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Lecture 4

Week 4 Grenville notes


Department
History
Course Code
HISB31H3
Professor
Neville Panthaki
Lecture
4

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1. Over the brink: the five-week crisis, 28 June—1 August 1914
there was widespread illusion about course Great War would take—troops left for front believing that they would be home by Christmas,
with new mass armies it was thought that the war would be decided by devastating battles fought at the onset—no one expected that this
would be just another war, like those of the mid-19th century, ending with victors exacting some territorial and financial punishment from
vanquished and leading to new balance of power
assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 was work of handful of Bosnian youths who had dedicated their
lives to Serb nationalism and had been greatly influenced b Russian terrorists in exile; they received their weapons from the secret
Serbian conspiratorial Black Hand organization; Bosnian youths who had spent some time in Belgrade, had been helped across Serb
frontier by Serbian agents
amateur assassins bungled task—on morning of 28 June, 1st attempt failed and bomb thrown by 1 of 6 conspirators exploded under car
following archduke
archduke, his wife and governor of Bosnia drove through open streets again same afternoon, and when archduke’s chauffeur hesitated
with which way to go, by mere change one of the conspirator found himself opposite archduke’s stationary car; he aimed two shots at
archduke and governor of Bosnia; they mortally wounded Franz Ferdinand and his wife
the assassination of the archduke was unwelcome news to the government, for the king and his government would now be called to
account for allowing anarchical political conditions which gave the terrorists their base and power
every Austro-Hungarian minister since 1909 realized that the threat to the existence of the Habsburg Empire was due not to the challenge
of any of the small Balkan states such as Serbia, but to Russia utilising Balkan discontents against the Dual Monarchy, which is why the
misunderstanding and dispute between Russia and Austria-Hungary—the so-called Bosnian crisis—was such a significant milestone on
the road to war
in Berlin, for two years and more there had been mounting fears about the planned expansion of Russian military power; the weakness of
Habsburg Monarchy became increasingly apparent, and there were serious doubts about its future after the old emperor’s death, which
could not be long delayed
imperial Germany felt it needed the support of Austria-Hungary if the mass Russian Slav armies were to be checked
on 23 July, the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum was presented in the Belgrade and, in just 6 days, Europe plunged headlong from peace to
certain war
on 25 July, Serbia mobilised its army and, in a cleverly worded reply later that day, appeared to accept many of the Austrian demands,
although not to the point of submitting Serbia to Austrian supervision; the same evening, the Austro-Hungarian ambassador left Belgrade
and Austria-Hungary mobilised
even though the Austro-Hungarian army would not be ready for another three weeks, Austria-Hungary declared war on 28 July, and to
make war irrevocable, bombarded Belgrade on 29 July
on 25 July, the tsar at an imperial council confirmed the need for preparatory military measures in anticipation of partial mobilisation
by 26 July, these secret preparations were in full swing, which burst into frenzy on 29 July after news of Austrian declaration of war and
bombardment
nature of Germany military planning had made war inevitable after Russian partial mobilisation on 29 July
very concept of Schlieffen Plan was responsible for situation that mobilisation meant war
ultimatums were sent to Russia and France and war was declared with unseemly haste on Russia on 1 August 1914, and on France 2 days
later
German invasion of Belgium was followed by a British ultimatum and declaration on 4 August
responsibility for starting the conflict in July and August must rest primarily on shoulders of Germany and Austria-Hungary
Russia and France reacted and chose to fight rather than to withdraw from the confrontation, which would have left the diplomatic victory
to Germany and Austria-Hungary; for Britain it was a preventive war, but Britain’s was a “preventive” war in quite a different sense to
Germanys
British government had done everything possible to prevent war from breaking out, but Cabinet decided it could not afford to stand aside
war broke out in 1914 not only as a consequence of shots at Sarajevo as the tensions that had been building up in Europe and wider world
for 2 decades and more had created the frame of mind that led European chancelleries along a fatal path
for Britain, faced with the relative decline of its power, the problem of defending its empire loomed ever larger; it negotiated with France
a division of interests of territory—Morocco and Egypt—that did not exclusively belong to either
just as it wanted to avoid imperial clashes with Russia, so too Britain feared that the entente with France might not prove strong enough
to prevent Germany and France reaching a settlement of their differences, then Britain would have been isolated in the world
war was about national power, and ambitions, and also fears as to how national power would in the future be exercised
what the coming of the war in 1914 reveals is how a loss of confidence and fears for the future can be as dangerous to peace as the naked
spirit of aggression that was to be the cause of WWII a quarter of a century later
a handful of European leaders in 1914 conceived national relationships crudely in terms of power and conflict, and the future in terms of
a struggle for survival in competition for the world—for this, millions had to suffer and die
2. China in disintegration, 1900 – 29
hugeness of China in land area and population makes it all the more extraordinary that for more than a 1000 years a concept of unity had
been maintained; other peoples were absorbed as China expanded as in traditional China, to be considered Chinese was not a matter of
race or nationality in the Western sense but depended on an acceptance of Chinese customs and culture
those who did not accept them—even people within Chinese frontiers—were considered ‘barbarian’
from the later Ch’ing period in the 1840s until the close of the civil war in 1949, China knew no peace and passed through a number of
phases of disintegration which no single ruler who followed the Ch’ing dynasty after 1911 could halt
in 19th century a double crisis threatened the cohesion and stability of China and undermined traditional China and rule of Ch’ing dynasty
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