, Austria-Hungary had annexed the Balkan region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was populated primarily by Slavic Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. Serbia, Austria-Hungary’s tiny neighbor to the south, opposed Austria’s control of Bosnia and desired to join the Slavic Bosnians to its own nation. In protest of Austro-Hungarian domination, a secret Serbian nationalist society known as the Black Hand plotted to assassinate the archduke as he toured Bosnia. On the morning of June 28, seven assassins from the Black Hand positioned themselves along the archduke’s travel route. While the archduke and his wife managed to evade a bomb, thrown by one of the assassins, they were killed by a final assassin-nineteen year old GavriloPrincip-when their driver attempted to make a U-turn on a crowded street. Princip shot the archduchess once in the stomach, killing her instantly. Then, according to a fellow assassin who witnessed the deaths, “[A] second bullet struck the Archduke close to the heart. He uttered only one word, ‘Sophia’-a call to his stricken wife. Then his head fell back and he collapsed. He died almost instantly.”Francis Ferdinand and Austria's Francis Joseph.. 2005. Image.30 November 2010. <http://www.discoveryeducation.com/>.
A German U boat with a sinking English steamer.. 2005. Image.30 November 2010. <http://www.discoveryeducation.com/>.
Torpedoing of the Lusitania.. 2005. Image.30 November 2010. <http://www.discoveryeducation.com/>. German submarine that sank the Lusitania.. 2005. Image.30 November 2010. <http://www.discoveryeducation.com/>.
World War I: From Neutrality to War Essential Questions: • What considerations should guide the development of American foreign policy? • When should the United States go to war? • Did America’s emergence as a world power move it closer or further away from its founding ideals?
President Woodrow Wilson, August 19, 1914 • Respond: Identify Woodrow Wilson’s position toward World War I in 1914 by writing ―stay neutral‖ or ―declare war‖ in your notebook. Then identify one or more phrases that show President Wilson’s position.
Europe on the Brink of War• August 1914: War has just broken out in Europe involving two great alliances: the Allies (Britain, France and Russia) on one side, and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria- Hungary, and Turkey) on the other. Millions of soldiers are involved, both on land and at sea. Before anything happens in the war, you, as President Wilson, need to establish what the goals of the United States are. List three goals for the U.S. to keep in mind as the war progresses.
President Woodrow Wilson, April 2, 1917• Respond: Identify President Woodrow Wilson’s position toward World War I in 1917 by writing ―stay neutral‖ or ―declare war‖ in your notebook. Then identify one or more phrases that show President Wilson’s position.
Respond• Explain what might have happened in the three years between the speeches to change Woodrow Wilson’s position.
Europe on the Brink of War• The Roots of War – European nationalism • Aided by each nation’s increased militarism • Glorification of armed strength and the ideals of war • In order to acquire and protect their colonies under imperialism • Led to the rise of large, sophisticated armies and navies
A. Triple Entente or Allies— France, Britain, RussiaB. Germany, Austria- Hungary, Ottoman Empire are Central PowersC. Alliances give security; nations unwilling to tip balance of power
Europe on the Brink of War• U.S. Neutrality – President Woodrow declared neutrality toward Europe – However, U.S. neutrality was almost immediately challenged in the summer of 1914, when the situation in Europe exploded.
World War I Begins• The Assassination of the Archduke – Started World War I – Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist – Serbia, Austria-Hungary’s tiny neighbor to the south, opposed Austria’s control of Bosnia and desired to join the Slavic Bosnians to its own nation
World War I Begins• Austria-Hungary-backed by Germany’s promise of full military support-presented Serbia with a list of demands concerning inquiry into the crime• Austria-Hungary wanted Serbia to comply with its deliberately harsh demands or face war.• Serbia, knowing it had full Russian support in case of war, refused to accept all of Austria-Hungary’s demands.• After consultation with Germany, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28.
Loans and Exports• President Wilson allowed them to warring nations – Loans had to be short-term – Brought great prosperity to the U.S.
Britain Preventing Trade with Germany• The British Blockade – British blockade, mine North Sea, stop war supplies reaching Germany • also stop food, fertilizer • Wilson dropped objections – U. S. merchant ships seldom reach Germany • By 1917, famine in Germany – British trade was more important than Germany’s to the American economy
German War Zone Around Britain• German response to the British blockade• U-boats (German submarines) would sink any British or Allied ship in the waters around Britain• Wilson protests
British Liner Lusitania Is Sunk• Sunk on May 7, 1915 by German U-Boat• 1,198 people died including 128 Americans• American public opinion turns against Germany• President Wilson protests, but Germany continues to sink ships
Sussex Torpedoed• Unarmed French passenger steamer• 80 passengers, including Americans are killed• U.S. threatens to break off diplomatic relations• May, 1916- Sussex Pledge- Germany would not sink any passenger ships and would only sink merchant ships with warning.
Zimmerman Telegram• Zimmerman note—proposes alliance of Germany, Mexico against U.S.
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare• Germany asks U.S. to get Britain to end food blockade – otherwise will renew unrestricted submarine warfare• Wilson tries to mediate, calls for ―a peace between equals‖• Kaiser announces U-boats will sink all ships in British waters• Four unarmed American merchant ships sunk
Convoy systems• Destroyers escort merchant ships across Atlantic - losses drop dramatically• Navy helps lay mines across North Sea, keep U-boats out of Atlantic
Wilson Declares War• Wilson calls for war to make world ―safe for democracy‖• Revolution in Russia – Russian monarchy replaced with representative government – War of democracies against monarchies