DISCUSS THE CAUSES OF WWI AND WHY THE US BECAME INVOLVED IN THAT CONFLICT.
I. War in Europe – June of 1914 was when fighting broke out. It began with a small regional event that expanded and
involved most of Europe. It started when Gavileo Princep, a man from Serbia, assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the heir
to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Serbia wanted Bosnia to become part of Serbia.
This region of Europe bounced back
and forth depending on the powers of the surrounding nations. The Austro-Hungarian empire dominated the Bosnian
area at the time. Part of the reason for the assassination was the rising nationalism in the Balkan Nationalism
A. Background -
1. Balkan Nationalism – the desire of independence, and realignment in some of the old boundaries.
This was a hope to bring Bosnia back to Serbia.
2. Alliance System – At the same time (by 1914), a system of military alliances that required allies to
respond on the behalf of other allies when an attack occurred were formed. This draws nations like England, who may
not have had much interest in this, into the war which will entangle most of Europe into this war. When Austria
Hungary threatened with war, Serbia’s ally, Russia, began to mobilize and this alerts France. Germany goes onto the
side of the “A. H.” empire.
3. Military Buildup – This is like an arms race that had been taking place primarily between England
and Germany. However, other nations were building up their military supplies as well. By the end of the 19
century, there is a buildup of military forces in England, France, Germany, etc. Basically trying to come up
with more efficient ways of doing away with one’s enemies. These were more advanced than anything they’d ever
seen before, tanks, airplanes, and machine guns. The development of poison gasses and the deliverance of that gas
made an impact. Each country believed that their military force was better than anyone else’s in Europe and that led to
an over confidence in war.
4. Rampant European Nationalism – All the nations, England, France, Germany, etc, believe in the
superiority of their civilization, their race, and their military forces and their weaponry. It is like a huge increase in the
patriotism within these countries.
B. Triple Entente and Triple Alliance – The conflict had fallen into two different groups. Entente: (Allied
Powers) England, France, Russia, and after 1915, Italy. Alliance: (Central Powers) Germany, Austria-Hungary,
Ottoman Empire, and until 1915, Italy. The two primary powers were England and Germany. Both sides believed that
it would be a short conflict due to the over-confidence and the belief in the superiority of the weaponry. In August,
both sides thought it would be over by Christmas.
This would be a very long and bloody conflict. The war in Europe
quickly became a war about attrition, killing off as many of the enemy as possible. Both sides made use of the new
equipment, and weaponry because of industrialization. It was just a more efficient way of killing. Germany fights a