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Thursday, November 30, 2017

17. First World War: August 4, 1914 to November 11, 1918

Causes: The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of "one thing led to another" - otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.
Mutual Defense Alliances- Over time, countries throughout Europe made mutual defense agreements that would pull them into battle. Thus, if one country was attacked, allied countries were bound to defend them.


Imperialism- Imperialism is when a country increases their power and wealth by bringing additional territories under their control.

Militarism- As the world entered the 20th century, an arms race had begun. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in military buildup. Great Britain and Germany both greatly increased their navies in this time period. Further, in Germany and Russia particularly, the military establishment began to have a greater influence on public policy. This increase in militarism helped push the countries involved to war.

Nationalism- Much of the origin of the war was based on the desire of the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina to no longer be part of Austria Hungary but instead be part of Serbia.

Lack of International Organization- There was no international body to control all countries affairs and see how much countries respect each other mutually.

Immediate Cause: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand- The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. 

In June 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated him and his wife while they were in Sarajevo, Bosnia which was part of Austria-Hungary. This was in protest to Austria-Hungary having control of this region. Serbia wanted to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina. This assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. When Russia began to mobilize due to its alliance with Serbia, Germany declared war on Russia. Thus began the expansion of the war to include all those involved in the mutual defense

Ferdinand's death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world's first global war.


Course of the War


Two sides of the war- In the First World War, the Allies, which made up of 27 states including France, Britain, Russia, Italy , the United States, Rumania, Greece, Serbia and Japan, fought against the Central Powers including Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. At the beginning of the war, the Central Powers scored some victories because Russia was too poorly equipped for the war, and Britain and France could not coordinate and concentrate their efforts to fight.

Italy refused to support Germany and Austria on the ground that Austria was the aggressor. Her real purpose in staying out was to bargain for territory. Because her irredentist claims were directed against Austria, only one outcome was possible. In May 191 s, after concluding a secret treaty (Treaty of London) with the Entente powers, who promised her nearly all the Austrian and Turkish territories that she wanted, Italy entered the War against her former allies.

After the entry of the United States into the war in 1917, the tide began to turn against the Central Powers. The Allies finally defeated the Central Powers in November 1918.

The chief reasons for the defeat of the Central Powers were as follows:
(1) 27 Allied states fought against 4 Central Powers, so the Allied states had more manpower and more resources.
(2) The Allied states had almost complete control of the seas, so they could successfully blockade the German coastline and starve the Central Powers of food and raw materials.
(3) The Allied states had moral support due to their claim to fight for democracy.
(4) The Germans committed two important strategic errors. The first was the invasion of Belgium which offended the moral conscience of the world and brought Britain into the war. The second was the unrestricted submarine campaign which strengthened universal hatred of German militarism and brought about the entry of the United States into war on the Allies' side.

The First World War lasted for four years and three months. It began on August 4, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918. It involved sixty sovereign states, overthrew four Empires (German Empire, Hapsburg Empire, Turkish Empire, Russian Empire), gave birth to seven new nations, took ten million combatant lives (another 30 million were wounded), and cost about £35,000 million.


Political structure
Military alliance
Historical era
World War I
 - 
Established
28 June 1914
 - 
German and Austro-Hungarian Treaty
7 October 1879
 - 
Ottoman Empire joins
2 August 1914
 - 
Bulgaria joins
14 October 1915
 - 
Dissolved
11 November 1918

The Central Powers were composed of the following nations:
•    Austria-Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire: entered the war on 28 July 1914
•    German Empire (including German colonial forces): 1 August 1914
•    Ottoman Empire: secretly 2 August 1914; openly 29 October 1914
•    Bulgaria Kingdom of Bulgaria: 14 October 1915

The Entente Powers or Allies were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I.
The members of the Triple Entente were the British Empire, the French Republic, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on the side of the Entente in 1915. Japan, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Romania and the Czechoslovak legions were minor members of the Entente.

The United States declared war on Germany on the grounds that Germany violated U.S. neutrality by attacking international shipping and because of the Zimmermann Telegram sent to Mexico. The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power", rather than a formal ally of France and Great Britain, in order to avoid "foreign entanglements". Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.

Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points


President Woodrow Wilson put forth his Fourteen Points proposal for ending the war in a speech on January 8, 1918. In it he established the basis of a peace treaty and the foundation of a League of Nations.

     I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understanding of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

    II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

    III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

    IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

    V. A free, open­minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

    VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of` her own political development and national policy and assure her a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

    VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

    VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace­Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

    IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

    X. The peoples of Austria­Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.

    XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

    XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

    XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

    XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike....

From Woodrow Wilson, "Speech on the Fourteen Points," Congressional Record, 65th Congress 2nd Session, 1918

The Treaty of Versailles


The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919, and was printed in The League of Nations Treaty Series.