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World War I Lsn 15.

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1 World War I Lsn 15

2 Agenda Causes Schlieffen Plan Trench Warfare
Attempts to break the stalemate Gas Peripheral Operations Frontal Assaults at Verdun and the Somme Tanks American Involvement Technological Developments American Entry Surrender and Settlement

3 Causes of World War I Colonial disputes Nationalism Alliances

4 Colonialism Virtually all the major powers were engaged in a scramble for empire to bolster their economies The fiercest competition was between Britain and Germany and between France and Germany

5 Nationalism The French Revolution had spread nationalism throughout most of Europe The idea that people with the same ethnic origins, language, and political ideals had the right to form sovereign states through the process of self-determination Nationalist aspirations of subject minorities threatened to tear apart the multinational empires of the Ottomans, Hapsburgs, and Russians Such a development would affect the regional balance of power

6 Nationalism: Austria-Hungary
Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes all had nationalist aspirations, especially the Serbs The Serbs were strongly supported by the Russians as part of the pan-Slavic movement The Austria-Hungarians were strongly supported by the Germans

7 Nationalism: Assassination of Ferdinand
Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary went on a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina which Austria-Hungary had annexed in 1908 Sarajevo was a hotbed of pan-Serbian nationalism As he drove through Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, seven assassins from the terrorist group Black Hand waited for him The Black Hand advocated for a greater Serbia Archduke Ferdinand and his family

8 Nationalism: Assassination of Ferdinand
Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Ferdinand Austria issued an ultimatum to Serbia demanding that Austrian officials take part in any investigation of people found on Serbian territory connected to the assassination Serbia refused this demand as a violation of its sovereignty On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia A tangled alliance system then began to realize itself

9 Triple Alliance Germany and Austria-Hungary signed the Dual Alliance in 1879, committing the two states to mutual assistance in the event of attack by France or Russia. The Dual Alliance was expanded into the Triple Alliance in 1882 when Italy joined. Italy proved to be an equivocal partner, declaring itself neutral when the war began and ultimately siding with the Allies

10 Triple Entente The Triple Alliance was counter-balanced by the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Britain. As a result, by 1907 Europe was divided into two armed and rather fearful camps.

11 Tangled Alliances So… When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, on July 29 Russia began mobilizing to defend its Serbian ally Then, in consideration of mobilization timetables, Russia also mobilized against Germany In response, Germany declared war on Russia on Aug 1

12 Tangled Alliances It continues…
France started to mobilize on behalf of its ally Russia On Aug 3, Germany declared war on France and also began to attack through neutral Belgium to France in accordance with its war plan Belgium protested to the signatories of the 1839 treaty guaranteeing its neutrality When Germany refused Britain (one of the treaty signatories) ultimatum on Aug 4, Britain declared war on Germany

13 Militarism The reason all this happened so fast was the advanced state of militarism World War I was the first war in which the opponents went to war with detailed and precise plans that had been written years before the outbreak of hostilities “Mobilization means war” (German ambassador to the Russians) War Plans Austria: Attack Russia, Italy, or the Balkans (Variants R, I, and B) Russia: Attack Austria-Hungary (Plan A) or defend against Germany (Plan G) Germany: Attack France before Russia could mobilize (Schlieffen Plan) France: Attack Germany (Plan XVII) Great Britain: Deploy BEF

14 The Plans French Plan XVII disregarded Belgian frontier (thought Germans wouldn’t violate Belgian neutrality) In reality, the German Schlieffen Plan had its main effort through Belgium Schlieffen, Alfred, Graf von , 1833–1913, German field marshal and strategist. In the tradition of the Prussian officer corps, Schlieffen was a professional soldier who considered political questions beyond his responsibility. As chief of the German general staff from 1891 through 1905 he developed the famous Schlieffen plan.. According to the plan, Germany could solve the problem of war on two fronts by first defeating France in a lightning campaign and then throwing its full weight against Russia. The plan called for a flanking movement by an overwhelmingly strong right (i.e., northern) wing, which was to advance through Belgium and Holland and, in an enveloping move, compel the bulk of the French forces either to fight with their backs to the frontier fortresses or to flee into Switzerland. Much weaker contingents were to be used to hold back the French in the south and the Russians in the east. The plan (which disregarded Belgian and Dutch neutrality) demanded boldness for its execution. When World War I broke out in 1914 the Schlieffen plan was employed in a modified form, but a number of factors—including Russian military strength, German lack of mobility, effective French delaying action, and the reluctance of Schlieffen's successor, H. J. L. von Moltke, to weaken his eastern front—led to its failure. In World War II, unhampered by a Russian threat in the east and possessing highly mobile forces, the German command successfully employed (May–June, 1940) a variation of the Schlieffen plan to defeat France.

15 Alfred von Schlieffen (1833-1913), chief of the German general staff
Schlieffen Plan The Schlieffen plan sent a powerful right wing through western Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern France in a gigantic wheeling movement The idea was to destroy France before Russia could mount an effective offensive against the weak German forces in the east and thus avoid fighting a two-front war Alfred von Schlieffen ( ), chief of the German general staff

16 Moltke’s Modifications to the Schlieffen Plan
Helmuth von Moltke replaced Schlieffen as chief of the general staff in 1906 and modified Schlieffen’s original plan Weakened the right wing and strengthened the left Moved four and a half corps from the west to the east to protect East Prussia Modified sweep of right wing so that Germans would not violate the Netherlands’ neutrality Added a counterattack mission to the left wing Violated Schlieffen’s dying words to “Keep the right wing strong”

17 Problems with the German Plan
Became inflexible “war by timetable” Required enormous logistical effort to move men and equipment from Aachen to around Paris in a little more than five weeks Committed Germany to a two front war Necessitated attacking before Russia or France could seize the initiative (even if Germany wasn’t ready)

18 Result Schlieffen Plan worked initially but stalled due to logistical demands; static warfare began

19 Trench Warfare


21 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Gas
Various efforts were made to break the stalemate The Germans first used gas against the Russians on Jan 13, 1915 with little effect They were more successful at Ypres on Aug 15 Even German dogs were outfitted with gas masks

22 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Peripheral Operations
Ottoman Empire entered war on the side of the Central Powers on Oct 31, 1914 Seen, especially with the British, as a new theater that offered an alternative to the deadlock on the Western Front End result is a series of operations on the periphery of Europe

23 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Frontal Attacks
On Feb 21, 1916, the Germans launched a massive attack on Verdun which was preceded by a 12-hour bombardment Fighting continued until December 19 and caused over an estimated 700,000 dead, wounded and missing The battlefield was smaller than ten square kilometers

24 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Frontal Assaults
On July 1, the British launched an offensive along the Somme River to try to divert German troops from Verdun On the first day, 60,000 British soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured. When the attack halted in November, the Allies and the Germans had each suffered more than 600,000 casualties. German casualties at the Battle of the Somme

25 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Tanks
The British began developing tanks in 1914 and used them in small numbers at the Somme on Sept 15, 1916 Achieved little in this initial employment The Battle of Cambrai on Nov 20, 1917 marked the first large scale use of tanks with 474 British Mark I tank of the type used during the Battle of the Somme

26 Attempts to Break the Stalemate: Tanks
At Cambrai, the British gained initial surprise and advanced three miles by the end of the first day Deepest penetration into German lines on the Western Front since the beginning of trench warfare On the second day, the British continued to advance but the Germans brought up four more divisions On the third day, the British began losing what ground they had gained

27 Technological Advances from World War I
The industrialization of society in the 19th Century would generate many military applications of new technology In 1915 British Admiral Jacky Fisher wrote, “The war is going to be won by inventions.” Example of war becoming more total Machine gun Rapid fire artillery Airplanes Internal combustion engine Tanks Zeppelins Gas Flamethrowers

28 148th American Aero Squadron Petite Sythe, France. (August 6, 1918)
World War I Airplanes 148th American Aero Squadron Petite Sythe, France. (August 6, 1918) Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, was credited with 80 confirmed kills

29 World War I Vehicles T. E. Lawrence used a fleet of nine Rolls-Royce armored cars and tenders specially adapted for desert warfare.

30 World War I Zeppelin

31 World War I Flamethrower

32 Breaking the Stalemate: American Entry
In 1914, the American public was firmly opposed to intervening in the war The mood began to change in 1915, when the Germans sunk the British passenger liner Lusitania, killing 1,198, including 128 US citizens Still in 1916, Woodrow Wilson was reelected President with the slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War” Between Feb 14 and Sept 18, 1915, the Germans practiced “unrestricted submarine warfare.” Any Allied ship in the seas around the British Isles would be sunk without warning.

33 Russia Leaves the War Russia was experiencing social and political unrest and growing war-weary The Bolsheviks seized power through the Russian Revolution and ended Russia’s involvement in World War I by signing the treaty of Brest-Litorsk with Germany on March 3, 1918 In the midst of World War I, Britain, France, Japan, and the US all sent troops and supplies to aid the “Whites” in their struggle against the “Reds” but the Whites were defeated in 1920 1919 Bolshevik poster showing the three White generals as vicious dogs under the control of the US, France, and Britain.  

34 German Miscalculation
Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 Notified US of decision Jan 31 Sunk several US ships in Feb and Mar US declared war on April 6, 1917 At the same time Russia was withdrawing from the war, the US was entering Germany failed to end war before the US entered it

35 Role of the US Navy The entry of the US into the war coincided with the highest loss rate of Allied ships during the war Long-distance ocean shipping was particularly vulnerable It became obvious that the US Navy’s role would not be in large-scale battles with opposing fleets but rather in protecting shipping German U-boat

36 Role of the US Navy This was not the role the Navy had anticipated and meant the Navy would need less battleships and cruisers and more destroyers and anti-submarine craft Rear Admiral William Sims challenged the British assessment that the situation was “hopeless” and instead proposed a convoy system to protect ships

37 Role of the US Navy Not just the British, but many US naval officers opposed the convoy system It meant concentrating forces around slow moving and difficult to control convoys instead of the offensive action that Mahan had advocated Most convoys had 20 or 30 ships, moving in four to six columns Navy escorts patrolled the flanks and, in the case of particularly slow convoys, the front

38 Role of the US Navy Sims’ convoy system showed immediate results
By the end of 1917 losses were just 1/5 what they had been in April By the summer of 1917, about 50,000 troops were arriving in Europe each month By 1918, about 250,000 were arriving each month

39 American Involvement: Command Issues
British and French wanted the Americans attached to armies of other nations (amalgamation) Committing the Americans to combat in small units rather than waiting for them to organize and train as divisions and corps would get them into the fight more quickly Pershing resisted, arguing that national pride and a separate American contribution to victory overshadowed the logistical and preparation problems John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force

40 The AEF In order to field the AEF, the US had to overcome numerous challenges On April 6, 1917 the Army had only 127,588 active soldiers and 80,446 National Guardsmen No active units larger than a regiment existed Severe shortages in uniforms, weapons, and equipment existed Some new soldiers would have to train in coveralls and used wooden sticks to simulate weapons

41 The AEF On May 18, 1917, the US passed the Selective Service Act
By the time of the armistice in November 1918, the US Army had 3,685,458 soldiers, an increase of more than 17 times its April 1917 strength

42 Overwhelming the Germans
On July 18, 1918 the Allies began a series of counterattacks designed to take advantage of their new strength and seize the initiative from the Germans Nine American divisions participated as part of three French armies (rather than as an independent force) The Germans were forced out of their Marne River salient

43 Overwhelming the Germans
The initiative had now shifted to the Allies Ludendorff called August 8, the first day of the next Battle of Amiens, a “black day for the German army” because it marked a turning point in the conduct of Allied operations and inaugurated the relatively open form of warfare that would characterize the last months of the war The Allies were now getting stronger while Germany could only get weaker The Kaiser called a conference of his military leaders on August 14 and announced, “We have reached the limits of our endurance”

44 Overwhelming the Germans
The rapidly deteriorating German situation surprised the Allies, but they determined to press their gains with two simultaneous attacks that would advance and turn inward like giant pincers

45 St. Mihiel The American contribution was the attack of Pershing’s First Army against the St. Mihiel salient on September 12 The fighting included the greatest concentration of aircraft during the war Colonel Billy Mitchell commanded 1,481 Allied planes against only 283 German planes First Army met little resistance as the Germans had already begun withdrawing and the salient was captured in two days

46 Meuse-Argonne After St. Mihiel, the French and Americans conducted the Meuse-Argonne offensive American inexperience showed throughout the offensive and casualties were high, but ultimately the Americans were able to cross the Meuse River before the Germans could reestablish their defense there Meuse River St. Mihiel

47 SGT Alvin York Conscientious objector from Tennessee; drafted and assigned to the 82nd Battalion commander gave York two weeks’ leave to search his soul about serving York returned having decided to serve

48 SGT York Won the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Argonne Forest Oct 8, 1918 York’s battalion received fire from German machine guns and York’s 16-man platoon was sent to flank the enemy Nine Americans, to include the platoon leader and the other two corporals, were killed our wounded York was the only remaining unhurt leader

49 SGT York York’s platoon was now trapped and under fire within 25 yards of the enemy’s machine guns York was an expert marksman. He began shooting at the nearest position, knowing the enemy would expose themselves to return fire. One by one, he hit every enemy soldier who popped his head up

50 SGT York After York killed over a dozen enemy, six Germans charged him with fixed bayonets. York shot the last man first, than the 5th, 4th, etc so the soldiers in front didn’t see their comrades fall. Then he turned his attention to the machine guns.

51 SGT York Between shots, York, by himself, called for the Germans to surrender The German commander, seeing York had single-handedly killed over 20 Germans, offered to surrender. Now York, with seven friendly soldiers wounded, had dozens of enemy prisoners to evacuate from an isolated position behind enemy lines. As he began moving these prisoners, other Germans start surrendering. By the time it was over, York had taken a total of 132 prisoners and put 35 machine guns out of action.

52 Breaking the Hindenburg Line
At the same time, other Allied offensives breached the Hindenburg Line in October and forced the Germans to withdraw German morale was at the point of breaking and on September 29, Hindenburg and Ludendorff told the Kaiser that Germany had to request an armistice

53 Surrender In the end, the Allies had overwhelmed the Germans with men and equipment “Americans and tanks” Bulgaria surrendered Sept 30, 1918 The Ottomans Oct 30 Austria-Hungary Nov 4 Germany Nov 11 “Armistice Day” was replaced by “Veterans’ Day” by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954

54 Paris Peace Conference
The victorious powers met in Paris in 1919 to determine the postwar settlement Representatives from the Central Powers were not invited to attend The Russians were not invited to attend The French, British, and Americans dominated the conference Georges Clemenceau (France), Lloyd George (Britain), and Woodrow Wilson (US) at Versailles

55 Treaty of Versailles (1919)
Woodrow Wilson proposed a generous “Fourteen Points” designed to focus on international cooperation and peace, but the French especially wanted harsh terms imposed on the Germans Wanted to destroy or permanently weaken Germany as a threat

56 Treaty of Versailles (1919)
The resulting Treaty of Versailles denied the Germans a navy and air force and limited the size of their army to 100,000 troops Prevented Germany and Austria from entering any sort of political union Required the payment of war reparations German protest against the Treaty of Versailles will lead to Hitler’s rise to power and World War II


58 Next World War II

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