In the early 1900’s the Ottoman Empire’s control over the Balkans was weakening. Tensions began to grow, and in 1912, Serbia and its allies attacked the Ottoman Empire. The great European powers were all interested in gaining lands from the crumbling empire.
By 1914, the Balkans were known as the “powder keg of Europe.” A small spark could lead to an EXPLOSION !
Nationalistic feelings had caused periodic waves of violence against Armenians since the 1890s. New violence was a brutal result of the rivalry between Turkey, which ruled the Ottoman Empire, and Russia. The Muslim Turks distrusted the Christian Armenians believing they supported Russia.
When Armenians protested oppressive Ottoman policies, the Turks unleashed a massacre on the Armenians. Additional massacres leading to the deaths of a million or more Armenians occurred over the next 25 years.
On June 28, 1914 a young Serbian man shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. This was the spark needed to ignite the powder keg and starting The Great War, aka: World War One.
One month later Austria declared war on Serbia. One by one, the other nations of Europe picked sides thus beginning the Great War later known as World War One. From June 28, 1914 until August 12, 1914 the nations of Serbia, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain all declared war in support or against one another.
The Four Causes of WWI 1) Militarism 2) Alliances 3) Imperialism 4) Nationalism
Militarism Militarism is the belief that a nation needs a large military force. The belief in militarism lead to the build up of armies and navies for each of Europe’s major powers decades before WW1 began.
Alliances Alliances are made between countries in order to achieve a common goal. Simply put, alliances meant that an attack on one nation would force all its allies to come to its aid. A small conflict could easily become a larger war. In 1914 Europe was a tangled web of competing alliances between countries.
Imperialism Imperialism is the policy by which a stronger nation extends their control (militarily, politically, economically)on a weaker nation(s). Britain, France, Germany, and Italy all competed for colonies in Africa and Asia. Germany had the fewest colonies and felt it deserved more.
Nationalism Nationalism is a feeling of pride, loyalty, and protectiveness, towards one’s country. In the early 1900’s, like Americans, Europeans had deep feelings for their own countries. They wanted their country to be the best. In fact some ethnic groups wanted to form their own separate nations.
M.A.I.N. In order to effectively remember the causes of World War I, simply put the four reasons into a catchy phrase. Such as: Militarism Alliance Imperialism Nationalism Thus, forming the word- MAIN
CENTRAL POWERS The Central Powers were made up of Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey), and Bulgaria.
ALLIED POWERS aka-ALLIES The Allied Powers included Serbia, Russia, France, Great Britain, Italy and seven other countries.
WWI A NEW TYPE OF WARFARE, THE STALEMATE BEGINS
TRENCH WARFARE Trenches covered about 450 miles of earth between the English Channel to the Swiss border. Because of the use of trenches the battle lines between the Allied and Central Powers remained relatively unchanged for 3 years.
The wounded often became helplessly stuck in the mud that accumulated in the trenches. Due to these conditions several of the soldiers that were wounded during battle became entrapped in the mud and would eventually die from exposure.
ENTRY OF THE UNITED STATES When the war started in 1914, the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, maintained a position of neutrality (not supporting either side). However, a series of events would eventually draw the United States into the conflict.
In 1917, however, Germany used unrestricted submarine warfare, meaning that it attacked any ships on the Atlantic, even if they were carrying American passengers. This policy brought the United States into the war in April 1917.
RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL In Russia, low morale contributed to a revolution in 1917. Early in 1918, Russia’s new leader signed a treaty with Germany that took Russia out of the war.
Germany Stops Fighting! Germany started their long retreat after their defeat during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In November 1918 Germany’s navy mutinied, its allies dropped out, and the Kaiser stepped down. On November 11 th Germany agreed to an armistice (an end to fighting), ending the Great War (WWI).
HUMAN & ECONOMIC LOSSES More than 8.5 million people died, more than 17 million were wounded. Famine threatened many regions and disease was widespread. Factories, farms, and homes were destroyed.
Nations amassed huge war debts that had to be repaid. The Allies, bitter at the destruction, insisted that the Central Powers make reparations, payments for war damage they had caused.
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles was developed by the Allies-The Big Four: France, Italy, England and the United States. The treaty punished Germany for being the main aggressor during the war.
The treaty made Germany pay reparations. Reparation is money that a defeated nation pays for the destruction caused by war. German wrote a $33 million check. Germany’s government was changed from a Monarchy (Kaiser) to a Parliamentary system. All Germany’s territories were removed. The German military was forced to disband.
SUMMARY Nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and alliances led to the Great War, aka: World War One. In the Balkans, what began as a local incident blossomed into a global war. Industrialization and new technology made the weapons of World War One much more destructive than any that had been used before. The war caused great human and economic losses.