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World War One Notes

1. The Four MAIN Causes of WWI
a. M- Militarism
i. Militarism is the glorification of war and military.
ii. European countries began sizing each other up to see how
quickly each country could ready their troops (mobilize).
iii. In 1870, all powers except for Great Britain adopted
conscription (the involuntary call of citizens to the military).
iv. Great Britain had the best navy so Germany began building
its navy to compete with Great Britain.
b. A- Alliance
i. Alliances are the defense agreements among nations.
ii. The Triple Alliance, later known as the Central Powers,
consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman
Empire. (Italy was formerly a part of this alliance).
iii. The Triple Entente, later known as the Allied Powers,
consisted of France, Britain and Russia.
c. I- Imperialism
i. Imperialism is the spreading of political, social and
economic control over different countries.
ii. When western nations began to industrialize each wanted
economic growth. In order to do this, countries needed to
acquire new markets and establish and expand global
d. N- Nationalism
i. Nationalism is a feeling that people have of being loyal to
and proud of their country often with the belief that it is
better and more important than other countries.
ii. Ethnic groups began looking to bigger nations for
1. Russia agreed to protect the Slavic people. (Slavs)
2. The Slavs were under the rule of Austria-Hungary.
iii. Nationalism in Austria-Hungary created the most violent
tensions in Europe.
iv. Slavs believed in Pan-Slavism which was the belief that
Slavs had a historic mission to develop their culture and
unite and empire. (wanted their own country)
v. Serbia called on Russia to help the Slavs but Russia could
not help.

2. The Spark

a. The assassination
i. June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand visited
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia- Herzegovina.
ii. He intended to give Slavs a voice in the government in
order to diffuse the situation.
iii. Ferdinand and his wife were killed by Gavrilo Princip (19
years old) who was a part of a nationalist group in Serbia
called the Black Hand.
iv. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.
b. The alliance system pulled one country after another into the
c. August 1- Germany declared war on Russia in support of AustriaHungary.
d. August 3- Germany declared war on France.
e. Britain declared war on Germany after Germans invaded France.
3. The Great War Began
a. Schlieffen Plan
i. Created by German general Alfred von Schlieffen in 1905.
ii. He believed Russia would be slow to mobilize.
iii. Thought Germans could reach Paris and defeat French in 6
weeks and then move to the eastern front to focus on
Russian forces.
iv. There was a huge refugee crisis
b. Major battles of the war
i. Battle of the Marne (September 1914)
1. Allies stop German advance on Paris.
ii. Battle of Ypres (May 1915)
1. Germans use chemical weapons for first time.
iii. Battle of Verdun (February-July 1916)
1. French hold the line in the longest battle of the war.
iv. Battle of Somme (July-November 1916)
1. British offense was disastrous.
v. Battle of Tannenburg (August 1914)
1. Huge defeat for Russians.
c. Trenches
i. Three main kinds of trenches:
1. Front line
a. The front line trench was the closest trench to
the enemy side.
2. The support (second) and the reserve (third) trench
were used as backups.
3. Dugouts were underground rooms for officers.
4. The land between both sides was called “no man’s
4. Can America Stay Neutral?

a. America wanted to stay neutral because the war did not concern
b. At first the war was greeted with patriotic enthusiasm.
i. Socialists believed that the war was about capitalism and
imperialism in Germany and Great Britain.
ii. Pacifists believed that all wars were evil.
iii. Americans did not want their children to see the horrors of
c. Americans who came from other countries usually sided with the
countries they came from.
d. The war brought about many jobs to the United States.
i. The Allies needed dynamite, cannon powder, submarines,
copper wire and tubing, and armored cars.
ii. The U.S experienced a labor shortage in 1905.
e. U.S had a moral responsibility to deny recognition to any Latin
American government it viewed undemocratic.
f. Mexican Revolution
i. 1876-1911 President Diaz was military dictator.
ii. America had invested money in Mexico.
iii. Peasants and workers revolted against him in 1910, forcing
Diaz to flee.
iv. Leader of the rebellion was Francisco Madero (became
v. Executed after 2 years and replaced Huerta.
vi. Wilson refused to acknowledge new leader.
vii. “watchful waiting”- waiting for an opportunity to act
against Huerta.
viii. April 1914- American sailors were arrested.
ix. Wilson used opportunity to intervene in Mexico and
occupied Veracruz.
x. Almost at war.
xi. Huerta regime collapsed- Carranza became President in
xii. Wilson withdrew and recognized government.
xiii. Pancho Villa revolted against Carranza.
xiv. Killed some Americans because Wilson recognized
xv. U.S. invaded- sent Blackjack Pershing after Villa
xvi. Mexico hated U.S for the invasion- U.S finally withdrew
when forced to war in Europe.
g. War is brought to the U.S
i. U.S began mobilizing in 1917 to ensure:
1. Allied repayment of debts.
2. To prevent the Germans from threatening U.S

ii. British Blockade
1. Blockaded German coast to prevent weapons and
other military supplies.
2. American ships carrying German goods did not
dispute the blockade.
3. Germany could not import food so famine set in.
4. 750,000 Germans starved to death.
5. Americans upset because this stopped freedom of
the seas then was upset with Germany’s response.
h. German U-boats
i. Germany responded with U-Boats (untersee boat)
ii. Any allied ship found around Britain would be sank.
iii. May 7, 1915, a U-boat sank a British liner called the
Lusitania off the coast of Ireland.
1. 1,198 people died.
2. 128 were Americans.
3. Germans said it was carrying ammunition.
4. American public opinion turned against Germany and
the Central Powers.
5. President Woodrow Wilson ruled out military
iv. August 15, U-boat sank another British liner, Arabic, killing
two Americans.
v. Germany agreed not to sink another passenger ship.
vi. The U.S declares war.
vii. Germany continued submarine warfare.
viii. January 31, Kaiser, said it would sink all ships (hostile or
ix. Wilson wanted to wait for “actual overt acts”.
i. Election of 1916
i. Democrat – Woodrow Wilson
1. Campaign slogan- “He kept us out of the war”.
ii. Republican- Supreme Court Justice, Charles Evans Hughes
iii. Country was split on war issue.
iv. Wilson won because the country was not at war yet.
j. The Zimmerman Note
i. Telegram was sent from the German foreign minister to the
German ambassador in Mexico but was intercepted by
British agents.
ii. Said that if war broke out with the U.S., Germany would
support Mexico in recovering lost territory in Texas, New
Mexico and Arizona.
iii. Germany then sank 4 unarmed American merchant ships
(lost 36 American lives)

iv. Russia became a representative government
5. U.S Enters the War
a. Only 200,000 men were in service when war was declared.
b. Congress passed the Selective Service Act in 1917 which
required men to register with the government. Men would then
be randomly selected into service.
c. In 1918, 24 million men were registered and 3 million were called
into service.
d. African Americans in the service:
i. 400,000 African Americans
ii. Segregated units
iii. Excluded from navy and marines
iv. Most did not see combat
v. Had an all-black unit, 369th Infantry Regiment, that saw
more duty than any American regiment.
vi. Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts were the first
Americans to receive France’s highest military honor, the
Cross of War.
e. Had to find a way to transport the men, food and equipment to
i. Exempted shipyard workers from the draft.
ii. Campaigned the importance of shipyard work.
iii. Split up the assembly to maximize output (build 95 ships
on July 4th, 1918).
iv. Government took over commercial and private ships and
turned into war ships.
f. Combating the U-boats
i. American Vice Admiral William S. Sims convinced the
British to try the convoy system.
ii. The convoy system consisted of a heavy guard of
destroyers escorted merchant ships.
iii. Ship losses were cut in half.
iv. Had a 230- mile barrier of mines across North Sea to keep
the U-boats out of Atlantic Ocean.
v. Only 637 out of 2 million were lost to U-boat attacks.
g. Americans brought freshness and enthusiasm to the war.
h. General John J. Pershing led by the American Expeditionary Force
helped stop German Advances.
i. American infantry were nicknamed dough boys because of the
white belts they wore that were cleaned with pipe dough.
j. Modern warfare
i. Use of large-scale weapons
ii. Machine guns
iii. Tanks
iv. Airplanes

v. Air combat: pilots sat in their open cockpit and shot at
each other with pistols and eventual mounting of machine
guns to planes
vi. Poison gas
vii. Observation balloons
6. Hazards of war
a. Filth, lice, rats and polluted water (caused dysentery).
b. Inhalation of poison gas and decaying bodies
c. Battle fatigue
d. “shell shock”- coined during WWI to describe complete emotional
e. Trench foot- toes would turn red or blue, become numb and then
start to rot off
f. Trench mouth- infection of gums and throat
7. America Plays Defense
a. Russia pulled out of the war in 1917 because of the Communist
Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin.
i. U.S feared Communist Revolution
b. Alvin York became famous during a battle near Meuse-Argonne.
i. Mountaineer and blacksmith from Tennessee.
ii. Opposed warfare because the Bible says “thou shalt not
kill” (only if cause was just)
iii. This was called a conscientious objector.
1. Opposed warfare on moral grounds
2. 3500 men obtained conscientious objector
iv. October 8, 1918 he killed 25 Germans armed with only a
rifle and revolver and captured 132 prisoners with the help
of 6 dough boys.
c. November 3, 1918 Austria-Hungary surrendered to the Allies.
d. German sailors mutinied against the government.
e. Groups of soldiers and workers organized revolutionary councils.
f. November 9th, socialist leaders established a German Republic.
g. The Kaiser gave up the throne
h. Germans were exhausted.
i. Germany agreed to a ceasefire on the 11th hour, 11th day and the
11th month of 1918.
j. Signed the armistice, or truce, that ended the war.
k. WWI was the bloodiest war in history up until then.
l. Over 1 million women went to work because of the lack of labor
m. Congress gave Wilson direct control over much of the economy.
He could fix prices and regulate war-related industries.
n. War-industries board
i. Established in 1917

ii. Reorganized under Bernard M. Baruch
iii. Encouraged the use of mass-production techniques
iv. Eliminate waste by standardizing product in quotas
v. Retail prices soared
o. Railroad Administration controlled railroads
p. Fuel Administration monitored coal supplies and rationed
gasoline and heating oil
q. Many adopted “gasless Sunday’s” and “lightless nights”
r. Fuel Administration introduced daylight savings (first introduced
by Benjamin Franklin to take advantage of longer days of
s. War economy
i. Wages rose in most industries
ii. Rising food prices and housing costs
iii. Corporations profits rose enormously
1. Uneven pay, increased work hours, child labor, sped
up the overall process of production
2. Unions bloomed
a. 6,000 strikes during the war
t. President Wilson established the National War Labor Board in
i. Workers who refused the decisions made by the board
could lose their draft exemptions
ii. “work or fight”
iii. The board did try to combat the long hours, safety
concerns and child labor
u. Founded Industrial Workers of the World
i. Founder was William Hayward
ii. Known as Wobblies
iii. Staged strikes in lumber yards
iv. Government raided and arrested them
v. Food Administration
i. Created by Herbert Hoover
ii. Created to help produce and conserve food
iii. Did not involve rationing
iv. Called for the “gospel of the clean plate”
v. One day a week deemed “meatless”
vi. 1 day- “sweetless”
vii. 2 days- “wheatless”
viii. 2 days-“porkless”
8. Selling the War
a. Had to raise money and convince the public to support the war
b. U.S spent $35.5 billion on the war effort
c. Raised 1/3 through taxes (income tax, war-profits tax, high taxes
on tobacco, liquor and luxury goods

d. Raised the rest through war bonds
i. Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo said that only “a
friend of Germany” would refuse to buy a war bond
e. Set up the nations first propaganda agency
i. Committee of public information
1. George Creel (journalist and head of committee)
2. Propaganda- kind of biased communication designed
to influence people’s thoughts and actions
3. Creel convinced artists to created thousands of
paintings, posters, cartoons and sculptures
promoting the war
4. Four Minute Men:
a. Creel hired 75,000 men who spoke about the
draft rationing, bond drives and to answer
questions such as “Why are we fighting?”
9. Attacks on Civil Liberties
a. Anti-immigrant hysteria
i. German immigrants were the targets
ii. Orchestras refused to play Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and
iii. Towns with German names changed them
iv. Schools stopped teaching the German language
v. Violence against German Americans
vi. Hamburger became “Salisbury Steak”
b. Espionage and Sedition Acts
i. Passed in June 1917
ii. Could be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to 20 years in
jail for interfering with the war effort or for saying anything
disloyal, profane or abusive about the government or the
war effort
iii. Over 2,000 prosecuted
iv. Clearly violated the 1st amendment
v. Targeted socialists and labor leaders
vi. Examples:
1. Eugene v. Debs- 10 year prison sentence for
speaking out against the war and draft
2. Emma Goldman- 2 year prison sentence and $10,000
fine for organizing the No Conscription League and
was deported when she was released
Social Changes
a. The black war opinion was divided
i. W.E.B DuBois said people should support the war
1. To strengthen calls for racial justice




ii. William Monroe Trotter, founder of the Boston Guardian,
believed that victims or racism should not support a racist
The Great Migration
The war accelerated the Great Migration (the large-scale
movement of hundreds of thousands of Southern blacks to cities
in the North)
Was a trickle before the war to escape the Jim Crow south but
after the war became a tidal wave
i. Racial discrimination
ii. Boll weevil infestations, floods and droughts
iii. Job opportunities
Henry Ford opened his assembly line factories to blacks
Northern manufacturers would send free railroad passes to south
to bring black labor force to the north
Racial prejudice existed in the north just like the south
Caused overcrowding and intensified racial tensions
Chicago, New York and St. Louiswere most common
Women During the War
Women moved into jobs that had been held exclusively by men.
Became railroad workers, cooks, dockworkers, bricklayers, coal
miners and ship builders
Also took jobs as nurses, clerks, teachers and volunteered at Red
Jane Addams founded the Women’s Peace Party in 1915
1915, Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment granting
women the right to vote
1920, amendment was ratified by the states
Flu Epidemic
1918- the flu affected ¼ of the U.S population
Mines shut down
Telephone service was cut in half
Staggered working hours in factories to avoid spreading
Ran short of coffins
More than a quarter of soldiers died from flu
Killed 500,000 Americans before disappearing in 1919
30 million worldwide
Wilson’s Fourteen Points
January 1918- Wilson tried to persuade the Allies to construct a
peace treaty at Versailles
Wanted to create a League of Nations
The Allies were vengeful toward Germany so they rejected most
of Wilson’s peace program
Fourteen points


i. First five (prevent war)
1. No secret peace treaties among nations
2. Freedom of seas should be maintained for all
3. Tariffs and other economic barriers among nations
should be lowered or abolished in order to foster free
4. Arms race should be reduced “to the lowest point
consistent with domestic safety, thus lessening the
possibility of military responses” during diplomatic
5. Colonial policies should consider the interests of the
colonial peoples as well as the interests of the
imperialist powers
ii. The next 8 points all dealt with boundaries
1. Wilson wanted to place the boundaries between
differing nationalities
iii. The fourteenth point called for the creation of an
international organization to address diplomatic crises
(League of Nations)
1. Idea was for countries to discuss and settle
grievances without having to resort to war
iv. Allies reject the plan
1. Believed Wilson to be naïve
2. Georges Clemenceau, the French premier, was
determined to prevent further German invasions
3. David Lloyd George, British prime minister, won the
election on the slogan “Make Germany Pay”
4. Italian Prime Minister, Vittorio Orlando, wanted
control of Austrian held territory
5. Consisted of the “Big Four” (Wilson, Clemenceau,
George and Orlando)
6. Wilson conceded on his 14 points as long as the
League of Nations was created
Treaty of Versailles
a. June 28, 1919 gathered in the Hall of Mirror of the Palace of
Versailles to sign peace treaty
b. Hope for stability but anger ensued
c. Provisions for the treaty
i. Established 9 new nations including Poland, Czechoslovakia
and Yugoslavia
ii. Shifted the boundaries of other countries
iii. Took five areas from the Ottoman Empire and gave to
France and Great Britain as mandates( temporary colonies)
1. Were kept until they could self-rule






iv. Barred Germany from maintaining an army
v. Required Germany to return Alsace-Lorraine to France
vi. Germany had to pay reparations ($33 billion)
vii. Germany had to admit guilt
Weaknesses of the treaty
i. Weakened the ability to provide a lasting peace in Europe
ii. Humiliated Germany
iii. Germany was stripped of its colonial possessions in the
iv. Russia lost territory
1. Became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) in 1922
2. Determined to regain territory
Opposition to the treaty
i. Wilson received strong opposition from the American
ii. Herbert Hoover said it was too harsh
iii. Some ethnic groups were unhappy because of boundaries
Debate over the League of Nations
i. Believed that the league threatened U.S foreign policy of
ii. Henry Cabot Lodge (conservative senator) was suspicious
of the joint economic and military action against
The U.S refuses to join the League of Nations
i. Wilson set out on 8,000 mile tour in 1919 to deliver 34
speeches in 3 weeks
ii. October 2- had a stroke that partially paralyzes him for
over 2 months
iii. Treaty was put to a vote in the senate in November 1919
but failed
iv. Was introduced again in March 1920 but failed again
Legacy of the War
Expected to go back to normalcy
The war had strengthened the U.S military and the power of the
Accelerated social change for blacks and women
The destruction and loss of life damaged social and political
Political instability and violence
Opened the door for Hitler
Fun facts of WWI
First war with air fighting
5 downed aircrafts is called a “Flying Ace”
i. America’s top ace- Eddie Rickenbacker with 26 kills


500,000 carrier pigeons used to carry messages
First time a tank had been used in battle
British Army treated 20,000 cases of trench foot in 1914
German U-boats sank 5,554 ships
8 million soldiers died
h. 6.6 million civilian deaths