Multiple Layers of Causality
• Alliances and Strategic Competition
• Nationalism, Imperialism and the instabilities
• Industrialism and commercial competition
• Regional (Balkan) Instability and unresolved
• Bad decisions in moments of crisis.
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
• 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.
• 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.
"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.
Western Front: "No Man's Land"
• Machine Gun
• Barbed Wire
• Poison Gas
• Airplanes and Airships
• Telephone and Radio
• Infiltration Units
• Instant Potatoes and Safety Razors
• Dangers of Radio
• Diesel Mobility
• Fomenting Insurrection
– 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
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."
Ending the War
• Russian Revolution
• US involvement
• German Resource Exhaustion
• Paris Peace Settlement, aka Versailles Treaties
– German War Guilt
– Disbanded German Military
– Demilitarized French Border
• Breakup of Empires and Mandate System