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World War I: Total War, Fronts and Technologies

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World War I: Total War, Fronts and Technologies

The Origins, Course and Consequences of WWI, with particular attention to innovative political and technological aspects.

The Origins, Course and Consequences of WWI, with particular attention to innovative political and technological aspects.

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World War I: Total War, Fronts and Technologies

  1. 1. World War I Fronts, Technologies and Total War
  2. 2. Multiple Layers of Causality • Alliances and Strategic Competition • Nationalism, Imperialism and the instabilities of pseudo-democracy • Industrialism and commercial competition • Regional (Balkan) Instability and unresolved issues • Bad decisions in moments of crisis.
  3. 3. Big Picture
  4. 4. Outbreak of War • 28 June 1914, Bosnian Nationalist assassinates Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, heirs to the Austrian throne • Serbia's involvement assumed. Austrians already considering military action against Serbia. • Germany takes "calculated risk" to support ally and weaken Russian position in Balkans. • Serbians concede most Austrian demands, but Austria declares war prior to military mobilization
  5. 5. • Russians mobilize in reaction, with French support • Austria begins mobilizing against Russia • Word that Russian mobilization has begun arrived one minute before German mobilization announced. Schlieffen Plan: • 1 August, Germans occupy Luxembourg; • 3 August, Germans violate Belgian neutrality, triggering British defense agreement and British public opinion. • The plan was to turn south; Defeat of France expected to take 6 weeks, while Russia is held off. • German generals and field commanders failed "narrowly" to carry it out.
  6. 6. Schlieffen Plan
  7. 7. Course of the War
  8. 8. "Home Front": Total War • Full investment of modern bureaucratic state and private resources within the nation. • Total mobilization of people, industry. • Rationing of essentials and non-essentials. • Shift to female factory labor, and employment even for middle-class women; freedom of behavior for women, due to situation and stresses. • Morale-building
  9. 9. Western Front: "No Man's Land" • Machine Gun • Trenches • Barbed Wire • Poison Gas • Airplanes and Airships • Telephone and Radio • Infiltration Units • Tanks • Instant Potatoes and Safety Razors
  10. 10. Eastern Front • Dangers of Radio • Diesel Mobility • Fomenting Insurrection
  11. 11. Ocean Front • Blockade • Submarine Warfare • Aerial Attacks
  12. 12. Public Diplomacy • Propaganda – Highlighting enemy atrocities – Building morale at home • Strategic Alliances: Japan, Italy – Mexico (Zimmerman Telegram) • Fomenting Insurrection – Lenin in Russia – Irish Easter Uprising – Lawrence of Arabia • Wilson's 14 Points
  13. 13. Wilson's Fourteen Points 1, open diplomacy 10, Austria-Hungarians given "freest 2, freedom of the seas opportunity of autonomous 3, freedom of trade development" 4, arms reductions 11, realignment of Balkans "along 5, colonial self- historically established lines of determination; allegiance and nationality" 6-8, German evacuation 12, division of Ottoman empire into from Russia, Belgium, Turkish and self-determining peoples France, including Franco- 13, independent Poland Prussian War losses 14, "a general association of nations ... 9, Italian national affording mutual guarantees of political unification independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike."
  14. 14. Ending the War • Russian Revolution • US involvement • German Resource Exhaustion • Paris Peace Settlement, aka Versailles Treaties – German War Guilt – Reparations – Disbanded German Military – Demilitarized French Border • Breakup of Empires and Mandate System
  15. 15. After the War

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