World War One


Geographical Europe:  Do Ma of Europe. pg 555  Home work is this, 566 fighting overthere to 576 the end of the chapter


Homework 574 - 576



The president is Woodrow Wilson.


Interestgly no one knows why WWI happened.  That is the tragedy.  Men had created all the machines of the industrial revolution and then boom.


The  Western Front

By November, when the winter rains began and all got muddy, the war of rapid movement turned into slogging matches between entrenched armies.  The Shlieffen Plan was dead.


In the first four days of fighting the French lost 140,000 men.  In the first 16 months the French and german had each had about 600,000 killed.  But the real horror of the war was trenches.


Draw the Trenches and explain the difficulty.


Some attempts to advance (Verdun for example at 336,000) cost hundreds of thousands of lives and went nowhere.  People were stuck and heroism was dead.  There was just stupidity and pointlessness.


and so the Battle lines were drawn for 4 years.


Show the transparence of the front in 1914 - 18.



We’ll look at several causes of WWI, but to me the most interesting is the concept of National character.  This is the one we shall  emphasize.  We shall look at that then other , immediate causes of the war, and then the war itself, and finally the results of the war.


If this is so then the nations, were real entities.  Part of this was their history, their culture, their food, their race, their language.  It is all summarized as their National Character.  America also has a national character.


 I’ve chosen the most commonly chosen philosophers that reveal their national characters.


This is nationalism, the result of napoleon, writ large.  We must say that war is a great equalizer.  It reduces all to shambles.  But before war and after, the differences are strong.


 If you go to France you will find the people mysterious and rude.  They don’t tolerate lessers like the americans.  They sit in cafes and drink coffee and smoke artistically with their berets on.


The germans are very machine like.  They follow the laws exactly.  Tell of my experiences in Germany. 

The Germans terrorize militaristically and cruelly (as they do in WWII).


The British are nothing special.  The british are a plain people with plain food.

The English don’t have the draft during WWi (the only country) as it wouldn’t be fair. 


I haven’t been to russia, but it is usally described as bleak.  It has only had maybe 10 years of democracy. It didn’t get rid of the middle ages system of peasants and nobles until 1861.  It has often had bad cruel leaders.

The Russians always fight a tragic stupid battle won by numbers and the fact that noone can endure the russians painful lifes winter.  Their misery kills their enemies.


The Americans practicality makes them want to stay out of this war of lunatics.


We shall see how such things effect the military of countries.  The french need enthusiqasm and artistically bright clothes and nostalgic methods of fighting. 


After 1917 the conflict of ideologies supplemented that of nation states.  Now that is dead  All the great 19th century political ideals fought over were western.



National character


The Austrians wanted to take the Serbs. 

Russia said they’d back up the Serbs. 

If so the Russians backed up the Serbs, the Germans said they’d back up Austria.

France said that they’d back up Russia if they were attacked by Germany.

If France attacked Germany then Italy would join Germany.

England weren’t sure, but said they’d probably back up France.

America Wanted nothing to do with the crazy Europeans.


Countries with Minorities

Draw a map that shows the racial divisions, and Bosnia Herzogovina and Austria and Serbia.  DRAW Page 588 and do section 3



Bismarck had predicted that “Some damned foolish thing in the balkans,” would ignite the next war.  And it did. 

The Actual Explosion

You could say the war started because of one pistol shot.

It was the assasination of the Austrian heir apparent,  Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by Serbian Nationalists on June 28, 1914.  Hungarian Austrian (Germanic) Empire said it was worried about separatists and demanded that Serbia had to allow Austria to stop anti Austrian propaganda and groups  and that all Serb officials who were anti Austria should be dismissed.


The Serbians were given 48 hours to reply. 

Austria was sure it could beat Serbia and take part of it.


When Austria had done its prior aggression, the Kaiser said he would be there in “Shining Armor” to help his ally Austria.  Russia could do nothing about this attack on the Slavs by the Germanics as it had just been whooped by Japan.   


At that point the drama was set.On July 23rd Austria delivered an ultimatum to Serbia.   On July 26th the serbs rejected it, on July 28th Austria declared war on Serbia, And on July 29th started their attack.


On July 30th  Russia ordered  mobilization against Austria.  On July 31 Germany told Russia to back down within 12 hours and say they’d done so.


On august 1st there was no reply from Russia.  Germany was sure that Communists were causing problems in Russia and they wouldn’t fight well.  In Berlin on August 1st crowds gathered outside the Kaiser’s palace.  In germany the workers love of communism wasn’t as strong as their hate of Slavs.


The Kaiser  told his people that the “sword has been forced into our hand:.  They waited nervously for a declaration and then at 5 o’clock policemen at the palace anounced Men were to report for service.  The crowds immediately broke into singing their national anthem “Now we thank our god”, people cheered wildly and many suspected russian spies were beaten to death that and the next days.




The Schlieffen Plan

Draw a Map of Europe 


The Schlieffen Plan was named after the man who headed the German general staff from 1892 till 1905. 


          His plan of attack assumed the Russians and the The French would join.  And it figured that the best french troops would go for an attack down the middle.  Therefore, he recommended, sending the best troops through Belgium and down to Paris for a quick wipe out of France.

          The critical factor was time.  They had 6 weeks to take france and get back to defend from Russia.

          Remember Neitsche?   The German General was Von Moltke.  Von Moltke told King albert of Belgium once, “Your Majesty cannot imagine the irresistible enthusiasm which will permeate Germany on the Day”.  The german Army was invincible.  Nothing could stand up to the furor teutonicus; terribel destruction would mark its path; its victory could not be in doubt.

          The German General was Von Moltke.  He had been under Schlieffen.  There was a chance to avert all out war.  Britain and France would possibly stay nuetral if France wasn’t attacked.    The Kaiser was Excited as they could concentrate their whole army on Russia. 

          Von Moltke refused absolutely.  For ten years he had been preparing “the day” when he’d do the Schlieffen plan.  He was ready for this plan that would lead Germany to its final mastery of Europe. 


          When told that war with France and England could be averted Von Moltke told the Kaiser “Your Majesty, it cannot be done.  The deployment of millions cannot be improvised.  If Your Majesty insists on leading the whole army to the East it will not be an army ready for battle, but a disorganized mob of armed men with no arrangements for supply.  Those arrangements took a whole year of intricate labor to complete.  And once settled “he finished” it cannot be altered”.

          The German people would not be robbed of their glory.

          He convinced the Kaiser.  And on August 2nd, they had crossed into Nuetral Belgium illegally.


-The War-

                                                The Belgians

          The King of Belgium was Albert.  He had asked that the Germans respect his countries nuetrality as it fought France.  Instead Germans told Albert they intended to go to France through Belgium.  If uninterrupted, they would withdraw once they had taken France.  It was said that this was necessary defensively as the French had started the war by attacking them intellectually, by no doubt planning to attack.    If Belgium refused they were to be devestated.  This was given to them on August 2nd as they were entering Belgium. 


Little belgium wanted to be nuetral because it was little.


King Albert had a big decision to make.  He wasn’t slated to be King.  But the real heirs had died and he was really well liked.  He read alot and was very energetic and never did the pomp of other royals and had a good marriage.


          The Belgium troops were not prepared for war.  The Generals had always believed the germans when they said they would always respect little Belgiums nuetrality.  King Albert knew better as he had been to a dinner with the Kaiser and Von Moltke where they had told him war with france was coming.  Von Moltke told him, “Your Majesty cannot imagine the irresistible enthusiasm which will permeate Germany on the Day”.  The german Army was invincible.  Nothing could stand up to the furor teutonicus; terribel destruction would mark its path; its victory could not be in doubt. 


But King Albert couldn’t lead the military unless there was war declared.


Good King Albert realized that once  the Germans got into Belgium they wouldn’t leave, they wanted to rule Europe.   On August second at 9pm in the palace he told the government.  “Oour answer must be “NO” whatever the consequences.  Our duty is to defend our territorial integrity.  In this we must not fail”  But he said don’t be fooled the war wil be grave and terrible.


Nervous germans needed to strike fast and had always thought the Belgiums would be cowards and not fight.  They tried to convince the Belgians they meant no harm.


Belgium blew up its bridges and railroads to slow the Germans.


The germans took two weeks to get through Belgium.  The world was stunned and made proud by the little doomed Belgians defiance.  Indeed their actions

delayed the Germans long enough for the  to counterattack by French reserves on the German’s left. 


But they didn’t fully counter and destroy the Germans.  This was because the French had their best troops showing their Elan Vital by going up the middle and they would not retreat as an evolving confident people or species would never go back. 


The Russians were very late materializing (they still weren’t over their butt whipping by Japan)  but they did get into Eastern Prussia and this caused the Germans to take troops away from the West and put them towards the East.  



          The Eastern Front

The Russians were incompetent and beaten and so poorly supplied.  They tried to show they were serious by stopping the sale of Vodka in their country.  Their nation earnings dropped by one third.  They had one victory against Austria, but after that they fell back.  In 1915 The russians were pushed back into Russia and their casualties were 1 million.


They put together another huge army and got back some of their losses, but Most of east4ern Europe (Finland, poland ukraine and the baltic states became German satellites).


America Enters

The unites states enters even though Wilson campaigned on “he kept us out of war”.



1 – The Lusitania.  1,198 people (128 Americans) die

2 – The Zimmerman note

We are fresh we kick butt.

Results of WWI

Wilson’s 14 points

1) League of Nations

Wilsons 14 points appealed to oppressed people everywhere.  It was a rational plan for remaking the world on sane principles.


 1. Nations should engage only in open covenants (agreements) openly arrived at.  There should be no secret treaties among nations.


2. Freedom of the seas should be maintained for all.


3. Tarriffs and other economic barriers among nations should be lowered or abolished in order to foster free trade.


4. Arms should be reduced “to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety” in order to lessen militaristic impulses during diplomatic crises.


5. Colonialism policies should consider the interests of the colonial peoples as well as the interests of the imperialist powers.

The most important points are:

Self determination

The next points dealt with specific boundary changes.  Wilson based these provisions on the principle of self-determination “along historically established lines of nationality.” In other words, national groups who claimed distinct ethnic identities were to decide for themsleves what nations they would belong to.

League of nations

The 14th and capstone was the league of nations. 

The leage was to be an international body that would work toward global disarmament, self determination for subject peoples, and better relations between workers and owners.


Its members would pledge to honor one another’s territory and independence, and to submit to discussion, arbitration and a cooling off period if war iwith another member seemed imminent.


Unlike earlier alliances, it would allow all countries in it.

European reaction

The winners wanted :  Colonies and revenge.


He found out that the French and British leaders of the peace treaty conference were more interested in imperialism and revenge than Wilsons rational plans to remake the world.  They were all ready to carve up the colonial booty. 


The ottoman empire had been defeated , was the enemy and they were gonna take it all.


Syria and lebanon were given to France and Palestine, Jordan and Iraq were given to Iraq.  Iraq had Kuwait divided out of it.


They were just “Mandates” meaning all administration would be done by the European colonizers.



The worst part was that the french wanted part of Germany.  They wanted their colonies and to take some of their terrritory and for them to pay for the war.


Wilson said this will just lead to further war (it did).  You cant have the French rule several million Germans.  But the french were more into passion and art and revenge than common sense.


The Germans also lost some territory to Checkloslovakia and poland


The treaty also required that Germany repay much of the cost of the war.  They wanted $5 billion immediately and $32 billion plus interest two years later.


It also reduced their military.


The Japanese wanted parts of China that Germany had controlled.


To get it passed he had to give in to the romantic passions of the victors.  He had to give Part of China to Japan.  He had to allow revenge taken on Germany.


The Treaty of Versaille, finally signed in June, 1919, included only aobut four of the original Fourteen Points.


Many came back from the war sick of the insanity of Europe and didn’t want any league that involved us in protecting them from eachother.


And, in the end, Wilson was too stubborn to get it passed in America.  Henry Cabot Lodge was his advesary.

American reaction

People wanted to stay out of the league of nations because it maeant that we’de be tied to European security and Europe was crazy.

Belief that people are crazy

America goes to war on FILM movie and our industrial strength.

Some call it greed.


Result of WWI


1) WW2

2) UN