World War I

World War I
World War I was a military conflict from 1914 to 1918. It began as a local
European war between Austria – Hungary and Serbia on July 28, 1914. It was
transformed into a general European struggle by declaration of war against Russia on
August 1, 1914 and eventually became a global war involving 32 nations. Twenty – eight
of these nations, known as the Allies and the Associated Powers, and including Great
Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and the United States, opposed the coalition known as the
Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria – Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria. The
immediate cause of the war between Austria – Hungary and Serbia was the assassination
of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, at Sarajevo in Bosnia by Gavrilo
Princip, a Serb nationalist. (Microsoft Encarta, 1996)
On July 28 Austria declared war against Serbia, either because it felt Russia would
not actually fight for Serbia, or because it was prepared to risk a general European conflict
in order to put an end to the Greater Serbia movement. Russia responded by partially
mobilizing against Austria. Germany warned Russia that continued mobilization would
cause war with Germany, and it made Austria agree to discuss with Russia a possible
change of the ultimatum to Serbia. Germany demanded, however, that Russia demobilize.
Russia refused to do so, and on August 1, Germany declared war on Russia. (Microsoft
Encarta, 1996)
The French began to mobilize on the same day. On August 2, German troops
invades Luxembourg and on August 3, Germany declared war on France. On August 2,
the German government informed the government of Belgium of its intention to march on
France through Belgium in order, as it claimed, to prevent an attack on Germany by
French troops marching through Belgium. The Belgian government refused to allow the
passage of German troops and called on the witnesses of the Treaty of 1839, which
guaranteed the justice of Belgium in case of a conflict in which Great Britain, France, and
Germany were involved, to observe their guarantee. Great Britain, one of the witnesses,
on August 4, sent an ultimatum to Germany demanding that Belgian justice be respected.
When Germany refused, Britain declared war on it the same day. Italy remained
uninvolved until May 23, 1915, when, to satisfy its claims against Austria, it broke with
the Triple Alliance and declared war on Austria – Hungary. In September 1914, Allied
unity was made stronger by the Pact of London, signed by France, Great Britain, and
Russia. As the war progressed, other countries, including Turkey, Japan, the U.S., and
other nations of the western hemisphere, were drawn into the conflict. Japan, which had
made an alliance with the Great Britain in 1902, declared war on Germany on August 23,
1914. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. (Microsoft Encarta,
1996)
The outbreak of war in 1914 set in motion forces more gigantic than any previous
war had seen. Two million Germans were on the march, the greater part of them against
France, and there were another 3,000,000 trained men to back them up. France had
nearly 4,000,000 trained men at call, although they relied on only 1,000,000 active troops
in the first clash. Russia had more millions to draw upon than any, but their mobilization
process was slow, a large part of their forces were in Asia and even their great potential
strength was to a large extent canceled out by lack of munitions. (Captain Sir Basil Liddell
Hart, 1984)
The growth of these tremendous forces had been due primarily to a military gospel
of mass. Known by Clausewitz, the Prussian military philosopher, who drew his
inspiration from Napoleon’s example, the spread of this gospel had been stimulated by the
victories of the Prussian conscript armies in 1866 against Austria and in 1870 against
France. It had been assisted also by the development of railways, which enabled far larger
numbers of men to be assembled, moved and supplied than had been possible previously.
Therefore the armies of 1914 – 1918 came to be counted in their millions compared with
the hundreds of thousands of half a century earlier. (Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart, 1984)
The essential causes of World War I were the attitude of intense nationalism that
permeated Europe throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, the political and
economic rivalry among the nations, and the establishment and maintenance in Europe
after 1871 of large armaments and of two hostile military alliances.
The French Revolution and the Napoleonic era had spread throughout most of
Europe the idea of political democracy, with the resulting idea that the people of the same
ethnic origin, language, and political ideals had the right to independent states. The
principle of national self – determination, however, was largely ignored by the dynastic and
retrogressive forces that dominated in the settlement of European affairs at the Congress
of Vienna in 1815. Several peoples who desired national independence were made subject
to local dynasts or to other nations. Notable examples were the German people, whom
the Congress of Vienna left divided into numerous duchies, principalities, and kingdoms;
Italy, also left divided into many parts, some of which were under foreign control; and the
Flemish – and French – speaking Belgians of the Austrian Netherlands, whom the congress
placed under Dutch rule. Revolutions and strong nationalistic movements during the 19th
century succeeded in canceling much of the retrogressive and antinationalist work of the
congress. Belgium won its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, the unification of
Italy was accomplished in 1861, and that of Germany in 1871. At the close of the century,
however, the problem of nationalism was still unresolved in other areas of Europe,
resulting in tensions both within the regions involved and between various European
nations. One particularly noticeable nationalistic movement, Panslavism, figured heavily in
the events preceding the war. (Microsoft Encarta, 1996)
The attitude of nationalism was also visible in economic conflict. The Industrial
Revolution, which took place in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, followed in
France in the early 19th century, and then in Germany after 1870, caused an immense
increase in the manufactures of each country and a consequent need for foreign markets.
The principal field for the European policies of economic expansion was Africa, and on
that continent colonial interests frequently clashed. Several times between Germany on
one side and France and Great Britain on the other, almost precipitated a European war.
(Microsoft Encarta, 1996)
The dispute between the United States and Germany was far more serious. In
order to prevent food, munitions, and other supplies from reaching Great Britain,
Germany in 1915 declared the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland a war zone
in which German submarines would sink all enemy vessels without the visit or search
ordered by international law. To avoid the possibility that uninvolved vessels might be
sunk by mistake, or that uninvolved might be killed, Germany warned uninvolved ships
not to enter the zone. They also advised citizens of uninvolved nations not to travel on
ships of the Allied nations. Germany remained intolerant in the face of U.S. protests
against this declaration. In May 1915 a German submarine torpedoed the British
passenger liner Lusitania off the Irish coast without warning, causing the deaths of 1198
people, of whom 128 were U.S. citizens. The Germans claimed that the Lusitania was
carrying munitions to Britain, and later research has proven this to be true. But the
American public was outraged by the sinking, and strong protests by the U.S. State
Department brought a promise from Germany not to sink any passenger liners without
taking precautions to protect the lives of civilians. (Alistair Horne, 1970)
In March 1916, however, a German submarine sank an unarmed French Channel
steamer, the Sussex, with the loss of two Americans. President Wilson threatened to
separate diplomatic relations with the German government unless it abandoned “its present
methods of submarine warfare against passenger and freight-carrying vessels.” In May,
the German government pledged not to sink merchant vessels without warning and
without saving the lives of those aboard. For nine months the pledge was kept generally
to the satisfaction of the United States. Wilson’s powerful diplomacy seemed to have
averted war with Germany, and as the Democratic candidate in the presidential election of
1916, Wilson was elected over the Republican nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, largely
because “he kept us out of war.” The war, however, was near.
At the end of January 1917, Germany broke the so-called Sussex Pledge by
declaring unrestricted submarine warfare in a zone even larger than the one it had
proclaimed in 1915. On February 3, Wilson replied by breaking off diplomatic relations
with Germany. Later in the month, at his request, Congress passed a bill permitting U.S.
merchant vessels to arm. After new depredations by German submarines against
uninvolved shipping, and the discovery of a plan made by the German Foreign Office to
unite Germany, Mexico, and Japan against the United States if it entered the war,
Wilson on April 2, 1917, requested Congress to declare war. On April 6, Congress
passed a resolution declaring a state of war with Germany. (Alistair Horne, 1970)
The early part of 1918 did not look favorable for the Allied nations. On March
3, Russia signed the Treaty of Brest – Litovsk, which put a formal end to the war
between that nation and the Central Powers on terms more favorable to the latter; and
on May7, Romania made peace with the Central Powers, signing the Treaty of
Bucharest, by the terms of which it ceded the Dobruja region to Bulgaria and the passes
in the Carpathian Mountains to Austria – Hungary, and gave Germany a long – term
lease on the Romanian oil wells. (Microsoft Encarta, 1996)
On November 6, the German delegates left Berlin to apply for an armistice.
Meanwhile, the Allied advance in the west continued, and, on the American sector at least,
with fresh incentive. The Americans reached Sedan on the same day that the German
delegates reached General Ferdinand Foch’s rendezvous. (Alistair Horne, 1970)
The terms he laid down were severe – sufficient to cripple the German forces more
decisively than any battle. But the collapse of the home front, even more than the military
menace in front and flank, ensured their acceptance. In any event, the stranglehold of the
blockade was stifling to power of resistance, so the Germans had no choice but to sign.
And at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the war came
to an end.
Introduction
World war one, also known as the war to end all wars, was a brutal war which
affected all of Europe, and outlying areas. The assassination of Arch Duke
of Austria, Francis Ferdinand by a Bosnian patriot was responsible for the
initial outbreak of fighting. On July 28, 1914, world war one began.
Fighting commenced between Austria-Hungary, whom declared war on Russia, an
ally of Serbia. Millions of people were affected by this war. More civilian
population was involved in world war one than ever before in previous wars.
Imperialism, nationalism, militarism and alliances, all played the major
roles in the preparations for war, and without even one of these factors,
world war one would not have occurred.
Although the murder of Austria’s Arch Duke, Francis Ferdinand was the
immediate cause of the war, it was not the main reason for it. Many
countries were broken into small pieces before the war, and certain areas
were occupied as colonies by greater powers. One example of this was the
colonization of Italy by Austria-Hungary. The Italians supported
nationalism, which was the desire for self rule. Finally, after multiple
attempts, the Italians freed themselves from Austria-Hungarian control.
However, there would never again be unequivocal peace between the two
nations again. From that point on, they watched each other’s every action,
and were always preparing to fight. It is believed by Pierre Renouvin, the
author of The Immediate Origins of War that The vigorous assertion of
national feeling is one of the basic traits of the period . . . and that .
. . The effective impulse (for the war) came from national feelings and from
passionate emotions.
As tensions grew between countries, feelings of insecurity began to
develop. Many countries decided to increase their armies, and their navies,
also known as militarism. As one country would begin to enhance their
military, other countries felt compelled to do the same to avoid possible
unsuspected attacks. On a chart representing the per capita expenditures on
armaments, many countries, within just ten years prior to the war increased
their military’s defense and offence by two to even three hundred percent.
The actions of the European nations greatly intensified the chances for fore
coming of a full scale war. In the Origins of the World War by Sidney
Bradshaw Fay, it says This hostility (within Europe) was accentuated by the
increase of armaments, economic rivalry, and nationalist ambitions . . .
When one or more countries felt that they needed support, or protection,
they would find another country searching for something comparable, and make
an agreement to stand by each other during war. These agreements were known
as alliances. During the war, two major allied groups came about. They were
the triple entente which consisted of Great Britain, France, and Russia, and
the triple alliance which consisted of Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary.
Throughout the war, alliances maintained a great role, however, initially
alliances were not a contributing factor. If there had not been imperialism,
nationalism, and militarism occurring simultaneously, there would have been
no need for allies, because they were the factors that created the hostile
environment in which the war formed. What could have remained a regional
incident, turned into a world war due to alliances. Alliances were for other
nations to be able to rely on others during relentless attacks from other
countries. These alliances were only useful during war, and had imperialism,
nationalism, and militarism not been present, world war one would not have
occurred.
World war one was a grand war which contained a very in-depth, detailed
background, ranging from the assassination of the Arch Duke of Austria, to
the imperialism, nationalism, militarism, and alliances of the European
nations. Imperialism, nationalism, militarism and alliances, all played
major roles in the preparations for war, and without even one of these
factors, world war one would not have occurred.
World War One
World war one, also known as the war to end all wars, was a brutal war which
affected all of Europe, and outlying areas. The assassination of Arch Duke
of Austria, Francis Ferdinand by a Bosnian patriot was responsible for the
initial outbreak of fighting. On July 28, 1914, world war one began.
Fighting commenced between Austria-Hungary, whom declared war on Russia, an
ally of Serbia. Millions of people were affected by this war. More civilian
population was involved in world war one than ever before in previous wars.
Imperialism, nationalism, militarism and alliances, all played the major
roles in the preparations for war, and without even one of these factors,
world war one would not have occurred.
Although the murder of Austria’s Arch Duke, Francis Ferdinand was the
immediate cause of the war, it was not the main reason for it. Many
countries were broken into small pieces before the war, and certain areas
were occupied as colonies by greater powers. One example of this was the
colonization of Italy by Austria-Hungary. The Italians supported
nationalism, which was the desire for self rule. Finally, after multiple
attempts, the Italians freed themselves from Austria-Hungarian control.
However, there would never again be unequivocal peace between the two
nations again. From that point on, they watched each other’s every action,
and were always preparing to fight. It is believed by Pierre Renouvin, the
author of The Immediate Origins of War that The vigorous assertion of
national feeling is one of the basic traits of the period . . . and that .
. . The effective impulse (for the war) came from national feelings and from
passionate emotions.
As tensions grew between countries, feelings of insecurity began to
develop. Many countries decided to increase their armies, and their navies,
also known as militarism. As one country would begin to enhance their
military, other countries felt compelled to do the same to avoid possible
unsuspected attacks. On a chart representing the per capita expenditures on
armaments, many countries, within just ten years prior to the war increased
their military’s defense and offence by two to even three hundred percent.
The actions of the European nations greatly intensified the chances for fore
coming of a full scale war. In the Origins of the World War by Sidney
Bradshaw Fay, it says This hostility (within Europe) was accentuated by the
increase of armaments, economic rivalry, and nationalist ambitions . . .
When one or more countries felt that they needed support, or protection,
they would find another country searching for something comparable, and make
an agreement to stand by each other during war. These agreements were known
as alliances. During the war, two major allied groups came about. They were
the triple entente which consisted of Great Britain, France, and Russia, and
the triple alliance which consisted of Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary.
Throughout the war, alliances maintained a great role, however, initially
alliances were not a contributing factor. If there had not been imperialism,
nationalism, and militarism occurring simultaneously, there would have been
no need for allies, because they were the factors that created the hostile
environment in which the war formed. What could have remained a regional
incident, turned into a world war due to alliances. Alliances were for other
nations to be able to rely on others during relentless attacks from other
countries. These alliances were only useful during war, and had imperialism,
nationalism, and militarism not been present, world war one would not have
occurred.
World war one was a grand war which contained a very in-depth, detailed
background, ranging from the assassination of the Arch Duke of Austria, to
the imperialism, nationalism, militarism, and alliances of the European
nations. Imperialism, nationalism, militarism and alliances, all played
major roles in the preparations for war, and without even one of these
factors, world war one would not have occurred.
Word Count: 3071

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