The war of the Nations
brief on the great war between
central powers and the allies.
BAC KG RO U N D
WO R L D
WA R I
• Franco- Prussian War in 1870
• The Three-Emperors League and Dual Alliance
• Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Other important causes•
The Arms Race
The Anglo –German Naval race
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Russia’s control over the Balkan region
Crisis between 1905-1913- Bosnian crisis
The two power centres
Triple Alliance power
• Austria-Hungary declares
war on Serbia on 23RD JULY
• Germany bounded by treaty
indirectly declares war on
• Italy enters to help its allies
in may 1915
Triple Entente power
• Russia bounded by treaty to
Serbia comes to its aid.
• France bounded by treaty to
Russia indirectly is at war with
Germany ,invades neutral
• Britain allied to France
declared war on Germany as it
was obligated to help Belgium.
• US enters after threat from
Wo r l d
•USA (joined in 1917)
C a u s es
Wo r l d
• Cult of offensive swept through Europe before the war.
• Cult of the offensive refers to a strategic military dilemma, where leaders
believe that offensive advantages are so great that a defending force would
have no hope of repelling the attack; consequently, all states choose to
• General Alfred von Schlieffen, author of the 1914 German war plan, declared
that “Attack is the best defence.” The German Schlieffen Plan is a notable
example of the cult of the offensive
• It was not only Germany who followed the cult of the offensive; the French
army, among others, was also driven very strongly by this doctrine, where its
supporters included Ferdinand Foch, Joseph Joffre and Loyzeaux de
• Other European states, like England, Belgium and Russia displayed milder
symptoms of the same virus.
C a u s es
Wo r l d
• Germany followed an expansionist policy. Germans believed that
expansion could solve their insecurity.
• Insecurity- German expansionists complained that German borders were
constricted and indefensible picturing a Germany which is badly protected
by its unfavourable geographical frontiers. Expansion was the suggested
• Security was not Germany’s only concern; German elites endorsed
imperialism often using security arguments.
• Spokesmen for the German military establishment exaggerated the threat
• Members of the German elite sometimes privately acknowledged that
Germany was under less threat than the public was being told.
P l ay o f Tre at i e s
• Austria-Hungary, unsatisfied with Serbia's response to her ultimatum declared war on
Serbia on 28 July 1914.
• Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia
• Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty
• France, bound by treaty to Russia
• Britain, allied to France
• With Britain's entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered
military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand
and the Union of South Africa.
• United States.
• Bismarck's Need for Alliances
• Britain's Splendid Isolation
• The Three Emperors League & Dual Alliance
• The Triple Alliance
• A Secret Franco-Italian Alliance
• British said this was a war to end war…to make the world a safe place for
democracy. They were bitten by the idealism bug.
US enters the war on April 6, 1917 – How ?
• For the first 3 years US was technically neutral in the war.
• American banks were pumping money for Britain to wage war.
• US ammo Companies were producing riffles, artillery ammunition etc for allies.
• England was a major trading partner of the United States
• 1916 : US President Wilson gets re-elected on anti-war sentiments.
• Britain wanted America to join the war and support them – established a secret
propaganda to manipulate American news coverage.
By 1917, despite the propaganda, the finance & military support that US was giving
to its allies, Britain was on the verge of Bankruptcy along with the allies.
Secretly, US President Wilson was planning America’s entry into the war because of
While many British passenger ships had been called into duty for the
war effort, Lusitania remained on her traditional route between
Liverpool and New York. The German Embassy in Washington had
issued this warning on 22 April 1915.
TRAVELLERS intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are
reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies
and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the
waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal
notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the
flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in
those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships
of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY
Map showing submarine
warfare zone around the
United Kingdom, declared by
Germany on February 18
1917 – War Declared !
•In January 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare.
•The German Foreign minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, told revolutiontorn Mexico that U.S. entry was likely once unrestricted submarine warfare
began, and invited Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the
•British intelligence intercepted the telegram and passed the information on
•Wilson released the Zimmerman note to the public and Americans saw it as
a cause for war and thus, the war was declared on 6th April 1917
•During the war, the US mobilized over 4,000,000 military personnel and
suffered 110,000 deaths
"The total cost of World War I to
the United States of America
was approximately $32 billion,
or 52 percent of gross national
product at the time.“
There were two effects the war had on US economy:
1. Short Term :
US & the roaring 20’s – the US economy witnessed an economic boom
due to their involvement in WWI.
(From 1915 the US made tons of loans to the UK)
Between 1914 and 1918, some 3 million people were added to the military and half a
million to the government.
Overall, unemployment declined from 7.9 percent to 1.4 percent in this period
Long Term :
The Treaty of Versailles led to a system where the US was cashing in its wartime
loans to the UK, which in turn was using the wartime reparations it received from
Germany to pay off the US.
This system collapsed when the Germany economy succumbed to hyperinflation and
Ef fe c t s
Wo r l d
Wa r I
• Defeat of the Central Powers under the leadership of Germany.
• Treaty of Versailles
• League of nations
• Downfall of Monarchies
• Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917 and the triumph of fascism
in Italy in 1922.
• Russia withdrew from the War by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk .
• The 1918 influenza pandemic
Tr e a t y
Ve r s a i l l e s
In 1919, Lloyd George of England, Orlando
of Italy, Clemenceau of France and
Woodrow Wilson from the US met to discuss
how Germany was to be made to pay for the
damage world war one had caused.
Wilson had devised a 14 point plan that he believed would bring stability to Europe.
Open Diplomacy - There should be no secret treaties between powers
Freedom of Navigation - Seas should be free in both peace and war
Free Trade - The barriers to trade between countries such as custom duties should be removed
Multilateral Disarmament - All countries should reduce their armed forces to the lowest
Colonies - People in European colonies should have a say in their future
Russia - Russia should be allowed to operate whatever government it wanted and that
government should be accepted, supported and welcomed.
Belgium - Belgium should be evacuated and restored to the situation before the war.
France - should have Alsace-Lorraine and any lands taken away during the war restored.
Italy - The Italian border should be readjusted according to nationality
National Self -Determination - The national groups in Europe should, wherever possible, be
given their independence.
Romania, Montenegro and Serbia - Should be evacuated and Serbia should have an outlet to
Turkey - The people of Turkey should have a say in their future
Poland - Poland should become an independent state with an outlet to the sea.
League of Nations - An assembly of all nations should be formed to protect world peace in the
Tr e a t y
Ve r s a i l l e s
By the time World War I ended in the defeat of the
Central Powers in November 1918, more than 9 million
soldiers had been killed and 21 million more wounded.
The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, determined
post-war borders from Europe to the Middle
East, established the League of Nations as an
international peace organization and punished
Germany for its aggression with reparations and the
loss of territory.
The German people were very unhappy about the
treaty and thought that it was too harsh. Germany
could not afford to pay the money and during the
1920s the people in Germany were very poor.
This map shows the areas that
Germany lost following the Treaty
Tragically, the instability caused by World War I would help make possible the rise
of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and would, only two decades later, lead to a second
devastating international conflict – World War II
The war left a legacy of bitterness that contributed to World War II twenty-one years later.
Effect of World War 1 on art
Futurism or Modern Art
C R W Nevison – La Mitrailleuse
Mark Gentler – Merry Go Round
John Singer Sargent - Gassed
Conflict between Real and Ideal
Paths of Glory - Nevison
Paul Nash – Menin Road
Effect on Literature
• Cynicism in Poetry:
Erich Maria Remarque
Films that depicted the war
The Big Parade
Paths of Glory
Psychological operations in
World War I
What is psychological warfare?
German Dissemination of Propaganda
Paper balloons with flysheets
Gazette des Ardennes
“Never say die”
“Why continue the fight”
In the sphere of leaflet
propaganda the enemy has
defeated us. Shooting poison darts
from a secure hiding place was
never a German art. We
realized, however, that this
struggle is a life and death
matter, and that one has to fight
the enemy with his own weapons.
Yet the spirit of the enemy leaflets
skulks around and refuses to be
killed...The enemy has defeated us
not as man against man in the field
of battle, bayonet against bayonet.
No, bad contents in poor printing
on poor paper has made our arm
Artist portrayal of Hiddessen's first leaflet
The leaflet goes on to use a twisted logic to explain that
those people who refuse to fight and surrender are
heroes, while those who stand and die for a cause are
Leaflets aimed at Sikhs in the British-Indian
army. Language is Urdu, script is Devanagiri
Look here you fellows – I
don’t want to tell you fairy
tales and I don’t want to try
and change your opinion
against your country – I know
you chaps stick to your
country and I admire you for
it – What I am going to tell
you are facts and nothing but
facts. Do you fellows realize
what America’s so called help
means to England? It means
determined to keep the
war going there is only
one way for you to get out
of this miserable fix and
that is for you to stop
fighting. You can do this
honorably. As a freeborn
American citizen, you have
the right to life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness.
The American Constitution
guarantees you these
rights. Exercise them!..."
THINK IT OVER!
You have had music to march
to, flags waving to cheer you
on and words of praise and
you have left behind you all
that is dear to you to come to
France to fight the Germans.
Until the English wanted you
for cannon food you never
knew that the Germans were
your enemies, but no sooner
did England realize that she
couldn’t beat the Germans
even with the help of nearly all
the rest of the savage and
civilized world that she
persuaded you that the
Germans were ‘Huns’ and your
What are we fighting for? The
German note: The German
Government requests the
President of the United States
of America to take in hand the
restoration of peace, acquaint
all belligerent States with this
request, and invite them to
send plenipotentiaries for the
negotiations. It accepts the
programme set forth by the
President of the United States
in his message to Congress on
Jan 8, 1918……
The German People Offers
Peace. The new German
has this programme: ‘The
will of the people is the
highest law.’ The German
people wants quickly to
end the slaughter. The
new German popular
government therefore has
offered an Armistice…