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Unit 1: World War I
Transcript of Unit 1: World War I
From Neutrality to War
The Home Front
Wilson, War and Peace
Effects of the War
Identify the causes of World War I.
Describe the course and character of the war.
Explain why the United States entered conflict on the side of the Allies.
What Caused World War I?
The Fighting Begins
Wilson Asks for War
Until 1914, there had not been a large-scale European conflict for nearly one hundred years.
-At this time, Europe was sitting on a powder keg of nationalism, regional tensions, economic rivalries, imperial ambitions, and militarism.
In the late 1800’s, Europeans began to reject the earlier idea of a nation as a collection of different ethnic groups.
If a country existed as the expression of “its people”, where did minorities fit in?
Social Darwinism- Charles Darwin
Survival of the fittest: “May the best [country] win!”
When Serbia emerged at an independent nation it challenged the nearby empire Austria-Hungary:
Attempted to gain territory
Leading industrial nations would compete for lands rich in raw materials as well as for places to build up military bases to protect their empires.
Although Britain and France already had a large empire, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Japan and the United States rushed to join the imperial race.
For European leaders, the question was not so much if a great war would start, but when.
Leaders would increase the size of the armies and stockpile of weapons.
1. Who was the most ready nation?
2. Who was their naval rival?
A spirit of militarism grew in the competing countries and further fueled the arms race.
3. Why do you believe the United States
lacked troops at this time?
European leaders would also prepare for war by forming alliances. By 1914, there were two distinct alliances:
The Triple Alliance (Central Powers):
The Triple Entente
Volunteer to Read?
“On June 28th, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophie left for what they thought would be a routine visit to Sarajevo, the capital city of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia. But a handful of young Bosnians had other plans for the archduke and his wife. These men were ethnic Serbs who believed that Bosnia rightfully belonged to Serbia, and they saw Francis Ferdinand as a tyrant. After the archduke’s driver made a wrong turn, Gavrilo Princip, one of the conspirators, noticed the couple in the car, pulled a pistol from his pocket, and fired it twice. First Sophie and then Francis Ferdinand died. People around the world were shocked by the senseless murders, but no one expected that they would lead to a great world war.”
The Fighting Begins.
Shortly after the assassination, Kaiser William II, the German emperor, assured Austria-Hungary that Germany would stand by its ally if war came
-Confident, Austria-Hungary sent a harsh ultimatum to Serbia demanding their total cooperation in an investigation to the assassination.
-Serbia did not agree, and Austria-Hungary declared war on July 18, 1914.
Due to the alliance system, what could have been a localized war quickly spread:
1. Russia then joined Serbia and declared war on Austria- Hungary.
2. Germany kept their promise and declared war on Russia.
3. The next day, Germany declared war against neutral-country Belgium.
4. Great Britain had treaties with France and Belgium, and therefore declared war on Germany.
5. The Ottoman Empire joined Germany and declared war against the Allies.
In less than one week, the Central Powers were at war against the Allied Powers.
The war was bogged down as both sides dug a long series of trenches, creating the Western Front.
The eras deadly defensive weapons made attacks difficult and dangerous.
Rats would infest trenches
by the millions
Lice would breed in filthy clothing
Frogs, slugs and horned
beetles crowded the sides
of the trench
Trench foot was common: the fungal infection caused by cold, wet and unsanitary conditions could turn gangrenous and cause amputation
Daily stench of rotting carcases, overflowing latrines and dried sweat.
Neither side could overcome the other’s defenses and a stalemate quickly developed.
As the war dragged on in Europe, President Wilson urged Americans to remain neutral.
The United States had a long tradition of staying out of European conflicts.
Yet one-third of Americans had been born in a foreign country and still identified with their homelands.
Many Americans favored one side or the other.
U.S. Public Opinion fell into
one of three groups:
Favored staying out of the war
Favored fighting on the Allies' side
Wanted the U.S. to play a role for
peace but not fight.
Early in the War, the British had
set up a blockade of Germany.
Britain’s goal was to try and intercept contraband goods.
In defiance of international law, Britain also prevented
non-contraband goods, such as food and gasoline,
from reaching Germany.
Germany responded by trying to blockade Britain;
German U-Boats torpedoed any ships bound for Britain.
On May 7, 1915, a U-Boat sank the British passenger ship Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, killing many Americans.
Americans were angry about the Lusitania.
Germany failed to keep its promise not to sink any more passenger ships.
President Wilson still wanted peace, but he began to prepare for the possibility of war.
In 1916, Congress expanded the army and authorized more warships.
1. The Zimmerman Note was intercepted. In this telegram, Germany tried to forge an alliance with Mexico against the United States.
2. Germany returned to a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking any ship headed for Britain.
Two events in 1917 led President Wilson to ask
Congress to declare war on the Central Powers:
On April 2, 1917 Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying that “the world must be made safe for democracy.”
Congress responded with a declaration of war on April 6, and the United States entered World War I.
Words to Know:
Analyze how the American Government
mobilized the public to support the war
Describe opposition to the war.
Outline significant social changed that
occured during the war.
Selective Service Act - authorized a draft of young men to military service in Europe.
Committee on Public Information - Educated the public about the causes and nature of the war.
Conscientious Objector - people whose moral or religious beliefs forbid them to fight in wars.
Espionage and Sedition Act - allowed postal authorities to ban treasonable or seditious newspapers, magazines or printed materials.
Great Migration - Movement of African Americans to the North.
How did war effect
For the first time, the government played a major role in Americans’ daily lives, taking on new
powers to regulate industry, draft soldiers, and shape public opinion.
The war brought sacrifice but also brought new opportunities which caused many
Americans to migrate to other parts of the country.
America Mobilizes for War
a. In 1917, America needed to increase the size of its Army.
i. President Wilson called for volunteers.
ii. Congress passed the Selective Service Act.
iii. More than four million U.S. Soldiers were sent over to Europe.
c. The War Industries Board encouraged factories to increase output.
i. Similarly, the Food Administration encouraged
farmers to produce more food.
ii. Woman entered the workforce to help the war effort.
C. Opposition and Its Consequences
a. Not all Americans supported the war.
i. The draft was controversial, and some men refused to
register for it.
ii. Conscientious objectors were supposed to be exempt from
the draft. In practice,
however, this exemption was widely ignored by local draft boards.
b. Some women also opposed the war:
i. Jeannette Rankin, a pacifist and the only woman in
Congress, voted against the war.
ii. Jane Addams formed the Women’s Peace Party and the
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
So, the government passed laws to discourage dissent:
i. The 1917 Espionage Act gave postal authorities power to
ban newspapers or other printed materials that could incite treaston.
ii. In 1918, the Sedition Act outlawed speech that went against the
government or military.
iii. Congress enacted laws that imposed heavy fines and prison terms
on anyone who interfered with the war effort.
D. The War Changes American Society
a. Support of the Allies and anger at Germany caused a backlash against German Americans.
i. Some schools stopped teaching the German language.
ii. People stopped listening to music by German composers.
iii. They called hamburgers “liberty steaks” and Dachshunds “liberty pups”
b. Occasionally, hatred of the German enemy boiled over into violence against the German
The war presented new opportunities to African Americans:
i. 367,000 African Americans served in the military.
ii. In the Great Migration, more than a million African Americans moved north, hoping to escape
poverty and Jim Crow laws and find better jobs.
• Understand how the United States military contributed to the Allied victory in the war.
• Describe the aims of the Fourteen Points.
• Explain why the United States Senate refused to ratify the treaty ending World War I.
Convoy- Armed vehicles traveling together by escort.
Fourteen Points- Wilson's declaration for peace.
self-determination- the right of people to choose their own form of government.
League of Nations- secures political independence after WWI.
reparations- payment for war damages
“reservationists” -Opposition to the treaty as it was written.
How did Americans affect the end of World War I and its peace settlements?
When the United States entered World War I in the spring of 1917, the war was at a deadly, bloody stalemate along the Western Front.
American entry into the
war would play a key
role in the
a. When the United States entered the war in 1917, Germany increased U-Boat attacks, hoping to win the war before American troops could make a difference.
b. Convoys of British and American ships, protected by warships, provided better safety at sea.
America Gives the Allies the Edge
c. Several factors gave the Central Powers advantage on land:
i. The Allies were exhausted from years of fighting.
ii. Russia was torn apart by revolutions at home.
iii. Communists gained control of Russia, and their leader
Vladimir Lenin signed a treaty with Germany in 1918, ending the
Russian involvement in the war.
iv. The closing of the Eastern Front allowed Germany to send more
troops to the Western Front.
In the spring of 1918, Germany
began an all out offensive on
the Western Front:
The attacks threatened to
break through Allied
open a path to Paris.
More American soldiers
began to arrive, and
U.S. troops carried more
of the burden of fighting.
e. General John J. Pershing turned millions of untrained
American men into soldiers, then led them in France.
i. The arrival of American soldiers gave the Allies a military advantage.
ii. They fought bravely in many battles.
iii. By the end of the war, 1.3 million Americans had served at the front.
More than 50,000 of them died.
f. By the fall of 1918, the German front was collapsing.
i. Many Germany and Austro-Hungarian soldiers deserted,
or refused to fight.
ii. On November 11, 1918, Germany surrendered to the Allies
in Compiegne, France.
Nearly five million Allied soldiers
and eight million
Central Powers soldiers were
killed in the fighting.
6.5 million civilians
died during the conflict.
C. Wilson promotes Peace Without Victory
a. In early 1919, President Wilson traveled to Versailles, France for a peace conference.
i. He met with European leaders and presented a plan for peace based on his Fourteen Points.
ii. Wilson’s vision of a postwar world was grounded in the idea of “peace without victory”.
His Fourteen Points made specific
proposals to promote future peace.
Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference
Allied leaders at Versailles wanted reparations.
European leaders did not share Wilson’s vision of peace without victory.
They wanted Germany to pay for war damages.
They also wanted to protect European colonialism and expanded their countries’ territories.
One by one, Wilson’s Fourteen Points were rejected, leaving only the League of Nations.
League of Nations was an organization where countries
could come together to resolve disputes peacefully.
Wilson’s proposal to create a League of Nations was added to the Treaty of Versailles.
The Treaty of Versailles redrew the map of Europe and broke up the Ottoman Empire.
America Rejects the Treaty
a. Wilson returned to face a hostile Senate, where two groups opposed the treaty.
i. The “reservationists”, led by Henry Cabot Lodge, opposed the treaty as written but were willing to negotiate changes.
ii. The “irreconcilables” were isolationists who opposed the League of Nations.
Wilson was unwilling to compromise on the treaty.
i. On a speaking tour to promote the League of Nations in September 1919, Wilson became ill and suffered a stroke.
ii. As he lay near death, the Senate voted, refusing to ratify the Treaty of Versailles.
• Describe the problems Americans faced immediately after the war.
• Analyze how these problems contributed to the Red Scare.
• Understand how the war changed America’s role in world affairs.
Influenza- The flu Inflation- rising prices
Red Scare - widespread fear os suspected communists and
radicals "plotting revolution" in America
Palmer Raids - arresting of thousands of immigrants suspected of
Sacco & Vanzetti - Italian Immigrants accused of being anarchists.
Harding - Winner of 1920 election and rejected joining the League.
creditor nation - Countries owed the US more money they we owed them.
- The Treaty of Versailles produced an unstable peace. Its harsh terms left Germany with a strong desire for revenge, while Soviet Russia threatened worldwide revolution.
- In the United States, the horrors of the war and the fear of radicals led people to question the nation’s role in the world.
What political, economic, and social effects did World War I
have on the United States?
America Adjusts to Peace
The transition to peace was made more difficult by a deadly influenza pandemic that began in 1918.
The flu killed 550,000 Americans and more than 50 million people around the world.
Economic troubles also caused
problems in the United States.
A recession, or an economic slowdown, occurred after the war.
Many women and African Americans lost
their jobs to returning soldiers.
Tension over jobs and housing led to race riots
in some cities.
Scarcity of consumer goods and high demand
caused inflation, or rising prices.
Because rising prices made it harder to make ends meat, inflation cause labor unrest.
- Many unions went on strike for higher pay and shorter workdays.
- In 1919, more than 4 million workers went on strike.
- The workers succeeded in some strikes, but lost far more.
Many turned violent.
The Red Scare
Several events combined to create the first Red Scare in the United States.
1. Violent Strikes
2. The emergence of a Soviet Union as a communist country.
3. A series of mail bombs targeting industrialistsand government officials.
One mail bomb was sent to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer,
who launched the Palmer Raids in 1920.
- Police arrested thousands of people.
- Some were radicals; others were simply immigrants.
- Hundreds of people were deported without a trial.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
formed in 1920 to protect people’s rights and liberties.
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian anarchists charged with murder committed during a robbery in Massachusetts.
i. Witnesses claimed the robbers “looked Italian”
ii. Despite little real evidence against them, Sacco and Vanzeti were convicted and executed.
Many scholars and politicians believe that the men died
because of their nationality and political beliefs.
Americans Embrace Normalcy
In the 1920 presidential election, Republican Warren G. Harding based his campaign on a call for “normalcy”, a return to a simpler time.
i. Voters rejected President Wilsons’ idealism.
ii. Harding won the election in a landslide.
iii. Republicans also won control of Congress.
After World War I, a new world nation emerged.
i. The German and Russian monarchies were replaced
by new forms of government.
ii. The Austro-Hungarian and ottoman empires were
iii. The United States became the world’s economic
center and largest creditor nation.
glorification of the military
goods, usually weapons or
articles used to fight a war.
British passenger liner struck by Germans.
Soldiers killed, wounded or missing.
proposed alliance between Mexico and Germany
b. The federal government took control of the wartime economy.
i. The Council of National Defense created federal agencies to oversee food production,
fuel distribution, and railroads.
ii. Bernard Baruch headed the War Industries Board (WIB) which regulated war-related
iii. The Food Administration, led by Herbert Hoover, set prices for agricultural products.
d. The Committee on Public Information encouraged public support for the war.
i. CPI materials outlined U.S. and Allied goals and
stressed the enemy’s cruelty.