War’s Beginnings• WWI was a total war or aconflict where the countriesinvolved in the war each use allof their efforts and resources topower the war effort.• Czar Nicholas II led Russia.• King George V led GreatBritain.• Woodrow Wilson led theUnited States.• Kaiser Wilhelm II ledGermany.• Raymond Poincaré ledFrance.• Peter I was the leader ofSerbia.• Franz Josef led Austria-Hungary.• Mehmed V led the Ottomanempire.
Fighting• the fighting took place ontwo separate fronts.• the western front waswhere Germany was upagainst France.• on the eastern front theCentral powers facedSerbia and Russia.•During the war resourceswere needed to fund thewar effort so peoplerationed or limited theamount of resources theywould use.• during a conflict anagreement can be made tostop fighting in order tobegin peace negotiations.This is called an armistice.
Battle of Verdun• the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. February 1916 – December 1916• Two million men were engaged.• The intention of the Germans had been a battle of attrition in which they hoped to bleed the French army white.• In the end, they sustained almost as many casualties as the French; an estimated 328,000 to the French 348,000.• The area around Verdun contained twenty major forts and forty smaller ones that had historically protected the eastern border of France and had been modernized in the early years of the Twentieth Century.
Map 31.1: Major U.S. Operations in France, 1918
Trench Warfare • Trench Warfare was a form of field fortification, consisting of parallel rows of trenches. During World War 1 trenches had begun to appear by late 1914. On the western front, trenches ran from the Belgium border to the Swiss Border, and they soon became home to millions of soldiers.
The Battles of the Marne, 1914, 1918• On September 4, 1914, the rapid advances of the German army through Belgium and northern France caused panic in the French army and troops were rushed from Paris in taxis to halt the advance. Combined with the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) the Germans were eventually halted and the War settled into the familiar defensive series of entrenchments.• Ironically, by the end of May, 1918, the Germans had again reached the Marne after the enormous successes of Ludendorffs offensives of that year. The intervening four years had cost hundreds of thousands of lives and the armies were still, literally, exactly where they had started.
The Battles of Ypres, 1914, 1915, 1917• There were in fact three battles fought around the Ypres salient during the War. The first, in 1914 was an attempt by the BEF to halt the rapid advances made by the Germans. The second, in 1915, was notable for the first use of poison gas by the Germans. However, it is the long-planned offensive of July 31, 1917, that holds the most significance. Here, a combination of over-ambitious aims, appalling weather conditions, and misguided persistence by Haig led to horrific losses. By the time the offensive was called off total casualties for both sides had been approximately 250,000. The horrors of the battle, in which men drowned in liquid mud has become synonymous with the images of the War. One of the central objectives, the village of Passchendale (eventually taken on November 6 by the Canadians), lent its name to the whole conflict.
The Battle of the Somme, 1916• At 0730 hours on the 1st July, 1916, after a weeklong artillery bombardment launched the now infamous "Big Push" attack across the river Somme. With the French Army being hard-pressed to the south at Verdun the British intended to breakthrough the German defences in a matter of hours.• The mistrust that High Command had of the so-called "New Armies" manifested itself in the orders to the troops to keep uniformed lines and to march towards the enemy across no-mans land. This, coupled with the failure of the artillery bombardment to dislodge much of the German wire, or to destroy their machine- gun posts, led to one of the biggest slaughters in military history.• When the attack began the Germans dragged themselves out of their dugouts, manned their posts and destroyed the oncoming waves of British infantry.• After the first day, with a gain of only 1.5km, the British had suffered 57,470 casualties. Despite this, Haig pressed on with the attack until November 19th of the same year. For the meagre achievements, total losses on the British and Imperial side numbered 419,654 with German casualties between 450,000 and 680,000. When the offensive was eventually called off the British were still 3 miles short of Bapaume and Serre, part of their first-day objectives.
Russia Leaves!• Over the first two and a half years of the war, Russia had experienced heavy defeats against Germany but at the same time had significant successes against Austria-Hungary. In any case, however, the war had become hugely unpopular at home. The Russian death toll was enormous, Russia was continuously losing territory, and the war had sparked food shortages throughout the country. Although there was a certain level of popular sympathy for Serbia, most Russians felt that the country had little to gain in the war and much to lose.
Figure 31.1: Approximate Comparative Losses in World War I
Wilson’s 14 Points• 1. No more secret agreements.• 2. Free navigation of all seas.• 3. Free trade.• 4. Reduce weapon numbers.• 5.Less Colonialism.• 6. The German Army is to be removed from Russia. Russia should be left to develop her own political set-up.• 7. Belgium should be independent like before the war.• 8. France should be fully liberated and allowed to recover Alsace-Lorraine• 9. All Italians are to be allowed to live in Italy. Italys borders are to "along clearly recognizable lines of nationality."• 10. Self-determination should be allowed for all those living in Austria-Hungary.• 11. Self-determination and guarantees of independence should be allowed for the Balkan states.• 12. The Turkish people should be governed by the Turkish government. Non-Turks in the old Turkish Empire should govern themselves.• 13. An independent Poland should be created which should have access to the sea.• 14. A League of Nations should be set up to guarantee the political and territorial independence of all states.
Paris Peace Conference • The Conference was The Big 4 dominated by the big four: U.S. Britain, France, & Italy. Italy would not play much of a role in the final adoption of the Treaty of Versailles. • The conference was marked by 6 months of arbitration and the unconditional blaming of the war on Germany. They had to pay massive amounts of war debts in reparation.David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando,George Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson • The allies dictated how worldfrom left to right. politics would proceed.
Terms of the TreatyThe main points of the Treaty [BRAT]The first 26 Articles of the Treaty set out theCovenant of the League of Nations; the rest ofthe 440 Articles detailed Germanyspunishment:1. Germany had to accept the Blame forstarting the war (Clause 231). This was vitalbecause it provided the justification for...2. Germany had to pay £6,600 million (calledReparations) for the damage done during thewar.3. Germany was forbidden to havesubmarines or an air force. She could have anavy of only six battleships, and an Army ofjust 100,000 men. In addition, Germany wasnot allowed to place any troops in theRhineland, the strip of land, 50 miles wide, next While the U.S. felt that true peace could only beto France. reached by equals and that we shouldn’t rub4. Germany lost Territory (land) in Europe Germany’s face in the loss, both France and Great(see map, below). Germany’s colonies were Britain supported making Germany solelygiven to Britain and France. responsible for fiscal reparations for the war.(Also, Germany was forbidden to join theLeague of Nations, or unite with Austria.)