World War IThere are many causes for World War 1, initially called the Great War, but the exact cause is hard to distinguish.  Peace in Europe was so fragile that anything could have set off a conflict and start the great war.  It was a powder keg waiting for a spark from imperialism, militarism, nationalism or alliances.

 The two alliances were the triple alliance and the triple entente.  The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.  The Triple Entente* involved Britain, France, and Russia.Millions of Slavic people who lived under the Austro-Hungarian empire wanted to become part of Serbia.  On June 28, 1914, a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo.  A month later on July 28, 1914, Austria declared war on Serbia.Germany, an Austro-Hungarian ally, declared war on Russia, which supported Serbia.  Germany also declared war on France, also a Russian ally.

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 When Germany invaded Belgium, a neutral country between Germany and France.  Britain, an ally of France and Belgium declared war on Germany.By early August 1914, a full-scale war had developed in Europe the two sides were:America planned to continue trading with both the Allies and the Central Powers.The French and British stopped the Germans at Marne River near Paris and declared victory in the First Battle of the Marne. (September 6 through 12, 1914)The Armies used a new style of fighting, called Trench Warfare.                -Trench Warfare: soldiers stayed in dugout trenches for long periods of time, with a no-mas-land in between them and the opposing army.

 The soldiers would sometimes fire at one another, but there were few gains for either side, causing a stalemate.In 1916, Allied and Central Powers tried to end the impasse on the Western Front.  In February, the Germans incited the Battle of Verdun.

In July, the Allies instigated the Battle of Somme. The battles caused high casualties.Modern weapons caused far more casualties at a faster rate than ever before.  The slaughter on the battlefields led to despair and the destruction of an entire generation of men.Pilots who shot down lots of enemy planes were called Aces.  The most famous German Ace was Manfred von Richthofen, also called the Red Baron.  The most famous American Ace was Eddie Rickenbacker.Naval Warfare also changed.

 The Allies blocked off German Ports.  The Germans retaliated by targeting Allied ships with submarines called Unterseeboots. (undersea boats)On May 7, 1915 and undersea boat also called a U-Boat sank a civilian ship called the Lusitania, killing 1,000 people including 100 Americans.  The civilian deaths semed inhumane, so in an effort to still remain neutral, Wilson convinced Germany to take the Sussex Pledge, making them promise not to target ships that didn’t carry weapons.The next year, the Germans went back to attacking all Allied ships, intending to cut off the British Isles from supplies, forcing an end to the war before American Intervention.  It almost worked. In Early 1917, British Intelligence intercepted a letter from the German official Arthur Zimmerman proposing an alliance between Mexico and Germany in order to target the U.S.

 In exchange, Germany would help Mexico get back some of their lost territories.  Mexico declined and the telegram was published in by American newspapers.  An anti-German sentiment boiled over.

 On April 2, 1917, Wilson asked the congress to declare war, and after three days of debate, the U.S. entered the Great War.  Even though the U.S. had a large amount of volunteers (woman and african americans included) the military wasn’t quite prepared to handle such a large war  In May of 1917, the selective service act began a draft for all men between the ages of 21 and 30.  Black draftees were segregated from the whites in the American forces, but some fought with the French Croix de Guerre (cross of war) for their bravery.The U.

S. had to work hard to produce enough supplies for its own army and its allies.  The government also had to deal with labor shortages and public opinions.On January 8, 1918, before the war ended, President Wilson justify why the U.

S. would be journeying into the war. Ho told the congress it would be “the war to end all wars.”  He formed a plan to prevent another major war.

 The plan became known as the “fourteen points.”  They are as follows:The Russians had taken huge casualties and the country was struggling.  In March 1917, the Russian Revolution began.

 Czar Nicholas II was forced to step down.  The interim democratic government the replaced him failed to help with food shortages and low morale. In November 1917, a group called the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Ilich Lenin, seized power and set up a communist government.  He promised “Land, Peace, Bread,” which was a powerful message to war-weary people.