World War I

The first of many wars to come!

People of the Great War

Nicholas II: Despite being the first Czar of Russia, Nicholas II was blamed for the troubles within the nation. Early 1917 uprisings forced him to leave the throne in March. He was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and is recognized being the first of the monarchs to fall from power.

Woodrow Wilson: Woodrow Wilson was the President of the United States during World War I. He chose to have the United States remain mostly neutral, but he was urged to fight against Germany after a submarine invasion. He strongly urged Germany to forfeit unrestricted submarine warfare after Lusitania, a British passenger ship was sunk by a German U-Boat. President Wilson officially declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. Wilson was included in the Big Four. The Big Four were heads of governments that made key decisions in the Paris Peace Conference. He had Fourteen Points that included openness in international agreements, arms reductions, no trade barriers, the formation of a general association of nations, and self-determination which is the idea that no ethnic group should be governed by a nation or state it opposes. However his ideas were generally opposed by the Allies.

David Lloyd George: David Lloyd George was the prime minister of Great Britain during World War I from 1914 to 1918. Lloyd George was prominent when drafting the Treaty of Versailles. He led the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference. the conference that drew up the treaty. He was a major part of the Big Four.

Georges Clemenceau: Georges Clemenceau was the premier of France who led France through World War I. He was part of the Big Four.

Vittorio Orlando: Vittorio Orlando was the prime minister of Italy from 1917 to 1919. Orlando worked to keep morale up in his country and his armies. He was part of the Big Four.

Wilhelm II: Wilhelm II was Kaiser (emperor) of Germany during the first World War. As troubles in the German navy began to brew, Wilhelm gave up his throne and fled to the Netherlands on November 9. Kaiser Wilhelm II was the second of the monarchs to fall.

Franz Ferdinand: Heir to the Hapsburg throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by the Black Hand. The Black Hand was a political extremist group based out of Serbia. His assassination was the unofficial start of World War I.

Events of World War I

Assassination of Franz Ferdinand: Heir to the Hapsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by the Black Hand, a Serbian terrorist group. This gave Austria a reason to attack Serbia, which sparked World War I.

Germany attacks France from Belgium: Germany attacked France, its enemy, by going straight through Belgium, who was declared as being politically neutral. This led to Britain declaring war on Germany, officially including three superpowers in this war.

German U-boats sink Lusitania: On May 7, 1915 a German U-boat torpedoed a British ship called Lusitania. They killed 1,201 passengers including 128 Americans. This led President Wilson to urge Germany to avoid unrestricted submarine warfare. Germany agreed to not attack any neutral or passenger ships.

The U.S. enters the War: A series of threatening events as well as pressures from Allies forced the U.S. into the war. American entry greatly boosted Allied forces and helped bring about the end of this brutal war.

Russian Revolution: Millions of Russian casualties as well as famine and poverty inspired the Russian people to blame Czar Nicholas II and overthrow him. They later empowered V.I. Lenin, a communist radical to lead the country.

The Signing of the Treaty of Versailles: After Germany suffered defeat from the Allies, it was agreed that Germany should not be allowed to have such immense power ever again. To ensure this, all of the Allies proposed a document that would limit the power Germany could have, as well as split up parts of Germany to the French. Germany was required to give up all of its external possessions and surrender its military. The Treaty of Versailles spawned an organization known as the League of Nations, which intended to serve as a place for nations to solve problems diplomatically. Despite President Wilson's full endorsement, membership in the League of Nations was never passed by the Senate. The Treaty of Versailles was the document that ended World War I, but also served to start World War II.

Terms from the Great War

Trench Warfare: Trench Warfare is war involving the use of trenches, or large ditches on either side of the battlefield. It was popularized during World War I. Trench Warfare was often dirty, deadly, and dangerous. An area known as No Man's Land, was the region on the battlefield riddled with bullets from the newly-invented machine guns.

Triple Alliance: The Triple Alliance was political alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy. They all agreed to aid one another if they were attacked by two or more countries.

Triple Entente: The Triple Entente was an alliance between France, the United Kingdom, and Russia. They existed to combat the threat of Germany's growing power.

Central Powers: The Central Powers were an alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany, and other smaller countries.

U-boat: Germany had a fleet of submarines that were called Unterseebootes, also known as U-boats. They were used to attack enemy ships and interfere with merchant shipments.

Fighter Planes: Fighter Planes were modified airplanes armed with machine guns used to attack enemy planes, observation balloons, and drop bombs.

Militarism: The belief that a country should always have strong military and should mobilize if others do as well. It would start a chain reaction where if one country prepared for war, many others would do the same.

Imperialism: The belief that a country should take over smaller countries to increase its own power and resources .

Nationalism: An overwhelming devotion to one's country or nation.

Alliance System: A system of defense where nations agree to protect one another if under attack.

Powder Keg: Area in Europe called the Balkans was referred to as being a Powder Keg, an area of intense risk for war and damage. Included most of Southeast Asia.

Propaganda: Form of Communication that intends to alter the perception of the people into believing an idea.

War of Attrition: Warfare that intends to wear the opposing side down to win the war.

Total War: War in which both sides full mobilize and prepare for intense fight.

Armistice: An agreement to cease fire and end warfare.

Reparations: The payments and military surrenders that Germany had to oblige according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

Mandates: Decree from League of Nations that forced Germany to give up its colonies in Africa and territory in France back to the Allies.

Summary of World War I

World War I "began" when Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne, was assassinated by the Black Hand, a Serbian terrorist group. Austria-Hungary used this as an excuse to attack Serbia. The Triple Entente, composed of superpowers like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom, responded to this by backing up Serbia. The Central Powers backed up Austria-Hungary and began an all out war. From 1914 to 1917, the United States remained neutral until German U-boats sunk the Lusitania, a British passenger ship, which killed many people including American citizens. The U.S. demanded Germans to stop unrestricted submarine warfare to which Germany agreed. However, on February 1917, Germany began unrestricted submarine warfare again. On April 6, 1979, the United States declared war on Germany. The U.S. entry into the war greatly benefited the Allied Powers. On November 11, 1918, the fighting of World War I ended. Soon after, a conference known as the Paris Peace Conference, which included 32 nations, was held in order to discuss Germany's fate. It was then decided that the Treaty of Versailles, a document limiting Germany's military strength and external control, would put an official end to World War I. Out of the treaty the League of Nations, a committee dedicated to solving political conflicts diplomatically, was formed. Although the Treaty of Versailles put an end to World War I, it put a start to World War II, one of the most abominable wars in the history of the known universe.