The Great War IB

The Great
The “War to End All Wars”
World War I (1920)
The First Half of the Thirty Years War
1914 – 1918
1914 - 1945
• World War I or The Great War was a major war
centered on Europe that began in the summer of
1914. The fighting ended in November 1918. This
conflict involved all of the world's great powers,
assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and
the Central Powers. More than 70 million military
personnel were mobilized in one of the largest wars
in history. More than 9 million combatants were
killed due to technological advances in firepower
without corresponding advances in mobility. It was
the second deadliest conflict in history.
Was World War I a “moral crusade”?
Can any war be considered “moral”?
Will Capitalism undo itself by
generating the conditions for selfdestruction?
The Great War
“Words fail to give any conception of the desolation. No
convulsion of Nature could have done what man and
man’s machines have done. We bumped our way
along a partly repaired road…passing craters from
those 10 to those 30 feet across, and some almost as
deep; passing rows and rows of old wire
entanglements, communications trenches, line upon
line of fighting trenches, all more or less obliterated.
Finally past the German first line, barely recognizable
except for the fact that the entrances to the dugouts
now faced east instead of west…….”
The Great War
“It was an upheaval of sandbags, accoutrements, broken rifles
not worth salvaging, entrenching tools, cartridge clips and
machine-gun ribbons, food tins, water bottles, helmets,
trench mortars, unexploded shells of every size, hand
grenades, to which we give a wide berth, a human tibia
exhumed from somewhere, bits of clothing---and often
smells, though two moths have given ample time for
burials. What may be in the bottom of the pits, however,
one can only guess…the whole western side of the slope
was seething with people making new roads and engaging
in the ant-like activity of man when he too burrows and
builds and carries up food and takes away grains of sand.”
Why Fight?
• “Statesmen fight for lofty goals and abstract
ideals.” – Pamela Crossley
– Germany: defended the cause of civilization against
Slavic barbarism, French decadence and British greed.
– British, French and Americans: all fought to “make
the world safe for democracy” against German
– By 1918, these lofty goals had been outlived by reality
– In reality, the war was not a moral crusade, but a
power struggle between European Nations.
Why Fight?
• Soldiers
– Moral responsibility (pretext)
– Civic duty and Nationalism (usually exacerbated
by the press)
– Heroism and Glorification of Warfare
– Conscription
– Employment
– Underestimation of the magnitude and severity of
• “No one understood the magnitude of the guns
of August.”– Lynn Lees
By 1918, 60 declarations of war had been made
Modernity and the 20th Century
• Human Progress…
– Growing Literacy
– Inexpensive Newspapers
– Industrialization
– Transportation Revolution
– Accumulated Wealth
– Bureaucracy
– Growth of Nations (Consolidation)
• Technology! Shall we call it a benefit or a
Modernity and the 20th Century
• “Human Progress causes Health Risks.” – John
– Growing Literacy: Development of Patriotism
– Inexpensive Newspapers: Propaganda and
– Railroads: trade, mobilization
– Industrialization: weaponry
– Wealth: Armories
– Bureaucracy: Management of objectives
– Growth of Nations: Armies of Millions
• What were the effects of the Franco Prussian
• What is meant by the “balance lf power in
• Describe the major European countries in
Franco Prussian War
• Following the Napoleonic
Wars (1815) there were 39
separate Germanic states
• Austria and Prussia were the
two largest of the Germanic
• Prussia, under the leadership
of Otto Von Bismarck, sought
to consolidate the Germanic
“The Honest Broker”
Franco Prussian War
• France was defeated in a humiliating fashion
– At Sedan, 80,000 Frenchmen surrendered
– At Metz, 150,000 Frenchmen surrendered
– Paris was seized due to a two month blockade
Franco Prussian War
• France lost the territories of Alsace-Lorraine
(Germanic speaking)
• France had to pay 5,000 million marks
• Prussia gained “right of occupation”
• King of Prussia was proclaimed the German
• France developed a new movement known as
“”From tomorrow, France will have only one
thought: to reconstitute its forces, gather its
energy, feed its sacred anger, raise its
generation…form an army of the whole people,
work relentlessly to study the processes and
talents of our enemies, to become again the
great France, the France of 1792, the France of
the idea and the sword…Then suddenly one day it
will rise…regain Lorraine, recapture Alsace.” –
French Poet Victor Hugo, 1871
Franco Prussian War
• Other Consequences:
– Germany was a new world power (along with Britain,
France, Russia and Austria)
– The Balance of Power had been disrupted
• Germany had the potential to be dominant
• Major mistrust began regarding power
– The War taught the European nations that “Military
Modernization” was the key to strength and survival
Rapid mobilization
Fast deployment
Well educated Armies
Efficient employment of resources
Status of European Countries
• Germany and the “German Question”
– Democratic Monarchy
– Major Industrial Power: surpassed Britain in steel
– Population soared from 49 to 66 million
• Major separation between owner, middle class and
working class
• Prussian land-owners (Junkers) dominated politics
• Germany now had a major demand for markets and
Status of European Countries
• France
– Democratic Republic (extensive civil liberties)
– Extremely wealthy nation
• Large empire
• Huge gold reserves
– Politics were divided between the pacifist left wing
and the revanchist right
– Government lacked continuity due to swinging
between left and right
– Right Wing wished greatly to reclaim Alsace Lorraine
– Wished for an Alliance to “contain Germany”
Status of European Countries
• Britain
Parliamentary Democracy
First European power to undergo the the Industrial Revolution
Vast overseas empire
By 1900, Britain was being outpaced in industrialization
Strong working class discontent (voting allowed for flexibility
and forgiveness)
– Foreign policy of “splendid isolation”
• Prevent a disruption of trade
– Britain’s main goals were to maintain overseas colonies,
preserve the balance of power and defend trade routes
Status of European Countries
• Austria-Hungary
– Political dual-monarchy
– Nationalist rivalries plagued the nation as each
state wished for independence
• German, Serbian, Croatian, Romanian, etc…
– Lacked military strength
– Serbia was a constant sore
– Russia supported independence movements
Status of European Countries
• Russia
Autocratic divine monarchy
Majority of Russians were peasants
Farming methods were obsolete
Several worker revolutions occurred, ending with
Russo Japanese War humiliated Russia
Minor democratic processes were brought in
Russia had a huge population, but was very diverse
Russia had a weak military
Status of European Countries
• Turkey, “The Sick Man of Europe”
– Ottoman Empire was in major decline
– Nationalists and Islamic groups created major
• Divisions over religion and nationalities
– The “Eastern Question”
• As the Ottoman Empire declined, there would be a
power vacuum
• European powers waited for the collapse of the
Ottoman Empire
The Will to Make War
• Warfare was being glorified throughout Europe
• Literature, education and the press all assured the
thought that a war would be short and heroic
Stories of National heroes (fictional stories)
History lessons in the classroom promoted nationalism
“Home before the leaves fall”
Exaggeration of international incidents
Right Wing Pressure groups
• Pan-Germanic League
• Action Francaise
• Revanche
• “Any man who encourages warfare is a man
who has limited experience on the subject and
limited understanding of the implications.”
Militarism Created a Hostile
• Military Spending in Europe increased up to
300% in the years leading up to 1914
– The foregone Balance of Power
– New Technology
– Deterrence
– Alliance systems caused tensions
– Increased population (better health care)
– Naval Race
Bismarck’s Alliances
• Three Emperors’ League:
– Joined Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary
• Dual Alliance:
– Previous Treaty collapsed
– Joined Austria and Germany
– Assistance to each other if Russia attacked
• Three Emperors’ Alliance:
– Russia turned back to Germany
– If Germany, Russia or Austria went to war, the
others would remain neutral
Bismarck’s Alliances
• Triple Alliance:
– Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy
– If any were attacked, the others would lend
• Reinsurance Treaty:
– Triple Alliance fell apart, again
– Alliance bonded Germany and Russia
– Avoid a two-front war
Kaiser Wilhelm II
• Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in Germany
– Immediately replaced Otto von Bismarck with a
new Chancellor, Caprivi
– Reinsurance Treaty was allowed to collapse
• Russia formed an alliance with France
– Germany began pursuing a “place in the sun”
under a new policy of weltpolitik
• Avoid social problems at home (rise of socialism)
“I hope Europe will gradually come to realize the
fundamental principle of my policy: leadership in the
peaceful sense – a sort of Napoleonic Supremacy…I
am of the opinion that it is already a success that I,
having come to govern at so early an age, stand at
the head of German armed might yet have left my
sword in its scabbard and have given up Bismarck’s
policy of externally causing disruption to replace it
with a peaceful foreign situation such as we have not
known for many years.”
War Plans
• All European countries had detailed plans
regarding potential wars
– German Schlieffen Plan
• “Let the last man on the right brush the channel with
his sleeve”
• To counter the “encirclement”
• Surround Paris
• Pass Through Belgium
• Attack Russia after conquering France
– Russia could not respond quickly
War Plans
• France’s Plan 17
– Immediately take over the Rhine
• Russia’s Plan
– Attacking Austria-Hungary and Germany
• Austria Hungary
– Plan R
– Plan B
• Great Britain
– “Watch and See”
“The next war will start because of some damn
fool thing in the Balkans.” – Otto Von Bismarck
The Spark that lit the “Balkan
Powder Keg”
• Optimism was prevalent in Europe in 1914
– Previous Balkan issues had been settled without
major conflict
– Optimism gives way to a false sense of security
• 28 June 1914
– Austria-Hungarian heir visited Sarajevo, Bosnia
– Gavrilo Princip, member of the Black Hand, shot and
killed Franz Ferdinand
– The objective was to unite all Slavs
The Immediate Cause
• Austria Hungary sought “alliance reassurement” with Germany
• The Kaiser and his Chancellor responded….
The “Blank Cheque”
“…the Kaiser authorized me to inform our gracious
majesty that we might in this case, as in all others, rely
upon Germany’s full support…he did not doubt in the
least that Herr von Bethmann Hollweg would agree
with him. Especially as far as our action against Serbia
was concerned. But it was Wilhelm’s opinion that this
action must not be delayed. Russia’s attitude will no
doubt be hostile, but to this he has for years been
prepared, and should a war between Austria-Hungary
and Russia be unavoidable, we might be convinced that
Germany, our old faithful ally, would stand at our
The “Blank Cheque”
• …Russia at the time was in no way prepared
for war, and would think twice before it
appealed to arms…if we had really recognized
the necessity of warlike action against Serbia,
he would regret it if we did not make use of
the present moment which is all in our
The Immediate Cause
• Austria-Hungary’s Reaction
– Postponed for one month
• Mistake of hesitation
• A-H appeared to be scheming
– Sent an ultimatum that was “unreasonable”
– Serbia agreed to the ultimatum with the exception
of one provision
• “the Serbian response removed the casus belli” – Kaiser
Wilhelm II
– Austria Hungary declared war
The Alliances Unfold
• 30 July 1914, Russia mobilized towards Austria
• 1 August 1914, Germany mobilized and sent an
ultimatum to France
– Either declare neutrality or suffer from German
– France responded, “we will follow our own interests.”
– Germany then declared war upon France and began
to march through Belgium
– Britain chose to uphold an 1839 Alliance with Belgium
to protect their neutrality
Great Britain
Austria Hungary
Turkey (Ottoman Empire)
Guilt…by Country
• Germany
– The Blank Cheque (encouragement)
– Underestimated the will of the Allies to fight
• Believed that if A-H had mobilized quickly, Russia would not have
defended Serbia
Supported an ally
Paranoid from the “encirclement theory”
Tried to gain a “place in the sun”
Preventing Russia from becoming the new “powerhouse”
Victory would bring popularity to the Kaiser
War would distract the growing socialist movement
Guilt…by Country
• Austria-Hungary
– Wanted to eliminate the growth of a “Greater
– Delayed response to Serbia was a symptom of
their desire to make war
– Ultimatum was too severe
– Ultimatum had an expiration period of 48 hours
– Mobilized before conferring with Russia
Guilt…by Country
• Russia
– Attempted to salvage it’s image from previous
– Strongly encouraged Serb Nationalism to weaken
the Central Powers
– Mobilized, knowing of the Blank Cheque
Guilt…by Country
• France
– “Was swept into the War”
– Revanchist Movement
– Seized an opportunity since Germany was already
at War
– A strike to pull down the rise of German
Guilt…by Country
• Great Britain
– Sir Edmund Gray, the foreign secretary,
encouraged the war
– Britain never warned Germany that they would
stand shoulder to shoulder with France
– Britain was slow in the game, waiting to see the
alliances unfold
The War Declarations
• Led to more intense nationalism
– Quick but bloody, “Home by Christmas”
– Relief of the build up of tensions
– Opportunity to become a “hero”
– Lack of education to resist propaganda
– Mass psychology
– Cessations of internal conflict
• Burgfrieden, cooperation was necessary for victory
– Various nationalities throughout Balkans
3 Fronts of World War I
• Western Front
– English Channel to Swiss Alps
• Eastern Front
– Germany’s Eastern Border
• Balkan Front
– Border between Austria-Hungary and
Germany’s Schlieffen Plan
Relied on speed and rapid mobilization
Germany would swing through Belgium
“Keep the right flank strong”
Encircle Paris from the West
Hit French Soldiers who were lined up on the
German border
• Then move to Russia, who would not have
mobilized yet
• on
Why Did the Plan Fail?
• Belgian resistance was very strong
– Fortresses
– 2 weeks to capture Brussels
• Britain came into the war quickly
– Germany assumed Britain would remain neutral
– Delay in Belgium left French ports open for the BEF
• Russian mobilization was highly efficient
• Germany, anxiously, swooped into France and
invaded Paris from the East
Why Did the Plan Fail?
• Germans were exhausted upon entering Paris
– Fighting
– Moving too quickly without food and rest
• German soldiers were taken from the Western
attack and sent to Russia
• The “Miracle of the Marne”
• Race to the Sea
Trench Warfare
Defensive Tactics outpaced offensive tactics
Christmas of 1914
“Attrition” became the new tactic
The Battle of Verdun
• Fighting lasted from February to October
• “We shall bleed them white by virtue of superior
• Psychological Warfare
• French were determined to hold the fortresses
– If Newspapers heard that Verdun was lost, civilian support
would be lost
• 315,000 Frenchmen died in first 4 months
• 280,000 Germans died in first 4 months
• 800,000 total deaths
The Battle of Somme
• British attacked Germans
– Relieve pressure on Verdun
– Prevent supplies from being sent to Russia
• Largest military assault in history in an attempt to break the
• Tanks were used for the first time
– Slow
– Fuel Problems
– Vulnerability
• Germans lost 650,000
• British lost 418,000
• French lost 194,000
US Entered the War
• French military was suffering from mutinies
within the ranks
– 400 conspirators were arrested
• Russian Revolution
• US entered as a result of SLUTZ
Eastern Front
Russia versus Austria Hungary and Germany
Russian entry into Germany only took 10 days
Russia had great advances in 1914
Russia began losing in 1915
1 million dead
Lost 450 km of land
1 million POWs
33% of soldiers had no rifles
Others were only given 3 bullets
“6 hundred miles of mud and horror”
Eastern Front
• 1916 – 1917
– Russia committed to another offensive, costing
1,000,000 more lives
– Turkey developed a block on the Straits
– Bolshevik Revolution
• The Allies began offering land and ports in order to
prevent their withdrawal
– Treaty of Brest Litovsk
Italian Front
• Italy joined because the Allies offered more
• Fought mainly against the Austrians
• Caused a major diversion by opening up
another front
• Gallipoli
– To open up sea routes for Russia to receive supplies
– Offered a new front to divide the Central Powers to break the
stalemate that was going on in the other fronts
• Bombardment of Turkey failed
– Mines and shell fire
• Land Assault
– Supply shortages, delays, 250,000 dead
– Churchill
• Obtain oil deposits
– British were aided by the Arabians who used guerilla tactics
– November 1918, Turkey surrendered
The Fighting of World War I
Trench Warfare
• Following the “race to the sea”, both sides dug
– Hastily to Intricate
– Defensive Means of fighting
Don’t Lose
Protect area
Avoid machine guns
Avoid artillery
Trench Designs
• Deeper than the tallest man
• New enlistees were the most vulnerable
• Several lines of trenches (reserve trenches)
– Prevent penetration
– Rest for soldiers
• Communication trenches
• Enemy trenches were usually 30 meters to 800 meters away
– No Man’s Land
Barbed Wire at front of trenches
Firing Step
Trench Designs
• Lined with corrugated iron
– Prevented erosion
• Zig Zag patterns
• Barbed Wire doors within the trenches
– Slowed a trench invasion
• Duckboards
• Dugouts
• Officers lived in dugout dormitories
– Wallpaper
Life in the Trenches
Troops did not starve, but food options were rare
Constant artillery
Disease was common
Trench foot
Typhus, Cholera and Dyssentary
Nibbled on troops as they slept
Sanitation and Hygiene
Delousing campaigns
Corned beef, bread and jam (apple)
Hot meals were rare
New soldiers were most often the victims
Extreme Weather
Shell Shock
Accused of cowardice and shot
Trench Warfare
• To attack trenches:
– Go “over the top”
– Began with artillery barrages
– Craters used as protection
– Avoid mines, machine guns nests, snipers, artillery
– Cross over thick rolls of barbed wire
– Carry 60 lbs of equipment
– Once you get there………..
Trench Warfare
• Stalemate led to new war strategies
– Attrition
• Destroy the morale of the opponent
– Mutinies
– Soldiers were shot for cowardice
• Psychological warfare
– Shell shock
– Trench foot
• Cause civilians to change course of war
• Break the homefront
.303 bolt action rifle was standard issue
Accurate at 500 yards
10 rounds per magazine
25 rounds per minute
Heavy, to absorb recoil
Equipped with bayonet
Machine gun
• 600 rounds per minute
• Stationary, tripod
• “less aiming”, a wall of
• Up to 4 people to operate
• Accounted for 90% of the
deaths at the Battle of the
Flame Thrower
• Backpack of petrol, hose,
spark plug
• Used against machine gun
• Reveal hiding places
• Psychological warfare
• Many casualties to the
soldier who carried it
Grenades and Submachine Guns
• Stick bombs, potato mashers
• Mills grenade
• Submachine guns
– Light weight
– Hand held
– Piston caliber
– “trench sweeper”
Heavy Artillery
Accounted for 70% of all casualties
Easy to protect the artillery (distant)
Fired mortars
Used to flush
Only effective against trenches with a direct hit
Somme: 1.5 million shells in 5 days
Caused brain damage, bleeding ears and shell
• Accuracy?
Chemical Warfare
• Used for the first time by Germans against French
at Ypres
• Caused major panics
– Lung irritants
– Paralysis
– Burnt skin and caused blisters
Cleared trenches
Chlorine, mustard and phosphogene
Gas masks or Urine
• Dark clouds are smouldering into red While down
the craters morning burns.The dying soldier shifts
his head To watch the glory that returns;He lifts his
fingers toward the skies Where holy brightness
breaks in flame;Radiance reflected in his eyes, And
on his lips a whispered name.You'd think, to hear
some people talk, That lads go West with sobs and
curses,And sullen faces white as chalk, Hankering
for wreaths and tombs and hearses.But they've
been taught the way to do it Like Christian soldiers;
not with hasteAnd shuddering groans; but passing
through it With due regard for decent taste.
Created to break the stalemate
Crushed fences and traversed trenches
Equipped with machine guns and cannon fire
Metal armor
Slow, unreliable, vulnerable and not immune
to artillery
• Grueling to operate
War at Sea
• Control of seas was crucial
– British moved 8.5 million soldiers by boat
– Central powers did not rely as heavily upon troop
transport overseas
– Supplies and rations were delivered from overseas
– Destruction of a navy would mean the loss of the
Mines and Submarines
• Submarines and torpedoes made battleships
• U-Boats were dangerous politically
• U-boats became less effective throughout the
Hydrophones, sonar
Submarine nets
Depth charges
Battle of Jutland
1916: first major clash of warships
Germans tried to lure British ships to gain a
numerical advantage
British decoded German plans
250 warships instead of 125
Germany lost 11 battleships
Britain lost 14 battleships
Germany returned to port and Britain gained the
rights to the sea
War in the Air
• Was used gentlemanly: saluted each other
• Eventually, the ground war would be heavily
impacted by control of the air
• Airships
– Escorted boats
– Great Range
– Bombing of civilian targets
• Industrial
• Psychological warfare
– hydrogen
War in the Air
• Aircraft
– Speed and mobility
– Reconnaissance
Troop concentrations
Troop movements
Directed fire
Deliver messages
Aerial wireless
War in the Air
• Dogfights
– Pistols and rifles
– Machine guns
– Synchronized with propellers
– Attack enemy ground troops
– Bomb dropping
– World War II……
The Homefront
Changing Attitudes
• In August 1914, there was great enthusiasm
for the war
– Opportunity to prove heroism
– Fighting an evil power, “the Hun”
– Poor and defenseless Belgium
– Promise of Adventure
– “Pals Battalions”
– Music Halls, backstage kisses and songs
– Conscience Posters
– Responsibility: white flowers and families
• “I had just finished Charterhouse when
England declared war on Germany. A day or
two later I decided to enlist. In the first place I
believed it would be a short war. In the
second place I was outraged to read of
Germany’s invasion of little Belgium.”
• “There was a big show at the Hippodrome. I
went with a couple of mates and at the end of
the show they put on the film of our boys
marching off to France. I think they played
Land of Hope and Glory. By the end of the
evening tears were running down my face and
I knew I had to join up.”
• “No one could really refuse because at that
time even your parents were ready to call you
a coward. We did not have the faintest idea of
what we were in for.”
Changing Attitudes
• Newspapers
– Censored the news
• No stories were written regarding conditions
• No stories were written over major losses
• Even minor victories were glorified
Changing Attitudes
• Civilian Response
– Public sent 232 million cigarettes
– Public sent 16 million books
– 4 million pairs of socks were knitted
Changing Attitudes
• The Somme Times
Are you a Victim to Optimism?
Then ask yourself the following questions…
Do you suffer from cheerfulness?
Do you wake up in the morning feeling that all is going well?
Do you believe good news in preference to bad?
Two days spent at our establishment will effectually eradicate
all traces from your system.
Changing Attitudes
• By 1916, the mood had changed drastically
– War poetry
– Atmosphere of the stalemate
– Death lists published in shop windows
– “How distant the glory days of August 1914 seem
now. No flag waving crowds, no cheering
anymore. Just tired, angry determination to get
the war over to rebuild the world, but most
importantly to rest and recover.”
Censorship and Propaganda
• Truth: the first casualty of war
• Propaganda used to motivate citizens,
maintain morale (cause) and to allow neutral
countries to remain neutral
– Reporters were not allowed into front line
– Censorship of unwanted news
– Spreading lies / rumors
• Vilification: bayoneted babies, crucified women and
children, raped nuns
• Artists Impressions were used instead of photographs
Quiet and
• High death rates led to conscription
– Compulsory enlisting of men into the armed
– Ages 18 to 41
– Originally applied to single men only
Conscientious Objectors
– Their “conscience would not allow them to fight”
– Thou shalt not kill
– All who refused, faced a Military Tribunal
• Carry out other kinds of service (ambulance drivers and
stretcher bearers)
• Absolutists refused to work at all and were sent to labor camps
(71 / 6,000 died)
Uncooked food
Suspended by wrists
Thrown naked into sewers
Defence of the Realm Act
• Allowed the government to make any necessary
– Ownership of railways and docks
– Constables of law and order
– Black out campaigns
– Ordering to other jobs
– Denied the right to join the army because of important
– Illegal to strike
– Censorship of press
Women and the War Effort
• Upper class and middle class women now
joined the factory efforts to produce
• Taxi drivers
• Police
• Operators
• Office cleaners
• Ambulance drivers
• 60% of all shell makers (canaries)
Why did the Allies win the
“Capitalist Civil War”?
How do you go about increasing
the probability of winning a war?
The First Total War
• Previous Wars:
– Wars were the business of rulers and their armies
– Armies were small in number and avoided war
– Societies were untouched by war
• World War I:
– All-Encompassing Character
– Severity
– Total mobilization (soldiers and civilians)
– Undermining of Institutions
– Colossal Trauma
– War Aims
War Aims
• Belligerents aimed for “Total Victory”
– Made a “negotiated peace” virtually impossible
– Sacrifices that were made served as a catalyst to
“win the war” instead of the war being perceived
as “an experiment”
All-Encompassing Character
1914: All European Powers were at war
1917: All World Powers were, at least, contributing
Fighting: Land, air and sea (even under the sea)
Civilians became targets
– Big Bertha’s 70 mile radius
– Blockades
– Night Bombings
– Ill treatment of civilians by occupying countries
Severity of the War
• 10 million men dead
• 20 million men wounded
– Amputation
– Blind
– Deaf
– Shell shock
• 5 million widows
• 9 million orphans
Severity of the War
• Nations were fighting for “life or death”
• Racial / Ethnic / Nationalist Hatred
– British Newspaper: “Refuse to be served by an
Austrian or German waiter. If your waiter says he
is Swiss ask to see his passport.”
• Germans were interned in Britain
– Accused of bayoneting babies and raping nuns
– German businesses were attacked across Europe
Severity of the War
• Armenian Genocide:
– World War I gave Turks the “casus belli” for
genocide against Christians
– 1.5 million murdered
• Deported
• Enslaved
– “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of
the Armenians?”
Government Intrusion
• Government “centralization” was necessary to
win the war
– Ownership of Railroads, farms and coal
– Ammunition factories
– Food rationing
– Conscription into necessary industries
– Daylight savings time
– Strikes became illegal
Undermining of Institutions
• Militaries took over the governments in order
to become more efficient
• Politicians would not speak negatively against
military officials
• Once government powers were surrendered,
they were virtually impossible to regain
• Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany lost
their Empires
• Social Revolutions: Communism, Suffrage
Psychological Trauma
• Literature of the Time:
– From motivation to fatalism
– Wilfred Owen
– Siegfried Sassoon
– Charles Sorley
– Edward Thomas

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