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					             WW1 Notes

Chapter 11
Mr. Koehn
US History
            Causes of the War
• Alliances - Triple        • Militarism (Arms
  Entente and Triple          build up)
  Alliance                    – Countries spend
                                millions on armies...
• Nationalism - belief in       International Rivalries
  superiority of your         – England & Germany
  country                     – Russia & Austria
• Imperialism -               – France & Germany
  countries trying to       • Anarchy - No way to
  gain colonies               keep the peace - no
                            • Leadership - POOR
• Central Powers        • Allies
  – Germany               –   France
  – Austria-Hungary       –   England
  – Turkey                –   Russia
• Strong military         –   Serbia
                        • Democratic
• Early ‘favorite’ to
  win                     traditions
                        • Defensive battle
 Spark That Ignites the Powder Keg
• Assassination of                   • Austria-Hungary makes
  Archduke Franz Ferdinand             sure Germany backs them
   – Crown Prince of Austria-        • Serbia has Russia’s
     Hungary                           backing
   – Serb separatists kill him
     while he is visiting Sarajevo   • France & Russia have
                                       mutual defense treaty
• Serbia will not turn over
  killers                            • England & France have
                                     • Austria-Hungary attacks
               Eastern Front
•   Russian armies invade Germany
•   Early successes stopped by end of 1914
•   Russians serious threat to Austria
•   Russians lose 1M casualties in 1915
•   Eastern Front a standstill by 1916
                 Western Front
• German Plan for Invasion
  – Schlieffen Plan (stopped at Marne River)
     •   Invade France in grand, sweeping advance
     •   Paris the target of invasion
     •   BUT - German’s weaken invasion force
     •   AND - French recover faster than expected
     •   AND - Belgians resist for longer than expected
  – Plan 17
     • French plan of counterattack
     • Failed because of large number of refugees
       Western Front - 1st Marne
• Largest reason Schlieffen Plan
  failed = right wing weakened
• Failure of both plans causes
  both armies to “dig in” for
• “Race to the Sea” ensues -
  trenches stretch 600 miles
  from Switzerland to North Sea
Major Battles
• Verdun (Feb-Jul 1916)
   –   Germans hope to bleed France to death
   –   Both sides pour armies into battle
   –   Germans beaten back by French
   –   Almost 1M killed during fighting
                    Major Battles
• Somme (Jul-Nov 1916)        • Costs of both battles
  – British attack in            – 950k + 785k = 1.735M
    northern France              – Allies + Germans
  – Leaders with riding       • Stalemate begins
    sticks and soccer balls
  – No noticeable gains
  – Ulster Division loses
    5600 men before
                     Other Fronts
• Balkans                       • Italy
  – War starts in this region      – Early 1915, Italy switches to
  – Austro-Hungarian                 Allies
    invasions fail                 – Promised two key cities if Allies
  – Turkey switches sides            win
  – British invasions of           – Little military importance, bad
    Turkey failures                  army
                                   – Trench warfare in mountains is
                                     very deadly
               War at Sea
• British blockades German ports
• British seize German colonies in Africa
• Germans need to use submarines after defeat
  of German Navy at the Battle of Jutland
• Germany declares “war zone” around British
  Isles in 1915 - warns that commercial ships in
  that area will be sunk
            America Stays Neutral
• Wilson declares US               • Britain was our natural
  should be neutral “in              ally, but blockaded
  thought as well as in              Germany
                                      – Violates our freedom of
   – 1/3 of US citizens had ties        the seas
     to Germany, England,
     France or Ireland                – Sympathy for starving
   – American tradition                 German citizens
     avoided foreign wars             – British mines cut off other
     (GW)                               neutral countries
   – Under international law,
     neutral nations can trade
     with both sides $$$$
         Critical Year - 1917
• US Enters War (April)
• Russia drops out of war (starting in March)
• All new attacks lead to high losses and no
• French troops mutiny
• Defeatism in Germany, France, England
• Battle of Caporetto (Oct-Dec) - Italians lose
  750,000 (half through desertion)
         Russia Withdraws
• Terrible defeats since 1914
• Czar’s incompetence & corruption
• Army disintegrating
• March Revolution = Karensky’s Republic
• November Revolution = Lenin &
• Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918)
              American Neutrality

                                      – Pro-Central
                                         • Difficult to aid because
• Three camps within                       of blockade
                                         • Propaganda was the
  America                                  best they could do
  – Pro-Allied                        – Pro-Neutral
     • Americans join Lafayette          • Socialists,Quakers,
       Escadrille or French Foreign        Women’s movement,
       Legion                              Progressives all
                                           opposed war
     • Ambulance drivers or British
     • Wilson admires Britain
   Steps Toward US Intervention
• Wilson’s Idealism
  – Attempts to negotiate peace, but is
  – Views struggle as democracies vs.
• British Propaganda
  – British control Trans-Atlantic Cable &
    all news traveling on it
  – Americans receive stories of German
    torture, mutilation & murder
• German sabotage against America
• Germany associated with aggression
  Steps Toward US Intervention
• Economic Ties              • Diplomatic Ties
  – 1915: $500B loaned to      – Post-Civil War: US &
    Britain & France             Britain realize cooperation
  – US traded primarily          benefits both countries
    with the Allies before       Britain only country to
    the war                      side with US during Span-
  – Allied defeat could          Am War
    have serious negative
    impact on US economy       – Britain had allowed
                                 growth of American
  Steps Toward US Intervention
• Submarine Warfare - Most Important
  – British naval dominance does not allow
    Germany to fight ‘standard’ war
  – No American lives lost to blockade of Germany
  – May 1915 Lusitania sinks
• Sunk off S. Coast of            – Wilson did not believe
  Ireland (1915)                    ammo was on board &
• 1198 of 1924 passengers           referred to sinking as
  killed                            “Piracy” and “Mass Murder”
  – 128 Americans                 – Modern research - portholes
                                    in 3rd class were open,
  – 63 Infants
                                    allowing water to flood in
• WHY?
  – Ship was carrying 4200
                               • Within one year Germany
    cases of ammunition          apologizes & pays cash to
  – Germans had warned           victims
    ships to stay out of war
       Sinking of the Sussex
• French liner sunk in 1916, several
  Americans killed
• Germany pledges to stop sinking merchant
  ships without warning
• This satisfies Americans, until Germans
  restart unrestricted use of subs in 1917
• Germany thought they could knock out
  Britain before we could get to Europe
  Steps Toward US Intervention
• Zimmerman Telegram
  – Message between Germany &
  – Mexico to declare war on US
  – Mexico would gain land lost after
    Mexican-American War
  – Mexico does not take offer
  – America outraged by plan
                   US at War
• Wilson asks for declaration of war
• War declared by Congress (April 1917)
• Raising an Army
  – Selective Service Act (ages 21-30)
  – By end of war 4.7M men serve
     • Almost 400,000 Blacks serve
        – Most met with discrimination & prejudice
        – Given non-combat duty
                    US at War
• Wilson asks for income tax to pay for war
• Calls this “the war to end all war” and a war “to
  make the world safe for democracy”
• American Expeditionary Force (AEF) lead by
  General “Blackjack” Pershing
   – He led search for Villa
• General Douglas MacArthur leads the “Rainbow
  Division” - men from all states
• Convoys use to bring troops to Europe with no
  loss of life!
  Last Year of the War (1917-8)
• Russia becomes Communist and withdraws
  from war
• March 1918 - Russia signed a separate
  peace treaty with Germany, Brest-Litovsk,
  freeing its eastern front.
                 Wilson’s Ideals
• Jan 1918 - Wilson before a joint session of
  Congress announced his Fourteen Points,
  guidelines for setting up a new world order after
  the war.
  –   (1) No secret agreements in the future
  –   (2) A reduction in military arms
  –   (3) Complete freedom of the seas in peace and war
  –   (4) Self-determination for peoples
  –   (5) **Most important** League of Nations
             Final Battles
• German troops brought to West to launch
  new offenses - most not successful
• Germans do get within 50 miles of Paris
  before being stopped by only 275,000
  American troops
• Kaiser abdicates – cannot control German
  population – starvation now a problem
  throughout Germany
• November 11th - Germany signed an
  armistice, not surrender -- the fighting
  stopped. (11th hour, 11th day, 11th month)
• Nov 11 was Armistice Day, although
  Veterans Day is celebrated now.
           Failure of the League
• Wilson’s plans fail to        • Reasons the League
  move Americans                  failed
  – Senate wants to return to     – Germany and
    isolationism                    Russia banned from
  – Wilson travels the              joining
    country trying to urge        – Senate does not
    Americans to support            pass Treaty – US
    League                          not a member
  – Stress of the speeches
    leads to a stroke,
    crippling him
              Costs of the War
• Casualties - Both sides    • Spanish Flu Pandemic
  suffered 20 million          – Started in Kansas (not
  missing and wounded            Spain)
   – Allies - 5.1 million      – Kills more people
     dead                        worldwide than the
   – Central Powers - 8.5        war
     million dead              – Stops, we don’t know
   – US - of 2 million+ in       why, or why it started
     uniform, 1.3 million
     saw action with
     112,432 dead

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