IntroductionWorld War I was the result of leadersaggression towards other countries which wassupported by the rising nationalism of theEuropean nations. Economic and imperialcompetition and fear of war prompted militaryalliances and an arms race, which furtherescalated the tension contributing to theoutbreak of war.
General Information…• Started on July 28, 1914• Ended on November 11, 1918• Almost 10,000,000 dead.*** Russia the most = 1.7 million• Another 20,000,000 wounded…..•and another 8 million are missing. Andthat’s just the military casualties – itdoesn’t include civilians.
MilitarismThe menace of the hostile division between the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy)and the Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia) led to an arms race. Acknowledging that Germanywas the leader in military organization and efficiency, the great powers of Europe copied the universalconscription, large reserves and detailed planning of the German system. Technological andorganizational developments led to the formation of general staffs with precise plans for mobilizationand attack that often could not be reversed once they were begun. The German Schlieffen Plan toattack France before Russia in the event of war with Russia was one such complicated plan that drewmore countries into war than necessary.Armies and navies were greatly expanded. The standing armies of France and Germany doubled insize between 1870 and 1914. Naval expansion was also extremely competitive, particularly betweenGermany and Great Britain. By 1889, the British had established the principle that in order to maintainnaval superiority in the event of war they would have to have a navy two and a half times as large asthe second-largest navy. This motivated the British to launch the Dreadnought, invented by Admiral SirJohn Fisher, in 1906. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 had demonstrated how effective thesebattleships were. As Britain increased their output of battleships, Germany correspondingly steppedup their naval production, including the Dreadnought. Although efforts for worldwide disarmamentwere made at the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, international rivalry caused the arms race tocontinue to feed on itself.
AlliancesWorld War I was caused in part by the two opposing alliances developed by Germany. In order to diplomatically isolate France,Bismarck formed the Three Emperors League in 1872, an alliance between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. When the Frenchoccupied Tunisia, Bismarck took advantage of Italian resentment towards France and created the Triple Alliance between Germany,Italy and Austria- Hungary in 1882. In exchange for Italys agreement to stay neutral if war broke out between Austria-Hungary andRussia, Germany and Austria-Hungary would protect Italy from France. Russia and Austria-Hungary grew suspicious of each otherover conflicts in the Balkans in 1887, but Bismarck repaired the damage to his alliances with a Reinsurance Treaty with Russia,allowing both powers to stay neutral if the other was at war. However, after Bismarck was fired by Kaiser William II in 1890, thetraditional dislike of Slavs kept Bismarcks successors from renewing the understanding with Russia. France took advantage of thisopportunity to get an ally, and the Franco- Russian Entente was formed in 1891, which became a formal alliance in 1894. Britain andFrance overlooked all major imperialistic conflict between them and formed the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Russia formed an Ententewith Britain in 1907 after they had reached an understanding with Britains ally Japan and William II had further alienated Russia bysupporting Austrian ambitions in the Balkans. The Triple Entente, an informal coalition between Great Britain, France and Russia,now countered the Triple Alliance. International tension was greatly increased by the division of Europe into two armed camps.Alliances(2:56)#6
ImperialismAnother factor which contributed to the increase in rivalry inEurope was imperialism. Great Britain, Germany andFrance needed foreign markets after the increase inmanufacturing caused by the Industrial Revolution. Thesecountries competed for economic expansion in Africa.Although Britain and France resolved their differences inAfrica, several crises foreshadowing the war involved theclash of Germany against Britain and France in NorthAfrica. In the Middle East, the crumbling Ottoman Empirewas alluring to Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Russia.
NationalismAt the settlement of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the principle ofnationalism was ignored in favor of preserving the peace. Germany and Italywere left as divided states, but strong nationalist movements and revolutionsled to the unification of Italy in 1861 and that of Germany in 1871. Anotherresult of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was that France was leftseething over the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and regaining thatterritory was a major goal of the French. Nationalism posed a problem forAustria-Hungary and the Balkans, areas comprised of many conflictingnational groups. The ardent Panslavism of Serbia and Russias willingnessto support its Slavic brother conflicted with Austria-Hungarys Pan-Germanism.
Describe the formation of the Triple Alliance by Bismarck. Otto von Bismarck freely used war to unify Germany. After 1871 Bismarck declared Germany to be a “satisfied power.” Saw France as their greatest threat. In 1879, Bismarck formed the Dual Alliance between Germany andAustria-Hungary. 3 years later, Italy joined the two countries,forming the Triple Alliance. What actions did Wilhelm make to destroy the peace that Bismarck hadcreated?1. Lapse of the Treaty between Russia – Russia formed a defensivemilitary alliance with France in 1892.2. Competition with British navy.3. Alarmed, Great Britain began to enlarge its own fleet.4. Triple Entente – Britain, France, and Russia.The stage is set for the major conflict. What would set off this amazingblaze?…..
Assassination in SarajevoEurope had reached its breaking point when on June28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by aSerbian nationalist (Gavrilo Princip) belonging to anorganization known as The Black Hand. Immediately followingthe assassination Germany pledged its full support (blankcheck) to Austria-Hungary, pressuring them to declare war onSerbia, while France strengthened its backing of Russia.Convinced that the Serbian government had conspiredagainst them, Austria-Hungary issued Serbia an unacceptableultimatum, to which Serbia consented almost entirely.#12
TECHNOLOGYIN THE GREATWAR 1914-1918European Conflict(4:48)#36
• WWI also saw the introduction of machine guns.• These were automatic weapons capable of firing400-600 rounds per minute of belt-fed ammunition.Compare that with maybe 12-15 rounds a minutefor the bolt action rifleman.• The machine guns were big and heavy, though.They typically weighed anywhere from 70-120pounds. This meant you tended to have gunemplacements with a crew operating them.• The big problem with them is keeping them cool.Such a high rate of fire produced a lot of heat thatcould overheat the barrel. The early varieties usedwater cooling systems.