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Lecture 6

Hist 122 Semester 2, Week 6.docx

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HIST 122
Amitava Chowdhury

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Semester 2, Week 6
Hist 122
The First Total War
I. The Path to the Great War
WWI: The Very Basic Facts
July 1914 Nov 1918
28 Allied and Associated powers vs. 4 Central Powers
Nationalist aspirations, international imperial rivalries, flexible alliance
A „total war‟
Industrial war
Unprecedented casualties 15 million died, 20 million injured
Economic and political consequences
The path to war
June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
1908 Austria-Hungary took over Bosnia
Slavic countries rebelled against German A-H majority
The other side of patriotism
Rise of nationalism (self-determination)
The Ottoman Empire and the Balkan area
o “Sick man of Europe”
o Falling apart and being taken up by Russia or A-H
o Forming own nation or connect to Serbia
o The Black Hand
Power Blocs
o Serbia supported by Russia
o A-H supported by Germany
Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1908) by A-H
o Slavic movements intensified
National Rivalries
Anglo-German industrial race
o 1831 32% GB industrialized dominance
o 1914 GB and Germ. Industrialization equal
Escalating naval race (dreadnoughts) between GB and Ger.
Disputes over colonies: GB vs. Rus; GB vs. FR; GB vs. Ger; Ger vs. FR
Crises and local wars: Morocco (1905); Balkan Wars (1912-1913)
Identity, newspapers, awkwardness
o Nationalism arrogant nationalism
o Desire to be the best nation
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1879 Dual Alliance with Ger and A-H
1892 Italy joins Triple Alliance
1915 Italy joins GB and FR
1907 GB and Res and FR make Triple Alliance
Guns of August
23 July A-H empire gives ultimatum to Serbia
Agree to everything except relinquishing sovereignty
28 July A-H declares war on Serbia
Two factors: alliance systems and mobilization plans
o FR Plan 17 --- 2 fold
o Ger Schlieffen Plan --- 2 fold
1. Attack Western front (i.e. FR)
2. Attack Eastern front (i.e Rus)
Chain reaction
o 3rd August Ger declares war on FR
o 4th August GB tells Ger to withdraw from Belgium; Ger declines;
GB declares war on Ger
The August Euphoria
“This war is fine and just and great” – Alain Fournier
Most believed war would end in weeks or at most a few months
Only poor dreaded the war
o Knew they would suffer
War of Attrition
War came to standstill between GB and FR against Ger
No gain between either side
Trench system
The War Spreads
1914 begins in Europe
1915 spreads to global war
Three reasons:
1) Embroiling the colonies
a. Provided soldiers
2) New human reserves
3) Japan, US, and the Ottomans
a. Japan begins Eastern war
Japan declares war on Ger (Aug 23, 1914)
o Took over Ger occupations in China
o Began taking over Ger colonies in Pacific
War on Ger colonies in Africa
o Standstill here too
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