I. Europe Before the War Austro-Hungarian Empire German Empire Great Britain France Ottoman Empire (Balkans) Russian Empire
II. Why the Great War Began Militarism – “glorification of military strength” Each nation tried to get a bigger army or navy than the other (arms race) Alliance System – leaders of nations promised to aid one another in case of attack Central Powers/Triple Alliance – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire Allied Powers/Triple Entente – Great Britain, France, Russia
II. Why The Great War Began Imperialism – competition for colonial empires fueled rivalry Nationalism – Ethnic groups wanted nations of their own (especially in Austria- Hungary). Example: Ethnic Slav people in the Balkan “powder keg” – they were under the control of either the Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian Empires and wanted their own nation-states! Serbia was an independent Slavic nation and wanted other Slavs to join them in a new nation- state. The area had several wars in the early 1900s, trying to achieve this aim.
III. The Spark Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to Austria-Hungary’s throne – assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia (in the Balkans) by a Serbian nationalist who didn’t like Austria’s ownership of territory where Slavic people lived Austria declares war on Serbia. Russia had to honor its alliance with Serbia. Alliance system kicks in, and soon everyone is at war. Nations enter with excitement; believe the war will be short. Wow.
IV. Schlieffen Plan Germany’s War Plan –Massive attack to quickly defeat France –Then focus on Russia in the East, which would take longer to get their troops to the front The Reality: –Attacks bog down (Battle of the Marne) –Both sides build trenches and realize the war will not be short –Trench Warfare begins
V. New Methods of Warfare: Total War & War of Attrition Total War- all possible resources and people are geared toward war effort –New method of warfare based on new weapons & tactics –Colonies taken advantage of, for extraction of human/natural resources War of Attrition- war fought not to gain capital but to exhaust resources of your opponent(s).
New Technology of WWI Poisonous gas (first used by Germans 1915) –Mustard gas was feared in the trenches (1.2 million casualties) Airplanes –Used to survey regions, led to “dogfights” Tanks (introduced by British 1915) Machine guns