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World War I - The Progress of the War

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Michael Ungar

on 19 January 2018

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Transcript of World War I - The Progress of the War

World War I -
The Progress
of the War

June 28, 1914: Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in Bosnia-Herzegovina, part of A-H. Serbia was blamed.
#3 Zimmermann Telegram
Triple Alliance:

- Germany
- Austria-Hungary
- Italy
Military tactics before World War I had failed to keep pace with advances in technology. Artillery and machine guns, made crossing no mans land extremely difficult.
New Technology Changes Military Strategies
Both sides failed to develop tactics for breaching entrenched positions without heavy casualties.
Later in the war technology began to produce new offensive weapons, such as gas warfare and the tank. Airplanes were used to fire down on soldiers in trenches & conducted dogfights in the air. German submarines, called U-boats, would attack any ship that entered or left British ports.
The massive networks of trenches created stalemates.
After shortages in war supplies and poor leadership Tsar Nicholas II was forced to step down during the first revolution of February 1917.
Russian Revolution of 1917
After the October revolution, the Bolsheviks rounded up and executed the royal family.
With the Bolsheviks in power, a civil war broke out between the Red (Bolshevik) and White (anti-Bolshevik) Russians. The U.S. sent troops to Soviet Union to support the White Russians. This is considered by some the event that marks the beginning of the Cold War.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany ending combat on the Western Front.
Wilson has two conditions:
1. Germany must accept his plan for peace
2. The German Emperor must give up power
Remembered as Armistice Day and later Veterans Day
#2 Propaganda and the CPI
Created by Woodrow Wilson, the Committee of Public Information aimed to get Americans involved in WWI.
Victory at Last
The Treaty of Versailles
Reduce military to 100,000
No tanks, airplanes, poisonous gas, battleships, subs
Americans lost 100,000 lives in battle. The U.S. marines fought with such intensity that the Germans called them "Dogs from Hell."
Lost land including colonies
Pay reparations - $30 billion (about $2.7 trillion today)
The Hundred Days Offensive was the last period of WWI and included important battles such as The Somme (which Americans were not involved) and the Battle of the Argonne Forest in which the Germans and Americans fought for 47 days before the Americans could fight through the German defense.
Accept full responsibility
Triple Entente:

- France
- Russia
- Britain
European Alliances
July 5, 1914: Germany issues A-H “blank check” pledging military assistance.
July 23, 1914: Austria issues Serbia an ultimatum.
Balkans (powder keg of Europe) and the Spark
Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia.
Russia mobilizes
Germany declares war on Russia.
Two days later Germany declared war on France.
Schlieffen Plan
Invade western front 1st - through Belgium!
After defeating France concentrate on the Eastern front
Avoid fighting a two front war
“Belgium is a country, not a road”
August 4, 1914: Great Britain declared war on Germany for violating Belgian neutrality.
Misconceptions about the War
Many Europeans were excited about war
- saw it as an adventure & an escape from the monotony of everyday life

Belief that modern industrial war could not be conducted for more than a few months
nations, here was the chance to change the playing field - Serbia (unification), France (retrieve Alsace), Russia (get those navy bases in the Black Sea)
Eventually 32 countries joined the Allies;
4 joined the Central Powers
Trench Warfare
- defending a position by fighting from the protection of deep ditches where disease spread quickly.
Soldiers fought in cold, wet, and muddy ditches, sometimes for months at a time.
- formed to protect themselves
U.S. Neutrality
When the War broke out in Europe the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson called on Americans to neutral.
Public opinion differed:
- Most Americans favored the Allies.
- Americans of German and Austrian decent favored the Central Powers as well as the Irish-Americans because they hated Britain.
Reasons for Entering WWI:
#1 Sinking of the Lusitania
Germany warned the U.S. & other neutral nations to keep their boats out of the blockade zone.
U.S. did not listen & vowed to hold Germany responsible.
On May 5, 1915 a German submarine torpedoed the Lusitania and 1,200 people died (128 Americans). Wilson warned Germany and they stopped unrestricted submarine warfare temporarily.
The CPI produced more than 1,400 works of propaganda (spreading ideas to promote a cause or to damage an opposing cause) either appealing to patriotism or displaying anti-German images.
- instructed Mexico to attack the U.S. if the U.S. declared war on Germany
U.S. Enters the War
On April 6, 1917 the U.S. enters into WWI fighting with the Allies and for democracy!
In the second revolution, during October, the provisional government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist) government led by Vladimir Lenin, who signed a treaty with the Central powers ending Russia's involvement in the war and establishing the Soviet Union.
This offensive ended with almost 2,000,000 casualties but marked the end of The Great War and victory for the Allies.
Germany had to:
Britain joins the fray
The war that 'would be over by Christmas' dragged on for four long years of bloody stalemate. How did this nightmare of Europe occur?
The Stalemate develops . . . after opportunities for a quick victory are lost.
USA - from "neutral" to all in . . .
German siege artillery
The War Beyond the European Continent
The day after GB declared war on Germany, the British requested naval assistance from Japan in hunting down armed German merchant ships. Japan gladly agreed - the two nations had a formal alliance since 1902 -and Japan saw the opportunity to expand its empire in the East at the expense of Germany.
Japan launched an assault against a German force based in Tsingtao, China. Japanese aid for Entente freed up Russia in the East and Japan extended its dominance over southern China.
The Ottomans Enter the War
The Turkish Army performed badly during the Balkan Wars (1912-13) and clearly
needed reform. In 1913, Turkish government invited the Germans to help modernize its army. The empire had so much trouble at home it asked both the Triple Alliance (Central Powers) and the Triple Entente (Allied Powers) for help.
Since Turkey was really worried about Russian expansion, it decided to sign a
defensive alliance with Germany. Germany wanted to keep Turkey from joining the Allied Powers and hoped that Ottoman support would get Romania and Bulgaria to join the Central Powers.
Life in the Trenches
Over There!! US Enters the War
Total War
War of Attrition
The Home Front
Schlieffen Plan- attack & defeat France in the west, then rush east to fight Russia.
Germans counted on Russia's slow mobilization b/c distance to bring troops & inefficient railroads. By early September, German forces had swept into France and reached the outskirts of Paris.
The Western Front had become a “terrain of death.” It stretched nearly 500 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
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