World War I: The Great War By Natalie Bous

This is a photo of the British Soldiers in World War I.

What Were the Causes of World War I? What Were the Conflicts? Who Was Involved?

  • Causes: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Emperor Franz Josef's nephew and heir to Austria-Hungarian Empire was shot and killed. His wife was killed by a Serbian Nationalist. This caused the war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia to occur. There was also rivalry building up between the Great Powers, i.e. Great Britain, Russia, and France feared Germany's rise in European power.
  • Countries Involved: The key participants in the "Great War" were the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire), and the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, and Russia).
  • More Conflict: In Europe, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28th, 1914.
  • Another Conflict: Four days later, Russia and Germany declared war on each other.
  • Another Conflict: That same day, France orders a general mobilization. This war was one of destruction and life loss, which killed many and devastated much of Europe.

How Were Nationalism, Imperialism, and Militarism Causes of World War I?

  • Nationalism: It created fierce competition and rivalry between the European powers due to becoming ver patriotic. The powers with this conflict were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Italy, and France.
  • Imperialism: It determined the American unit of land that Britain and France owned. This led to an even bigger rivalry with Germany, which sought to acquire colonies later on and only controlled small portions of Africa.
  • Militarism: Becuase each country wanted to have the most military strength, alliances formed. Germany and Austria allied, which caused Russia and France to ally in order to threaten Germany. Italy joined the German Alliance, whereas Britain joined Russia's alliance, creating risks that could easily trigger war.

This is a photo of British soldiers carrying the German's weapons for World War I preparations.

What Caused the United States to Enter World War I?

  • Violation of Neutrality: The British navy blockaded Germany and laid mines in the North Sea in August of 1914. The navy also also stopped U.S. ships bound for neutral countries due to looking for goods that might be for the Germans. Wilson protested this violation. In repsonse to Britain declaring a "war zone", Germany attacked all the ships around the area. Wilson demanded that unrestricted submarine warefare ended, and the U.S. no longer remained a neutral country.
  • Alliances: The United States joined the Allies in the Great War on April 6th, 1917, having the same desire to defeat the Germans after they refused to put their unrestricted submarine warefare to a hault and sent the Zimmerman Note about helping Mexico in reconquering their lost territory.
  • Sympathies Toward Europe: Due to the Lusitania ship sinking in Europe on May 7th, 1915, it brought conflict closer to the United States, due to it harming Americans and Europeans. Agreeing with the Allies purpose to fight, the U.S. joined them in the war.

This is a photo of the American soldiers battling in World War I.

What Was the Profile of an American Soldier in World War I?

  • American Dough Boys: They were U.S. infantry troops, who carried all their neccesary equipment in a "field kit" on their backs. They were middle aged men, typically, and they were U.S. Citizens. They had around-the-waist design pockets for automatic weapons, which were new weapons that amazed people and become widely used during the Great War. Also, they had gas masks to filter poisonous fumes, along with steal helmets to prevent head wounds. These soldiers also carried tents, poles, blankets, socks, etc. as necessities. They also had steal containers to hold their rations. Although these soldiers complained about carrying these heavy packs, they knew that having them could be the difference between life and death.
  • "Average" American Soldier: More than half of the American soldiers in the Great War were draftees. Foreign born soldiers faced segregation and often discrimination. They were trained at a camp and medically examined. They learned military rules, drilling with their equipment, exercising, and preparing for inspections. They spent a lot of time learning how to fight. In the end, these soldiers usually had excellent health.

This is a photo of the Great American Dough Boys in battle.

The Battle of Verdun Summary

  • Description: It was the longest single battle of World War I. It was a German attack on the French Army. Falkenhayn, the German Chief, believed that this attack would impact the French so greatly that it would change the course of the war. Fort Douamont fell from German attack at Verdun. Although, it was later recaptured by the French, along with Vaux. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and the battle lasted for over 300 days. Later, the British launched the Battle of the Somme in July of 1916, in hope that a British victory would force the Germans out of Verdun.
  • Soldier's Experience in Battle: It was a very bloody battle with many men. Lots of people were killed at once. The French soldiers were ravenous and dehydrated. They would drink water from filthy ponds. The soldiers would rather die from a bullet than suffer through the war due its violence. There were dead people all around. Soldiers had to eat, sleep, and drink with the dead. Many soldiers described it as hell.
  • Casualties in Battle: French Losses: 337,231 , German Losses: 337,000 , Total Losses: 714,231

This is a photo of the French soldiers in the Battle of Verdun.

What Were the Homefront Experiences Like During World War I?

  • Daily Life for People at Home: People were very patriotic. Even if they weren't working, they focused on war work. Even young children had organizations, such as Khaki Babes to discuss war work. All in all, the Great War greatly influenced nationalism.
  • Women: They began working outside of home. The amount of women doing this increased by 6% during the war. Traditionally, the women took male jobs, such as being a mechanic or metalworker. 1.5 billion women worked in the industry. Women helped in wartime mobilization too, through The Women Commitee of the Council of National Defense. Women's efforts helped politically change the United States, including the Changing of the 19th Ammendment, recognizing women wartime contributions.
  • Minorities: The labor shortage spurred immigration, especially from Mexico due to people wanting to escape the Mexican Revolution. Others were lured by southwestern employers who depended on Mexican labor. Due to America having job opportunities and the chances of higher wages, The Great Migration occurred in which hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved northward to escape the discrimination and difficult living and working conditions.
  • Labor Force: Wilson moved to mobilize the nation. He wanted the U.S. economy to be recognized, so he found ways to raise money for the war. Because of this, many employees pitched in to mobilize the military compaign. Labor was needed, so the unionized workers went on strike, and their working conditions were improved. In order to prevent strikes and enable fair wage, the National Labor Board made sure that the labor force was fair, efficient, and had limited conflicts within it.
  • War Supporters: The Community on Public Information supported the war by creating propaganda showing the Germans as monsters. The American Protective League and the American Defense Society spied to identify "spies and traitors".
  • War Opposers: Quakers and Mennoties were opposed to the war, due to their faith in pacifism—the refusal to use violence to settle disputes. The Socialist Party of the United States also opposed the war. This party believed that warring nations were using working people as tools in capitalist struggle for control over world markets.
  • Sacrifices: Many Americans, even the war supporters, felt that Espoinage Act and Sedition Act—both outlawing acts of treason and making it a crime to criticize the U.S. nationalism—violated the First Ammendment. The United States was in need of more labor, so the conditions of working were decreased and of a lower quality for people.
  • Hardships: Due to Quakers and Mennoties opposing the war, they faced violence and abuse by American war supporters. Differential opinions about the involvement in war caused conflict with citizens and the government in the United States.
  • Successes: The U.S. Economy grew from increasing job opportunities, fueled by the war. Immigration and the Labor Force brought in more job opportunities.
  • Challenges: The Supreme Court and Americans citizens disagreed on the Espoinage Act and Sedition Act violating the First Ammendment. The U.S. was rather divided over the debate of supporting or opposing the war. An excessive amount of violence and abuse was fueled by the disagreement over going into the Great War.

This is a photo of women working in the industry during the Great War.

What Were the Outcomes of World War I?

  • Winner: The Allied Powers won the Great War in the late summer of 1918.
  • Provisions of the Treaty of Versailles: It was established on June 28, 1919. Because the Central Powers lost, Germany's colonies and the Ottoman Empire were divided among all of the Allied Nations. Also, Germany was disarmed, forced to admit full responsibility for the war, and charged billions of dollars in reparations.
  • Wilson's 14 Points: In 1917, it was a program established for world peace. Nine points delt with the issue of self-determination—the right of people to govern themselves. Other points focused on what Wilson considered to be the causes of modern war, such as secret diplomacy, the arms race, violations of freedom of the seas, and trade barriers. The final point of it was the establishment of the League of Nations, which was designed to prevent offensive wars and was the heart of the program. America was for it, other Allies weren't as enthusiastic, and the Germans rejected the program.
  • Lands That Were Lost: Germany and the Ottoman Empire lost land. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were established by the League of Nations. Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland were re-established as independent nations, causing Russia and Germany to lose land.
  • Money Owed: Germany owed money. They were charged billions of dollars in reparations.
  • Statistics (Deaths): There were 38 million military and civilian casualties, over 17 million deaths, 20 million wounded, 11 million military personnel deaths, and 7 million civilian deaths.
  • United States and an Outcome of World War I: The United States did NOT rationalize or agree with the Treaty of Versailles or Wilson's 14 Points.

This is a photo of a German town— post World War I.

Credits:

Created with images by kev-shine - "Feather" • SixRevisions - "Brown Paper 02" • dtmarch - "Blue" • geirt.com - "grey coot"

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