WWI ended world order since the Napoleonic Wars.

It is known as WWI, the First World War, the Great War and the War to end all wars.

From WWI to WWII, there was a 20 year truce.

WWI was fought primarily in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and was less of a worldwar than WWII.

It caused 20 million deaths, many injuries and mass destruction.

There was a western and eastern front.

1)   The Western Front involved a system of trenches separated by No Man’s Land (morethan 600 km.) and trench warfare.

2)  The Eastern Front consisted of the eastern plains anda limited railroad network that prevented the stalemate of the WesternFront.  In both the scale of conflict waslarge.

The trigger event that led to WWI

This was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was heir to theAustro-Hungarian throne by Gavrilo Princip who was a Bosnian Serb citizen ofAustria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. The Black Hand was a secret society in Serbia whose aim was to unite allSerbs, including those of the Austrian empire into an enlarged Serbia and togain independence from Austria-Hungary. The retaliation of Austria-Hungary against the kingdom of Serbia activateda series of alliances that set off a chain reaction and the declaration of war.


Entente Powers(Allies):  France, UK, Russia (Italy 1915, USA April1917)

Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary (Ottoman Empire 1914, 1915 Bulgaria)

 Neutral Countries: Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and other Scandinavian countries

The results of the war

  There were many treaties:

* The most famous of which wasTHE TREATY OF VERSAILLES (June 28, 1919).

* The allies had an armistice with Germany since November 11, 1918.

*There was a redrawing of the map ofEurope:

* The Central Powers lost territory and new nations were created.

* The German Empire lost colonies, had to accept war blame and pay reparations.

* The Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires were dissolved.

* The Austro-Hungarian Empire was carved into states which included Austria, Hungary,Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

* The Ottoman Empire was disintegrated.

* All non-Anatolian territory was taken by the AlliedPowers and the rest became the Republic of Turkey.

* The Russian Empire in 1917 withdrew from WW1 and lost its western frontier. 

* The new nations of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland were created.

  The League of Nations:

  It was created as an internationalorganization designed to (diplomatically) prevent future wars.


1)   COLONIAL RIVALRY – The competition among nations tobuild larger empires

* The British and French had largeempires. 

* Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted ‘a place inthe sun’ and a large empire was seen as a status symbol. 

* He wanted to rival Great Britain bybuilding his empire and industry.

2)  BALKAN NATIONALISM – The desire for Slavs to join theempire of Austria-Hungary

          The Balkans (an area in SW Europe) were oncepart of the Turkish Empire and inhabited by Slavs such asSerbs, Bosnians, Bulgarians, and Romanians.

* Russia saw herself as protector ofthese Slavs.

* Many of them were part of theAustro-Hungarian Empire.

* Serbia wanted to unite all Serbsinto a bigger empire.

* This brought rivalry withAustria-Hungary who feared losing Serbs and other Balkan nationals.

* Austria-Hungary wanted the states ofthis area.

               CONFLICT: It was between Russia (Serbia’sprotector) and Austria-Hungary.

3)    ALSACE-LORRAINE- Its return to the French fromGermany

* In 1870-1871, France fought Prussiaand lost two of its provinces (Alsace-Lorraine) which were rich in coal andiron ore to the new Germany.

* REVANCHISTS wanted them back and wantedrevenge, as well.

 4)    ARMS RACE – The competition for bigger armedforces

* All the major powers except theBritish trained an army of conscripts. 

* European powers more than doubledarm’s spending.


* It increased tension.

* It created a snowball effect ofbuilding arms.

* It made war more likely since powerswere confident of success.

5)     THE NAVAL RACE – Britain versus Germany

* The British had a small professionalarmy but a great and powerful navy.

* The navy was needed to protect theirempire and trade.

* Germany had a great army but not apowerful navy.  It began increasing itsnavy to rival that of the British. 

* Kaiser Wilhelm was more interestedin the navy than the army as it was very necessary for protecting colonies andbuilding trade.

* The competition began to increasewith the building of the Dreadnought which was a faster and bigger ship.  Germany began to catch up quickly.  By 1909 the British had 8 Dreadnoughts and Germanyhad 7 Dreadnoughts.

* Britain now feared Germany and itsworld domination if it had both a strong army and navy.

6)   Kaiser Wilhelm II and German Militarism—solving disputes through war

* The Kaiser is often blamed forcausing the war.

*Germany had a tradition of settlingproblems through war.

By 1904 German commanders thought that war wasinevitable.


Russia was modernizing and creatinga threat.

* French wanted revenge for 1871defeat.


* The Germans feared an attack on twofronts (east and west).

*By 1905 the Germans createdTHE SCHLIEFFEN PLAN which was  designed to quickly invade France throughBelgium (in the west) and then takecare of Russia (in the east).

               Why did the plan make war more likely?

If Germany invaded Belgium, thismight lead to war (‘Scrap of Paper’).

* The plan made war more likely.

]7)    The Alliance System – The Triple Alliance and The TripleEntente

*The alliances started with Otto von Bismark, Chancellor of Germany(1871-1890).

Fearing French desire for the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, he wanted to keepher isolated.

By 1907 there were two camps.


Alliance:  Austria-Hungary,Germany


Entente:  Britain, France,Russia 


Angry with German support of Boersduring the Boer War (1899-1902)

Fears German rivalry in trade,industry, navy, empire

Abandons ‘splendid isolation’ andbegins to build ‘entente’ (friendly relations)


New nation since 1871

Fears France and Britain

Kaiser Wilhelm II jealous of British Empire

Builds Berlin-Baghdad railway through the Balkans


Needs port – wants weak but friendly power in control of the Dardanelles

Against Austria-Hungary or German expansion in the Balkans

Sees the Berlin-Baghdad Railway as a threat

Wishes to protect Slavs (hostile to Germany which ruled Polish Slavs,supports Serbs and Bulgars 


 Wants Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany

Fears German aggression

Wants to protect its empire, especially in N. Africa 


* Multinational

Fears national groups, especially the Slavs in south, looking to Serbia for leadership


* New nation in 1878 when broke away from Ottoman Empire

Nationalists planned to create Yugoslavia (Southern Slavia) by bringinginto Serbia all Slavs living in the south of Austria-Hungary