HIST 1084 Lecture 11: The Origins of World War I

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28 Feb 2017
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The Origins of World War I
Europe, 1914
Wealth, technology, empire, invincibility
Age of Optimism
But..arms race, competition, unsettled grudges,nationalism, secret alliances
Instability in heavily armed world
1815 Congress of Vienna structure outdated in the 20th Century
19th Century Baggage
Unfinished business
National gripes
Outdated congress system
Major powers have chip on their shoulder
Russo-Japanese War
1905
Russia lost war to Meiji Japan
Embarrassment
Non European power
Eager to reclaim status
Causes of War
Nationalism
Dominant ideology
Arms race
Old rivalries
Empire
False confidence
German aggression?
Accident waiting to happen
Shared responsibilities
Centrifugal Nationalism
Breaks up empires, states
Pan-Slavism
Serbian Nationalism
The Black Hand
Centripetal Nationalism
Nationalism solidifies states and their imperialist venture
Empires an extension of domestic Nationalism: Success based on violence, perceived
superiority, public support
European populations saw benefits of Empire without witnessing human costs up close
Colonial victories help de-sensitize public to bloodshed
British and German arms Race
Germany began to build up its navy, hoping to catch up with Europe’s other naval
powers
Britain responds with own policy: navy should always be the size of the world’s second
and third largest navies combined
Spending and taxes justified by propaganda against German Huns
Causes of War-Alliances
Central powers: Germany, Austria, Ottoman
Entente Powers: UK, France, Russia, Japan
Schlieffen Plan
German troops would sweep into FRance, take PAris by surprise
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