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WORLD WAR ONE  Europe, in the early years of the 20 th century, was a continent facing war.  Europe faced: Intense competition among the nations. An.

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Presentation on theme: "WORLD WAR ONE  Europe, in the early years of the 20 th century, was a continent facing war.  Europe faced: Intense competition among the nations. An."— Presentation transcript:


2 WORLD WAR ONE  Europe, in the early years of the 20 th century, was a continent facing war.  Europe faced: Intense competition among the nations. An increase in nationalism. Colonialism. An arms race.





7 ENTANGLING ALLIANCES  July 23 rd : The Austrian government issued an ultimatum threatening war against Serbia and invaded four days later.  August 1 st : As Austria’s ally, Germany declared war against Russia an ally of Serbia.  August 3 rd : Germany declared war against France, an ally of Russia and immediately began an invasion of neutral Belgium because it offered the fastest route to Paris.  August 4 th : Great Britain, as an ally of France, declared war against Germany.

8 THE MAJOR ALLIANCES  THE ALLIES: The Triple Entente: Great Britain France Russia Japan Belgium Italy Serbia  THE CENTRAL POWERS: Germany Austria-Hungary Turkey Bulgaria


10 WORLD WAR ONE  In Western Europe, most of the fighting took place in France, as German armies met British, Belgian, and French (and later American) forces on the Western Front.  During much of the same period, Germany also faced Russian soldiers on the Eastern Front, until the horrendous casualties helped to provoke the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russia’s exit from the war.

11 THE AMERICAN REACTION  When war began on the European continent, Americans could not imagine its scope and human cost, but they condemned its outbreak.  Yet it would be very difficult for the American public to remain neutral.  Many Americans had close ties to each side in the war.

12 THE AMERICAN REACTION  1914: Nearly one-third of the population of the USA was foreign born or the children of immigrants.  Initially, they tended to sympathize with the countries from which their families came, while opposing any formal involvement in the war by the USA.  The majority of Americans favored GB and FR and blamed Germany for starting hostilities.

13 THE AMERICAN REACTION  German Americans and Irish Americans constituted two of the most numerous and influential of the non-English groups in the USA.  When the war broke out, German Americans immediately defended Germany’s cause against its adversaries.  In light of Ireland’s struggle for freedom from GB, Irish Americans were unenthusiastic about helping GB, but generally preferred the Allies to the Central Powers.


15 PRESIDENT WILSON  Wilson’s decisions on international matters often appeared idealistic, but actually combined moral diplomacy and practicality.  He opposed the old world order and wanted the leading nations to embrace a more liberal and less imperialistic approach to international politics.

16 PRESIDENT WILSON  In trying to accomplish this, however, he distanced himself from many of his own liberal supporters.  Highly principled and often highly partisan, Wilson at times encountered difficulties in steering a consistent course.  Wilson could also be very rigid in his thinking and unwilling to compromise.





21 THE USA AND WORLD WAR ONE  For the first 2 ½ years of the war, the USA remained neutral.  Throughout this period, the Allies and Central Powers alternately ignored, courted, or threatened the American position.  Wilson became convinced that a German victory would pose a greater menace to US security, yet he still continued to avoid US intervention.  He was confident he could successfully mediate between the warring camps and end the horrors that were occurring around the world.


23  The conflict of 1914-1918 was known as the “Great War.”  An unprecedented number of belligerent nations fought engagements large and small on three continents, six seas, and at least two oceans.  Over 65 million military personnel were engaged, with 8 million killed in combat and more than 21 million wounded.

24 THE BLOODBATH OF WAR  The losses among civilians were even higher.  Additionally, countless others, both uniformed and civilian, died from diseases made deadlier by war conditions, especially the huge influenza-pneumonia epidemics that spread rapidly in 1918.  The war cost more than $281 billion in military expenses and damage to civilian property.

25 TRENCH WARFARE  August 1914: German troops marched through Belgian on their path to France, where British and French forces brought the advance to a halt with huge casualties on both sides.  To defend against the deadly firepower, soldiers took up the shovel and dug in.  Oct. 1914: A line to trenches extended from the English Channel south to the Swiss border, nearly 500 miles.

26 TRENCH WARFARE  For more than two years, the frontline of the Western Front remained static.  Each side launched costly frontal assaults while failing to move forward more than a few miles in any direction.  Trench warfare came to symbolize the Western Front to both Europeans and Americans.






32 POISON GAS AND MUSTARD GAS  Another horror of the war was poison gas, introduced by the Germans and later used by all parties.  Its effectiveness was limited by the need to rely on favorable wind conditions to control its direction.  The most hazardous was mustard gas.  Although few people were actually killed from the gases, many were seriously injured.






38 CAUSES OF AMERICAN ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR ONE  Violations of American neutrality  German u-boat warfare  Sinking of the Lusitania  The Sussex Pledge  British Propaganda  Economic ties to Great Britain and France  Unrestricted German U-boat warfare  Zimmerman Telegram








46 WILSON’S REACTION TO THE SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA  At first the president reacted cautiously.  He then sent two notes to Germany protesting the sinking and demanding protection of American lives in the future.  The second and stronger note exposed a split in the Administration and resulted in the resignation of Sec. of State William Jennings Bryan, who claimed that the USA was not behaving impartially toward Germany.

47 THE SUSSEX PLEDGE  American negotiations with Germany proceeded slowly, while U-boats continued to target American ships and cause American casualties.  Spring 1916: The Germans torpedoed the French ship Sussex, which carried several Americans.  This time Wilson publicly threatened to break diplomatic relations with Germany, which responded by temporarily ending its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.


49  Throughout the USA, the British sponsored speaking tours and organized traveling exhibits of Allied war posters, which were extremely effective at disseminating information and influencing the public in an era lacking radio or TV broadcasts.

50 BRITISH PROPAGANDA  The British efforts were enhanced by clumsy German actions: The invasion of Belgium Episodes of espionage and sabotage committed by German and Austrian agents in the USA = attempting to prevent the flow of American supplies to the Allies, they bombed numerous factories, depots, and bridges while bungling other attempts.

51 BRITISH PROPAGANDA  More annoying than substantial, German actions eventually provoked the Wilson Admin., into ousting a number of German and Austrian diplomats stationed across America.  These episodes contributed to American hostility toward the Central powers.

52 ECONOMIC TIES TO ALLIES  The Royal Navy’s surface domination of the Atlantic Ocean prevented German ships from getting to American ports and within a year of the war’s start virtually ended trade between the Central Powers and the USA.  In contrast the value of arms and ammunition shipyards from the United States to the Allies soared from $14.7 million in August 1915 to $74.9 million in August 1916.  American banks issued loans to the Allies that amounted to $10 billion by the end of the war.  American investors purchased $2.3 billion in British and French bonds in contrast to $20 million in German bonds.

53 ECONOMIC TIES TO THE ALLIES  Besides the huge armament dealings with the Allies, American exporters supplied increasing quantities of wheat, corn, processed foods, factory and farm machinery, pharmaceuticals, and countless other products that were needed by both military forces and civilian populations.

54 ECONOMIC TIES TO THE ALLIES  From the perspective of the Central Powers, the USA had, by late 1916, clearly become a belligerent on the side of the Allies.  The Central Powers considered the increasing economic commitment to the Allies to be equally damaging as any potential use of American forces.









63 THE WAR INDUSTRIES BOARD *Regulated munitions. *Oversaw industrial growth, allocation of resources, and price-fixing. **One-fourth of civilian production was converted to war production.

64 FOOD ADMINISTRATION  Provide food for needy Allied nations as well as for American Army and Navy units in the European war zone.  Used voluntary rather than coercive methods to increase the amount of food available to send to Europe.  Rejected the option of rationing, campaigning instead for voluntary self-sacrifice.

65 FUEL ADMINISTRATION  Directed efforts to save coal.  Nonessential factories were closed.  Daylight saving time went into effect for the first time.

66 WAR FINANCE CORPORATION  The Wilson Admin. managed to raise $33 billion in two years by a combination of loans and taxes.  It conducted four massive drives to convince Americans to put their savings in Liberty Bonds.  Congress also increased both personal and corporate taxes and placed an excise tax on luxury goods.


68 THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION  Also known as the Creel Committee.  The most controversial of war agencies.  “Mobilizing the mind of the world.”  Focused on “the war will” of the American people through a massive propaganda campaign of news releases, pamphlets, films and speeches.  Championed the righteousness of the Allied cause while depicting the Germans as nefarious, warlike people descended from barbarians.  Helped to build the wartime spirit of national unity, but also contributed to the widespread intolerance of dissent across the country.

69 “THE FOUR MINUTE MEN”  Some 75,000 people volunteered to give brief patriotic talks on such topics as war bonds, draft registration, food conservation and “Maintaining Morals and Morale.”  They often spoke in motion picture theaters while the silent film reels were being changed; they also led groups in singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Others spoke at schools, civic meetings, and various public gatherings.











80 THE WAR AND CIVIL LIBERTIES  THE ESPIONAGE ACT 1917:  Punished violators with prison sentences of up to 20 years and fines of $10,000.  Covered loosely defined crimes as encouraging others to be disloyal, aiding the enemy, refusing to serve in the military and sending “treasonable” materials through the mail.  THE SEDITION ACT OF 1918:  Prohibited “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the government, the flag, the Constitution, or the armed forces.

81 SCHENCK v. THE UNITED STATES  The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Espionage Act in a case involving a man (Charles T. Schenck) who had been imprisoned for distributing pamphlets against the draft.  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded that the right to free speech could be limited when it represented a “clear and present danger” to the public safety.

82 THE SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT 1917  System devised by Sec. of War Newton D. Baker.  Envisioned as a democratic method for ensuring that all groups in the population would be called into service.  About 2.8 million men were eventually called by lottery.  The draftees provided for over half the total of 4.7 million Americans who served during the war.  More than 2 million of these were transported overseas to join the British and French in the trenches on the Western Front.



85  Long before the war in Europe ended, Wilson announced his idealistic war aims and peace program to the nation and the world.  Addressing both houses of Congress in 1/1918, the president enunciated his Fourteen Points, most of which had been mentioned previously by him or European leaders but never so eloquently.

86  “What we demand in this war … is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every- peace loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing, by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression.” WILSON AND THE PEACE

87 THE FOURTEEN POINTS  “Open covenants of peace openly arrived at”;  Freedom of the seas;  Abolition of international trade barriers;  Reduction of national armaments;  An “impartial adjustment of all colonial claims”;  Self-determination for the various nationalities within the Austro-Hungarian Empire;  “A general association of nations … for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”  This was Wilson’s most valued point. The international association he envisioned would soon be named the League of Nations.

88 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Reaction to Wilson’s Fourteen Points was generally favorable, even by congressmen who would later oppose the president in his call for US membership in the LoN.  In Germany, civilians and soldiers read a translation of Wilson’s words, due to the efforts of the Creel Committee which printed the president’s speech and distributed leaflets by plane behind enemy lines.

89 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Wilson’s Fourteen Points were printed in newspapers around the world, even in Russia, where Lenin was said to consider them “a great step toward the peace of the world.”

90 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Acclaim for the Fourteen Points was not universal.  Prime Minister Clemenceau of France reportedly responded: “The Good Lord had only ten!”

91 WILSON AND THE PEACE  The govt., of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany subsequently requested a peace on the basis of Wilson’s Fourteen Points.  Germany hoped their appeal to Wilson’s principles might lead to a softer, negotiated peace, as opposed to the vindictive conditions the Allies sought to impose.

92 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Instead, the Allies interpreted the collapse of the Central Powers as a victory that did not require them to accept a “peace by compromise and negotiation.”  In spite of Wilson’s noble efforts to direct the postwar settlements onto a higher ground, the conditions in the major Allied countries and on the battlefronts of Europe dictated the harsh peace that provided the seedbed for war again within two decades.

93 WILSON AND THE PEACE  By the time of the armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, Wilson was virtually obsessed with the crusade he intended to lead personally at the upcoming Paris Peace Conference, which would set forth the terms of peace for Germany and to formulate the charter for the League of Nations.

94 WILSON AND THE PEACE  He wanted to act as a broker among the vengeance-minded Allied leaders in obtaining a fairer, more generous peace settlement than most of them desired.  He also wanted to create an effective international organization, led by the USA, to ensure a postwar world that would be peaceful, free, and no longer handicapped by secret treaties and balance-of-power considerations.

95 WILSON AND THE PEACE  When Wilson traveled to Paris in mid-December several factors severely limited his chances of success: Election of 1918: Republicans won control of the House and Senate Wilson failed to include a prominent Republican to his peace delegation {Henry Cabot Lodge – Chair of Sen. Foreign Relations Committee left off commission} Wilson alienated his own party by not including one Democratic member of Congress on the peace delegation. Despite widespread opposition, Wilson decided to head the peace commission.

96 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in Paris.  At that time, he was the most popular American in the world since Abraham Lincoln.  Upon his arrival, he campaigned publicly for his Fourteen Points, angering several Allied officials by appealing directly to their citizens.

97 WILSON AND THE PEACE  On the eve of the peace conference, Wilson’s high visibility and his personal advocacy of his Fourteen Points sparked unrealistic hopes in many parts of the world.  Many downtrodden peoples in many areas believed that the president could secure for them freedom, democracy, and prosperity. {Vietnam and Korea}  Many Germans viewed him as a protector against an unjust peace.


99 WILSON AND THE PEACE  When the Paris Peace Conference convened in mid-January, thirty-two Allied and “associated” powers were represented.  Germany did not participate in the negotiations.  The Conference was led by the Big Four - although the major decisions were made by Wilson, Lloyd George of England, and Clemenceau of Paris.  The Allies were out for revenge and punishment.


101 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Most of the crucial decisions were decided by Wilson, George and Clemenceau.  They met frequently in secret, leading to criticism by journalists, by representatives of smaller countries, and by their own countrymen who were excluded from the sessions.  The press accused Wilson of violating his own principle of “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at” by conducting such vital negotiations in private.

102 WILSON AND THE PEACE  Wilson and the American delegation had prepared to take the high road at Versailles while implementing the Fourteen Points.  To Wilson, the major accomplishment of the peace settlement was the successful establishment of the League of Nations.  He was also pleased that, in line with his wishes, parts of the map of Europe were redrawn along somewhat more ethnographic lines. {Future implications}  Otherwise, Wilson had to compromise on virtually all his principles, especially regarding the severity of the peace imposed on Germany.

103 THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES  Germany was disarmed and stripped of its colonies.  **Germany forced to accept the “war guilt” clause.  **Germany forced to pay $31 billion in war reparations.  The map of Europe was re-drawn.  ***Signers of the treaty would join an international peacekeeping organization – the League of Nations.  ***Article X of the League covenant called on each member nation to stand ready to protect the independence and territorial integrity of other nations.

104 WHY DID WILSON COMPROMISE?  Wilson accepted the harsh provisions against Germany mainly to get FR and GB support for the terms of the League Covenant and its inclusion in the peace treaties with all the Central powers.  He was supremely confidant that whatever seeds of future discord might have been planted by the Treaty, “his” League of Nations would adequately guarantee global peace and order in decades to come.

105 WILSON AND THE PEACE  The Big Four summoned the rest of the Allies and the Germans to accept their final handiwork, which in the end consisted of 440 articles including the German Peace Treaty and the League Covenant.  With great formality, the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Hall of Mirrors in the palace of Versailles.



108  By the conclusion of Wilson’s work in Paris, Senate approval of the treaty was already in doubt.  In mid-February he had returned to the USA for a month to promote the League of Nations.  The American public, at that time, strongly favored American participation in the League and nearly ¾ of state legislatures endorsed the treaty.  But the US Senate, where approval of 2/3 majority was required for ratification, was sharply divided.  Democratic senators agreed with Wilson, while the Republican majority largely opposed the League unless major revisions were made.

109 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Prominent among the opposition was a group of isolationist senators from both parties, who called themselves “Irreconcilables” and rejected any American participation in the LoN, regardless of whether its charter was amended.  Their leader was Rep. Sen. William E. Borah of Idaho.

110 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Borah had supported American entry into the war.  But now he was strongly against further American entanglement in world politics.  He charged that American membership in the LoN would transfer “the power to declare war from the Congress of the United States to some tribunal” not controlled by the American people. {Article X}  He argued that American soldiers could be sent into battle/war that did not affect the USA at all.

111 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Another group of opponents were led by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of MA – chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This group called themselves “Reservationists.”

112 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Lodge demanded that a series of “reservations,” initially fourteen in number, be added to the treaty before he would support it.  Lodge’s changes would substantially restrict American participation in the League and would, in Wilson’s view, nullify the treaty.

113 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  3/1919: 39 Sen. Republicans declared in a public “round- robin” letter that they opposed “Wilson’s treaty” without major revisions and that the Allies should approve peace treaties with the Central Powers before considering any charter for an international organization.  While Wilson returned to Paris, the Republican dominated Senate and its Foreign Relations Committee conducted almost interminable hearings on the document, allowing much time to anti-treaty spokesmen.  Support by the public for the treaty also started to wane.

114 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  9/1919: The Sen. Foreign Relations Comm., presented 45 amendments and 4 reservations to the treaty to the Senate for approval.  The principle reservation would have guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of the US and the protection of the Monroe Doctrine.  Some analysts believe that if Wilson had yielded on these changes, a 2/3 majority might have voted for the treaty.  But Wilson insisted on a treaty without reservations.  None of the 3 groups – reservationists, irreconcilables, pro- administration, could alone or in combination command the votes to secure passage of a measure expressing their position.

115 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Desperately striving to save his fading treaty support, Wilson took his case directly to the people.  Traveling by train, he undertook an extensive speaking tour across the nation.  His health, which had been weakened by the strain of the Paris Peace Conference, worsened dramatically.  9/19: He became seriously ill and returned to DC; a stroke soon left him an invalid and ended his crusade.  The League was left without its strongest supporters.

116 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  11/19/1919: The Senate voted twice on the Treaty.  First rejecting the treaty with the Lodge Reservations by a vote of 55-39.  Then defeating the treaty in its original form with 53 votes for and 38 against.  A third vote was taken. Wilson sent word to Democrats to stand firm for the unchanged treaty.

117 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  3/20/1919: The Wilson loyalists and Borah’s Irreconcilables sided with each other and downed the treaty with the Lodge reservations: 49 for and 35 against.  If 7 more Democrats had abandoned Wilson’s uncompromising position, the necessary 2/3 for passage would have been achieved.

118 THE RATIFICATION BATTLE  Despite the Senate votes, Wilson strongly believed the American people favored participation in the LoN.  He saw the Presidential Election of 1920 as a referendum on the League.  When Warren G. Harding (R) defeated Jon Cox (D) the quest for membership in the League was dead.  The USA would never join the League of Nations.  A bitter and sad Wilson declared another world war in 20 years.  The Second World War would come in 1939.


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