1worldwarone - World War One Imperialism and Nationalism...

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World War One
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Imperialism and Nationalism These twin ideologies were sold to European populations to distract them from issues on the home front. Social Darwinists theories about the “Survival of the Fittest”. Race not determined just by skin color -struggle was between the European ‘races’ – French, English, German, etc.
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The End of the Age of Anxiety? Competitive attitude = tension. 1914, Europe willingly, even enthusiastically went to war. They believed they had no choice. Each country believed that the war would be short and they would be victorious. The war would “clear the air”.
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Mistaken Expectations Regardless of expectations the First World War was long, indecisive and very destructive. A war of unprecedented scope and intensity.
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Why was WWI so destructive. It involved all the Great Powers. It quickly stagnated into military stalemate. Both sides were evenly matched. The system of Alliances divided Europe into huge opposing power blocs. It was the first modern war.
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Germany and Bismarck (1815- 1898) Germany unified in 1871became the strongest power in Europe. But Bismarck had orchestrated the Franco- Prussian war, giving Germans a common enemy, France, to unite against. This left France very bitter, especially over Alsace Lorraine. Bismarck wanted to keep France isolated from alliances. Needed to restrain hostility between Austria- Hungary and Russia.
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Bismarck, The Iron Chancellor In the American Cartoon from 1887, Bismarck is depicted balancing the figures of war and peace on a teeter-totter, over a powder keg labeled “European politics”, while juggling the heads of the European states. In the foreground is artillery.
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The Three Emperors League, 1873 cCreated a conservative alliance between the monarchs of Germany, Austria- Hungary and Russia, reminiscent of the Holy Alliance. But Russia fell out with the other two and courted France instead. End of the 19 th century Europe had divided into two distinct rival power blocs.
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The Power Blocs On one side the Triple Alliance – Germany, Austria-Hungary joined by Italy. On the other side Russia and France. The only non-allied Great Power was Britain - could easily tip the balance in the favor of one or the other. For a long time content in isolation but Britain was weaker alone than these great rival power blocs.
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The Triple Alliance
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Britain’s position Felt a natural alliance with Germany - common racial origin. But Britain increasingly felt threatened by Germany. Germany expanded its fleet Chemical industries made Germany a serious commercial rival. Germany threatened Britain’s imperial quest in Africa.
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Tension Increases France actively wooed Britain - accepted British rule in Egypt and Morocco. Germany saw itself as surrounded by enemies.
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIS 1000 taught by Professor Cooper during the Spring '08 term at St. Johns Duplicate.

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1worldwarone - World War One Imperialism and Nationalism...

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