HIST Midterm Review
Major European and NonEuropean Powers at the Start of the 20 Centuryh
Britain: has a huge overseas empire, most of it outside of Europe. Had the world’s strongest naval fleet. Constitutional monarchy >
France: Britain’s rival. Only power that was a republic, head of state was not a monarch, but an elected president. Republic since 1781.
Elected parliament, system contained many more political parties. Subject to greater instability than Britain’s two or three party system.
Like Britain, had an extensive overseas empire. Most ethnically homogenous of all empires > mostly all French people.
Germany: France and russia (early Germany) fought and France was crushed, so rivalry began. Seen as the pivotal state at start of 20 . th
Unified 1871, no state until Prussia defeated France >German Reich. Emergence of Germany as a powerful empire in the centre of Europe
constituted a redrawing of the European map because the German speaking peoples now had a powerful economic, political, and military
force behind it. Wilhelm II was the Kaiser, or king. Had and elected part of government, but this had little influence. Real power lay in the
hands of the Kaiser, aristocracy and the army. These parties felt the need to play catchup in Europe and show their dominance, and
become more powerful than Britain.
Russia: multinational Empire at start of 20 . Covered Eurasia, so much so that it was almost nonEuropean. Like the Ottomans, said to be
“backward” which was measured against western empires, which were seen as “true civilization”. Russia was behind modern
developments of the rest of the modern world. It was an autocracy ruled by Tsar Nicolas II and ruled by God’s will alone, absolute power.
His power is challenged in the 1905 revolution, and he is killed in 1917.
Britain, France, and Russia had many political alliances = The Triples Ententes
Germany, AustriaHungary, Italy
Ottoman Empire (Turkey) exerted a large influence on European affairs, even though it was mostly outside of it.
By 19 century, it was in decline. Become known as the “sick man” of Europe
Before WWI Ottoman Empire had been removed from European affairs, lost all territorial gains
By start of 20 century, USA was emerging as a large force
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany took notice to USA becoming more powerful
Socialist ideologies were becoming more popular in Europe, doing the opposite in USA
US economic growth booms due to Henry Ford
USA military power increasing, 1898 SpanishAmerican war took place. Americans won and took control of Spain’s last colonies – Cuba
By WWI USA established as another main power in the world
Japan took on western models of society – ex. Centralization
Became a major economic and military force
War between Russia and Japan 190405 was fought over Russia’s far east territory. Japan won.
Annexed Korea in 1910, only major nonEuropean power besides USA that had a seat at the Treaty of Versailles
Liberalism meant some form or representative government, while democracy grants citizens with rights such as voting. In 1914 there
were not many truly democratic countries.
Few Brits could vote, as well as Americans (blacks could not)
since parliament did not often have much power, voting didn’t really mean much
Most societies did not even consider having universal suffrage
Only in Scandinavia were women able to vote before 1914
Basically, liberalism =/= democracy
Liberalism in decline after 1900
Liberalism did not have a great reputation; the elite were seen as corrupt
Nationalism placed national rights above individual rights
by 1900, Nationalism became a popular ideology, and was used for asserting one’s superiority over another nation’s
Integral nationalists attacked those who did not “fit” into their idea of a national identity. For example, Jews were attacked in Europe.
this lead to ideas of racial hierarchy > white master race, and exerting superiority of one’s race over others’ races in Europe.
Nationalism associated with racial hierarchy, which made it dangerous
Nationalism manifested itself in two ways: created among certain nationalists a hierarchy of races within Europe. Jews, Poles faced attacks against their populations because they
were seen as less human. Minority groups became angered by the aggression against their people – seen in the Irish, Poles, and minorities
in the Habsburg Empire.
One response by the minorities was a turn to more violent measures of protest.
it encouraged and fed into a huge overseas expansion of European empires. It coincided with the more aggressive/racial paradigms of
nationalism. The ‘new imperialism’ was focused on Africa. By 1914, 90% of Africa was under some European control.
sources were internal and external – due to the integral nationalism (internal) and due to the new imperialism (Africa, overseas empires)
Nationalism was on the rise, and led to WWI in a way
Europe’s fastest growing political ideology, socialism, was antiimperialistic and skeptical of nationalism. Germany was home to very
authoritarian, military dominated forms of gov’t and was new to the ‘world power’ group. They were home to many nationalists, but also
many socialist parties. The SPD, or Reichstag was the largest political party in Germany and Europe was socialist, against military rule.
New Imperialism also called “ecological imperialism”. Europeans did not set out to the new world as individuals, but also carried the
characteristics or their society and culture with them.
Amthican and European countries dominated over 4/5 of the world’s surface at some point. These were the new empires of the 19 and
eventually failed because people of different ethnicities wanted their own country
Economic and Social Factors that change the world in the 19 and 20 centuryth
the world is changing from a rural/peasant based society to an urban and factory based society > going under industrialization
the second industrial revolution: first was based in Britain, based around steam engines. The second was based around new forms of
energy (electricity), chemical industry, and optics industry. Germany was a leader in these fields. The inventions in this period greatly
improved life for all people. Industrialization is key to modernization.
lots of growth in the cities – shows how industrialization and urbanization are linked. Most ‘big’ cities were based in USA, Britain,
Education: the creation of national school programs allowed for literacy for all, and allowed countries to form a national identity.
Transport/Communication: railways could move newspapers, and eventually troops. Roads, early phones being invented. Showed
advancement in economic affairs.
a contrast between developed and developing worlds is shown
Cities such as Berlin became great cities, becoming centre for military, economics, politics
Agriculture seen as the basis for life now. Even though Germany was an economic leader, more than 30% was still involved in
agriculture. This number was higher in other countries.
Industrialization and urbanization brought on many new problems:
gap between rich and poor
socialist ideas became more popular due to the proletariat coming together
Emigration: Many Europeans began leaving Europe to find a better life – life in Europe had many more problems underneath the surface
than originally thought
Economic, political, military terms still controlled by Europe with Japan and USA emerging
established international diplomacy, peace in Europe
Nationalism created many more dangerous problems
Growing gap between rich and poor, many Europeans moved to other countries
Pre WWI Europe was seen to be in it’s golden age.
huge casualties, massive political changes (redrawing of borders, communist revolution in Russia), large economic damage (except US)
economic dislocation: unemployment, inflation sky rocketed in Europe
social dislocation: 9.5 million refugees across Europe
Origins of WWI
the views of the Svejk > don’t understand the alliances
the views of the German soldiers in All Quiet on the Homefront > don’t understand why they are fighting
AustriaHungary wants retribution against Serbians after assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife
Germany says they will honour their military alliances with AH “blank check” whatever happens
Beginning of snowball effect
Russia feels like the protector of the Serbians, mobilizes it’s own army
Germany then declares war on Russia German army based strategy on the belief that Britain would not get involved in a continental European conflict
However, Britain was ally to Russia and France
Since France is Russian ally, Germany declares war on France too
Germany invaded Belgium, a neutral country, and invoked response from Britain
Britain declares war on Germany
Snowball effect full developed
Ottomans join war on the side of the Germans
Before the war, Italy was ally of Germany, but switches upon entering to the British side
Controversies about the war
article 231 of treaty of Versailles > “War Guilt Clause” gave Germany 100% of blame, placed them with cost of the war
the war was thought to be inevitable
once war was started in one area, the alliance system brought war to the rest of the continent, even though it was not wanted
creates mistrust among nations
most alliances were very loose, Germany did not actually HAVE to give AH a blank check
Course of the Conflict
Schliefenplan: Germany wanted to avoid war with Russia and France at the same time, so they invaded Belgium, a neutral country, in
order to take out France and angered Britain instead. Germany’s plan failed and they were forced into trench warfare, with Britain and
French on one side and Russians on the other.
War of the Western front evolved through
battle of Verdun, which saw thousands of casualties to both sides
Battle of the Sommes which took place around the river Sommes. Almost a million casualties were due to fighting in a small area, with
soldier running into no man’s land and being gunned down by machine guns.
Though most of the fighting took place in Europe, almost every part of the world became involved in the fight
Took place in Africa, Asia, fighting at sea, and the beginnings of air warfare
Many colonial territories were dragged into conflict
Major fighting took place in Eastern front as well
it was a vast military front, stretching from Baltics in north to Baltics in south
Habsburg and German armies fought Russians
while the war on western front is a standstill, eastern front is very mobile
as a result, casualties were much higher
in 1917, it was on the eastern front that the first break in the western front deadlock occurred: the Russian revolution. The war in Russia
became very unpopular, and the Tsar went into it very unprepared. Under pressure from both fronts, Tsar Nicolas II advocates. The interim
gov’t wanted to honour Russia’s alliance to France, but eventually morale collapsed in the Russia army. The Bolsheviks under Lenin, the
political party seized power, and withdrew Russia from the war. Russia signed an armistice with Germany, and signed a peace treaty
(Treaty of BrestLitovsk 1918)
finally, the Schliefenplan has worked, it defeated Russia and can focus on the western front against France and Britain.
Germans launched attacks to finally crack the standstill
German army reached it’s tipping point – it advances too far, it runs out of men, material, everything needed to stay at war.
At the time Germany is overstretched, the Allies finally feel the effects of USA entering the war. The Allies now force Germany back to
Belgium, and eventually back home.
Germany began to feel hopeless, with AustriaHungary and Ottomans making peace treaties
The military leaders felt there was no chance of winning, and on Nov. 11 the armistice was signed and the war ended.
‘Total war’: war now needed to use every aspect of society. Home and military fronts become connected.
conscription was introduced in all countries; Britain later on. Penalties were severe for refusing to fight
Soldiers fought for patriotism, camaraderie in the trenches, or simply wanting to fight to get away from a boring life. Morale was much
worse in the Eastern front because there was much less resources such as food.
The home front became more involved in the war through government, which increased control over society – move to centralization.
Governments also needed to become better as using propaganda. No one thought they would be fighting for more than 2 years, so public
disillusion with the war was becoming more widespread.
Government grows larger, intervenes more in people’s war. Also, needed to portray war in a positive light.
Many writers came out of this time, trying to prove the superiority of their respective nation.
Film was a huge form of propaganda. People went to watch films to relax, and films were used to show the war in a positive light.
even though the war ended November 1918, it took another 68 months to settle on a treaty in Paris, trying to move from an armistice to a
post war peace treaty WWI casualty figures saw the Allies losing more troops (5.1 mill) than Germany and co. (3.7)
9 million dead, at least 20 million wounded. Many widows, parents, children affected.
countries became obsessed with demographic growth and birth rates to try and replace all the lost soldiers
made treaties with each of the defeated countries, followed similar lines
Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria
Treaty of St. Germain with Austria: made them a small republic in Europe, lost territory to Italy, and Poland and Czechoslovakia, army
reduced to 30,000 men. Territorial losses, restrictions on size of militaries reflected in other treaties as well.
Treaty of Neuilly: Bulgaria lost territory to it’s neighbors such as Yugoslavia.
Treaty of Sevres: Turkey becomes a secular republic with a new gov’t just like in Austria and Hungary. It was the most short lived and
unsuccessful. It promised to give Armenians their own country. Turks didn’t like this, so they attacked Greece and reversed the terms of
the treaties. A new treaty of Lausanne was written and respected the Turkish territorial gains, making them a Eurasian power.
Treaty of Versailles 1919: Germany was the leading figure, so the treaty signed with them would be the most complicated and important.
Was known as a dictated peace in Germany, because it was victor’s justice imposed on the losing German people. The coalition gov’t
Weimer Republic had no other choice but to sign the treaty. This lead to extremist nationalism (Nazis) after the war. The warguilt clause
stated that Germany was responsible for the start of the war. As a consequence they had to pay reparations to the invaded countries, a total
of $30 Billion, and impossible sum. Article 231 and 232 blamed Germany for outbreak of the war which caused resentment. Germany was
stripped of all it’s colonial territories, large areas of land within Europe to Belgium, Poland, and also banned any alliances between Austria
and Germany. The territorial reduction left large numbers of German speaking people outside of Germany, and were used as a rallying
point for the Nazi party. Disarmament was forced on Germany: reduced army to 100,000 men, Navy to 15,000 men, and Air force was
disbanded. The Rein land was demilitarized.
Reparations, Blame, Disarmament, Territory
On one hand, this treaty was harsh enough to make Germans feel that they were mistreated, and could be blamed on the postwar German
republic. On the other hand, it was not so harsh that Germany could not recover from it. This was a feature of the Nazi party: how to
recover from or overturn the Treaty of Versailles. There were many economic, social, and political tensions within Germany.
Major political and economic legacies of the war
Europe in 1919 is more democratic and liberal than in 1914
Empires are replaced by nation states, which are more democratic
Democracy is making significant advances. All Germans over 20 could vote for example.
Rise of an internationalist perspective, which was due to the League of Nations
On paper, things looked good, but in reality Europe’s future was much darker
the rise of political extremism: attempted communist uprisings it Italy, Germany, Poland
Rise of fascism in Italy under Mussolini
shift to authoritarian perspective
extremes emerging all over Europe
Even though the treaty was signed, fighting did not end: Turkey fought Greece, Russia was involved in conflict in Poland
Europe became an economic wasteland after the war, with unemployment and inflation
The savings of the middle class were eliminated, and fascism was in the hands of them
Brief Introduction to Communist/Marxist Ideology
Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels write the Communist Manifesto, 1848. They set out the basic ideas behind communism.
historical materialism: the great moving power of all historic events is the economic development of society. Specifically referring to
how the economy functions (production, distribution). They way a society produced and distributed goods was the base of society.
the history of all changes in society is the history of class struggle
Marx argued that the relationships between a minority of owners (Bourgeoisie), and a majority of workers (Proletariat), who produced
and did not own. This is an uneven distribution and lead to tensions between classes.
Struggle ended in the overthrow of the oppressing class.
Marx and Engel believed that this change was inevitable
Focused on developed society, where there was an established Bourgeoisie
However, the ideas of communism effected more so peasantmajority populations
According to Marx’s theory, Tsarist Russia was not a good place to start a communist revolution
Thinkers began to try to apply Marx’s ideals to their own country
This is what Vlad Lenin did. He was in exile in Sweden, where he read the Manifesto. Lenin began to think of ways to accelerate the
change in communism in Russia.
He created a new political party that what come to power and swiftly change to communism (the Bolsheviks)
Marxism was just one the many ‘communist’ ideas at the time in Europe
Marx’s influence was growing steadily, influencing many socialist parties in all parts of the world
The working classes were around in a time where most countries were undergoing industrialization > formed unions The Russian Revolution
Russia was under the power of Tsar Nicolas II, had a small working class and middle class
undergoing industrialization, and still mostly a peasant society
WWI was a huge factor in beginning of the Russian Revolution
Joined WWI allied with France/Britain is 1914
Nicolas II and his advisors proved incapable of creating a successful war effort
By 1917, Russian morale was on the point of collapse. This resulted in Feb. 1917, the Tsar advocated, bringing an end to Tsarist Russia.
Brief 6 month period, Russia seemed to be on the way to democracy under a provision gov’t lead by Alexander Korinsky.
He decided to honour Russia’s wartime commitments and continue fighting. This angered much of the population because it required the
call up of many peasants, who then revolted, or organized themselves into elected councils known as Soviets.
Lenin’s party, the Bolsheviks, did not support the war from the beginning. They split into two subparties: Lenin’s idea of a swift change
to communism, and the Mensheviks who wanted a more gradual approach to communism.
In 1917, the Bolsheviks were very popular. Immediate withdrawal from the war, land returned to the peasants, and power to the Soviets
Lenin decided to seize power from the provisional government because of the support he had.
24 of Oct., the Bolsheviks swiftly took power easily because there really was no power to overtake (vacuum).
took over telecommunications, economic institutions
Took control of the building the Tsar used to live in.
Bolshevik communist revolution was suicidal: many of the leaders did not know how to run a country.
Bolshevik seizure of power
Bolshevik victory in Russian civil war, secured power
Stalin’s two phases: Great Leap Forward – Industrial growth
Great Purges – removing people who did not support communism
Bolsheviks (Reds) secured power over the Whites (antiBolshevik, antirevolutionary)
extremely violent conflict; more Russians died during civil war than WWI
period in which Bolsheviks laid foundations of communist state
violent fighting may be due to the Bolsheviks responding to violent threats, not a part of Bolshevik ideology
Civil war lead to:
1. Militarization of political culture by the Bolsheviks due to growing up on wars. This creates a very paranoid Bolshevik culture within
the party because they faced much resistance.
2. Lead to foundation of Bolshevik police state. The NKVD (Bolshevik secret police) were formed. With Lenin’s consent, they targeted
‘enemies of the people’ (very broad definition).
3. Encourages Bolsheviks