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The Great War: World War I

The war that involved the whole world (or almost) at the beginning of the 20th century and its effect on the United States.

Alexander Zahir

on 3 August 2011

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Transcript of The Great War: World War I

The Great War: World War I The Stage at the Time:

Political tensions:
Acquisition of new colonies led to competition
Ottoman Empire was breaking down
Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia (among others) were becoming independent
Austria-Hungary’s different ethnic groups were starting to want their independence
Serbia wanted Bosnia-Herzegovina back from Austria Industrialization Spreads throughout Europe Military technological improvements changed the way that wars were fought
Motorized vehicles (trucks, cars, trains)
Improved the speed (and distance) which troops and supplies could be moved
Chemical weapons – used for the first time on large scale
Guns – all types
Longer range and designs, more accurate
Machine guns Divisions After the War

Eastern Europe re-divided along ethno-linguistic lines
Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland all became independent countries
Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia combine
Middle East reorganized
Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia More European nations increased the parliamentary system of government
Socialism gained some popularity
Diplomacy gained prestige as people were able to reflect upon the horrible loss of life and consequences of the Great War The Start of the War June 28, 1914 Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, along with his wife, were shot by a 19-year old Bosnia Serb as their vehicle circled past the café he was sitting. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia...
Things were already tense between Serbia and Austria-Hungary (over territorial disputes) Russia has a connection to Serbia
Russia – ethnic, political, religious ties to Serbia
Russia’s army at this time was poorly trained and poorly armed but large in size Germany July 5, 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm II received an envoy from the Austro-Hungarians
The Kaiser was cousins with the Nicholas II and thought he could work diplomatically to divert acts of aggression

"Blank Check"
The Kaiser said that if Russia attacked Austria-Hungary, Germany would help The Schlieffen Plan 1905 Germany’s plan in how to handle a two-front war with Russia and France
If war were expected, then Germany should attack France first before attacking Russia

Germany hoped that they could take over France within 6 weeks by going thru Belgium and Holland (less fortified) The Final Spark Austria-Hungary's Ultimatum July 23rd
A-H issues ultimatum (10 demands) to Serbia
Designed to be humiliating and unacceptable to the Serbs
Serbia accepted most of the conditions (not all)

A-H shuts down embassy in Serbia and 3 days later, declares war on Serbia . On the 4th day, Austrian military shells Belgrade (capital of Serbia)
France agrees to help Russia if war occurs July 30 Russia mobilizes troops
Kaiser Wilhelm & Tsar Nicholas II communicating by telegraph they each failed to convince the other that they were only taking precautionary measures
Britain attempted to intervene What Happened?... Chain of coincidental events

Combination of lapses of judgment by political and military leaders

Complicated alliances and defense treaties Motivating Factors GERMAN
Could see war with Russia in future & better to fight now
Assumed Britain & (possibly) France would remain neutral BRITAIN
Concerned about German build up of navy & strong interest in acquiring more colonies
Felt war with Germany was inevitable in future FRANCE
1871 France lost Alsace & Lorraine to Germany
Felt that if Germany was distracted by a war with Russia, that France could recapture Alsace & Lorraine RUSSIA
Prior to war, Russia was unstable; victory would help the tsar
Tsar unable to resist pressure from military and political advisors June 28, 1914 - Franz Ferdinand is assassinated July 23rd - Austria-Hungary gives Ultimatum July 30th - Russia mobilizes troops Aug. 1 Germany & France mobilize troops August 1 Germany declares war on Russia August 3 Germany declares war on France August 4 Britain declares war on Germany Aug 3 Germans enter Belgium August 4 Germans enter Poland (Russian) August 5 Germans begin serious fighting in Belgium
(Germans occupy Belgium by the 20th) August 10 France declares war on A-H August 12 British cross Channel into France Aug. 17 Russians enter East Prussia (Germany) Aug. 18 Russians enter Austria-Hungary Aug. 23 Japan declares war on Germany 1914 Germany expected Belgium to fall quickly so they could move onto France
Encountered more resistance; civilian snipers
Germans burned a number of towns/villages to the ground and executed a large number of civilians, including women and children
Heaviest fighting at Liege; Brussels fell on the 20th Aug. 17th - Russian troops (2 armies) advanced quickly to Königsberg (Kaliningrad)
Germans sent General Paul von Hindenburg there who ordered more support troops
Forced retreat and then the two German armies cut off one of the Russian armies, who were then surrounded and slaughtered
30,000 killed and 92,000 taken prisoner
Sept. 9 confronted the other Russian army while retreating, the Germans were still able to take out 125,000 casualties
(Less than 1 month of fighting, the Russians lost 300,000!) Russia Attacks Germany Germany Attacks Belgium Army General Paul Von Hindenburg
Sent to Eastern Front to fight Russians
Promoted to Field Marshal
Chief of German Army in Aug. 1916
President Weimar Republic 1925-1934) Along with General Erich von Ludendorf, other senior military officers, and right-wing industrialists, formed the “Third Supreme Command” Russians attack Austria-Hungary Russians force Austrian forces back and the Serbians force Austrians to retreat Aug. 23 – Japan declares war against Germany to show support for Britain.
Japan wanted to retake some Pacific Islands that Germany had seized as colonies Japan Enters the War Germans continue on to France
French and British armies tried to stop them but had to retreat; allowed Germans to advance 120 miles until Sept. 4th
Sept. 5 – more than one million troops on each side fought outside of Paris
Battle of the Marne
French and British split the Germany armies Germany aims for Paris Germans are pushed back 45 miles to the River Aisne where they dig in and hold their position, the Western Front, which was held for most of the war
Shorter supply line The Western Front Trench Warfare Failure of The Schieffen Plan Germany was unable to take France and ended up with a two-front war
Some historians say that this failure was the first step marked the turning point when Germany lost the war. Why did the plan to invade France fail? Unexpected early Russian attack forced Germany to divert troops from the west
Germany didn’t anticipate Britain’s entry into the war and when they did, Germany didn’t alter its plans
Germany fighting with fewer troops than planned
Germany had overextended itself too far, causing a longer supply line
Difficult to manage troop rotation
Diversion of the 1st German army to the southeast split Germany’s forces into two
Exploited by the allies Sea Battles Battle of the Bight (North sea) British navy lured German navy into open water
8-hour battle
Germans lost 3 cruisers and 1,000 sailors
English lost 35 sailors and no ships
Kaiser Wilhelm ordered the navy be kept off the open sea and used primarily as defensive Early German Submarines Torpedoes - new weapon
U-boats used offensively
Fall 1914 sank 4 British warships, killing 2,000
Treaty at the Hague in 1907 limited mining at sea to within 3 miles of enemy’s coastline
Britain and Germany ignored this
Danger to neutral shipping vessels 1914 U-boats in harbor at Kiel War around the World TURKEY and the War The Ottoman Empire was neutral at the start
Turkey entered into secret treaty with Germany, to aid them if Russia attacked A-H
Turkey “bought” 2 German warships, renamed and re-flagged them and sailed, with German advisors and sailors, into the Black Sea
Fired on Russian seaports, sank ships
Russia believed Turkey attacked so Britain and France attacked Turkish forts along the Dardanelles
Turkey declared war on all 3 nations and entered war on side of Germany Chile – large German population
German Vice-Admiral Spee and squadron were enroute from Carolina Islands (so to avoid the Japanese navy) to Chile
British navy squadron (obsolete cruisers) confronted the German fleet who had faster and better-armed ships War in South America The Battle of Coronel British squadron lost - 2 ships and 1,600 sailors (1st Br. naval defeat in 100 years) German squadron leaving Valparaiso on Nov. 3, 1914 after the battle.
Three German battleships follwed by three Chilean cruisers and one battleship. Battle of the Falkland Islands – Dec. 8, 1914 German fleet with Adm. Spee sailed around Cape Horn to disrupt British trade & supply

Spee decided to attack British colony, thinking it was unprotected 28/06/1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand heir to the Austria-Hungary throne and his wife are assassinated by a Serbian Nationalist in Sarejevo.

05/07/1914 Kaiser William II promises German support for Austria against Serbia.
28/07/1914 Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and Russia.
29/07/1914 Russia begins to mobilise her armed forces. Austria-Hungarian troops invade Serbia.

01/08/1914 Official outbreak of World War I. Germany declares war on Russia.
02/08/1914 Germany invades Luxembourg.
03/08/1914 Germany declares war on France.
04/08/1914 Germany declares war on neutral Belgium and invades in a right flanking move designed to defeat France quickly. This violates a treaty signed by Prussua respecting Belgian neutrality. As a result of this invasion, Britain declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Canada follows suit and joins the war. U.S President Woodrow Wilson declares policy of American neutrality.
07/08/1914 The British Expeditionary Force lands in France to assist the French and Belgians in stopping the German offensive.
14/08/1914 The Battle of the Frontiers begins.
17/08/1914 Russia invades East Prussia.
19/08/1914 U.S President Wilson appeals for neutrality. The Canadian Parliament authorises the raising of an expeditionary force to send overseas and constructs Valcartier Camp to give basic training to new recruits.
22/08/1914 27,000 French soldiers are killed on this single day in an offensive thrust to the east of Paris, towards the German borders.
23/08/1914 The BEF started to retreat from Mons. Austria-Hungary launches an invasion of Russian Poland. Japan declares war on Germany and attacks the German colony of Tsingtau in China.
26/08/1914 Battle of Tannenberg begins.
30/08/1914 The Battle of Tannenberg ends in total Russian defeat. This becomes Germany's greatest victory of the war inflicting over 250,000 casualties on the Russians.
Aug 1914 Battle of Togoland. The German Cruiser Goeben and Breslau are pursued by British warships into Turkish waters.

05/09/1914 First Battle of the Marne begins.
09/09/1914 First Battle of the Masurian Lakes begins.
10/09/1914 First Battle of the Marne ends in a French Victory, thus halting the German advance towards Paris, which results in stalemate.
14/09/1914 Russia loses the First Battle of Masurian Lakes. First Battle of Aisne begins. Troops starts to construct trenches across the entire length of the western front.
17/09/1914 Austro-German forces launch an attack into western Poland
Sep 1914 Battle of Lemberg begins.

14/10/1914 First Battle of Ypres begins. The Canadian Expeditionary Force of 32,000 men lands at Plymouth, England, to prepare for fighting at the Front.
29/10/1914 Turkey enters the war on the side of the Central Powers.

22/11/1914 First Battle of Ypres ends.
Nov 1914 Battle of Lodz begins.

1914 - Worldwar-1.net - A World War 1 (Great War) Timeline, detailing events, day by day from 1914 through to 1919.
08/12/1914 Battle of the Falkland Islands between British and German Naval units.
21/12/1914 First German air raid on Britain.
25/12/1914 An unofficial Christmas truce is declared by soldiers along the Western Front. A British squadron was in port taking on coal (fuel)
Better equipped than Spee’s fleet
The British destroyed the German's entire squadron (4 ships and 2,100 sailors) Unfortunately for Spee The Importance of Sea Battles Naval warfare had been unpredictable
Mines, torpedoes, and submarines were new threats – making all warships vulnerable
Submarines fairly inexpensive (compared to ships) to manufacture and did not need large crews
Mines were cheap and once laid required no other labor
Naval power was mostly used to control trade routes
Big sea battles were a rare occurrence
Germans became the experts in submarine warfare Sinking of the Lusitania May 1915
German U-boat sank British liner Lusitania
1,200 killed, including 128 U.S. citizens
Outraged U.S. population – but U.S. maintained official neutrality War in the Air Aviation - New Technology 1903 Orville & Wilbur Wright 1st flight
Airplane for war
Reconnaissance planes – pilot & camera man
Offensive attack – to stop the observation planes
Initially using rifles, pistols, grenades, bricks, grappling hooks Mounting guns on planes:
Machine gun - problems
at first with gun weight

Firing sideways was inaccurate and to the front impossible because of the propeller
Dutch inventor – 1915 – “interrupter gear” a timed mechanism that worked in conjunction with the propeller blades
German pilots first to utilize this method (British and French developers about one year behind) Bombers
1913 large four-engine plane designed (Igor Sikorsky)
1914 adapted the passenger plane to be used as a bomber Reconnaissance/bomber
Large with an excellent platform to drop bombs from, but it was not at all agile.
The F.K.8 went in production in May of 1916.
They were widely used in World War I, around 1200 were built, of which 694 were provided to the French. Speed: 98 mph
Ceiling:12,113 ft
Crew: 2
Armed: 2 machine guns
and 160 lb of bombs Zeppelins or dirigibles (peaked in 1915)
Slow-moving, long range, able to carry relatively large cargo
Vulnerable to attack from fighter planes

French dirigible Famous Aces Manfred von Richthofen also known as the “Red Baron”

American pilot –
Eddie Rickenbacker Problems: Pilots and Planes Pilots were poorly trained, some less than 5 hrs. training
Many pilots did not survive past the first few weeks
Lack of experience, bad weather, mechanical problems, loss of control due to pilot error,
Run out of fuel over enemy lines
Shot down from behind
British pilots not allowed to carry parachutes Importance of Air War Bombing served as a psychological weapon more than a practical one
Technology of bombs not as developed so did not cause massive damage (as in WWII)
Encouraged rapid improvements to plane design – in general and as military weapon
During war improvements constantly made Weaponry Rapid firing and accurate field guns
High explosive shells from heavy artillery Machine gun – major killer in the Western Front
Use of telephone and radio aided communication and intelligence Armored tank was first used by the British in 1917

Hand grenades Chemical and Poison Gas War in the Near East Nov. 5, 1914 - British forces attack Basra
March 18, 1915 - British & French forces attack the Dardanelles
May-June - British forces attack Nasariya
April 25 - Invasion of Gallipoli begins
Sept – Dec. British forces attack/retreat and by Jan. 1916 leave Gallipoli
April 29 - British forces surrender to Turks The Dardanelles Germans & Turks controlled it Nov. 1914
Prevented Russian wheat from being shipped to Britain and British military equipment from being shipped by sea.
Considered extremely important both Military and economically.
The British and French attempt an attack. Battle of Galipoli
Allied troops, including those from Australia and New Zealand
Initial landing easy but became trapped on the beaches causing hundreds of thousands on both sides to be killed British & Indian soldiers attacked Ottoman port
Secured the port and oil fields and pipeline
British troops advanced up the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers – goal of Baghdad but fell short of at Kut
After a 5-month battle with the Turks, the British surrendered all 10,000 troops Basra – Nov. 5, 1914
(present-day Iraq) The War in Europe 28 June 1914 Assassination of Franz Ferdinand
The Balkan states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had been annexed from Turkey and taken into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was strongly resented by many Serbs and Croats and a nationalist group, The Black Hand, was formed.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife, had decided to inspect Austro-Hungarian troops in Bosnia. The date chosen for the inspection was a national day in Bosnia. The Black Hand supplied a group of students with weapons for an assassination attempt to mark the occasion.

A Serbian nationalist student, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, when their open car stopped at a corner on its way out of the town.

28 July 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia
The Austrian government blamed the Serbian government for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife and declared war on Serbia.

Although Russia was allied with Serbia, Germany did not believe that she would mobilise and offered to support Austria if necessary.

However, Russia did mobilise and, through their alliance with France, called on the French to mobilise.

1 Aug 1914 Germany declared war on Russia.

3 Aug 1914 Germany declared war on France
Germany declared war on France. German troops poured into Belgium as directed under the Schleiffen Plan, drawn up in 1905. The British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, sent an ultimatum to Germany demanding their withdrawal from the neutral Belgium.

4 Aug 1914 British declaration of war
Germany did not withdraw from Belgium and Britain declared war on Germany.

Aug 1914 Battle of Tannenberg
The Russian army marched into Prussia. However, because of the differences in railway gauge between Russia and Prussia it was difficult for the Russians to get supplies through to their men. The Germans, on the other hand, used their railway system to surround the Russian Second army at Tannenberg before it's commander could realise what was happening. The ensuing battle was a heavy defeat for the Russians with thousands of men killed and 125,000 taken prisoner. Although the Germans won the battle, 13,000 men were killed.

13 Aug 1914 Japan declared war on Germany
Japan declared war on Germany through her alliance with Great Britain, signed in 1902

Sept 1914 Battle of Masurian Lakes
Having defeated the Russian Second army, the Germans turned their attention to the Russian First army at Masurian Lakes. Although the Germans were unable to defeat the army completely, over 100,000 Russians were taken prisoner.

29 Oct 1914 Turkey
Turkey entered the war on the side of the central powers and gave help to a German naval bombardment of Russia.

2 Nov 1914 Russia declared war on Turkey
Because of the help given by Turkey to the German attack of Russia, Russia declared war on Turkey.

5 Nov 1914 Britain and France declared war on Turkey
Britain and France, Russia's allies, declared war on Turkey, because of the help given to the German attack on Russia.

late 1914 Early stages of the war
The German advance through Belgium to France did not go as smoothly as the Germans had hoped. The Belgians put up a good fight destroying railway lines to slow the transport of German supplies.

Despite a French counter-attack that saw the deaths of many Frenchmen on the battlefields at Ardennes, the Germans continued to march into France. They were eventually halted by the allies at the river Marne.

British troops had advanced from the northern coast of France to the Belgian town of Mons. Although they initially held off the Germans, they were soon forced to retreat.

The British lost a huge number of men at the first battle of Ypres.

By Christmas, all hopes that the war would be over had gone and the holiday saw men of both sides digging themselves into the trenches of the Western Front.

Dec 1914 Zeppelins
The first Zeppelins appeared over the English coast. Timeline 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 7 May 1915 Lusitania sunk
There were outraged protests from the United States at the German U-boat campaign, when the Lusitania, which had many American passengers aboard, was sank. The Germans moderated their U-boat campaign.

23 May 1915 Italy
Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies.

2 Apr 1915 Second Battle of Ypres
Poison gas was used for the first time during this battle. The gas, fired by the Germans claimed many British casualties.

Feb 1915 Zeppelin bombing
Zeppelin airships dropped bombs on Yarmouth.

Feb 1915 Dardenelles
The Russians appealed for help from Britain and France to beat off an attack by the Turkish. The British navy responded by attacking Turkish forts in the Dardenelles.

Apr - Aug 1915 Dardenelles/ Gallipoli
Despite the loss of several ships to mines, the British successfully landed a number of marines in the Gallipoli region of the Dardenelles. Unfortunately the success was not followed up and the mission was a failure.

after Feb 1915 Winston Churchill resigns
Winston Churchill, critical of the Dardenelles campaign, resigned his post as First Lord of the Admiralty. He rejoined the army as a battalion commander.

April 1915 Zeppelins
The use of airships by the Germans increased. Zeppelins began attacking London. They were also used for naval reconnaissance, to attack London and smaller balloons were used for reconnaissance along the Western Front. They were only stopped when the introduction of aeroplanes shot them down. early 1916 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill served in Belgium as lieutenant colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

April 1916 Romania enter the war
Romania joined the war on the side of the Allies. But within a few months was occupied by Germans and Austrians.

31 May 1916 Battle of Jutland
This was the only truly large-scale naval battle of the war. German forces, confined to port by a British naval blockade, came out in the hope of splitting the British fleet and destroying it ship by ship. However, the British admiral, Beatty, aware that the German tactics were the same as those used by Nelson at Trafalgar, sent a smaller force to lure the German's into the range of Admiral Jellicoe's main fleet. Although Beatty's idea worked, the exchange of fire was brief and the German's withdrew.

1 June 1916 Battle of Jutland
The British and German naval forces met again but the battle was inconclusive. The German ships did a great deal of damage to British ships before once again withdrawing and the British Admiral Jellicoe decided not to give chase.

Although British losses were heavier than the German, the battle had alarmed both the Kaiser and the German Admiral Scheer and they decided to keep their fleet consigned to harbour for the remainder of the war.

28 Nov 1916 First Aeroplane raid
The first German air raid on London took place. The Germans hoped that by making raids on London and the South East, the British Air Force would be forced into protecting the home front rather than attacking the German air force.

Dec 1916 Lloyd George Prime Minister
Lloyd George became Prime Minister of the war time coalition. His war cabinet, unlike that of his predecessor, met every day. However, there was considerable disagreement among the members of the Cabinet, especially between Lloyd George and his war secretary, Sir Douglas Haig. Lloyd George suspected Haig of squandering life needlessly and was suspicious of his demands for more men and freedom of action in the field.

21 Feb - Nov 1916 Battle of Verdun
The Germans mounted an attack on the French at Verdun designed to 'bleed the French dry'. Although the fighting continued for nine months, the battle was inconclusive. Casualties were enormous on both sides with the Germans losing 430,000 men and the French 540,000.

1 July - Nov 1916 Battle of the Somme
This was an inconclusive battle that lasted for some five months. Although 60,000 British men were killed or seriously wounded on the first day, Field Marshall Douglas Haig ordered that the battle must continue. Although the British were the first side to use tanks in this battle, they numbered so few that their impact was negligible. 1917 New war commander
Lloyd George, who had never trusted his war minister's ability to direct the war, persuaded the Cabinet to appoint the French General Nivelle as supreme war commander over Haig's head. Haig was assured that the appointment was for one operation only and that if he felt the British army was being misused by the Frenchman he could appeal to the British government.

July - Nov 1917 W.front Passchendale
The operation commanded by the French General, Nivelle, went wrong and caused the loss of many French soldiers. Haig protested to the British government and advocated trying his own scheme for a breakthrough. At the resulting battle of Passchendale, Haig broke his promise to call off the battle if the first stage failed because he did not want to lose face with the government.

1917 Churchill Minister of Munitions
Following the heavy defeat at Passchendale, Lloyd George decided that he wanted Churchill in the Cabinet. Churchill was duly appointed Minister of Munitions.

1917 Reinforcements sent to Italy
The Italians had lost many men trying to hold the line between Italy and the Central Powers. British and French reinforcements were sent to hold the line.

early 1917 German U-boat campaign
In Germany, orders were given to step up the U-boat campaign. All allied or neutral ships were to be sunk on sight and in one month almost a million tons of shipping was sunk. Neutral countries became reluctant to ship goods to Britain and Lloyd George ordered all ships carrying provisions to Britain to be given a convoy.

6 April 1917 USA declares war on Germany
The United States of America declared war on Germany in response to the sinking, by German U boats, of US ships.

Nov 1917 W. Front Cambrai
The British took a large force of tanks across the barbed wire and machine gun posts at Cambrai.

Dec 1917 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Following the successful revolution by the Bolsheviks, the Russians signed an Armistice with Germany at Brest-Litovsk. The terms of the treaty were harsh: Russia had to surrender Poland, the Ukraine and other regions. They had to stop all Socialist propaganda directed at Germany and pay 300 million roubles for the repatriation of Russian prisoners. April 1918 RAF formed
The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged to form the Royal Air Force.
8 - 11 Aug 1918 Battle of Amiens

The British general, Haig, ordered the attack of the German sector at Amiens. At the same time the news came through that the allies had broken through from Salonika and forced Bulgaria to sue for peace.

mid Oct 1918 Allies recover France and Belgium
The allies had taken almost all of German-occupied France and part of Belgium.

30 Oct 1918 Armistice with Turkey
The allies had successfully pushed the Turkish army back and the Turks were forced to ask for an armistice. The terms of the armistice treaty allowed the allies access to the Dardenelles.

early Nov 1918 Hindenberg line collapsed
By the beginning of November the allies had pushed the Germans back beyond the Hindenberg line.

9 Nov 1918 Kaiser abdicated
Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated.

11 Nov 1918 Armistice signed
At 11 am, in the French town of Redonthes, the Armistice was signed bringing the war to an end. The Start
Aug. 3 Germans enter Belgium
Aug. 4 Germans enter Poland (Russian)
Aug. 5 Germans begin serious fighting in Belgium
(Germans occupy Belgium by the 20th)
Aug. 10 France declares war on A-H
Aug. 12 British cross Channel into France
Aug. 17 Russians enter East Prussia (Germany)
Aug. 18 Russians enter Austria-Hungary
Aug. 23 Japan declares war on Germany Main Actions:
May 23, 1915 Italy declares war on A-H
Feb. 21, 1916 Battle of Verdun (ends Dec. 18)
July 1 Battle of the Somme (ends Nov. 18)
Aug. 27 Romania sides with Allied Powers & declares war on AH, invades Transylvania
Sept.1 Bulgaria declares war on Romania & invades
July 2 Greece declares war on Central powers Italy Triple Alliance Pact of 1882 – alliance of Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary.
Outbreak of WWI, Italy declared neutrality
The London Pact – April 1915
Italy approached A-H and offered alliance in exchange for A-H territories (turned it down)
Italy approached Allied Powers who agreed if Italy declared war on A-H
Italy would receive Albania, Turkey, and North Africa The Italians and Austrians go to War Battle of Verdun (Feb. 21- Dec. 18, 1916) Over 2 ½ years of fighting back and forth, casualties were 750,000 soldiers on both sides
No clear victories or claims Longest single battle of the war
Germans intent to sustain attack to drain Allied soldiers
Both sides used gas
Back and forth, end result same as when started except 650,000 soldiers had been killed The Battle of the Somme (July 1- Nov. 18, 1916) Allied offensive effort along a 25-mile section of the Somme River
Artillery barrage so hard it could be heard in southern England
Allied gained only 6 miles at the cost of 146,000 lives. German loss was 164,000. Stalemate and a War of Attrition Both sides were entrenched in positions
Neither side gaining or losing much ground
A lot of soldiers were dying
Which side could afford to lose the most soldiers?
Britain, France, and Germany all used a lot of colonial soldiers to support their troops
New weaponry contributed to attrition efforts Eastern Europe Romania (neutral for two years) joined Allies in exchange for secret pact (Aug. 1916) allowed them to take the territories of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Banat
Bulgaria declared war on Romania (Sept. 1917) , helped by German and Austrian troops. Germans take Bucharest.
Greece joins the Allies (June 1917) Battle of Messines Ridge (June 7, 1917 3:10 Am) Northern France, German fortified position
18 months British had been digging a series of 22 tunnels, up to 2,000 ft. long, some 100 ft. below the surface, of the ridge where the Germans were dug in.
They filled the tunnels with 1 million pounds of explosives and plugged with sandbags More than 10,000 Germans soldiers died instantly
Left 400 ft. diameter craters 7,300 German soldiers taken prisoner, others were able to retreat
The blast was heard in London! Battle of Passchendaele Oct. 1917
British offensive
Mustard gas and other chemical weapons used
British lost 310,000 and Germans lost 260,000 soldiers

This is considered to the last great battle of attrition. United States Enters the Great War Neutrality Nov. 7 1916 Woodrow Wilson reelected President of U.S.
Runs on neutrality platform
Wanted to use diplomatic means Pres. Wilson maintained U.S. neutrality
American population did not want to fight a European war
Pres. Wilson was reelected on a platform of neutrality Main Actions: Feb. 1, 1917 Germans begin unrestricted submarine warfare
Feb. 3 German U-boat sinks U.S. cargo ship and U.S. breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany
Feb. 2 – 4 U.S. learns of Zimmerman telegram
March 1 Zimmerman telegram published in U.S. newspapers
April 6 U.S. Congress declares war on Germany
May 2 – 4 First U.S. convoy to protect shipping to Europe leaves
July 4 U.S. troops arrive in Paris
Sept. 4 First U.S. casualties
Jan. 8, 1918 Wilson gives “Fourteen Points” speech to Congress A note (written Jan. 1917) was intercepted from German Foreign Secretary Alfred Zimmerman to the German ambassador in Mexico
Instructed the ambassador to offer money, an alliance, and former Mexican territories (now part of the U.S.) to the Mexican government in return for declaring war on the U.S.
Wilson made the note public on March 1st which shifted public opinion in favor of entering the war The Zimmerman Note Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Jan. 1917 Germany announces it would lift restrictions on submarine warfare on Feb.1
This mean that German U-boat commanders were authorized to sink all shifts they believed were providing aid to the Allies.
Primary goal to starve Britain into surrendering, the attacks would focus on the ships crossing the Atlantic.
Continuous attacks on ships crossing the Atlantic Feb. 3 German U-boats sank an American cargo ship.
U.S. broke off all diplomatic relations with Germany immediately. U.S. Prepares for War Convoys German submarines caused tremendous problems and damage to supplies crossing the Atlantic
A system of convoys was developed – sending along armed escorts for all ships to Britain from the western Atlantic
Plan was important (protected new U.S. troops enroute to Europe) and successful (almost eliminated entirely German attacks)
Downside – Britain had to pull ships away from other naval protection or offensive maneuverings U.S. Troops in Europe - 1917 General John J. Pershing (“Black Jack”) insisted all U.S. troops fight together First public display of troops in Paris, July 4 in a symbolic march to the grave of the Marquis de Lafayette Russia during the War First 2 ½ years of the war, Russia had heavy defeats against the Germans.
Russians recognized that they had much to lose in this war and little to gain. In early March of 1917 (late Feb. on the Julian calendar, in use in Russia at the time) there was a revolution deemed The February Revolution and was followed by the November Revolution.
These led to a communist regime which took Russia out of the war.

For more information look at
The Russian Revolution presentation... The End of the Great War The Last Offensive March 21, 1918 – Germans used all of their remaining resources in one last drive to Paris
Retook previously lost ground, massive artillery barrage & gas
Fired new type of artillery canon at Paris from 74 miles away
Crossed the Somme on March 24
Allied counter-offensive strong
Fresh U.S. troop reinforcements May 2, 1918 – Gen. Pershing agreed to send 130,000 U.S. troops in immediately and several hundred thousand more in the following months. The Spanish Flu
Summer of 1918 Unknown cause of outbreak
Large movements of people around world accelerated the spread
Poor nutrition and less sanitary conditions in war-ravaged regions
Germany & Austria-Hungary hit hard
Continued into 1919 and then suddenly died out More people died in 1918-1919 during the flu pandemic than were killed in WWI.
Somewhere between 20 and 40 million people died
More people died of the flu in one year than in 4 years during the Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. June 1918 – Outside Paris at Château-Thierry
Allies found out about German attack plan
Battle for most of the month, Germans lost ground every day
Allies drove Germans back continually until September
Germans stopped at the Marne – showed how exhausted their troops were
Massive surrenders
Same time, Austrian fronts in Balkans & Italy collapsed The End of the Battles Germany Surrenders Kaiser Wilhelm formed a new government (Constitutional monarchy)
Sept. - pressured by top two generals, Paul von Hindenburg & Erich Ludendorff
Oct. – new Parliament assumed all decision-making power
Central Powers negotiations fell apart
Bulgaria and Turkey signed separate armistice
Austria-Hungary surrendered on Nov. 3 and immediately broke into separate states Nov. 9 – The Kaiser abdicated and the Social Democratic Party formed a new government
The SDP probably prevented civil war and was more willing to accept political democracy and were supported by the military and the people
Germany’s new gov’t. asked for peace based on Wilson’s 14 Points
Nov. 11th – Signed armistice at 5:10 AM and hostilities officially ended at 11:00AM.
It took 7 months before all of the nations involved finalized the formal peace treaties. The Treaty of Versailles
June 28, 1919 Germany was forced to:
Assume full responsibility for the war
Accept responsibility for all losses & damages accrued to the Allies
Pay reparations of $5 billion annually until 1921, then 30 more years to pay whatever figure was finally determined German government signed the treaty under protest
German people felt betrayed by the new government
The German people felt humiliated, were impoverished, and left with no hope. Fourteen Points
Jan.8, 1918 Pres. Wilson’s speech before Congress
14 distinct requirements that he saw as necessary to restore order and maintain peace in Europe and the rest of the world.
Evacuation of German troops from Russia, France, and Belgium
Long range visions to prevent future conflicts
14th – organizing an association of world states 1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

2. 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.

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

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

5. A free, open-minded, 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.

6. 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 of 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.

7. 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. 8. 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 Alsace-Lorraine, 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.

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

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

11. Romania, 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.

12. Turkish portion 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.

13. 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.

14. 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. 1. There should be an end to all secret diplomacy amongst countries.

2. Freedom of the seas in peace and war

3. The reduction of trade barriers among nations

4. The general reduction of armaments

5. The adjustment of colonial claims in the interest of the inhabitants as well as of the colonial powers

6. The evacuation of Russian territory and a welcome for its government to the society of nations

7. The restoration of Belgian territories in Germany 8. The evacuation of all French territory, including Alsace-Lorraine

9. The readjustment of Italian boundaries along clearly recognizable lines of nationality

10. Independence for various national groups in Austria-Hungary

11. The restoration of the Balkan nations and free access to the sea for Serbia

12. Protection for minorities in Turkey and the free passage of the ships of all nations through the Dardanelles

13. Independence for Poland, including access to the sea

14. A league of nations to protect "mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small nations alike." Summary With the Treaty of Versailles the Great War comes to a close but it left the world irrevocably changed... Total Human Cost of the War Russia 1.7 million dead 4.9 million wounded
Germany 1.8 million dead 4.2 million wounded
Allies: 4.9 million killed 12.8 million wounded
Central Powers: 3.1 million killed 8.4 million wounded
Allies: 3.1 million killed
Central Powers: 3.4 million killed Total Financial Cost Central Powers total costs $86 billion Germany: $58 billion
Allies total costs $193 billion
British $51.9 billion
French $49.8 billion
U.S. $32.3 billion Political and Social Changes European economy was devastated
Britain and France controlled larger area, due to acquisition of Ottoman Empire lands
End of German and Russian monarchies
Break up of Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empires
Russian Communist system replaces state
Woman Suffrage in Europe & U.S. Questions to Consider... Do you believe that World War I was an “unnecessary war” as some historians have called it? Why? Why not?
What, if any, are the connections between the causes of the war in 1914 and the reasons the war was still going on in 1918?
What was the role of diplomacy in World War I? Was it a positive or negative influence? June 28, 1919 The Treaty of Versailles
The war is officially over and the treaty is signed.
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