Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Great war

Preparation for the war

- The fear of Germany. Triple Entente: France-Britain-Russia, Central Powers: Germany-Austria-Hungary.

- Rivalry and empire-building, possession of colonies.

- Costly armed race, navy building, preemptive strike became an option.

- Foreign policy was tied to domestic tensions.

- Business and the political elites sought successes in order to distress their subjects at home.

The outbreak of the war

- Balkans became the focus, Russia sought to back Serbia against Austro-Hungary.

- Gavrilo Princip assassinates Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

- Incapable diplomacy and a widespread sense of resignation to the eventual outbreak of war.

- Germans did not manage to overwhelm the French and the British and in Marne river the stage was set for three years of bloody stalemate. A whole generation was lost

- Machine guns, devastating artillery, barbed-wire barriers, poison gas favored the defense.

- The lack of strategic ingenuity among the commanders.

- Russian army was dominated by the dynasty and aristocracy, their weaknesses became apparent, which led to their defeat. Mutinies and peasant revolts.

- Italians entered the war in 1915 but were unsuccessful against A-H, collapsed in 1917.

The home fronts

- Soldiers at the fronts frustrated at political leaders but also the patriotic zeal of civilians.

- Parliamets were bypassed, especially in Germany. Censhorsip. Propaganda departments. The British and American public were bombarded with stories of German attrocities.

- The extent of the involvement of the civilian population and the power of the governments to mobilize men and women and control information made this the first total war.

- Impact of the war. The power of social organization increased, trade unions were broadly recognized as supporting mechanism of the civilian population.

- Apart from the Russian revolution, in Germany labor agitation led almost to revolution.

- Women’s participation in the labor force increased significantly and enhanced emancipation.

The war outside Europe

-The colonial powers mobilized their colonies. The war spread in the Middle East and Africa even up to China. In 1917, the US entered the war. Japan joined on the side of the Entente.

- British dominion troops were vital, non-European Muslim or Indian soldiers were deployed especially by the French as labor force as well.

- The Ottoman enters the war, failures in the Russian front, the Armenian massacres.

-The war made the US, that had built a pacific Empire a major global power.

- Fresh American troops jumped in and Germany agreed to an armistice in November 11, 1918. German public opinion was schcked as they were ill-informed about the war and considered the armistice a socialist and jewish betrayal

The resulf of the war

- 10 million deaths. Huge cost. Fertile lands destroyed. Dislocation of economies.

- The Entente leaders, especially George Clemanceau, whish to maximize their gains against Germany. Lloyd George tried to mediate fearing a revengeful Germany.

- The 14 points of Widrow Wilson, rights of self-determination yet the leaders dropped the demands of the colonized people. Actually British and Fremch expaned their Empires.

-The Peace of Paris became the dictated peace impose without negotiations to Germany.

- A series of new states were born, and the League of Nations to mediate among them.