Presentation on theme: "1914-1918 “The war to end all wars”. II One cause of the war was imperialism. Imperialism is when countries began expanding and adding new territories."— Presentation transcript:
II One cause of the war was imperialism. Imperialism is when countries began expanding and adding new territories to increase their power. Imperial states (such as Great Britain and the United States) began to take over territories and groups of people that they had NOTHING in common with. Example: The United States and Philippines; Great Britain and India
Because these groups had nothing in common with their imperial rulers, it led to “nationalism.”
NN One cause of the war was nationalism. A nation is a group of people who all share something in common. A “nation” and a “country” are NOT the same thing. Example: A nation would be the Jewish nation within the United States. Nationalism is the pride in one’s country or group of people. It’s kind of like patriotism. Ethnic groups began to take pride in their history and their similarities. They did not like outside influence.
Many of these “nations” began to fight and try to kick out the imperial countries that owned them. For example, Cuba rose up in revolt against Spain. This would lead to the third cause of the war: “militarism.”
MM Militarism is when a country builds up its military for the purpose of intimidation. As many “nations” began rising up against their imperial rulers, European powers and the U.S. began to respond. They responded by building up their militaries in order to control the territories they had conquered. They also wanted to build their militaries in order to intimidate and scare each other.
AA Another cause of World War I was the formation of alliances. Alliances are agreements between countries to help each other in the event of war. If one country in an alliance is attacked, then the other countries in the alliance agree to come to that nation’s defense. By 1914, virtually all of the countries in Europe were in an alliance.
“The spark” that would start World War I happened on June 28 th, 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, meaning he was going to be king one day. He was visiting a province in Austria-Hungary called Bosnia for a reception. There was a great deal of nationalist fervor in Bosnia. One ethnic group called the “Serbs” in Bosnia wanted to be a part of Serbia, not Austria-Hungary.
A Serb nationalist group called the “Black Hand” wanted to do everything in their power to make Bosnia become part of Serbia. So, the Black Hand group planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand as he visited Bosnia. After many of the assassins failed, a young man named Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Ferdinand.
Austria-Hungary accused Serbia of helping to plan the assassination. So, Austria-Hungary threatened to go to war with Serbia. Because Russia was allied with Serbia, it mobilized its military. Mobilization means planning and preparing for war. Germany was also brought into the mix because of their alliance with Austria-Hungary. Eventually, nearly all of Europe was divided into different sides.
Great Britain, France, and Russia formed an alliance called the Triple Entente. Meanwhile, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Central powers. At first, the United States remained neutral. President Wilson vowed to keep America out of war. Many people in the U.S. believed in isolationism, meaning America should stay out of international conflicts. For nearly 3 years, fighting goes on in Europe while the U.S. remains neutral. In fact, President Wilson won re-election in 1916 on the slogan, “He kept us out of war!”
Many recent immigrants in the U.S. were from Germany, so they supported Germany. But most people in America supported Great Britain. The biggest reason that Americans supported Great Britain was because of trade. GB was America’s chief trading partner. Many banks in the U.S. had given loans to companies in GB. If GB lost the war, they would probably lose money.
Also, Great Britain cut telegraph cable lines to Germany. This meant that news from the war in America only came from Great Britain. This allowed Great Britain to paint Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of Germany, as ruthless and violent and out to destroy freedom and democracy.
One reason the American public was against Germany was because of their unlimited U-boat campaign. U-boats were German submarines. They were a very effective tool for Germany against the British Navy. American commercial ships (carrying innocent people) began secretly carrying supplies to Great Britain. In 1915, a German U-Boat sank the Lusitania, an American ship carrying innocent people and supplies to Great Britain.
Also in 1917, the U.S. intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram. Arthur Zimmerman, who was the German Foreign Minister, sent a telegram to Mexico. In this telegram, Germany asked Mexico to attack the United States if the U.S. decided to go to war against Germany. In return, Germany would give back land that Mexico had lost as a result of the Mexican- American War. This further alienated Germany from the American people.
In the Spring of 1917, Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare again. This meant that American ships were being sunk again. The United States could no longer remain neutral. President Wilson made an idealistic case for war. He said the U.S. should get involved, saying that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” Wilson wanted Americans to see the war as a battle between good vs. evil.
In April of 1917, America officially begins fighting WWI.
When the United States finally entered the fighting in 1917, Europe had already been bleeding for 3 years. The war featured new technology like: the machine gun, hand grenades, and mustard gas. These weapons meant very high death tolls for all sides. Because of these new weapons, the European powers dug ditches called trenches in order to take cover. Eventually, all sides were held up in trenches and the war reached a “stalemate.” The area in between the trenches was called “no man’s land.”
By early 1917, The Russians were tired of fighting. They had lost 2 million lives. Then, in March 1917, the Russian Revolution took place. Czar Nicholas II was removed from power and a new republic was established. The republic did not last long, however, and in November the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, had token over the country. Lenin established a communist regime. Germany promised peace with Russia so they pulled out of the war.
The Germans’ last push was deflected with the help of the American troops. The Germans knew that they had no choice but to stop fighting. So, on November 11 th, 1918, an armistice was signed. An armistice is an agreement to stop fighting. This is why we celebrate Veteran’s Day on November 11 th of every year.
During the war, anti-German feelings spread throughout America. The government presented propaganda that made Americans scared of Germans. Americans were persuaded by the government to plant “victory gardens,” enlist in the military, and buy Liberty bonds. Liberty bonds were bonds that Americans bought to help pay for the war. After the war, these bonds would be paid back to Americans with interest. Also, government propaganda characterized the Germans as “Huns.”
This propaganda resulted in discrimination against Americans of German descent. Schools in America stopped teaching the German language. Foods with German names were given more American-sounding names Sauerkraut became “liberty cabbage” Frankfurters became “hot dogs.” Hamburgers became “Salisbury steak.” There were restrictions against playing German music.
The federal government also passed laws which limited Americans’ free speech rights. Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts in order to “protect national security.” These acts made it illegal to interfere with the draft, obstruct the sale of Liberty bonds, or make statements considered disloyal or critical of the government. Eugene Debs, a socialist leader who had ran for president, was sentenced to ten years in prison for criticizing the U.S. government.
After the war, President Wilson wanted to make sure that there was peace and stability in Europe. He predicted that punishing the Central Powers too harshly for the war would lead to more conflict. He proposed “peace without victory.” So, Wilson laid out his plan for the treaty. His plan was called the “Fourteen Points.” The three most important points in the plan were: 1) Reduction in armaments (weapons). 2) Self-determination for ethnic groups, meaning nations could have their own countries and governments. 3) Establishing a League of Nations. This would be a place where countries could settle disagreements before they lead to war.
Wilson wanted the treaty that ended the war to be based on his Fourteen Points. He thought that his plan would prevent future conflicts. “A war to end all wars” However, the European allies such as Great Britain and France wanted to protect their national interests. In order to get some of his Fourteen Points passed, Wilson had to make some compromises to the Allies.
Wilson made two major concessions in the Treaty of Versailles: 1) The treaty blamed the entire war on Germany. This was called “the war guilt clause.” 2) The treaty also required Germany to pay “reparations” to the Allies. This made Germany pay the Allies for all of the damage of the war. In return for these concessions, Wilson won on “self- determination.” This meant that new countries with new boundaries would be drawn for ethnic groups. Wilson thought this would help prevent further conflict.
Wilson also got another part of his Fourteen Points in the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations. The League of Nations was the first international organization that was set up for the sole purpose of maintaining peace. If a majority of the countries in the League of Nations voted, a military force of all of its countries would be sent when war was needed. The League would also help countries make agreements on reducing weapons.
According to the Constitution, the President conducts foreign policy. But, as a “check” on the President’s power, only the Senate can ratify (approve) treaties. But, Republicans in the U.S. Senate did not like the Treaty of Versailles. They thought that the United States military would have to go to war just because the League of Nations said so. This is called “internationalism.” Internationalism is when governments make decisions together. This would limit the United States’ sovereignty.
President Wilson refused to compromise on the League of Nations. He wanted this part in the treaty. So, Wilson went on a cross-country speaking tour. His goal was to convince people that the League of Nations was a good idea. He thought that he could convince people to vote for Democrats in the upcoming elections so that the Treaty of Versailles would be passed. During the middle of this speak tour, however, Wilson suffered a stroke.
The stroke left Wilson disabled mentally and physically. But this was kept secret from the American people until his death in 1924. Wilson’s wife served as de facto president during his disability. His wife and some of his advisors even helped a journalist write a pretend interview with Wilson for a newspaper. Without his leadership, the Treaty of Versailles never passed the Senate. The United States also never joined the League of Nations.
Instead, the U.S. sent people to observe at the League of Nations meetings. One agreement that occurred was the Dawes Plan. The Dawes Plan gave Germany loans from U.S. banks to help pay back their reparations.
The Election of 1920 was a race between Democrat James Cox and Republican Warren G. Harding. The election became a “referendum” on the League of Nations. This means it was the only issue that mattered at the time. Harding promised a “return to normalcy.” Americans elected Republican Harding as president. The American public rejected the idea of the League of Nations and “internationalism.” Instead, they favored “isolationism.”