Final Exam Review
Final Exam Review HIST 388
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Date Created: 12/05/15
HIST 388- Final Review: A. “The Last Spark of Europe”- Funeral of King Edward VII The sudden death of King Edward VII and his subsequent funeral marked the beginning of the end of the “Old World” defined by monarchy, empire and royalty when approximately 70 nations represented by their leaders traveled to England and attended the deceased King’s funeral. The promenade of the rulers of Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Austria- Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, Rumania, Egypt and many other prominent nations of Eurasia represented the end of such an era when absolute authority was not questioned in the East nor in the West, and where the narrative of dying in war for the glory was a badge of honor for eager young men of all European nations. In The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman discusses the symbolism of King Edward’s funeral and its relation to the rising political tensions between the European powers that had been building since the unification of Germany under Otto von Bismarck in 1871. B. “The Long Fuse”- Europe in the 19 Century The end of Napoleon’s European regime after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 marked the beginning of a time of relative peace in Europe with only a handful of small-scale conflicts consisting of one entity fighting another (i.e. Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71) that lasted mere months. o Despite being informed of more large-scale conflicts (i.e. American Civil War, 1861-65 and, less so, Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05) that exemplified the technological advancements in weaponry, transportation and communication that characterized modern warfare was, on the whole, ignored by many of the prestigious generals of the European powers who would march their respective armies into slaughter during the first months of the Great War. Yet this period of peace in Europe did not involve absolute trust of other nations. Strings were added to a fuse that would slowly burn from the inception of th modern-day Germany and its associated conflicts from the mid-19 century right up to the summer of 1914. o EXAMPLE: Bismarck’s process of using Prussia’s industrialized military to conquer the Germanic regions of Central Europe resulted in the taking of Alsace-Lorraine during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. France’s defeat in this conflict stirred much resentment against France, and this certainly influenced one of the focal points of French strategy when the Great War broke out- Plan XVII, which aimed to regain Alsace-Lorraine in anticipation of Germany launching their offensive into France from Alsace-Lorraine. Yet the head French generalship in August of 1914 ignored the possibility (and inevitability) of Germany flanking France’s left by means of marching through Belgium. The major powers of Europe, most prominently Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia, exemplify the major transformations and subsequent instabilities th outlined below that occurred throughout much of Europe during the 19 century: o A population boom occurred in Europe, going from appx. 50 million in 1800 to more than 300 million in 1914; advances in medicine and medical th practices during the 19 century resulted in a decline in Europe’s death rate, allowing more people to mature and produce offspring thus skyrocketing the population. o The technological advances during the 1800s that characterized the Industrial Revolution exponentially increased the number of goods and services that were being produced and greatly expanded the industrial job sector; progressive social education in Europe, such as the expanding of inexpensive public education, paved the way for what was meant to be equal distribution of wealth amongst members of all socioeconomic classes. o Yet, despite the production rate being more than the birth rate and such legislation being enacted, poverty remained a constant throughout the 1800s, leading many lower- and working-class Europeans to become frustrated and having a desire to explain why they supposedly were not getting their fair share. th o The foundation was laid during the latter part of the 19 century for multiple ideologies to spring up (i.e. Marxism, socialism, communism, anarchism) in order to explain the wealth inequality across Europe and provide solutions to it. o The most potent of all the new ideologies was that of nationalism as more and more people, particularly amongst the lower- and middle-classes, identified with their country and their people as a whole rather than their th class or local origins that dominated the 18 century; such potency was captured both on regional and continental scales as the message of nationalism spread by means of mass media (i.e. political cartoons) and the nations of Europe started to compete for belonging, going so far as to ostracize minority groups that were deemed unfit of upholding the national image of the premier citizen. o Through nationalism the state system was solidified in the minds of most Europeans as the most effective way of remaining intact as a society and as a culture; this added to the growing threat of imperialism by Great Britain, France, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, as well as other European countries, ithmostly Africa but also Southeast Asia and Oceania by the end of the 19 century. o Simply put, the nations of Europe felt they had a right to assert themselves as more powerful than all the other nations and made becoming a strong and durable empire as their method of assertion. o Tied in with increasing European imperialism, and a direct result of rising sentiments of nationalism, was militarism. Prominent military theorists of the time, having studied conflicts from the end of 1815 up to the Russo- Japanese war of 1905, concluded that the most important tool to mobilize in order to gain the military advantage over your opponent was that of your soldiers; the army with the more men had a much better chance at victory. Despite the conflict between Russia and Japan in the early 1900s was a small-scale warning of what the Great War would, being characterized by trench warfare and hundreds of troops being mowed down by machine-gun fire and mangled by barbed wire, the states of Europe were ill-prepared in 1914 for the crutches of modern war. o Another important aspect of militarism at that time was the popular narrative of “just war” which entailed the glorification of war as honorable and a speedy, effective alternative to diplomacy. Leading up to 1914, young men endorsed the idea of going off to war to bring honor and glory to their nation; this is partly explained by the fact that Europe had not experienced a major regional war since the end of the Napoleonic era in 1815, thus such horrors of war had been lost from vivid memory by the time the generation of the Great War would rise up and volunteer for what they anticipated to be a short and decisive conflict. o An additional antagonist for war was the emerging system of alliances that began following Bismarck’s unification of Germany in 1871. Having ruined the potential for any friendship with France due to ending France’s three-century domination of continental Europe, Bismarck looked to Russia and Austria-Hungary to ally Germany with. While allying with Austria-Hungary went quite smoothly, complications arose with Russia when Germany began focusing more so on strengthening relations with Austria-Hungary, signing a Dual Alliance in 1882 which later included Italy thus creating the Triple Alliance of the Great War, and hopes of allying with the Tsar ended abruptly in 1888 when Kaiser Wilhelm II replaced Bismarck. o Meanwhile, France was aware of its necessity for continental allies against Germany, whose newfound unification was seen as a threat. Positive diplomacy began between French and Russia that subsequently solidified an alliance between the two powers by 1893. Great Britain remained quite isolated from continental affairs, focusing on its own interests. This attitude changed by 1900 due very much to its declining global reputation following its war in South Africa against the Boer republics. Striking out with the United States, who consistently preferred to keep out of European affairs, Britain secured an alliance with France and Russia by 1907. Thus, the sides for the upcoming Great War in Europe had been drawn. C. Unification of Germany, 19 Century The major player in the unification of Germany was that of Prussia, an “army with a kingdom” whose meager 2 million-person population grew into the largest th state in norther Germany by the mid-19 century. Otto von Bismarck utilized the powerful army and growing industry of Prussia (“blood and iron”) as a means to unify all of the Germanic societies during the 1860s by instigating wars throughout the Germanic states in order to gain control over them for Prussia. By 1871, Bismarck managed to succeed in unifying all the states of Central Europe (excluding Austria) into a centralized state: Germany. Under this new government, Bismarck serves as the Chancellor of Germany under Wilhelm I, the first Kaiser of Germany. Bismarck had no further ambitions regarding creating a colonial empire outside of Europe; he only wants to secure a peaceful Germany, but furthermore a peaceful Europe. D. Alliance System, 1873-1914 Bismarck’s theory behind peace in Europe and a powerful Germany post- unification was based on the anticipating of France invading Germany if they were allied with one of the great European powers. Thus, he made haste instigating his plan for peace: o League of the Three Emperors (1873)- alliance between Germany (Kaiser Bismarck), Austria-Hungary (Emperor Franz Josef I), and Russia (Tsar Alexander II) spearheaded by Otto von Bismarck in the interest of preventing the newly united Germany from being invaded by what were considered two of the three most powerful regimes of mainland Europe at the time (the third being France). This alliance dissolved temporarily by 1878. o Dual Alliance (1879)- defensive alliance between Germany and Austria- Hungary in which each vowed to assist the other were either of them attacked by Russia as well as pledged benevolent neutrality if the other were attacked by another European country (particularly France); ended in 1918 with the defeats of both Germany and Austria-Hungary in WWI. o Three Emperors’ Alliance (1881)- renewal of the League of the Three Emperors’ between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia that lasted until 1887 due to conflict of interests. o Triple Alliance (1882)- agreement between Germany, Italy and Austria- Hungary to assists one another if any of them were attacked by one of the great powers (particularly France) of Europe; lasted until the outbreak of WWI in 1914 when Italy, claiming that Germany and Austria-Hungary went on the offensive rather than sticking to defense, declared neutrality that would last 1915. Bismarck’s motivation to secure peace in Europe out of fear of an invasion by France and allies was a mutual feeling in France by the closing of the 19 th century. Thus, they respond by establishing their own system of alliances: o Franco-Russian Alliance (1894)- alliance between France and Russia that ended up ceasing French diplomatic isolation, giving Russia its most potent military, political and economic ally during WWI, as well as undermining German diplomatic superiority within the system of alliances being created during that time; ended in 1917 following the Russian Revolution and Russia exiting from the war. o Entente Cordiale (1904)- agreement between France and Great Britain which ended nearly one millennium of intermittent conflict between the two European powers; settled several controversies regarding colonial territory but more importantly signified a direct counter to the alliance system established by Germany; would soon become part of the Triple Entente between Britain, France and Russia in 1907. o Anglo-Russian Convention (1907)- settlement between Great Britain and Russia that ceased long-standing land disputes and established shaky relations between the two powers; along with the Entente Cordiale of 1904 and the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, it would become part of the Triple Entente between Britain, France and Russia that had a major impact on the start to WWI. In an attempt to prevent open hostilities between their respective nations, both Germany and France unintentionally spearheaded the drawing of the sides for the eventual conflict that would involve the most powerful, militarily and politically, nations of Europe. E. The Five Powers of Europe Great Britain- the hegemonic power of Europe. Despite its relatively small population (compared to France & Germany, about 40 million) and limited access to native resources, Britain control appx. 25% of the Earth’s land mass through empire and is able to utilize the resources from its colonies for the war effort; remains to be the naval power of the world, although Germany is competing for that status going into 1914. France- a strong political and economic power of Europe with appx. 45 million (“the cultural center of Europe”). Formidable military that was reformed following its defeat by Prussia in 1871. Germany- the stronghold of Central Europe following unification in 1871. Developed some of the best facets of any European society at the time (i.e. education, transportation & communication, economy) as well as the largest and best trained European army and the second most powerful European navy by 1914; a force not to be reckoned with. Russia- the most autocratic society in Europe at the time, Russia had one of the largest populations of the powers and managed to rapidly industrialize (though not as rapidly as Germany had); remained a formidable force at the outbreak of WWI. Austria-Hungary- an empire that included a plethora of antagonistic ethnic groups (i.e. Austrians, Hungarians, Serbs, Bosnians, Poles, Czechs, Slavs, Croatians) loosely united under a regime strung together primarily by dynastic marriages; had been gradually weakening since the mid-19 century and certainly the most fragile of the five great powers of Europe. F. Other Powers of WWI Ottoman Empire- “the sick man of Europe,” the Ottoman Empire had been in decline since the Siege of Vienna in 1653. Despite an effort to reform politically by the Young Turks in 1908, remained militarily weak until allying itself with Germany in 1915. Italy- a relatively weak European state having only been unified for less than fifty years; a minor player in WWI. G. “Spark of the Powder Keg” Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was the potent outcast within the European royal family; this quite strongly emphasizes the irony in how critical his death was in the turn-of-events during the summer of 1914 that led to war. The Baltic States at the time were a hotbed of Pan-Slavism and Yugoslavic nationalism that culminated into violence and terrorism by organizations such as the Black Hand. Ferdinand desired to visit Sarajevo, Bosnia for vacation with his wife despite strong suggestions from his advisors to not go there. By no coincidence, Ferdinand decided to visit Sarajevo on June 25 , a day of celebration for Serbian nationalism which despised the Austro-Hungarian throne for, in their minds, oppressing the ethnic Baltic peoples and preventing them from creating an independent Serbia. Gavrilo Princip, an ethnic Bosnian Serb and a Yugoslav nationalist, joined the Black Hand after being rejected from the Serbian army for being physically too small. Upon being informed of Ferdinand’s anticipated visit to Sarajevo, the Black Hand enlisted a handful of nationalists, including Princip, to take the Archduke’s life. th On June 28 , the third day of Ferdinand’s visit in Sarajevo, he and his wife were in their touring car on the streets of the city when one of the Black Hand terrorists threw a bomb at the car. Ferdinand and his wife were not injured, as they were the second car in the promenade, but some of his escorts in the first car were severely injured and sent to the hospital. After a ceremony welcoming Ferdinand to Sarajevo, Ferdinand decided that it was time to leave Sarajevo but wanted to visit those who were injured at the hospital before heading to the train station. The majority of the Black Hand assassins had failed in their attempts on Ferdinand’s life and had either committed suicide or been caught by police. Princip, having failed at his attempt, made his way to a local shop where Ferdinand’s motorcade was trying to back up as the driver had made a wrong turn towards the hospital. Upon realizing who Ferdinand was, he fired two shots from his pistol supplied by the Black Hand and ended up killing both Ferdinand and his wife. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison and died in 1918 from tuberculosis. H. War Breaks Out The Austro-Hungarian government blamed Serbia for Ferdinand’s assassination and issued an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23 listing demands that were intentionally made to be impossible to be accepted by the Serbian government so as to provoke Serbia to go to war. As expected, Serbia rejected ultimatum and so Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28 , setting off a chain reaction within the web of alliances in Europe. Being allied with Serbia, Russia began the process of mobilization against both Austria-Hungary and Germany; Germany, allied with Austria-Hungary, is obligated to support them in their effort. On August 1 , Germany declared war on Russia. Being allied with Russia, France declared war on Germany; the favor was returned by Germany on August 3 . rd Having violated Belgian neutrality in its commencement of the Schlieffen Plan, Britain declared war on Germany on August 4 . In less than two weeks, the great powers of Europe were at war with each other. I. Plans for War in Europe Germany- Schlieffen Plan o Alfred von Schlieffen, Chief of the General Staff for the German Army, was responsible for concocting a military solution to a diplomatic problem. Facing enemies on both sides by 1900 (Russia to the East, France to the West), Schlieffen needed to design a military strategy that could decisively adapt to such problematic conditions. o What became known as the Schlieffen Plan went about solving this problem by putting approximately three-fourths of the Germany Army against France; to accomplish, the Army would make a hard swing right, marching through Belgium, and striking central France and heading to Paris thereby effectively flanking virtually all of France’s forces who had positioned along northeastern France at the Maginot Line, anticipating a German invasion from the north. o Helmuth von Moltke, Schlieffen’s replacement, altered the original strategy by moving some of the reserve forces on Germany’s right flank that would act as the “swinging door” through Belgium into France in order to fortify the German position on the East to defend from a possible Russian invasion. France- Plan XVII o Joseph Joffre, Chief of the General Staff for the French Army, oriented the French strategy around re-taking Alsace-Lorraine, the slice of territory that France had lost to Germany during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). o Plan XVII focused on putting virtually all of France’s armed forces along the Maginot Line, a fortified position along the northeastern border of France, in order to repel the anticipated German offensive from the north and push back as the start to France’s campaign to take back Alsace- Lorraine from Germany. o This plan, in theory, was inflexible to react to a German offensive from anywhere besides from the north. Consequently, that is what Joffre ended th up having to do by the 26 of August. Britain o Being relatively isolationist with European affairs up to the outbreak of war in 1914, Britain’s war strategy was largely reactionary during the first months. o Feeling obligated to assist France out of both respect for the Entente Cordiale of 1904 as well as protecting its own interests if Germany managed to defeat France, Britain commences a blockade of Germany almost immediately after they declare war. o Despite the blockade being violation of international law (the British were preventing not only military contraband but consumer goods, such as food, from entering Germany), Germany can do little to stop it during the start of the war. o In addition to a blockade, Britain sends in an Expeditionary Force (BEF) of about 100,000 troops under the command of Sir John French into Belgium to stop the German advance. Russia- “The Steam Roller” o The Russian Army by 1914 was ill-trained, under-equipped, and poorly led, but it was also the largest standing army in the world at the time with approximately 1.4 million troops. o Their strategic approach to war with Germany was outdated, putting too much emphasis on the “bravery of the Russian soldier” and not enough emphasis on modern weaponry or regimented training; this resulted in the Czar Nicholas II’s approach to a potential war as using Russia as a “steam roller” to simply throw more troops at the Germany Army than it could handle. o The major issue in this strategy was Russia’s inability to mobilize quickly due to its relatively poor infrastructure with regards to transportation and communication that was necessary for such a mass movement of soldiers into East Prussia. J. Outbreak of War in the West Germany invaded Belgium with 80% of its army and made haste in marching into France, not anticipating but being prepared for Belgian resistance. The height of Germany’s presence in Belgium occurred during the Army’s offensive against Liege, where many believed existed the best fortifications the world has ever seen. Despite a formidable defense by the Belgians, Germany utilized its immensely unique 42cm artillery pieces known as “Big Bertha.” th Defeating all of Liegeth forts by August 16 , Germany captured Brussels, the capital, by August 20 . With a successful and on-schedule campaign in Belgium, the Germans began making their way to the French border. Despite experiencing an unfavorable cost in casualties when forcing the BEF to retreat at the Battle of Mons, Germany managed to continue their trek towards Paris in order to end the conflict in the Western Front. Meanwhile, Joffre’s forces on the Maginot Line were holding back German advances while Charles Lanrezac, General of the French Fifth Army positioned in northern France opposite the Ardennes Forest. By August 11 , Lanrezac was severely concerned about the significant amount of German troop movement in Belgium and pleaded with Joffre about his suspicion that the overwhelming majority of the German army would invade France from Belgium. Despite realizing this, Joffre still believed that Liege was holding out on August 20 (at which point Belgium had surrendered and Germany was making its way south towards France). Soon he would realize that this was the case and responded by swiftly moving up the Maginot Line, taking any available French divisions possible with him and sending them on trains heading north to support Lanrezac’s defensive against the Germans. At the First Battle of the Marne (September 6 -12 ), with support from the BEF, France managed to push Germany back into their own boundaries. Thus, within less than two months of combat, the aspirations of both France’s and Germany’s respective military strategies had failed to achieve their short-term goals; Germany came within 43 miles of Paris but was unable to push through Anglo-French defensive, losing their chance at taking France out of the war, and being forced on the defensive while France managed to keep Germany at bay but not in the manner nor at the location they had hoped. This resulted in the beginning of the stalemate on the Western Front that would last until the armistice in November of 1918. K. Outbreak of War in the East Having significantly fewer soldiers in Prussia than in Belgium, Germany ordered their armies in the East to simply hold ground until the victory against France in the West had been achieved. The Russians did not wait; although not anticipated by Germany’s Schlieffen Plan, Russian sent its First and Second Armies commanded by Alexsandr Samsonov and Paul von Rennenkampf, respectively, to invade East Prussia. Aforementioned, Germany was quite thrown off by this but managed to fend off the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg (August 26 -30 ), resulting in the total annihilation of Samsonov’s First Army, the suicide of Samsonov himself, and the diverting of pressure on Germany from Russia in the East. In the months to follow, Russia would wage a comparatively successful campaign against Austria-Hungary; this coerced the Germans, having secured stalemate with France and Britain in the West, to send military support to Austria-Hungary in the fall and winter of 1914. L. Mobility to Attrition Within two months from Germany’s invasion of Belgium in early August, the war on both fronts had effectively come to a stalemate. Both sides, unable to carry out their strategical intentions, dug into the Earth and began creating their respective system of trenches that generally remained immobile for the next three years. Attempts to end the stalemate by both extending the front in France and Russia and bringing the war to Italy, Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia would only deepen the stalemate. By the end of 1914, the popular opinion amongst the Europeans that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914 had disappeared. For the citizenries, the governments, and the military officers were well aware that the war they intended to fight in August of 1914 was not going to be the war they would fight going forward. M. Widening the War, 1915 Within the first few months of the war, European governments of both the Allied and Central Powers realized that, in order to keep fighting while maintaining popular and logistical support for the war, the fronts needed to be widened so that more nations joined the fighting. Ottoman Empire o At the time of the outbreak of the war, the Ottoman Empire was notoriously known as the “sick man of Europe.” Since Turkey’s invasion of the Balkans in 1683 and its subsequent military defeat and detrimental loss of territory in 1699, the Empire had been gradually declining both in prestige on the world stage and formidability against potential aggressors from Europe, Africa and Asia. o From the 1700s to the 1900s, Russia and Austria-Hungary had taken large chunks of Ottoman territory threatening their dominance in the Middle Eastern region; rather than allow Russian or Austrian dominance in the region, the European powers continued to support Turkey, financially and militarily, allowing the Empire to keep its head above water by the outbreak of war in 1914. o Political strife was a contributor to the decline in Turkey’s centralization of power, as attempts by the Young Turks and other groups for power brought further dissolution to the former glory and dominance of the Ottomans. o By the time pro-German politician Enver Pasha began his reign over Turkey in 1913 via a coup d’état, Turkey was on the decline; the Empire needed some sort of stimulating effort as a last full measure to hold on to what little global power and prestige it had left. o Despite British efforts to keep Turkey out of the war, Germany’s persuasion prevailed as early as August 1914 when Germany offered to negotiate an alliance treaty with the Turkish government (an offer that was accepted), bringing Turkey formerly into the war against Russia by November of that year. Italy o Many nations on the world stage considered Italy to be the weakest of all the European powers (including in the mix Austria-Hungary and Turkey); in 1914, despite having a population only slightly less than that of France, the country was relatively impoverished, lacking the important aspects of a modern industrialized state, and remaining fairly politically fragile having been unified as a country only since 1866. o Italy’s aspirations for territorial expansion (Adriatic Sea territory) and empire (North Africa) were also shut down by surrounding European powers such as France and Austria-Hungary. o Despite signing a defensive alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882, Italy claimed neutrality when war broke out since no nations acted aggressive towards them; there was also political strife when Germany beckoned to Italy to enter the war when the Italian government made territorial claims to Trentino that was held at the time by Austria- Hungary and the Hapsburg Empire refused to cooperate as their entire reason for going to war was to prevent the collapse of their empire. o Although Italy and Austria-Hungary had reached a concession by March of 1915, Britain and France had already taken the opportunity to pay for Italy’s entrance into the war by promising disputed territorial claims in North Africa and the Mediterranean in addition to previous demands for the Hapsburg Empire to cede to Italy. o When Italian Prime Minister Antonio Salandra attempted to resign to get out of the public circle due to increased tensions in Italy about entering the war on the Allied side, former King Victor Emmanuel III refused his resignation, returned to power and took Italy into the war in May of 1915. United States o When the war began in 1914, the United States was in a fairly productive and peaceful state of being; having defeated Spain in 1898 and subsequently gaining territory as well as being an industrial powerhouse of the world in both manufacturing and exporting goods, the U.S. had no special interests in getting involved in European affairs, following the isolationist ideology inspired by the Monroe Doctrine issued in 1823. o Attempts by the Allied and Central Powers to bring the United States into the war were made as early as the end of 1914 despite President Woodrow Wilson declaring neutrality when the war broke out. o Being neutral, however, did not exclude the United States from profiting from the war effort for the first three years by selling arms and munitions to the Allied Powers. o Germany instigating submarine warfare in 1915 against the Allies (primarily Britain) represented the first major step for the United States going to war when the Canadian cruise liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine (U-boat) in the summer of 1915 resulting in the killing of 128 Americans. o Despite events such as these early on in the war, American interests remained in favor of staying neutral for another two years. N. Total War in WWI From a War of Movement to a War of Attrition o Within a year of war, European strategies of warfare that reminded the world of how war had been conducted for the past few centuries became utterly outdated. o This was due to the advances in technology that were being utilized for maximum effectiveness against the enemy and ultimate defense of your army’s own line (i.e. machine guns, bolt-action rifles, mortars, barbed wire) o This strategy dominated both side by early 1915, forcing men into dug-in trenches that stretched the entire Western Front from southwestern Germany and eastern France all the way to the French bank of the English Channel. Life in the Trenches o Life as a soldier in the trenches can be defined as insurmountable squalor due to a number of factors: 1. Most men lived in very tight spaces with minimal overhead protection from mortar and artillery strikes. 2. They were constantly endangered by health risks caused by lack of insightful sanitary conditions (i.e. the latrine being in close proximity to living quarters and the makeshift infirmaries of the trenches) as well as the presence of rats and lice inflicting disease onto the soldiers. 3. The ever-present threat from bodies never too far from the trench line decomposing in “No Man’s Land” also added to the pain inflicted by disease. 4. Something significant but not so popularly discussed today is the dangers posed by extreme weather (i.e. the 1916-17 winter in France is the coldest on current record). The trenches also flooded when it rained, often to average waist height. These conditions proved disastrous for the soldiers as they were almost always exposed and subsequently endured maladies such as frostbite and trench foot, a disease caused by a soldier’s feet being constantly wet and contained by boots that wasted away flesh and effectively crippled many soldiers. 5. The lack of constant combat throughout much of the war fronts caused soldiers to be subjected to seemingly endless boredom. Much time on the front lines was spent doing tedious and exhausting physical labor to manage the condition of the trenches. Though men were supposed to spend only a period of four days in the actual trenches before cycling out for eight days split up onto time in the reserve line and rest, conditions of war and of Mother Nature did not favor such prospects. 6. What little leisure time soldiers had in the trenches was spent participating in things such as card games. Particularly with British forces, men would take time in the reserves and during periods of supposed rest to play football and boxing; some British soldiers who were members of tank crews even held tank races on occasion. o Combat in the Trenches 1. As mentioned earlier, troops in the trenches were constantly exposed to both the elements but also to enemy fire. Even when they were not in active combat, the threat of mortar and artillery strikes, machine gun and sniper fire and, later on in the war, aerial bombing as well as poison gas attacks, always loomed overhead. 2. Types of combat carried out by soldiers on the front lines was more often nighttime raids on enemy trenches in order to gain intelligence of numbers and equipment or to capture prisoners for interrogation. 3. It was much less frequent that troops actually committed full- frontal assaults on the enemy’s trenches. But when these were done, it was an intensely demanding task. Carrying their rifles and heavy equipment, men were ordered to go “over the top”, climb over the trenches onto “No Man’s Land” and, simply put, sprint head-on into enemy resistance. 4. Fighting elements such as artillery craters and barbed wire slowed down offensives along the way. The essential objective of the attacking force was to catch the enemy off-guard and use rifles and bayonets to root out the defense in order to achieve victory. 5. However, such objective was often unsuccessful and more often debilitated the offensive more so than the defensive; it was quite rare for the defending force to suffer more casualties than the attacking force. Conscription of European Armies o Prior to 1915-1916, most of the European armies had no problem being supplied by willing volunteers searching for the “glory of war;” in the case of Britain, they were also supported by veteran soldiers who had gained field experience in colonial conflicts years earlier, including the Boer War (1899-1902). o But as the war dragged on, less and less able-bodied men fit to join the various European armies gradually lost any prospect for glory and honor to their respective countries. o At this point, however, the governments and militaries of those countries figured this out and, in response, began enacting national conscription in order to continue supplying their armies and continue fighting in the war. o By the time Britain enacted conscription in January of 1916, approximately 2.6 million men had volunteered for the armed forces already. Government Censorship/Propaganda o Being a total war, governments needed the civilian work force on their side in order to continue winning the war, and two tools of maintaining popular support as well as preventing any dissent amongst the civilian populations: 1. Censorship- many governments implemented laws that punished the media if it insulted the government and/or the military or were deemed detracting from the nationalist fervor of the country. 2. Propaganda- notorious propaganda campaigns, aimed to convince young men and women to volunteer for the armed forces as well as dehumanize the enemy, were utilized in all the European powers, and later the United States; Britain’s famous “Pals’ Battalions” propaganda campaign attempted to recruit young me to the Army by convincing them that they would fight alongside their friends, neighbors, and “pals.” Films also became more and more useful, being used in Britain specifically to criticize the United States for its neutrality early on in the war. Women in WWI o As men marched off to the trenches in the West, the mountains in Italy, the front lines in the East, and the ship decks on the seas, an influx of women took over the industrial labor force of the warring nations. o Women played an important role in manufacturing weapons and ammunition (especially artillery shells) but also taking over daily services such as delivering mail, shipping, etc. o The First World War exemplified a significant sociocultural shift in traditional gender roles never before seen in modern history, as women during the war made up the majority of the work force back home while the men fought in the armed forces on the war front. War on Civilians o With the implementation of total war in Europe brought a change in the rules of engagement in wartime, as civilians now become an acceptable and effective target of enemy militaries. o The earliest facet of this war on civilians was the unrestricted submarine warfare of the Germany Navy, the threat being most potent in 1914-15 and 1917 when it was reinstated as an official German offensive strategy. A counter to Britain’s naval blockade, German submarines (known as U- boats) antagonized civilian merchant vessels as well as passenger liners, most famously the Lusitania in 1915. o Another famous offensive against civilians during the war was the zeppelin raids, bombing runs by the German Army Air Services against Britain’s homeland. o Armenian Genocide- A horrific consequence of total war came about in the form of genocide; in 1915, the Turkish government forced the Armenian Christian population in the Ottoman Empire on death marches in order to relocate, resulting in the death of appx. 500,000-1 million Armenian casualties. O. Prelude to Verdun & the Somme, 1914-1916 By the end of 1914, Germany’s war plan to defeat France in two months is beyond wasted manpower and resources as a united Anglo-French front stopped the “swinging arm” of the Schlieffen Plan was halted at the Battle of the Marne and trudge right up to the west coast, near the English Channel. At this point, over a million men on both sides have been killed and the warring nations had realized that it would not be a “splendid little war” as both lines dug in, thereby sparking the prolonged three years of trench warfare that dominated France. Following the failure of the Schlieffen Plan, Helmuth von Moltke, Alfred von Schlieffen’s replacement in 1906, was fired by the Kaiser and replaced by Erich von Falkenhayn whose sole motivation behind his strategic thinking was to win the war by any means necessary. Falkenhayn’s vengeful and ruthless character culminates into his planning of “Operation: Judgment” in which he plans to strike the ill-armed, ill-equipped, and ill-manned French town of Verdun in order to attract the attention of French General Sir Joseph Joffre whom he anticipates will bring the French army into Verdun. At that point, Falkenhayn’s troops will withdraw from Verdun and over 2,000 pieces of German artillery will bombard Verdun in order to eliminate Joffre’s forces. It was supposed to be a swift battle of attrition aimed to gain revenge for France’s resistance to German maneuvers to win the war over a year earlier. Falkenhayn meets with Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst, crowned prince of Germany/eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II and commander of the 5 Army, to explain to him the workings “Operation: Judgment” and met some resistance from Prince Wilhelm but he did convince him to comply with the plan with half of the men (350,000) than Wilhelm requested. P. Battle of Verdun (21 February- 18 December, 1916) When the plan commenced in February, Prince Wilhelm seemed to forget part of the plan as he ignored explicit instructions to NOT take the whole town and only focus his attack on a handful of the many forts surrounding Verdun. Once Wilhelm had taken the town, a prolonged battle of attrition began as the French moved in and the Germans, now with a foothold in Verdun, were unable to use artillery to the extent Falkenhayn wanted but did so nonetheless, resulting in approximately 425,000 French casualties and 360,000 Germany casualties over the course of ten months. As Alistair Horne argues in “The Price of Glory: Verdun, 1916” Verdun “was the First War in microcosm; an intensification of all its horrors and glories, courage and futility.” (Horne 327) His argument is inspired by the fact that Verdun involved an intertwined relationship of attrition and trench warfare that included head-on assaults against modern forts, artillery bombardment, and the first instance of aerial combat, colloquially known as “dogfighting,” in human history. Q. Battle of the Somme (1 July- 18 November, 1916) At the end of 1915, General Sir Douglas Haig, who had commanded one of the two corps of the BEF upon its landing into France in 1914, replaced his former superior General French as Commander-in-Chief. While planning the Anglo-French war strategy in 1915, Haig called for a British offensive at Flanders in an attempt to push the German Army back from the Belgian coast and end the threat of German submarine (U-boat) warfare being pursued against Belgium. Marshal Joseph Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army at the time, agreed with Haig by January, 1916 and decided the next month to meet the British along the Somme River before marching to Flanders. One week after Joffre’s decision, however, the Germans launched an offensive against the French at Verdun and Joffre was forced to divert much of the French forces promised to the offensive at the Somme to hold the line at Verdun, leaving thirteen divisions to support the twenty-one British divisions who were waiting at the Somme. By the end of May, with the Battle of Verdun raging on, hopes for the Anglo- French offensive of Flanders that would leave from the Somme regressed from an ambitious end to German dominance in Belgium to a relief effort of French forces in Verdun by engaging in a battle of attrition against the Germans. With a break in the fighting at Verdun in July, both Germany and France sent support troops to Picardy and the Somme, respectively; they both aimed to divert the intense fighting at Verdun and temporarily weaken their respective enemy in order to gain any advantage at Verdun. The Battle of the Somme inflicted more than 1,000,000 total casualties (appx. 800,000 French/British and 500,000 German) over the course of four months and introduced a significant facet of modern warfare to the battlefield: the tank. Despite the British & French gaining the most ground since the Battle of the Marne in 1914, the impact of the battle are inconclusive amongst historians today. R. The Toll of Total War- Impact of Battles of Verdun & the Somme The end of 1916, the end of Verdun & the Somme, proved to both the Allies and Germany that they could not go on fighting a war in which months resulted in millions dead purely based on logistics. Britain, France, Germany and Russia would simply not be able to provide the manpower and produce the resources necessary to continue engaging in total war. Luckily for these powers, two major events in 1917 would turn the tide of the war, initially in the favor of the Germans (Russian Revolution & subsequently the withdrawal of Russia from the war) but would eventually bring the advantage to the Allies (entrance of the United States into the war). S. Notable Figures in “Guns of August” Wilhelm II (1859-1941)- King of Prussia and Kaiser of Germany in WWI Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (1856-1921)- Chancellor of Germany, 1909- 1917 Nicholas II (1868-1918)- Tsar of Russia in WWI Franz Josef I (1830-1916)- King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria in WWI Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914)- Archduke of the Hapsburg Empire (Austria- Hungary), 1875-1914 Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934)- President of France, 1913-1920 George Clemenceau (1841-1929)- Prime Minister of France, 1906-1909 and 1917-1920 David Lloyd George (1863-1945)- Prime Minister of Britain, 1916-1922 Sir Edward Grey (1862-1933)- Foreign Secretary of Britain, 1905-1916 Winston Churchill (1874-1965)- First Lord of the Admiralty of Britain, 1911- 1915 General Max von Hausen (1846-1922)- Commander of the 3 Army of Germany, 1910-1920 General Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke (1848-1916)- Chief of the German General Staff, 1906-1914 General Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934)- Commander of the th 8 Army of Germany, 1914; Chief of the German General Staff, 1916-1919 General Alexander von Kluck (1846-1934)- Commander of the 1 Army, 1914- 1916 General Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937)- First General Quartermaster of Germany, 1916-1918 Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849-1930)- Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, 1897-1916 Grand Duke Nicholas Romanov (1856-1929)- Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armies, 1914-1915 General Paul von Rennenkampf (1854-1918)- Commander of the First Russian Army, 1914-1915 General Alexsandr Samsonov (1859-1914)- Commander of the Second Russian Army, 1914 Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf (1852-1925)- Chief of the General Staff of the Army and Navy of Austria-Hungary, 1906-1917 Joseph Gallieni (1849-1916)- Minister of War for France, 1915-1916 Marshal Joseph Joffre (1852-1931)- Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies on the Western Front, 1914-1916 General Noël Castelnau (1851-1944)- Chief of Staff to Gen. Joseph Joffre, 1912-1914; General of the 2 Army, 1914-1916 Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1921)- Commander of the French 9 Army, th 1914, and of Army Group North, 1915-1916 Maurice Paléologue (1859-1944)- French historian of WWI; Minister Plenipotentiary for France in Russia, 1914-1917 Field Marshal Douglas Haig (1861-1928)- Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.), 1915-1918 Field Marshal Sir John French (1852-1925)- Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.), 1914-1915 nd General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien (1858-1930)- Commander of the 2 British Army at Battle of Ypres, 1915 Gavrilo Princip (1894-1918)- Bosnian-Serb and Yugoslav nationalist; member of the Pan-Serbian orthnization, Black Hand, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28 , 1914. T. Naval Warfare in World War I Significance of the Navy o Prior to the outbreak of war in 1914, Germany had industrialized its military to the point that it had the best equipped and most well-trained army in the entire world; but Britain still reigned as the overlord of the seas with its superior navy despite Germany not being far behind Britain. o When war broke out, both the British and German government believed that whoever ruled the seas would win the war, mainly the reason behind Germany developing its navy to the extent that it did. o Much of the ideology behind the importance placed on the navy comes from the book The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660– 1783 written by American admiral Alfred T. Mahan in 1890. Mahan emphasized that the extent of a country’s “sea power” determined its impact in geopolitics and role on the world stage. This dynamic was at the center of strategic thinking prior to and throughout the war. Evolution of Naval Technology, 1700s-1914 o In the 18 century, all professional navies consisted of wooden sailing ships lined with smoothbore cannons on both ends. o Robert Fulton’s reveal of the Clermont and introduction of steam power in 1807 did not take off right away in Europe or the United States; Britain’s first “ironclad” warship, the HMS Warrior completed in 1860, was a steam-and-sail powered wooden ship with iron plates plastered on its hull. o The American Civil War saw a revolution in naval warfare when the USS Monitor fought and defeated CSS Merrimack, the first two practical ironclad warships; the Monitor was particularly revolutionary as it introduced the rotating turret, drastically altering the meaning of naval mobility during combat. o Following the Civil War, Britain and France began significantly reforming their respective navies replacing wind with coal and steam, and wood with iron and steel. o By the 1890s, steam and steel dominated the naval construction scene. By which point Germany, following its unification in 1871, had begun building up a navy of its own. o Britain perceived Germany’s building-up of its Navy in the 1880s and 1890s under Kaiser Wilhelm II as a threat to their hegemony on the sea; to counter Germany’s navy, Britain invigorates its navy development for over a decade during which time the first Dreadnought, the first-class battleship of the First World War, was introduced by the Royal Navy in 1906. The battleship made all other naval ships obsolete when it came to battle as the Dreadnought was faster and deadlier than any other ship at the time. o The introduction of the Dreadnought reinvigorated the naval arms race between Britain and Germany going into the war; Germany, despite having the second largest navy in the world, still lagged half the number of ships of the Royal Navy by 1914. Battle of Jutland (31 May- 1 June, 1916) o While the Battle of Verdun was raging in France, both the French and German forces were desperate for some sort of effort to divert their enemy’s attention from Verdun. Sentiments from both Britain and Germany to utilize their impressive navies against one another. o Yet Britain remains the superior naval force, and the Germans fully comprehends this; Reinhard Scheer, the Vice-Admiral of the Imperial German Fleet, plans to draw out the battlecruiser squadrons of Vice- Admiral Sir David Beatty using Vice-Admiral Franz Hipper’s fast scouting cruisers to face the head of his battlecruiser fleet. o After drawing out Beatty’s squadrons, Scheer’s fleet open-fired destroying two British battlecruisers within five minutes. After forty-five minutes, the remnants of Beatty’s squadrons retreat. o Prior to the battle, the British had planned for Scheer’s plan due to intercepting German intelligence causing them to plan on Beatty’s squadrons retreating to where the British battle fleet, under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, was stationed awaiting the arrival of the Germans. o As the sun rose the next morning, the two fleets, totaling over 200 battleships, clashed. o The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval engagement of battleships in human history, and the only one of its kind during the Great War. U. Lessons From Humphrey Cobb’s “Paths of Glory” Implications of Socioeconomic Class- the commanding officers in the French Army, with the exception of Colonel Dax, conform to the idea that the war must be won AT ALL COSTS. This includes ensuring that all enlisted men know that they must follow their orders, and refusing to do so risks being charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy and executed. This was very much intertwined with the thriving class system in Europe at that time in which the aristocracy felt entitled to utter and unquestioned obedience from the peasantry even if their actions are themselves questionable. In the case of the book, this class system is certainly utilized to portray the fact that the lives of enlisted Frenchmen mean virtually nothing to the French generalship since their one and only goal was to win the war. Disregard for Human Life- the utter lack of care of General Assolant when ordering the assault of his army represents what, in Cobb’s opinion, is a genuine lack of concern or even respectability of the lives of his own troops, and this theme carries throughout the book from his orders for the French artillery to fire on his own troops to his utter disinterest in the trial. The Psychological Impact of Total War- although this is a lesser theme in “Paths of Glory” and much more the focus of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” the ways in which total war impacted the soldiers psychologically; particularly regarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), known at the time as “shellshock.” Exemplified in a number of the French troops during the offensive. V. The War in 1917 Perpetual War: The State of Europe in 1917 o 1916 saw a severe final blow to the idea in the minds of European heads of state & the general population of fighting a
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