World War I… or as it was called at the time, The
World War, The Great War, or The War to
End All Wars.
• It lasted from 1914 to 1918.
• About 10 million soldiers were killed, another 20 million wounded,
and another 8 million are missing. And that’s just the military
casualties – it doesn’t include civilians.
• The various European powers start developing very nationalistic
• This is especially so for Italy and Germany, which had
traditionally segmented into smaller states but finally united into
centralized countries late in the 1800’s.
• Germany was also rapidly industrializing under an autocratic,
militaristic style of government.
•The Euros had been out colonizing all
over the place. Inevitably, colonial interests
abroad would start to conflict. And if
there’s agitation among the colonies, so there
will be among the parent countries and viceversa.
•These factored in some too. France and
Germany had warred in 1870 (FrancoPrussian War) and this was only 100
years after the Napoleonic Wars
side are you on?” “Depends. What day is it?”
• There are also shifting alliances. There weren’t permanent friends in
Europe. There were just countries aligning against whom they
thought were common enemies.
• Triple Alliance
• Germany aligns with Italy and Austria-Hungary.
• Triple Entente
• To counter the T.A., and because Britain, which ruled the
seas, didn’t like Germany’s sudden naval buildup and colonial
ambitions, the British form this with France and Russia
(which was still czarist at the time).
• What finally leads to war breaking out is the
assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz
Ferdinand (and his wife) on June 28, 1914, by
• Princep was part of the Black Hand, a
Serbian nationalist group that didn’t like
• They wanted Serbian independence and so
wanted the Archduke of the controlling
Franz’s wife, Sophie.
Franz and Sophie arriving in
shot in the
Franz in the
both die within
Princep, second from right, being arrested
Austria moves to punish Serbia, Russia comes
to the aid of Serbia, and then all those alliances
engage as everybody declares war on
everyone else in a tragic domino effect.
• Germany started out the war using the Schlieffen Plan.
• The idea was that German troops would hold the line along the
French-German border while a mass of German troops would
sweep up through neutral Holland and Belgium and down
into France, thereby enveloping French forces and compelling
them to surrender.
• This was supposed to last about six weeks, at which point the
German army would immediately be sent east to fight the
Russians (they figured it would take about six weeks for the
Russians to mobilize their army).
America finally enters the war on April 2, 1917.
• America was somewhat isolationist at this time and many Americans
didn’t want to get involved in Europe’s war. But events unfold…
• The Germans had been utilizing submarines (their U-boats) very
effectively and were trying to cut off supplies to Britain.
• They sink the British passenger ship Lusitania in May 7,
1915, killing 1,198, of which 128 were American citizens.
• President Woodrow Wilson said to cut out that nonsense, but
the Germans went back to it in 1917.
• Germany accepts sole responsibility for the war. All guilt and
fault lie with it.
• Reparations: Germany had to pay the Allies $33 billion in
reparations over 30 years. That’s about $500 billion in today’s
money and it was thought it would actually take Germany until
1984 to pay it all off.
• Some economists don’t think Germany ever made any net
reparations payments. They say that all the money Germany paid
out was obtained by loans from America that were eventually defaulted
on in the 1930’s.
•Germany had severe restrictions on how big its
army could be. It wasn’t allowed to make weapons
or import them, couldn’t have an air force, and
couldn’t have submarines.
•Germany had to give up all of its colonies.
•Germany was forced to give up European territory
to the Allies.
•It was a punishing peace and the Germans were
absolutely humiliated by it. The implicit purpose of the
Treaty was to cripple Germany so badly that it could
never again be a threat.
•This resentment continues and helps feed into the rise
of the Nazis.
•The reparations demands also hamper the German
economy and helps lead into the depression.
TERRITORIES LOSSED BY GREMANY
Results of WWI:
• It helped spread the flu.
• There was a massive flu pandemic in 1918.
American soldiers carried it to Europe and
from Europe, it went everywhere else. It
killed 20 to 40 million worldwide.
• It spurred the Bolshevik Revolution, which we’ll
talk about later.
• It broke apart the Austrian-Hungarian Empire
into various countries.
• The Ottoman EmpireABHISHEK
collapsed. Most parts
MISERABLE CONDITIONS IN THE
TRENCHES FACED BY THE SOLDIERS.
•Life in the trenches was typically terrible.
•There were rats and lice, you could get dysentery,
good water had to brought in, and waste extraction
was an issue.
•Because they could find themselves standing
around in flooded trenches, some soldiers developed a
condition called trench foot or trench rot.
DISEASES OF SOLDIERS DUE TO DIRTY
DEVASTING EFFECTS ON THE TREES AND VEGETATIONS.
Note in these pictures how the vegetation has been destroyed and
trees just stripped of foliage by artillery and gunfire.
AWFUL EFFECTS ON THE MANKIND
It was during WWI that the term “shell shock” was coined. Most modern
war memoirs describe that the most unnerving and maddening thing in
battle is artillery detonations. ABHISHEK
We now call this condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
and it’s not gotten from just exploding shells (though that
can play a significant role).
PTSD has almost assuredly been around ever since war
has, but it started getting more attention during WWI.