WWI The First World War: (1914 – 1918) ● 28th July Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. ● 4th August the Central Powers (Germany and AustriaHungary) were at war with the Allies (Britain, France andRussia) ● Stalemate in the west: ○ Everyone thought that the war was going to be quick. ○ German Schlie en plan was to ﬁrst knock-out Franceand then turn on Russia. ■ Avoid war on two fronts. ○ German attack was driven back from the River Marneand a frontline was established which did not changefor the following three years. ○ The stalemate could not be broken and led to millionsof casualties: Somme, Verdun, and Passchendaele. ○ No one knew how to end such a stalemate and thegenerals relied on the policy of attrition. ○ Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. ○ Romania and Italy joined the Allies. ○ Everyone was ready to ﬁght until they got a ‘fairshare’. ● Naval war and the Americans: ○ Naval war with Britain was indecisive and encouragedthe Germans to turn to submarines (U-boats). ○ U-boats sunk many transport ships bound for Britainand were meant to cut o vital supplies: ■ The reason for this happening was probablybecause the Allies had blockaded German seatrade since the beginning of the war. This wouldhave made them desperate for supplies and ameans of ending the blockade. If they had been
able to cause Britain to become desperate forsupplies they may have been able to negotiate theremoval of the blockade. ■ Speculation. ○ 1917, the U-boats attacked any ships that might betrading with Britain. ○ Some of these ships were American. ○ America declared war on Germany in April, 1917. ● Russian front: ○ The Russians were defeated. ○ Communist revolutions in Russia in 1917 broughtabout the collapse of the Russian war e ort. ○ March 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signedbetween Germany and Russia; this dealt very harshlywith Russia. ● German defeat and the armistice: ○ Germans launched a major o ensive in March 1918. ○ German attack petered out. ○ Allies counterattacked just as the Americans arrived onthe scene. ○ Allied breakthrough was decisive and started in August1918 and continued for about 100 days. ○ Germans asked the Americans for peace and theArmistice (arma-sistere) or Ceaseﬁre was signed onthe 11th of November, 1918. ○ The Kaiser lost inﬂuence but the military gainedpower. Damage: ● France, Belgium, and Italy all had large tracts of land, someof which was farmland, devastated by the ﬁghting whichoccurred on their soil. Also, their communications andbuildings su ered damage.
● Germany su ered the greatest number of casualties withRussia a close second. ● French, Belgian, Italian, German, and Russian civilianssu ered directly on account of the war.