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Lecture 4

HST 504 - Week 4.docx

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Ryerson University
HST 504
Mike Kasprzak

HST 504 – Week 4 Keywords ―race to the sea‖ September Program Gallipoli campaign Armenian genocide Russian Revolution Vladimir Lenin Hundred Days Offensive Treaty of Brest-Litovsk The Opening Manoeuvres: Strategies and Aims in 1914 - At the beginning of the Great War, all the Great Powers activated their war plans and launched offensives to defeat their enemies. - On the eastern front, the Russians were defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg by the Germans but managed to score victories against Austria-Hungary. - On the western front, the Schlieffen Plan pushed the German armies through Belgium and into France. - Yet, as the Germans advanced deep into French territory, their offensive ran out of steam. - At the Battle of the Marne, the German advancement towards Paris was stopped. - What remained was the ―race to the sea‖ as the armies tried to outflank each other. - By November of 1914, no decisive victory could be proclaimed and so a deadlock ensued as each side built lines of trenches and barbwire. - The war of attrition had begun even though no state had prepared for a long drawn-out war. - Moreover, all the Great Powers came to believe that peace could be only ensured through total defeat of the enemy. - The Germans’ ―September Program‖ called for a complete destruction of France’s military power by annexation of all her main fortresses in the north-east and by extensive reparations. - Germans would then create a Mitteleuropa, an economic bloc based in Central Europe that would dominate the entire continent. - There were states that hoped to acquire territory: the Italians dreamed of expanding in Trentino, Triese and around the Adriatic coast; the Bulgarians wanted to grab all of the Macedonian territories; while the French, at the very least, wanted to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine. - All wanted to enlarge their spheres of influence: Russia over the Balkans and the Dardanelle Straits; Britain and France over the Middle East; and Japan over the Chinese mainland Search for Allies - The search for allies became a central objective of both camps. - This was difficult as many European countries remained neutral throughout the war, including Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. - The Germans managed to score the first success by convincing the Ottoman Empire to join Central powers in October of 1914. - The Turks promptly closed the Dardanelles to Entente shipping, creating a communication rupture between Russia and her western allies. - Under the Treaty of London, which entailed vast territorial promises, an Anglo-French effort convinced the Italians to abandon the Triple Alliance. - In the Fall of 1915, Bulgaria joined the war on the side of Austria-Hungary and Germany under promise of territorial expansion (into Macedonia at the expense of Serbia). - The Central powers were thus ensured of control of the Balkan Peninsula. - By the following summer, the Entente powers made equally enticing territorial promises (especially of Transylvania) to Romania, convincing Bucharest to declare war on Vienna in order to provide some relief to the Russians. - Finally, under enormous pressure, Greece joined the Allies in May of 1917. - Similarly, Portugal was swept by the tides of war when Germany declared war on her due to her refusal to halt trade with Britain. - Extra-European alliances were also sought. The Japanese alignment with France and Britain gave them a peace of mind about East Asia. - Yet, France and Britain remained concerned about Germany’s alliance with the Turkish government, which called for a jihad (i.e., Holy War) against the Entente powers. - Sir He
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