The Great War and the Russian Revolution

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Transcript The Great War and the Russian Revolution

The Great War
Causes, Course, and Consequences
of the First World War
1900 – Europe’s Oyster
Victoria’s grandchildren
In 1910, the grandchildren of Queen Victoria occupied the thrones
of Denmark, Greece, Norway, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain and
the United Kingdom. (photograph from 1880).
Modern Ideas
• Concepts like “anomie” (Durkheim, 1897), id and super-ego (Freud,
post-1900) began to change ideas of human behavior
• In 1897 physicist JJ Thompson announced his discovery of the
electron while working with cathods. The discovery of sub-atomic
particles changes all concepts of the composition of matter
• In 1905 Einstein published his paper on “special relativity” which
concerns the relationship of energy and matter, demonstrating that
what is seen is not always was “is”
• Expressionism in painting, literature, theater, dance and architecture
continued to grow after 1890
• Music without a tonal center grows in performances (if not
popularity), due to works by Arnold Schoenberg and others
• Flight (firmly achieved in 1903) will change economics, military
strategy, and leisure activities
Class issues
The growing gap between rich and
poor within industrial countries
gave rise to more aggressive trade
unions, to syndicalist movements
and to socialist movements.
Most confined themselves to strikes
and demonstrations, but some resort
to violence (right -- a bomb thrown
into the French Parliament in 1893
killed no one but led to government
actions against workers).
Propaganda of the deed
Anarchists engaged in campaigns of assassination, in hopes of
triggering revolutions (above: funeral procession of Russian
Premier Stolypin, murdered in 1911).
Causes of the Great war
Alliances call for quick mobilization
 Mobilization plans based on
timetables for assembly of troops
and use of railroads
 Germany must avoid a “two-front”
 An unforeseen event can trigger an
unwanted conflict
Unrest in Southeast Europe
Turkish empire is weakening
Austria worried about Serbia and
‘terrorism’ on its southern borders,
annexes Bosnia in 1908
War in 1912-13 enlarges Serbia, drives
Turkey toward Germany
Russia promotes “pan-Slavism” to offset
its defeat in Russo-Japanese war
Serbia seeks to increase its influence at
cost of Austria, promotes unrest in Bosnia
Kaiser Bill
Extremely insecure and
aggressive, Wilhelm
nearly started a war in
1911, with a speech in
He worried about the “rise
of Asia” as a threat to
Europe. His generals
pressed for a “preventive
war” against Russia’s
growing forces.
Spark in
July 1914
nationalists, angry
at Austrian
annexation of
Bosnia, murdered
Austrian Prince
Franz Josef in
Sarajevo. Serbia’s
government was
implicated in this
“act of terror”
Reaction to Sarajevo
Austria (encouraged by Germany) gives
ultimatum to Serbia
Serbia appeals to Russia for help
Russia, with slower mobilization facilities moves
its troops after Austria mobilizes
Germany, fearing a two front war with both
Russia and France, mobilizes its troops
Italy drops out of Triple Alliance
July 31 -- As an ally of Serbia, Russia announces full
mobilization of her armed forces.
Aug 1 -- Germany mobilizes her armed forces and
declares war Russia.
Aug 3 – Germany declares war on France.
Aug 4 – Germany declares war on Belgium and invades
immediately. Britain declares war of Germany.
Aug 6 -- Austria declares war on Russia.
German plan of attack
The Marne
After British troops delayed the advancing
Germans, French reinforcements pushed back
the threat to Paris. A “race to the channel’
ensued and trench warfare began.
Russian army falters
German victory at
Tannenberg offset
the defeat before
A stalemate set in
on the western
Popular appeal of “war”
Autumn 1914
Trench warfare
Miserable conditions,
constant danger from
artillery fire, heavy
casualties in attacks
over “no man’s land.”
Gas warfare
French use of tear
gas in 1914 prompted
Germany to begin
poison gas attacks, in
order to break the
stalemate on western
Advent of air warfare
The airplane’s
value as a
tool grew until
both sides
deployed large
numbers of
Bombing techniques were primitive
Pilot’s as celebrities
British naval
blockade of
meant slow
Serbia vs. Austria
outnumbered, the
Serbians relied on
“irregular warfare” –
partisans, whose
style of fighting was
viewed by regular
soldiers as terrorism.
in France –
attempts to
open other
‘fronts’ to
help Russia
Britain and Middle east
War with Turkey
Seeking new fronts
After Turkey entered
the war alongside
Germany, the British
navy sought to use
Australian troops to
seize Constantinople –
but another deadlock
began in the Gallipoli
peninsula, with heavy
losses for both sides.
Slaughter at Gallipoli
Churchill and Gallipoli
Churchill at
the time of
the Boer
War, 1900
While suffering further losses in battles
against Russia, Turkish forces killed
hundreds of thousands of Armenian
civilians in 1915-16.
Disaster on the road to
Forces from India, attempting to seize
Bagdad, suffered disaster in 1915-16
At the Somme
(1916), the
British army
lost 60,000
men in five
War weariness
An entire generation of
talent and leadership
was being destroyed in
the war.
The Great War and culture
Writers, poets,
painters, etc. began to
question if the war
would completely
destroy western
France held off the German attempt to take Verdun in
1916, but suffered such heavy casualties that units
mutinied soon after. Germany hoped to win in 1917, if
they could force Russia out of the war.
Doubts about Europe’s
As European nationals continued to kill one another,
the “colonials” in Europe began to doubt the
wisdom of the “white rulers.” Mohandas Gandhi
(above) served in a medical unit in France, and
began to plan for the freedom of India.
New Weapons – The Tank
Technology and death
Submarine warfare
Sinking of Lusitania
US sympathy for victims
U.S. groups organized
aid for Serbia,
Belgium, other
smaller nations
caught up in the Great
US Navy prepares for war
Disaster in Russia
Defeats in battle, poor
management by Tsar
Nicholas, and distrust
of Nicholas’ “German
wife” Alexandra, led to
a collapse of the
Russian war effort.
Soldiers deserted and
workers rioted. Unable
to keep order, Nicholas
abdicated his throne in
Revolution in Russia
Factions fight for control,
U.S., Britain, and
Japan, sent troops to
Russia to oppose
Lenin’s government.
Russian and American
soldiers fought a
pitched battle outside
the post of Archangel.
The Soviet Union
termed this the
beginning of the “cold
Extremely ruthless,
very cunning, Stalin
was merciless in
forcing non-Russians to
accept the authority of
the Bolsheviks. To
save ammunition, he
held thousands of
rebels and prisoners in
Volga boats – then
sunk them in the river.
Civil war in
War and propaganda
Every nation had secret treaties for
obtaining territory from the losers
Every nation sought to convince world
opinion that the war was the fault of
someone else
US neutrality (until 1917) based on the
view that all were at fault
US businesses were selling arms to
Britain and France
American entry into war
U.S. public increasingly angry over
German atrocities in Belgium,
 Zimmerman telegram proposes
German alliance with Mexico against
 German’s decide to unleash
“unrestricted” submarine warfare in
late 1916
The Fourteen Points
When US entered
war, President
Wilson made the
US war aim a
“world safe for
The Fourteen Points
No secret treaties
Freedom of the seas
Free trade
Armament reductions
Self determination of peoples, based on cultural values of
nationality (including an independent Poland, breakup of
Turkish empire, adjustment of Austrian empire, restoration
of Belgium, and replacement of European colonies by
“territories” to be given independence).
An international organization for maintaining peace and
preventing future wars by negotiations – Wilson called it a
“League of nations”
U.S. in France
successes after
the Spring of
1918 open the
way for an
advance into
German collapse
Exhaustion, starvation and influenza brings collapse
The hero in Paris
Hurrying to Paris, Wilson was hailed as the “savior of Europe” –
but France’s Clemenceau (left) and Britain’s Lloyd George
(right) already claimed that they had “won the battle” before
the Americans arrived in force.
Re-mapping Europe
Treaty Rejected
Wilson conceded point
after point to get the
treaty finished and after
he returned to the U.S.,
the Senate rejected the
Treaty of Versailles. The
U.S. never joined the
League of Nations as
Wilson had intended.
U.S. Regrets Role in War
In 1920, American voters
elected Warren Harding as
President. Because
Harding had opposed the
Treaty of Versailles, this
vote was taken as a
rejection of America’s role
in the Great War.
By the mid-1920s, U.S.
history books called
American entry in the war
“a mistake.”
The new Europe
France and Britain bankrupt, Russia ostracized, Italy alienated and
Germany is filled with resentment. Europe’s light has dimmed.