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World war i


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World war i

  1. 1. World War I
  2. 2. World War I… or as it was called at the time, The World War, The Great War, or The War to End All Wars. Oops. • 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.
  3. 3. Some causes: Nationalism • The various European powers start developing very nationalistic identities. • Especially 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.
  4. 4. • Imperialism • The Euros had been out colonizing all over the place. • Inevitably, colonial interests abroad would start to conflict. • If there’s agitation among the colonies, there will be conflict among the parent countries and vice- versa.
  5. 5. • Historical grievances • France and Germany had warred in 1870 (Franco- Prussian War) and this was only 100 years after the Napoleonic Wars decimated Europe.
  6. 6.  “Whose side are you on?”  “Depends. What day is it?” • There are also shifting alliances. There weren’t permanent friends in Europe, 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 the Triple Entente with France and Russia.
  7. 7. The Powder Keg • What finally leads to war breaking out is the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand (and his wife) on June 28, 1914, by Gavrilo Princep. • Princep was part of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist group that didn’t like Austrian control. • They wanted Serbian independence and so wanted the Archduke of the controlling country dead. • There were seven assassins and their mission almost didn’t happen, but succeeded practically by accident.
  8. 8. Franz
  9. 9. Franz’s wife, Sophie. They married for love.
  10. 10. Franz and Sophie arriving in Sarajevo.
  11. 11. Princep
  12. 12. Sophie was shot in the abdomen and Franz in the neck. They both die within 15 minutes.
  13. 13. The car. Princep, second from right, being arrested moments later.
  14. 14. Franz’s last words were, “Sophie dear, don't die! Stay alive for our children!”
  15. 15. • 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.
  16. 16. Weapons and Tactics of WWI • There’s an old saying that every general fights the last war. • This was certainly the case in WWI. The weaponry had evolved drastically since the last significant wars of the 1860’s and 1870’s. The tactics, however, had not evolved.
  17. 17. • Traditional warfare • Traditional tactics utilized mass infantry formations, where you just have a lot of foot soldiers lined up or charging together. • Those classic images of the rows of soldiers lining up and firing at each other is an example. • They did this because they used muskets, most of which have smoothbore barrels and all were relatively slow-firing.
  18. 18. • If you shoot a lead ball out of a smooth barrel (which probably deformed the ball some in itself), it will just start spinning randomly and that spin will make it go through the air in random directions ( in baseball, a knuckleball). • You could aim a musket at the same spot on the side of a barn and hit different parts of the wall each time. • That made the old infantry firing lines to act like a big shotgun.
  19. 19. Steps for Loading a Muzzleloader 1. Measure powder charge. 2. Pour measured powder down barrel. 3. Place patch and ball on muzzle. 4. Tap ball into barrel with starter. 5. Take out ramrod. 6. Ram ball down barrel. 7. Be sure ball is completely seated. 8. Clear vent hole with pick if necessary. 9. On flintlock muzzleloader, pour powder into pan and close frizzen. 10. On percussion lock muzzleloader, place cap on nipple.
  20. 20. • The introduction of rifled barrels changes this. Rifled barrels have spirals grooves going down the barrel that put a spin on the bullet as it exits. This spin stabilizes the bullet in the air and makes it much more accurate.
  21. 21. • Think of the rifling as being like putting a spin on a football. • The spin makes it fly straight because it stabilizes the ball. Without the spin, there’s no telling what will happen. Musket accuracy Rifle accuracy
  22. 22. • By the time of WWI, the rifles are also breach- loaders instead of muzzle-loaders, and bolt-action. • This means that you load the cartridges from into the back barrel (the breech) instead of the stuffing a bullet down the end of the barrel (the muzzle). Early breech-loader (long before WWI).
  23. 23. • Both breech-loading and rifling had been around since at least the late 1700’s / early 1800’s. They weren’t common, though, due to problems. • Rifled barrels were more difficult to muzzle-load to produce ammo for since the bullet needed to closely match the gun’s caliber. It didn’t matter much for a smoothbore. • The black powder used could also gum up a rifle’s grooves. • Early breech-loaders couldn’t always handle the powder charges and you risked the gun blowing up in your face.
  24. 24. • Bolt action meant that a bolt at the breech could be operated, which ejected the spent casing and, unless it was single shot, load another cartridge in the process. • This allowed for much more rapid firing.
  25. 25. • Bolt action rifles were more popular with militaries than Winchester-style lever action rifles because of center of gravity issues, the problems with tubular loading, and, most importantly, lever actions were much more difficult to operate in a prone position.
  26. 26. • The British used the Lee-Enfield rifle.
  27. 27. • The Germans relied on the Mauser Gewehr 98.
  28. 28. • The Americans used the Springfield M1903.
  29. 29. Rifle Country Weight Leng th Cartridge Muzzle Vel Eff Range Feed Lee-Enfield Britain 8lb 11oz 44.5" 0.303 2440 ft/sec 1,000 yds 10 round magazine Gewehr 98 Germany 9lb 49.2" 7.92mm (.312) 2880 ft/sec 600 yds 5 round clip Springfield m1903 USA 8lb 11oz 44.9" .30-06 2800 ft/sec 600 yds 5 round stripper clip
  30. 30. • WWI also saw the introduction of machine guns. • These were automatic weapons capable of firing 400-600 rounds per minute of belt-fed ammunition. Compare that with maybe 12-15 rounds a minute for the bolt action rifleman. • The machine guns were big and heavy, though. They typically weighed anywhere from 70-120 pounds. This meant you tended to have gun emplacements 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 that could overheat the barrel. The early varieties used water cooling systems.
  31. 31. There was a water jacket around the barrel connected to a pump to dissipate heat. They’d still only last about two minutes without fresh cool water. Crews would sometimes use their own urine if water wasn’t available. This is a British Vickers.
  32. 32. John Browning’s version.
  33. 33. • The main role of the heavy machine gun was defensive. • When enemy forces would charge the position, the guns would open up and mow down the opposition. • They would sometimes be grouped in order to create overlapping zones of fire as well as to ensure coverage should a gun overheat. • They would also sometimes be housed in concrete emplacements.
  34. 34. • Artillery had also become a lot better with rifled barrels and high explosive shells.
  35. 35. • Previously, artillery used direct fire with, usually, iron cannon balls. • This meant a relatively flat trajectory with line of sight into enemy forces. • The new artillery, though, used indirect fire. This meant an arched trajectory, avoiding obstacles, and not sighting the enemy. • And instead of iron cannon balls, they now used shells that detonated and spread shrapnel. • This all meant more damage as you could pound the enemy with shells from a distance and not even trenches could be safe since a shell could fall right into it.
  36. 36. • The German Big Bertha was a 43 ton artillery piece capable of lobbing a 2,200 lb. shell 9 miles.
  37. 37. 15 inch howitzer
  38. 38. • The big daddies were the railway guns. French Cyclone railway gun in Belgium.
  39. 39. French 320mm gun. That’s a bore of 12.6 inches.
  40. 40. French 274mm gun. WWI gun used by the Germans in WWII and captured by the Americans.
  41. 41. • The big one was the Germans’ Paris gun, so called because they used to shell Paris… from 75 miles away.
  42. 42. • It was capable of firing a 210 lb shell 81 miles (that was after it could reach an altitude of 25 miles). • The shell would take nearly three minutes to hit its target and the rotation of the earth had to be taken into account when calculating its aiming trajectory.
  43. 43. • The shells had an exit velocity of 5,200 ft/sec. • Each shell would wear away some of the rifle bore’s steel, so they sequentially numbered shells of increasingly larger diameter that would fit the increasingly larger bore. • It could only be fired 65 times before the barrel would have to be re- bored. • The piece weighed 256 tons.
  44. 44. • Most artillery pieces were, of course, much smaller and some were mobile. They were used to great effect during the war. It’s estimated that nearly 32 million shells were fired in the Battle of Verdun alone.
  45. 45. • And finally, chemical weapons get experimented with. • Tear gas gets used first and then it escalates to chlorine gas, which produces a greenish cloud that very quickly destroys lung tissue as the soldier dies choking, vomiting, and in general agony. • It was deadly if inhaled, but easy to counteract by either getting to higher ground or just covering the mouth with a damp rag. And it was easy to see coming.
  46. 46. • Next used is phosgene, a chlorine hybrid gas. It wasn’t as obvious as normal chlorine and didn’t cause the initial choking, meaning more gas would be inhaled and it was therefore deadlier. It was also more difficult to protect against than chlorine. • It could take 24 hours for symptom onset, though.
  47. 47. • The big one was mustard gas, which is a mustard color and smells mustardy (when mixed with other stuff), but it isn’t related to ordinary mustard. It causes blistering of the skin and the interior of the lungs as well as blindness. • It could penetrate clothing.
  48. 48. • Mustard gas produces blistering on any skin it touches within 4-24 hours of exposure. It strips away the mucous membranes causing a great choking pain. • Eyes become red and swollen and may go blind. • It was actually fatal in only about 1% of cases, but it was completely incapacitating. Defense against it was hard too since it could saturate clothing, the ground, and be absorbed through the skin. • Recovery could take one or two months. • Mustard gas actually had a lower fatality rate than the other gases: about 1%. • Its nastiness, though, was that it would incapacitate soldiers, i.e. its effectiveness was in causing suffering. In the long-term, it can also cause cancer. • It’s oily and will also stick around in an environment for several days with the potential to cause damage. Just sitting on contaminated ground can cause unpleasant injuries. • This was a disadvantage as it wasn’t good for supporting an attack; you didn’t want to send in your own troops to an area newly polluted by mustard gas.
  49. 49. • Gases were typically “administered” either through opening up gas cylinders or through artillery shells.
  50. 50. WWI images. Warning for what’s next.
  51. 51. Modern images of mustard gas victim from the Iran-Iraq War.
  52. 52. There also two completely new weapons systems introduced: tanks and planes.
  53. 53. Planes • Bear in mind that the airplane had just been invented by the Wright brothers in 1903, so the things were still pretty new. • Initially, they’re just used for observation and reconnaissance. • Enemy pilots started off smiling and waving when encountering each other, then they starting throwing things, then they starting shooting at each other with small arms. • Naturally, they started putting machine guns on ‘em, but that had problems.
  54. 54. • In positioning the gun between the pilot and the propeller, you risked blowing your prop to pieces. • This was the natural position since it was line of sight for the pilot, and could be easily reloaded or serviced in case of a jam. Self-inflicted bullet holes
  55. 55. • In positioning the gun between the pilot and the propeller, you risked blowing your prop to pieces. • This was the natural position since it was line of sight for the pilot, and could be easily reloaded or serviced in case of a jam. • To keep shooting the prop off, French pilot Roland Garros fitted steel wedges to the back of the prop to deflect bullets.
  56. 56. • This was an obviously imperfect solution. • The paths of deflected bullets could be… ahem… unpredictable. • The mere impact could vibrate the prop blades and make them unstable. • Steel-jacketed bullets like the Germans used (French and British used copper jackets) could shatter the deflectors and then they’d shoot off the prop anyway.
  57. 57. • Another solution was the Foster mounting. • This got the gun out from behind the prop and the gun could still be easily serviced. • It could only used on certain plane configurations, though, and its position resulted in a wide bullet dispersal pattern, i.e. it had questionable accuracy.
  58. 58. • The best solution was the Fokker synchronization mechanism.
  59. 59. • The idea was that it had an interrupter gear on the prop’s camshaft that prevented the gun from firing whenever a prop blade was in front of the gun by way of briefly disabling the trigger. It worked great.
  60. 60. Sopwith Camel, the famous British fighter
  61. 61. This is the plane preferred by Snoopy
  62. 62. Spad XIII
  63. 63. Recon Plane – that’s a camera
  64. 64. Recon bomber
  65. 65. Oops.
  66. 66. British blimps, usually used for recon
  67. 67. German blimp getting bombed
  68. 68. German ace Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron • He scored 80 victories before being shot down and killed in 1918.
  69. 69. The Red Baron’s type of plane, a Fokker Dr.1
  70. 70. The actual plane.
  71. 71. Top U.S. ace Eddie Rickenbacker with 26 victories.
  72. 72. Tanks • Aka landships, aka water carriers, aka tanks • The idea had been around since at least Da Vinci.
  73. 73. • The early tanks showed their primitive nature. • They were slow (walking pace usually), sometimes oddly armored and armed, and unreliable, but, hey, they were still pretty new in WWI.
  74. 74. • The earliest combat tank was the British Mark I.
  75. 75. • The Mark was actually very good at traversing the scarred battlefields and could easily roll right over a trench. • Its slow speed, however, left it vulnerable to artillery and mortar fire. • If it got stuck, it was a sitting duck. • If the gas tanks lit up, the crew inside would be incinerated. • They were armed either with small artillery guns or with machine guns. • One major role was infantry support. They’d cruise across the battlefield with infantry behind while the tank would run over barbed wire and enemy positions.
  76. 76. • A popular tank was the French Renault FT-17 • This is known as the first modern tank as it has the basic design followed by all other tanks.
  77. 77. • The weirdest design prize goes to the Russians’ Tsar Tank.
  78. 78. • It never saw action.
  79. 79. • This is the tank’s communication system.
  80. 80. • The common defensive strategy was to use trenches. These were just like they sound. Each side dug extensive trench systems. That’s where lived, ate, and slept, and it was a miserable existence. • The area between the lines was known as no-man’s land. It was a barren hell of craters, barbed wire, and corpses.
  81. 81. Old trenchlines today.
  82. 82. It says, “50 yards from the German trenches.”
  83. 83. Some trenches were not well developed. Artillery duds.
  84. 84. • 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.
  85. 85. • Some soldiers carved spent artillery shells into what is now known as trench art.
  86. 86. Some scenes of No Man’s Land.
  87. 87. Note in these pictures how the vegetation has been destroyed and trees just stripped of foliage by artillery and gunfire.
  88. 88. You can see the enemy’s trench lines in the distance.
  89. 89. • The idea was that massed infantry would go over the top, storm across no-man’s land, and then invade and overtake the enemy trenches. • This meant running over terrain that’s pockmarked with craters and which may be muddy, getting over barbed wire, embankments and other obstacles and then infiltrating the enemy trench. • All the while, mortars and artillery shells are raining down on you, enemy riflemen are firing, and, worst of all, the machine guns mowing down men like a scythe through tall grass.
  90. 90. • This is where generals fight the last war. Trenches worked fine in the past, but it was bloodbath in 1914. • The advancement in weaponry meant that those massed soldiers were cut down as they stormed the field. At the Battle of the Somme, the British lost nearly 60,000 men in one day. • These tactics used to work fine back when there were just muskets and smaller armies. Then, charges could succeed in taking enemy trenches. No longer.
  91. 91. • They tried a variety of tactics against the trench defense once standard charges obviously weren’t working.  • They used pre-bombardment, which hammered an area before the infantry attacked. Brian is a loser This wasn’t effective and only gave the enemy advanced warning that an attack was coming and where. • A creeping barrage gradually advanced the artillery strikes in front of advancing infantry, with the goal to sweep the enemy before it.      • This could be difficult to pull off, though, since it required good timing between the artillery and infantry.
  92. 92. • 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.
  93. 93. • 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.
  94. 94. • It’s likely that the persistent nature of newly modern warfare with its constant bombardment and threat to life played a role. • Previously, most wars consisted of usually intense battles that would last several days at most and the forces would withdraw to safe areas afterwards (assuming they weren’t defeated). • WWI battles, though, could last weeks or months with soldiers constantly under fire the entire time. There was no safe area. That sort of constant strain and fear can tear at the mind.
  95. 95. Warning: the next video may be a little hard to watch.
  96. 96. Strategy • 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).
  97. 97. • The plan actually started off ok, but in war, battle plans last until the first shot and then everything changes. • The Belgians put up more of a resistance than expected. So did the British. • The French were able to transport troops faster than expected. • The Russians mobilized faster than expected. • Oops.
  98. 98. The First Battle of the Marne in September 1914 really stymied the German advance. • The Germans had been crushing the French and British and looked ready to take Paris. • Upon getting close, however, the German First Army turned to meet a counterattack. When it did this, it opened up a major gap between the German First and Second Armies. • A recon plane spotted the gap, reported it, and the French and British started pouring into the gap and encircling the Germans. • The Germans retreated east about 40 miles and then dug in, creating the bloody trench warfare on the Western Front.
  99. 99. • At the Battle of the Marne, the Allies were also helped out by taxicabs. 600 of them ferried some 6,000 French soldiers to the front, providing desperately needed reinforcements.
  100. 100. After the trenches were dug in (some 6,000 miles of them), not much ground was taken either way. • As we’ve already seen, the battle tactics were unimaginative and not suited to the new nature of warfare. • The Battle of Verdun in Feb-July of 1916 resulted in about 250,000 dead (about 120,000 French and 100,000 German) and 500,000 wounded. • It was a big moral victory for the French, at least, and the Germans couldn’t afford to lose so many people.
  101. 101. In the Battle of the Somme in July to November of 1916, there was about 1 million causalities, which included about 300,000 dead.
  102. 102. This being a world war, the fighting didn’t stay confined to Europe. • The Ottoman Empire joined the Central powers and so the Allies battled them as well. • A big motivation for defeating the Ottomans was to take Constantinople/Istanbul and open up the Dardanelles Strait to the Black Sea. This way, they could get supplies to the Russians. • This initially didn’t turn out too well at Gallipoli, but the Allies had successes elsewhere (as did the Russians) and the British successfully got Arab revolts going against their Turkish rulers. • Many native people from the colonies are recruited for war. • There’s a lot of fighting in Africa because all the Euro colonies.
  103. 103. • Japan declared war on Germany in 1914, but this was mainly done as an excuse to take German colonies in the Pacific.
  104. 104. 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.
  105. 105. • The final straw was the Zimmerman Telegram in January 1917. • In it, the Germans offered Mexico military assistance in helping them to retake the southwestern United States. • The British intercepted and decoded the telegraph (in a roundabout way) and gave it to the Americans in February. • The American public was incensed and war is declared in April. • Ironically, the Mexicans had turned the Germans down because they didn’t want a full-scale war with the U.S., they didn’t think the Germans would be able to follow through, and the Mexicans wouldn’t be able to effectively govern all the English-speaking folks even if they did retake the territory.
  106. 106. “On the first of February, we intend to begin unrestricted submarine warfare. In spite of this, it is our intention to endeavour to keep the United States of America neutral. In the event of this not succeeding, we propose an alliance on the following basis with Mexico: That we shall make war together and make peace together. We shall give generous financial support, and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The details of settlement are left to you. You are instructed to inform the President [of Mexico] of the above in the greatest confidence as soon as it is certain that there will be an outbreak of war with the United States and suggest that the President, on his own initiative, invite Japan to immediate adherence with this plan; at the same time, offer to mediate between Japan and ourselves. Please call to the attention of the President that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England to make peace in a few months.”
  107. 107. The American Expeditionary Force provided much needed manpower and material aid. • The American doughboys start pouring into Europe much sooner and much faster than the Germans had anticipated. • They also refuse to serve as mere reinforcements for the British and the French.
  108. 108. In 1918, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, which actually used new tactics and was successful. They were helped by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which took Russia out of the war and secured Germany’s Eastern Front. • The Allies use new defensive tactics, however, and hold them off. • Eventually, the Allies push the Germans back into Belgium. • The German fighting population and supplies were starting to run thin, while the Allies were getting better, thanks to the Americans.
  109. 109. • At the same time, Germany in becoming increasingly exposed as the other Central powers start falling. • Bulgaria gives up in September 1918, the Ottomans in October, the Austrian-Hungarians right after in November. • This opened up Germany to the south and southeast. It was a losing situation and they signed an armistice on November 11, 1918… in the same carriage in which Germany dictated terms to France in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War. • The formal surrender treaty, the Treaty of Versailles, was signed on June 28, 1919.
  110. 110. Treaty of Versailles • While the armistice of 11/11/18 ended the fighting, the Treaty officially ended the war. • Negotiations began in January and they took until June to hammer out. • Neither Germany nor any other Central power was involved… the victors got to decide the terms. While other countries were involved, Britain, France, and Germany were mainly responsible for the final terms. • The treaty is often seen as a classic example of a victors’ peace in which the loser is gotten revenge on.
  111. 111. • Treaty terms: • Created the League of Nations, a sort of early version of the UN (and just as useless). Oddly, this was strongly pushed by Wilson, but the U.S. never became part of it because the Senate refused to ratify the charter. • The idea was actually first proposed by my main man Kant. I don’t hold it against him… much.
  112. 112. • 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.
  113. 113. • 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.
  114. 114. • 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.
  115. 115. Other 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 Empire collapsed. Most parts became mandates. Turks established the republic of Turkey. • Its led to the Iron Harvest.