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World War One “The Great War” (1914-1918) All photos were found via Google images. All text is lifted or adapted from

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Presentation on theme: "World War One “The Great War” (1914-1918) All photos were found via Google images. All text is lifted or adapted from"— Presentation transcript:

1 World War One “The Great War” ( ) All photos were found via Google images. All text is lifted or adapted from and

2 Hopes and Fears  In 1914, the perception of war was romanticized by many people, and its declaration was met with great enthusiasm.  The common view on both sides was that it would be a short war of maneuver, with a few sharp actions (to "teach the enemy a lesson") and would end with a victorious entry into the enemy capital, then home for a victory parade or two and back to "normal" life. Many thought it would have finished by Christmas of that year.  Others, however, regarded the coming war with great pessimism and worry.  Some military figures predicted the war would be a long one.  Some political leaders were concerned by the potential social consequences of a war.  International bond and financial markets entered severe crises in late July and early August reflecting worry about the financial consequences of war.

3 In Search of Adventure  The perceived excitement of war captured the imagination of many in the warring nations.  Spurred on by propaganda and nationalist fervor, many eagerly joined the ranks in search of adventure.  Few were prepared for what they actually encountered at the front.

4 Technology  The First World War was a clash of 20th century technology with 19th century tactics.  Advances in military technology meant that defensive firepower out- weighed offensive capabilities, making the war particularly murderous, as tactics had failed to keep up.

5 Trench Warfare  Much of the war's combat involved trench warfare, where hundreds often died for each meter of land gained.  Many of the deadliest battles in history occurred during the First World War.  Artillery was responsible for the largest number of casualties during the First World War.

6 Barbed Wire & Artillery  Barbed wire was a significant hindrance to massed infantry advances  Artillery, now vastly more lethal than in the 1870s, coupled with machine guns, made crossing open ground a nightmarish prospect.

7 Poison Gas  By 1915 both sides were using poison gas.  Neither side ever won a battle with gas, but it made life even more miserable in the trenches and became one of the most feared, and longest remembered, horrors of the war.  Gases used ranged from tear gas to disabling chemicals such as mustard gas and killing agents like phosgene.  Only a small proportion of total war casualties were caused by gas, but it achieved harassment and psychological effects.  Effective countermeasures to gas were found in gas masks and hence in the later stages of the war, as the use of gas increased, in many cases its effectiveness was diminished.

8 Tanks  Tanks were introduced in World War I by the British and created mechanized warfare that dominated the rest of the 20th century. Trenches, the machine gun, air reconnaissance, barbed wire, and modern artillery with fragmentation shells helped stalemate the battle lines of World War I by making massed infantry attacks deadly for the attacker. The infantry was armed mostly with a bolt action magazine rifle, but the machine gun with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute stalemated infantry attacks as a defensive weapon; therefore, the British sought a solution and created the tank.Trenches, the machine gun, air reconnaissance, barbed wire, and modern artillery with fragmentation shells helped stalemate the battle lines of World War I by making massed infantry attacks deadly for the attacker. The infantry was armed mostly with a bolt action magazine rifle, but the machine gun with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute stalemated infantry attacks as a defensive weapon; therefore, the British sought a solution and created the tank. Their first use proved tanks needed infantry support and massed formations, but within a year the British were fielding tanks by the hundreds and showed their potential during the Battle of Cambrai, in November 1917, breaking the Hindenburg Line while capturing 8000 enemy and 100 artillery guns.Their first use proved tanks needed infantry support and massed formations, but within a year the British were fielding tanks by the hundreds and showed their potential during the Battle of Cambrai, in November 1917, breaking the Hindenburg Line while capturing 8000 enemy and 100 artillery guns.

9 Aircraft  Fixed-wing aircraft were first used militarily during the First World War.  Initial uses consisted primarily of reconnaissance, though this developed into ground-attack and fighter duties as well.  Strategic bombing aircraft were created principally by the Germans and British.

10 Aftermath: National Trauma  The experiences of the war led to a sort of collective national trauma afterwards for all the participating countries.  The optimism of 1900 was entirely gone  Those who fought in the war became what is known as "the Lost Generation" because they never fully recovered from their experiences.  For the next few years, much of Europe began its mourning, memorials were erected in thousands of villages and towns.

11 Responses to the War  Some people were revolted by nationalism and what it had caused and began to work toward a more internationalist world through organizations such as the League of Nations. Pacifism became increasingly popular.  Others had the opposite reaction, feeling that only strength and military might could be relied on for protection in a chaotic and inhumane world that did not respect hypothetical notions of civilization.

12 Disillusionment  A sense of disillusionment and cynicism became pronounced after WWI, with nihilism growing in popularity.  Many people believed that the war heralded the end of the world as they had known it, including the collapse of capitalism and imperialism.  Communist and socialist movements around the world drew strength from this theory, enjoying a level of popularity they had never known before. These feelings were most pronounced in areas directly or particularly harshly affected by the war, such as central Europe, Russia, Germany, and France.

13 Nihilism  Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical position that values do not exist.  Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without meaning, purpose or intrinsic value.  Moral nihilists assert that morality does not exist, and subsequently there are no moral values with which to uphold a rule or to logically prefer one action over another.  The term nihilism is sometimes used synonymously with anomie to denote the general mood of despair at the pointlessness of existence that one has when they realize there are no necessary norms, rules, or laws. Source:

14 The War in Numbers  65,038,810 troops mobilized  8,538,315 died  21,219,452 wounded  7,750,919 missing or taken prisoner  37,508,686 total casualties  57.6% casualties of mobilized troops  Of all the countries involved in the war, Germany sustained the greatest number of deaths at 1,773,700 Source:


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