Chapter 23

Beginning of the 20th Century Crisis: War and Revolution

The Road to World War I

-Many forces had been propelling the war for quite some time

Nationalism and Internal Dissent- (Look on page 667 for a pre-war map)

-The system of nation-states and the rivalries over colonies and trade intensifying helped create tension

-Two loose alliances formed (one consisted of Germany, Austria, and Italy; the other of France, Great Britain, and Russia) > more tension > ready for war

- Growth of nationalism in 19 cent. > some ethnic groups had no nationhood

^ Socialist labor movements (strikes) caused leaders to think that their nation were about to start revolutions

* This could have caused leaders to opt for war to suppress internal disorder


-Growth of mass armies after 1900 > tension

^ Conscription (Obligatory military service) became a regular practice in most Western European countries but the US and Britain= exceptions

^ Russia= 1.3million men

^ France and German= 900,000 men

^ Britain, Italy, Austria = 250,000-500,000 men

-As armies grew, the influence of military leaders grew> Political leaders began to make decisions based on military rather than politics

The Outbreak of War: Summer 1914-

-Serbia, supported by Russia, wanted to make their own large independent nation in the Balkans while Austria wanted to prevent this

The Assassination of Francis Ferdinand: A “Blank Check”?

-June 28, 1914, a Bosnian activist from the Black Hand (a serbian terrorist organization) assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia

-Austria immediately blames Serbia without knowing if they’re responsible > Austria searches for help from Germany who gives Austria a “Blank Check” to show their full support

^ Austria issues an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23, which showed extreme demands

-Serbia chose to reject some of the requests and on July 28, Austria declares war

Declarations of war-

-On July 28, Tsar Nicholas II ordered partial mobilization

^ The Russian General Staff convinced him to fully mobilize against both Germany and Austria on July 29

* Germany responds with an ultimatum that Russia must halt mobilization within 12 hrs

*^* Russia ignores this > Germany declares war on Russia on Aug. 1

-France now comes in to the war.

^ Germany, under guidance of General Alfred von Schlieffen planned for minimal troop deployment against Russia and also the invasion of France through Belgium

* Germany declared war on France on Aug. 3 after issuing an ultimatum to Belgium asking to pass troops through >Britain declares war on Germany
HOW World War I Started: Crash Course World History 209

The Great War

-Many leaders thought the war had too many risks and that “rational” diplomats could prevent the war > these prewar illusions proved wrong

1914-1915: Illusions and Stalemate- (Look on page 671 to see a map of the fronts)

-Most Europeans went to war with great Enthusiasm

-Everyone thought the war would be over in a matter of weeks due to pre-war Propaganda and large troop numbers would gain a quick victory

-The Germans wanted to encircle Paris and surround the French army but German military leaders moved forces to the East to help the front in Russia so this plan didn’t work

^This resulted in a stalemate, aka Trench warfare, all along the Western Front with trenches dug from the English Channel to the frontiers of Switzerland

* On the Western front, the war was much more mobile

-At the beginning of the war, Russia attempted to move into German territory but failed at the battles of Tannenberg (Aug. 30) and Masurian Lakes (Sep. 15)

^ The Austrians didn’t do as well as Germany > defeated by Russia at Galicia and thrown out of Serbia too

-The Italians betrayed Germany and Austria and moved to the Allied side (Russia, Serbia, France) and attacked Austria in May 1915

-Now the Germans came to the aid of the Austrians and pushed back the Russians from Galicia into their own territory > the Russians were almost knocked out of the war

^ Bulgaria joined the Central powers (Germany, Austria) and together they eliminated Serbia from the war

1916-1917:The Great Slaughter-

-German success in the East allowed them to move back to the offensive in the West

-Trenches now became lines of defense with barbed wire, machine gun nests, mortar barriers, and heavy artillery > between the lines was called “No-man’s land”

^ Offensive attacks rarely worked due to the machine gun > millions of men died this way

* Introduction of poison gas (Mustard gas) in 1915 produced new horrors

First World War - Battle of the Somme and experiences of trench warfare

The Widening of the War-

-As a response to this stalemate, both sides looked for new allies

^ The Ottoman empire came into the war in 1914 on Germany’s side (Central) > Russia, Great Britain, France declare war on the Ottomans in November of 1914

-The allies tried to open a Balkan front at Gallipoli in April 1915, but when Bulgaria entered the war, the Allies pulled out of the Balkan, which launched an attack

A Global Conflict-

  • quickly became a World War because of European control of colonies around the world

  • T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) incited revolts against Ottoman Empire in 1916

    • British forces in Egypt and Mesopotamia destroyed Ottomans in 1918

    • Also had forces in India, Australia, and New Zealand

  • First British shots of WWI fired in Africa when British moved to German colony of Togoland in August 1914

  • German Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck fought in East Africa for 4 years

  • France drafted >170,000 West African soldiers for Trench Warfare & German Rhineland

  • 80,000 killed or injured because of terrain, climate, and war

  • Africans used for labour and carriers > 100,000 died from starvation, disease, & neglect

  • Extension of colonial rule in Africa as well as African fights for equality

  • Japan joined the Allies on August 23, 1914, to conquer German lands

Entry of the United States-

  • Britain used good navy, but Germany retaliated with submarine warfare

  • Lusitania sinks May 7, 1915, and antagonized Americans

  • Germans continue submarine warfare 1917

  • U.S. enters war April 6, 1917- did not send troops until 1918

  • War weariness and Russian Revolution took toll on Allied Powers

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A New Kind of Warfare-

-By end of 1915 planes appeared on the battle-field > started as lookouts, then evolved into machine gun mounted fighter planes

-The Germans used Zeppelins to bomb London and eastern England.... Little damage but many people were frightened > The enemies found that the zeppelins were easily destroyed by anti-aircraft guns


-1916, Tanks were introduced > Used caterpillar tracks > extremely immobile and not effective

^ 1918, British Mark V introduced and became more mobile

* The tank came too late to make a big difference in WWI

The Home Front: The Impact of Total Warfare

-The prolongation of the war led to a total war that affected all citizens

Political Centralization and Economic Regimentation-

  • Little thought given to war because it was believed to be short

  • Governments had to expand power and drafted tens of millions of young men for a win

  • Free market capitalistic systems were temporarily shelved as governments experimented with price, wage, and rent controls; rationed food supplies and materials; and nationalized transportation systems and industries

    • led to planned governments with agencies

  • No difference between men at war and men at home

Public Order and Public Opinion-

  • 1916: civilian morale was beginning to crack under the pressure of total war

  • Authoritarian regimes relied on force to subdue population

  • British Parliament passed the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA), which allowed the public authorities to arrest dissenters as traitors; newspapers were censored, and sometimes their publication was even suspended

  • propaganda to used to encourage war

  • war brought an end to all unemployment

Women in the War Effort-

  • broadened perspective on life (Naomi Loughnan)

  • 1,345,000 women with new jobs in Britain

  • chimney sweeps, truck drivers, farm laborers, and factory workers in heavy industry

  • 38% of workers in Krupp armaments in 1918 were women

  • wages not equal to men

  • 1919: 650,000 unemployed women in Britain

  • Gained the right to vote and new independence by smoking in public and wearing shorter dresses, cosmetics, and new hairstyles

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War and Revolution

  • turmoil caused Russia’s collapse through Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution-

  • Nicholas II relied on army and bureaucracy to uphold his regime

  • WWI magnified Russia’s problems and government

  • Russians were unable to produce weapons for the army

  • 1914-1916: 2 million soldiers were killed and 4-6 million were captured or injured

  • The tsarist gov. was ill-prepared for tasks it faced in 1914 > distrusted its own people

  • The middle class and the liberal aristocrats still hoped for a constitutional monarchy > Peasant discontent flourished as conditions worsened

  • The concentration of industry in few cities led to worker frustrations

  • Tsarina Alexandra fell under influence of Rasputin, a Siberian peasant, who stopped the bleeding of her hemophiliac son, Alexis

    • Rasputin’s influence gave him power behind the throne, where he meddled w/ gov. affairs

    • The people of Russia did not like how the gov. was going so in Dec. 1916, the people assassinated Rasputin, but it was already too late.

      • The monarchy fell in the beginning of March 1917

The March Revolution-

-In 1917, the gov. introduced bread rationing in the capital city of Petrograd, which sparked strikes

^ March 8 (Women’s day) ten thousand women marched in the city > the women were soon joined by other workers and they called for a general strike that shut down all factories 2 days later

* Tsar Nicholas told his military officers to stop these strikes, but eventually many of the soldiers ended up joining the strikes

* The Duma (Legislative body) met and on March 12, declared it was assuming gov. responsibility > it established a provincial gov. on March 15 >Tsar abdicates same day

-The new leader, Alexander Kerensky chose to carry out the war for Russia’s honor > this satisfied no one

-The Soviets (councils of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies) began to become another authority and started to pop up everywhere

^ These represented the radical interests of the lower classes and were composed of many socialists

* These socialists included the Social Democratic party which divided into two factions in 1903: the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks

*^* The Mensheviks wanted the Social Democrats to be a mass electoral party based on a Western model

Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution-

-The Bolsheviks came under rule of Vladimir Ulianov (Lenin), who was shipped to Siberia after being arrested for his revolutionary actions> he was released and chose to live in exile in Switzerland ( This is where he gained his leadership role)

-The Bolsheviks were dedicated to Violent revolution > he thought only a revolution could destroy the capitalist system

-When the provisional gov. began in March 1917, Lenin thought that was an opportunity to seize power > Lenin was shipped to Russia by train, through Finland > Lenin said that the soviets of soldiers, peasants, and workers were ready made instruments of power

^ The Bolsheviks used these groups to overthrow the gov. > the propaganda was also aimed to make the people happy

* By the end of Oct. they achieved a slight majority of the Petrograd and Moscow soviets (Party members went from 50,000 to 240000)

-With Leon Trotsky as chairman of the Petrograd soviet, the Bolsheviks were in position to seize power

^ The night of Nov. 6, the forces took control of Petrograd; the gov. soon collapsed

^ The night of Nov. 8, Lenin announced the new soviet gov., the Council of People’s Commissars > Lenin= head

-The Bolsheviks were soon renamed communists

-Lenin had promised peace so on March 3, 1918, Lenin signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany and gave up Eastern Poland, Ukraine, Finland and the Baltic provinces > peace didn’t come because Russia went into civil war

Civil War-

-There was great opposition to the Communists from people loyal to the tsar, the bourgeois, and the aristocratic liberals and anti Leninist socialists

-thousands of Allied troops were sent to parts of Russia to bring them back into the war

-Between 1918 and 1921, the Red (Bolshevik) Army was forced to fight on many fronts

^ Their first threat came from Siberia where the White (Anti-Bolshevik) Army attacked westward

^ The Ukrainians also attacked; in 1919 White forces swept through Ukraine to Moscow> by 1920 the White forces had been defeated and Ukraine retaken

^ 1920, the Communists regained the Caucasus (Georgia, Russian Armenia, and Azerbaijan

-The royal family became a victim of the civil war> The tsar and his family were taken into captivity in Siberia and then to Ekaterinburg where on July 16 1917, the local soviet murdered them all

-The Red Army became a well-disciplined and formidable fighting force (thanks to Leon Trotsky) > Trotsky reinstated the draft and had rigid discipline… soldiers=bad=dead

-The Whites could not agree and were unorganized so they were weak

-Communists had War Communism which ensured supplies for the Red Army… ex) banks and industries =nationalized and grain was forcibly taken from peasants

^ Lenin's new Red secret Police (the Cheka) instituted the Red Terror and destroyed all opponents of the new regime

-The foreign powers that remained in Russia created much Russian patriotism and they fought against foreign control

-By 1921, the Communists were in full control of Russia

The Last Year of the War-

-With Russia withdrawing from the war, Erich Von Ludendorff persuaded one final military gamble, an offensive in the West to break the stalemate (March-July)

^ The Allies countered with 140,000 fresh american troops and defeated the Germans at the Second Battle of the Marne on July 18, 1918 > the German gamble failed > 2 million more Americans arrived soon after

-German gov. tried to make a liberal government but it was too late > Nov. 3 naval units in Kiel mutinied > William II fell to public pressure and abdicated on Nov. 9 > Socialists establish a republic; two days later the German gov. agreed to an armistice

The Casualties of the War-

-8-9 million died on the battlefield; 22 million were wounded > many died later

-The birth rate in Europe went down; many innocent civilians also died in the war

-1915, an apparent rebellion by the Armenian minority and their collaboration with the Russians caused the Turkish gov. to systematically kill Armenian men and deport women and children > 600,000 killed; 500,000 deported; 400,000 died in captivity

The Peace Settlement-

-Jan. 1919, 27 Allied nations gather in Paris to agree on a final settlement

Peace Aims-

-Woodrow Wilson (US) took an idealistic stance at the Paris Peace Conference and wanted to form a “general association of nations”

-David Lloyd George (Britain) wanted to make Germany pay reparations

-Georges Clemenceau (France) wanted security from further German attacks

^ These 3= the Big Three; Italy was in the Big Four with them but was less important

-A “League of Nations” was created, the map was redrawn, and G.B. and the US formed a defensive alliance with France in case of further German attacks

The Treaty of Versailles-

-5 separate treaties with the defeated nations (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey); Germany’s was the most important

^ Germany’s= article 231 declared Germany and Austria responsible for the start of the war and ordered Germany to pay reparations to the Allied govs. > Germany was also forced to reduce its army to 100,000 men, cut back its navy, and eliminate its air force > also had to return Alsace and Lorraine to France and sections of Prussia to the new Polish state; there was also a demilitarized zone established between France and Germany

* Germans were more than angry

The Other Peace Treaties- (Look on page 685 to see a map after the War)

-The map of Europe was extensively re-drawn; new nations appeared (Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary)

-Romania gained land from Russia, Hungary, and Bulgaria

-Serbia became the center of the new Slavic kingdom later called Yugoslavia, which united Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes under one monarch

-Virtually every country was left with minority problems that led to more problems

-The Ottoman Empire was dismembered; France controlled Lebanon and Syria; Britain received Iraq and Palestine > these were both called mandates instead of annexations

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An Uncertain Peace

-The Decline of the West, the German writer Oswald Spengler

The Impact of WWI-

  • mourning almost 10 million deaths and immoral prop.

  • new memorials and ceremonies for the “unknown soldier”

  • “Lost Generation”

  • some became pacifists while others used violence with nationalistic ideas

The Search for Security-

  • peace treaty left nations unhappy and eager to revise it

  • Woodrow Wilson saw unwise provisions that would lead to future conflict (WWII)

  • U.S. failed to join League of Nations due to isolationism

The French Policy of Coercion (1919–1924)-

  • France was embittered and alone from the U.S. and G.B. and weakness of league

  • Treaty of Versailles said Germany had to pay 132 billion marks ($33 billion)

  • When Germany could not pay, France entered into the Ruhr valley and threatened to use resources: eventually inflation increased and both countries suffered

The Hopeful Years (1924–1929)-

  • The Dawes Plan:

    • reduced reparations

    • stabilized payments based on Germany’s ability to pay

    • granted initial $200 million loan for Germany’s recovery

      • opened the way for heavy American investments in Europe and prosperity

  • Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand concluded the Treaty of Locarno while fostering a spirit of cooperation

  • Treaty of Locarno:

    • guaranteed Germany’s new western borders with Belgium and France, but Poland border was absent

    • viewed as the beginning of a new era of peace

    • based on little substance and could not bring nations to cut back weapons

The Great Depression-

  • destroyed concept of little government involvement in the economy


  • downturn in downturn in domestic economies

  • international financial crisis cause by the Stock Market Crash of 1929

    • overproduction led to declined prices for goods such as wheat

    • imposed tariffs

    • increase in oil and hydroelectricity led to a slump in coal industry

    • withdrawal of funds weakened banks

    • Credit-Anstalt collapsed May 31, 1931

    • trade slowed, production decreased, unemployment increased


  • 1932 (the worsts year): 1 out of four British workers were unemployed, and 6 million workers (40%) of the German labour force were out of work

  • 1929-1932 industrial production plummeted almost 50% in the U.S. and Germany (689)

  • women were able to obtain low paying jobs, while men remained unemployed

  • high unemployment led to men joining gangs and creating fear

  • powerless gov. and classical liberal remedy only worsened situation

  • increased gov. activity in the economy

  • renewed interest in Marxism

  • Popularity in communism

  • attractiveness in dictatorial solutions such as fascism

The Democratic States-

  • U.S. became the impetus for new social reform

Great Britain-

  • loss of markets for industrial products

  • rise in unemployment (2 million by 1921) remained at 10%

  • Labour Party failed to solve economic issues and lost power in 1931

  • combination of Liberals and Conservatives claim credit for bringing Britain out of depression through traditional policies

  • John Maynard Keynes

    • published General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936

    • believed depressions should work themselves out

    • unemployment stemmed from decline in demand

    • deficit spending


  • became strongest power on European continent

  • prosperity for all from 1926-1929

  • did not feel effects of G.D. until 1932

  • 1932-1933 six cabinets created as France faced political chaos

  • June 1936 Communists, Socialists, and Radicals formed a Popular Front Government

    • program for workers included the right of collective bargaining, a forty-hour workweek, two-week paid vacations, and minimum wages

    • failed to solve problems of G. D.


-A German Democratic state (the Weimar Republic) was established; the Weimar Republic had many problems from the start

^ No Great Political Leaders; Paul von Hindenburg=President at 77yrs old > didn’t like the republic anyway

^ 1922 and 1923 > Runaway inflation pushed the middle class to the rightist parties that were hostile to the republic

^ The Great depression hit and unemployment increased and paved the way for the extremist parties

United States-

-Most affected after Germany; 1932 industrial production fell to half what it was in 1929

-FDR won the election by a landslide because he promised intervention in the economy and his New Deal (a public works program)

^ The Works Progress Administration employed 2-3 million people to build public works

^ The American Welfare state was established

^ 1935, the Social Security Act was created giving a system of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance

-Only WWII brought employment back all the way

Socialism in Soviet Russia-

  • Bolshevik leaders could now turn to the task of building the first socialist society in a world dominated by their capitalist enemies

  • Peasants began to sabotage the War Communism system and hoard food

    • There was a drought that caused a famine from 1920-1922

    • Industrial collapse followed

New Policies-

  • March 1921, Lenin developed the New Economic Policy which was a modified version of the old capitalist system

    • Forced requisition of food from peasants stopped, and peasants could now sell their products openly; retail stores and industries with less than 20 employees were now under private ownership but heavy industries, banks, utilities and mines were all still under gov. control

    • 1922, Lenin and the communists create a new state called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) aka the Soviet Union

    • The NEP had saved the nation from economic disaster, yet it was only intended to be temporary

    • Alexandra Kollontai pushed a Bolshevik program for women’s rights and social welfare programs > Marriage became a civil act, divorce was legalized, and there was the equality of men and women, and abortions were permitted

      • Also established the Zhenotdel that sent men and women all over the empire to explain the new order> they were killed a lot in the East

The Struggle for Power-

  • Lenin’s death led to the struggle between seven members of the Politburo

    • The left, led by Leon Trotsky, wanted to end the NEP and launch the nation on the path of rapid industrialization, primarily at the expense of the peasantry; they wanted to continue the revolution, believing that the survival of the Russian Revolution ultimately depended on the spread of communism

    • The right rejected the cause of world revolution and wanted to concentrate instead on constructing a socialist state; they favored a continuation of Lenin's NEP because they believed that rapid industrialization would harm the living standards of the peasantry

  • Lenin Trotsky vs. Joseph Stalin

    • Stalin gained complete control of the Communist party

    • Stalin eliminated the Old Bolsheviks of the revolutionary era from the Politburo and established a dictatorship so powerful that the Russian tsars of old would have been envious

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In Persuit of a New Reality: Cultural and Intellectual Trends

  • New appearance for women: shorts hair, short skirts, and cosmetics> led to new sexual matters:

    • 1926 Dutch physician Theodor van de Velde published Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique, which talked about male and female anatomy, birth control, and glorified sex

Nightmares and New Visions- (Look at page 692-693 to see examples of the art)

  • abstract paintings (A Revolution of the Arts)

  • Dada movement and Surrealism

The Dada Movement-

  • Dadaism attempted to enshrine the purposelessness in life

  • Tristan Tzara- Romanian-French poet and one of the founders of Dadaism

  • Anti-art: Many Dadaists took pieces of junk (wire, string, rags, scraps of newspaper, nails, washers) and assembled them into collages, believing that they were transforming the refuse of their culture into art

  • Hannah Höch- commented on women’s roles in new mass culture

    • only woman in the Berlin Dada Club

    • Dada Dance- criticized new woman, but also supported new freedoms

Surrealism and Modern Architecture-

  • sought a reality beyond the material, sensible world and found it in the world of the unconscious through the portrayal of fantasies, dreams, or nightmares

  • Spaniard Salvador Dalí- high priest and master of representational Surrealism

    • The Persistence of Memory- Irrational became tangible

  • spread of functionalism was the Bauhaus school of art, architecture, and design, founded in 1919 at Weimar, Germany, by the Berlin architect Walter Gropius

  • The Bauhaus teaching staff included architects, artists, and designers, who worked together to blend the study of fine arts (painting and sculpture) with the applied arts (printing, weaving, and furniture making)

Probing the Unconscious-

  • apparent in literature: “stream of consciousness”

    • Irish exile James Joyce- Ulysses, published in 1922

    • Hermann Hesse- focused on theories of Carl Jung and Eastern religions

      • Demian was a psychoanalytic study of incest

      • Steppenwolf mirrored the psychological confusion of modern existence

      • Won Nobel Prize of Literature in 1946

  • Hollywood Studios System

    • 1937: nearly 600 feature films

    • brought sports, soap operas, and popular music to the masses

    • Marlene Dietrich appeared in the early sound film The Blue Angel and it catapulted her to fame, projecting new images of women's sexuality

(Look at page 694-695 to see a final summary of the chapter and a timeline of all the major war events)