WHAT IS WORLD WAR 1 (WW1):
War fought largely in Europe between 1914 and 1918, which led to the overthrow of 4 empires: German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and the Ottoman empires.
1. WW1 was the most important event of the 20th century. Everything that followed: the rise of Communism, the Great Depression, WWII, was in a sense a product of the war
2. The war itself was a product of miscommunication and misjudgment as well as imperial rivalries, secret treaties and an alliance system that brought many countries into the conflict
3. The US entered the war partly because of fears of German meddling in Mexico and attacks on US shipping, and also because Pres. Wilson wanted to shape the peace settlement.
HOW DID WW1 START?
WW1 was the war to end all WARS.
The event that sparked the war was the murder of Archduke FRANZ FERDINAND by Gavrilo Princip.
Princip and others wanted to break were members of a larger group who wanted to break away from Austro-Hungary and create an independent YUGOSLAVIA.
Austro-Hungary issued an ultimatum to SERBIA.
Unhappy with the response, Austro-Hungary declared WAR on Serbia, exactly 1 month after the assassination.
IMPERIALISM was a primary cause of WW1.
Throughout the 19th century tensions between EUROPEAN powers surfaced.
New control of foreign RESOURCES, MARKETS, and PEOPLE by France, the UK, and other countries were the root of this tension.
Meanwhile, NATURAL RESOURCES in Europe were dwindling, which caused some countries to seek new TERRITORY (Imperialism).
Rivalries and ALLIANCES were established.
WHICH COUNTRIES FOUGHT?
AUSTRO-HUNGARY attacks Serbia to exert control over the BALKANS.
It was supposed to be a SHORT and limited war between 2 countries having a dispute but escalated in to a conflict few could have expected.
Serbia was aligned with RUSSIA.
Austro-Hungary was aligned with GERMANY (in case Russia should become involved).
In defense of Serbia, Germany declared war on RUSSIA.
Besides fighting with Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary were up against the rest of the Triple Entente (the name of the alliance between France, the UK, and Russia) and all 3 had also declared war on Germany and Austro-Hungary.
When the UK entered the war, so did all of its colonies (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa).
Japan entered because of its agreement with BRITAIN.
Italy tried to stay NEUTRAL (they had a policy of NEUTRALITY), though it had treaties with Germany and Austro-Hungary, but eventually joined the Triple Entente against the both of them.
Italy pulled away from Germany and Austro-Hungary because of the TREATY OF LONDON where they would get a lot of land at the expense of Austro-Hungary after the war.
The Ottoman Empire was pulled in because it had harbored German subs that went on to attack a Russian port.
ALLIED POWERS: UK, France, Russia, and eventually the US (Romania, Portugal, and Greece would later join)
CENTRAL POWERS: Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria
The US would stay out of the war until 1917 when the ZIMMERMANN NOTE was intercepted. The telegram was a proposed secret alliance between Mexico and Germany, should the US enter the war.
Unrestricted German SUBMARINE warfare was hurting US commercial shipping.
The US declared war against Germany.
63 million people were directly involved in WW1. 39 million for the Allies and 24 million for the Central Powers.
No war in history altered the political landscape in EUROPE like WW1 did. Once POWERFUL EMPIRES FELL (The Ottoman Empire) and new countries grew out of them. POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, and SOCIAL consequences felt the world over (did not matter if your country did not participate).
WEAPONS AND TECHNOLOGY:
The WEAPONS of WW1 completely revolutionized warfare.
Soldiers used BOLT-ACTION RIFLES.
MACHINEGUNS were used, but were only good in stationary battle(s), as well as HEAVY-SEIGE GUNS (Big Bertha).
One of the biggest innovations of WW1 was the use of POISON GAS, so (ANTI)-GAS MASKS were needed.
The heavy use of different poisons had WW1 nicknamed the “Chemists War.”
TEARGAS, CHLORINE, and MUSTARD GAS were among the chemicals being used.
The TANK was used for the 1st time. They were used to combat the stalemate caused by TRENCH WARFARE.
THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES:
Signed in 1919 the treaty ended the STATE OF WAR between Germany and the Allied Powers.
An ARMISTICE ended WW1. Originally signed in 1918, it took a year and a ½ for Germany and the Allieds to agree.
27 Allied nations held talks with Germany, except for RUSSIA, which had made a treaty with Germany the previous year.
The 5 major victors were the US, GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, JAPAN, and ITALY.
The BIG 4, after Japan bowed out, met, though disagreed on which was the best course.
The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to take sole responsibility for the war and were forced to pay extremely high REPARATIONS, which ruined their already bad economy. Germany also had to cede large portions of their territory and their colonies.
Germans hated the treaty and the country did not sign it until they had no choice.
The MYTH that the failure of the German public to support the war caused friction and the Jews were blamed for selling Germany out to the Allies (the lead up to WW2 with the fight between Hitler/Germany vs. the Jews).
Many thought the treaty would last only 20 years (which it did – WW2 started 20 years later).
THE AFTERMATH OF WW1:
After 4 YEARS of fighting, millions had lost their lives, and the world was forever changed.
The greatest consequence of the war was the MASSIVE LOSS OF LIFE. 16 million people (the exact # is debated) lost their lives.
The effect(s) of the 1918 FLU PANDEMIC had 50 million people in the world dying.
The ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES for waging a world war were also great.
Old empires faded as new countries emerged (and others gained more power).
Social issues, such as WOMEN IN THE WORKFORCE (gaining a more prominent role), changed as well.
Political lines were redrawn (once powerful German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires were dissolved, with the latter 2 ceasing to exist altogether). FINLAND, TURKEY, and CZECHOSLOVAKIA emerged from this.
Germany got a new government that was riddled with issues. The gov had to deal with HYPER-INFLATION, HOSTILITIES from other countries, and extremists within their own country, with many very RESENTFUL of the Treaty of Versailles, as well as being forced to take sole responsibility for the war.
ADOLF HITLER used these tensions to rise to power (through his NAZI gov) in Germany. They were known as the 3rd REICH.
20 years later GERMANY will INVADE POLAND, setting off WW2.