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Presentation on theme: "THE FIRST WORLD WAR 1914-1918."— Presentation transcript:


2 “The Great War”; “The War To End All Wars”
In your notes: What do you want to learn about WWI (and America’s participation in it)? “Nothing” is not an acceptable response!

3 Why Learn About WWI? Global effects (Direct)
“Just about everything that happened in the remainder of the century was in one way or another a result of World War I …” For Europeans, the war is the epochal event of the century Bolshevik Revolution in Russia Lenin, Stalin, USSR, Cold War with USA The rise of fascism, World War II, concentration camps and the Holocaust Atomic bomb

4 Why Learn About WWI? Global effects (Indirect)
The Great Depression & rise of Hitler The collapse of European colonialism WWI killed more people, involved more countries (28) and cost more $ than any previous war in history 9 million combatants, 5 million civilians Total war $186 (directly) and another $151 (indirectly) No way to determine what those who died might have contributed to mankind

5 Why Learn About WWI? First war to use airplanes, tanks, long range artillery, submarines, and poison gas Left 7 million men permanently disabled Downfall of 4 monarchies Russia (1917); Germany (1918), Austria-Hungary (1918), and Turkey (1922) Severely disrupted the European economies and allowed the USA to become the world’s leading creditor and industrial power Social consequences Armenian genocide Influenza epidemic (25 to 50 million killed worldwide)

6 Why Learn About WWI? Belief in human progress was shattered
Created a “lost generation” in both Europe and the US The “Peace to End All Peace” left a legacy of bitterness that contributed to WWII twenty-one years later America became a major (although reluctant) player in world affairs Other profound changes in American life To be discussed later

7 CAUSES OF THE WAR Historians have traditionally cited four long-term causes of the First World War NATIONALISM – a devotion to the interests and culture of one’s nation IMPERIALISM – Economic and political control over weaker nations MILITARISM – The growth of nationalism and imperialism led to increased military spending ALLIANCE SYSTEM – By 1907 Europe was divided into two armed camps

8 NATIONALISM Often nationalism led to rivalries and conflicts between nations (“My country, right or wrong!”) Additionally, various ethnic groups resented domination by others and wanted independence Russia and Austria-Hungary disagreed over the treatment of Serbs in central Europe Germany was allied with Austria-Hungary while Russia, France and Britain were partners


10 IMPERIALISM For many centuries, European nations built empires
Colonies supplied European nations with raw materials and provided markets for manufactured goods As Germany industrialized it competed directly with France and Britain Major European countries also competed for land in Africa


12 MILITARISM Empires had to be defended and European nations increased military spending enormously in the late 19th and early 20th century By 1890 the strongest nation militarily in Europe was Germany Germany had a strong army and built up a navy to rival England’s fleet France, Italy, Japan and the United States quickly joined in the naval buildup

13 Battleships were being stockpiled by European nations, Japan and America in the late 19th and early 20th century – The “Dreadnaught Gap”

14 ALLIANCE SYSTEM By 1907 there were two major defense alliances in Europe The Triple Entente, later known as the Allies, consisted of France, Britain, and Russia The Triple Alliance, later known as the Central Powers, consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy (Soon joined by the Ottoman Empire TRIPLE ENTENTE FRANCE BRITAIN RUSSIA


The Balkan region was considered “the powder keg of Europe” due to competing interests in the area Russia wanted access to the Mediterranean Sea Germany wanted a rail link to the Ottoman Empire Austria-Hungary, which had taken control of Bosnia in 1878, accused Serbia of subverting its rule over Bosnia Finally, in June of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne was gunned down by a Serbia radical igniting a diplomatic crisis The Archduke is assassinated in Sarajevo in June 1914


18 Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed in Bosnia by a Serbian nationalist group called the Black Hand who believed that Bosnia should belong to Serbia.

19 The Black Hand.. The main objective of the Black Hand was the creation, by means of violence, of a Greater Serbia. Its stated aim was: "To realize the national ideal, the unification of all Serbs. This organization prefers terrorist action to cultural activities; it will therefore remain secret."

20 Domino Effect Austria blamed Serbia for Ferdinand’s death and declared war on Serbia. Germany pledged their support for Austria -Hungary. Russia pledged their support for Serbia.

21 Domino Effect Germany declares war on Russia.
France pledges their support for Russia. Germany declares war on France. Germany invades Belgium on the way to France. Great Britain supports Belgium and declares war on Germany.

22 Review – The MAIN causes of WWI
M = militarism A = alliances I = imperialism N = nationalism In your notes: “ Which of the above was the most significant cause? Explain your answer.

23 THE FIGHTING BEGINS The Alliance system pulled one nation after another into the conflict – The Great War had begun On August 3, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, following a strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan This plan called for a quick strike through Belgium to Paris, France Next, Germany would attack Russia The plan was designed to prevent a two-front war for Germany see map on page 375 The Schliefflen Plan

Unable to save Belgium, the Allies retreated to the Marne River in France where they halted the German advance in September of 1914 Both sides dug in for a long siege By the spring of 1915, two parallel systems of deep trenches crossed France from Belgium to Switzerland There were 3 types of trenches; front line, support, and reserve Between enemy trenches was “no man’s land” – an area pockmarked with shell craters and filled with barbed wire (see graphic on pg 376) British soldiers standing in mud


26 Why was WWI a Stalemate? What’s a stalemate?
Neither side can make a move to win. Machine gun. How did this change war? How was it fought before? Trench Warfare = “solution”. Millions die without gaining ground.

27 #23

During the First Battle of the Somme - which began July 1, 1916 and lasted until mid-November – the British suffered 60,000 casualties the first day Final casualties for the First Battle of the Somme totaled 1.2 million, yet only 7 miles of ground was gained This bloody trench warfare, in which armies fought for mere yards of ground, lasted for three years Gas attacks were common features of trench life and often caused blindness and lung disease

29 #35

“Industrialized warfare: “death wholesale not retail” 6000 killed/day #36

31 #37

32 NEW WEAPONS USED Machine Guns – Guns could now fire 600 rounds per minute The Tank – New steel tanks ran on caterpillar treads Airplanes – Early dogfights resembled duals, however by 1918 the British had a fleet of planes that could deliver bomb loads Poison Gas – mustard gas was used to subdue the enemy

33 #50

34 Chlorine Gas #51

35 Famous poem by Wilfred Owen about the evils of mustard gas
Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum est (1917) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime. Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in. And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. Famous poem by Wilfred Owen about the evils of mustard gas

36 Soldier Poets In Flanders Field – John McCrae (Br)
I have a rendezvous with death – Alan Seeger (US/Fr) In Flanders fields the poppies blow       Between the crosses, row on row,    That mark our place; and in the sky    The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,    Loved and were loved, and now we lie          In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw    The torch; be yours to hold it high.    If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow          In Flanders fields. I have a rendezvous with Death At some disputed barricade, When Spring comes back with rustling shade And apple-blossoms fill the air— When Spring brings back blue days and fair. It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath— It may be I shall pass him still. On some scarred slope of battered hill When Spring comes round again this year And the first meadow-flowers appear. God knows 'twere better to be deep Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep, Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, Where hushed awakenings are dear... But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.

In 1914, most Americans saw no reason to join a struggle 3,000 miles away – they wanted neutrality Some simply did not want their sons to experience the horror of warfare German-Americans supported Germany in World War I However, many American felt close to the British because of a shared ancestry and language Most importantly, American economic interests were far stronger with the Allies French propaganda poster portrayed the Germans as inhuman and impacted American attitudes toward the Germans

38 -U.S. declares neutrality in the war– President Wilson
U.S. Neutrality -U.S. declares neutrality in the war– President Wilson -develops sympathy for the Allied cause Americans feel loyalty to Britain as stories of atrocity circulate through propaganda -Begin to export war materials U.S. begins to ship millions of dollars in supplies to Allies Some atrocity stories—spread by British propaganda—referred to Germany as the “Bully of Europe.” Stories of Germany attacking civilians, destroying villages, cathedrals, libraries, and even hospitals prompted sympathy among Americans. This was spread through British propaganda aimed at the US: "It should be America's duty to help us subdue the mad dog of Europe."

39 United States Policy Towards War
Economics - During the first two years of the war the U.S. had a business recession and unemployment reached approx. 15%. - Economic recovery became dependent on sales of war materials to the Allies. - Allies took out loans with American Banks = good financial sense for the U.S. to see Allies win. Allies would need victory to pay off war debts to U.S. IS THIS NETURALITY?

40 War at Sea The Schlieffen Plan fails and a stalemate ensues.
1) British impose a strict BLOCKADE (map pg 375) This was meant to starve out the enemy regardless of international law. The British stopped, searched, and (sometimes) seized American Ships. deja vu all over again (War of ______ ?) There was a difference between war supplies and food under international law but it was ignored by the British. (Is there a difference?) 2) Germany responds with submarine warfare - Waters were declared war zones. - NEUTRAL ships became unsafe. - Sinking NEUTRAL ships was looked upon as more offensive than the British Blockade.

41 THE WAR HITS HOME During the first two years of the war, America was providing (selling) the allied forces dynamite, cannon powder, submarines, copper wire and tubing and other war material Both the Germans and British imposed naval blockades on each other The Germans used U-boats (submarines) to prevent shipments to the North Atlantic Any ship found in the waters around Britain would be sunk German U-boat 1919

42 United States Policy Towards War
1914 – American public firmly opposed to intervention in a European War. - Wilson re-elected in 1916 running on a NON-INTERVENTION platform. (“He kept us out of war”) - HOWEVER, after the outbreak of war the U.S. pursued a neutrality that favored the Allies. This made it so the U.S. became increasingly tied to an Allied victory. HOW? WHY?

43 United States Policy Towards War
German Submarine Warfare - U.S. officials asserted the doctrine of neutral rights for American ships. - Germany relied on their submarine fleet to break the British blockade and strangle Britain economically. Believed the could defeated Britain in six months if they were successful. - Attacked ships of great Britain and ships headed to Great Britain. - German subs often fired on neutral ships without firing a warning as required by international laws.

United States involvement in World War I was hastened by the Lusitania disaster The Lusitania was a British passenger liner that carried 1,198 persons on a fateful trip on May 7, 1915 A German U-boat sank the British passenger liner killing all aboard including 128 American tourists The Germans claimed the ship was carrying Allied ammunition Americans were outraged and public opinion turned against Germany and the Central Powers May 7, 1915

45 United States Policy Towards War
Sinking of the Lusitania: May 7, 1915 - German submarine sank the British passenger liner Lusitania off the Irish coast with a loss of 1,198 lives, including 128 U.S. citizens. Technically, the ship was a legitimate target, because it carried 4,200 cases of AMMUNITION and traveled through a declared war zone. - Much of the American public was outraged and public opinion began to turn against Germany. (Propaganda)

46 1916 ELECTION The November 1916 election pitted incumbent Democrat Woodrow Wilson vs. Republican candidate Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes Wilson won a close election using the slogan, “He kept us out of war” That slogan would prove ironic because within a few months the United States would be embroiled in World War I Wilson

47 Election of 1916 Hughes Wilson “He kept us out of war!!!!”

48 A very close election..

49 United States Policy Towards War
The Zimmerman Note - Arthur Zimmerman, a German official, sent a telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico asking him to make an offer to the MEXICAN Government. - If Mexico agreed to become an ally with Germany in the war against the U.S., Germany promised Mexico would regain its “lost TERRITORY in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona” after the war. - British intelligence intercepted the message and shortly after it was leaked to the U.S. press. This infuriated Americans and helped push the country to war.

Several factors came together to bring the U.S. into the war; 1) Germany ignored Wilson’s plea for peace 2) The Zimmerman Note, a telegram from the German foreign minister to the German Ambassador in Mexico, proposed an alliance Germany promised Mexico a return of their “lost territory” in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona 3) Next came the sinking of four unarmed U.S. merchant ships by German subs (Zimmerman note) Encoded message from Germany to Mexico

51 Zimmerman note intercepted by a British agent and decoded

52 AMERICA DECLARES WAR A light drizzle fell on Washington on April 2, 1917, as senators, representatives, ambassadors, members of the Supreme Court, and other guests crowded into the Capital building to hear Wilson deliver his declaration of war Wilson said, “The world must be safe for democracy” Congress passed the resolution a few days later

53 United States Policy Towards War
United States Declares War: April 6, 1917 - February 1917 Germany resumed unrestricted Submarine warfare. (Had lessened after sinking of the Lusitania.) - Wilson declared, “Warfare against commerce,” equals “warfare against mankind. The world must be made safe for democracy.”

54 Review Answer in your notes
Describe some ways in which WWI threatened the lives of civilians on both sides of the Atlantic. Why were America’s ties with the Allies stronger than its ties with the Central Powers? Why do you think Germany escalated its U-boat attacks in 1917?

55 Review What were the main reasons for U.S. involvement in the war?

America was not ready for war – only 200,000 men were in service when war was declared Congress passed the Selective Service Act in May of 1917 By the end of 1918, 24 million had signed up and almost 3 million were called to duty About 2 million American troops reached Europe

After 2 ½ years of fighting, the Allied forces were exhausted One of the main contributions of the Americans was fresh and enthusiastic troops American infantry were nicknamed “doughboys” because of their white belts Most doughboys had never ventured far from the farms or small towns they lived in

When Russia surrendered to the Germans in 1917, it allowed the Central Powers to focus on the Western Front By May, the Germans were within 50 miles of Paris The Americans arrived and immediately played a major role in pushing the Germans back In July and August the Americans helped the Allies win the Second Battle of the Marne Men of the 42nd Division during the Second Marne. These men were killed by artillery fire just 5 minutes after this photo was taken

59 AMERICAN WAR HERO Alvin York, a blacksmith from Tennessee, originally sought an exemption from the war as a Conscientious Objector York eventually decided it was morally acceptable to fight if the cause was right On October 8, 1918, armed with only a rifle and a revolver, York killed 25 Germans and (with six doughboys) captured 132 prisoners Upon his return home he was promoted to Sergeant and hailed a hero The man The movie

GERMANY COLLAPSES; THE GREAT WAR ENDS GERMANY COLLAPSES, WAR ENDS On November 3, 1918, Germany’s partner, Austria-Hungary, surrendered to the Allies That same day, German sailors mutinied against their government Other revolts followed, and Germany was too exhausted to continue So at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, Germany signed a truce ending the Great War War ends 11/11/18

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