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The First World War / The Disintegration of the Established Order

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Kenneth Bartlett

HIS March 7 , 2 The First World War Most terrible cataclysmic event since the Black Death Led to a period of instability even though it was supposed to be a war to end all wars Period from the Congress Vienna to the years before WWI were relatively peaceful Everyone seemed to walk blindly into the event, they knew it was going to happen but no one did anything to stop it Immediate cause was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip Franz Ferdinand (d. 1914) Heir to the Habsburg Dynasty Theories as to why the archduke was a target of assassination: independent, liberal to the Slavic minorities (thought to have wanted to turn the Dual Monarchy into the Triple Monarchy) Had to be taken out or else the ambitions of the Serbs could not happen Austrians gave an ultimatum to Serbia, & they accepted 10 of the 11, & refused the one in which the Austrians could investigate the assassination Austrians refused to accept this Russia posed a problem because they felt the Serbs were their brethren French began to stir up the Russians, they told them not to back down or else it would weaken the Triple Entente (had to maintain power & authority, Russians backing down would present a point of weakness) Germans were ambiguous felt that the Austrians obtained enough from the Serbs to maintain their status, however they stood by Austria Two power blocs (Triple alliance & Triple Entente) came into conflict with one another Europe was preparing for war decades before had war plans, overwhelming force & mobilization plans Tsar Nicolas II began to mobilize Russia, & Germany began to realize how serious the situation was Germans had to respond by responding to the French, however the French were ambiguous Germany Quickest way to get to France was through Belgium, however Belgium was neutral, Britain was forced to declare war on Germany Turkey entered the war on the side of the Alliances (wanted to maintain power in Ottoman Empire), Japan on the side of the Entente (wanted German colonies in the East & in China) Germany said this was a war against Russian autocracy (Darwinian argument that came out again & again during the 19 century) At the beginning everyone believed that the war would be short due to mechanized war (bombs, aircraft, use of mines, tanks, & poison gas) Resulted in the loss of the space between the trenches because both sides were evenly matched Appalling loss of life Americans entering the war tipped the scale of balance significantly Forces of Nationalism: Marx workers have no nation, only a ligancy to other workers When war broke out, every socialist conception joined the countries colours (every worker turned out to be just as nationalistic) Russia: Alexander Kerenckzy (1881-1970) Russian Monarchy was inept; the Tsar pursued a war policy that his nation could not support Wilhelm II seen as a problem Woodrow Wilson & the Americans began to identify the elements that would lead to peace (these points set out by Wilson were adopted by the Entente) Versailles Treaty was harsh & punitive especially towards Germany & Austria Situation was created which would lead to war once again Woodrow Wilson Lloyd-George Clemenceau HIS109
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