World War I
World War I began in 1914; it was directly triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, which caused many other outbreaks to happen those harsh years (Editors, 2018). Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a nineteen-year-old named Gavrilo Princip. Long before 1914, around 1864, the German kingdom of Prussia launched the first series of wars. By 1871, Prussia had united Germany and proclaimed the birth of the German Empire. The war eventually had ended by late 1918 and many battles took place within the years. World War I was also known as the Great War or First World War because of the many nations that were included. Europe, along with Russia, the Middle East, United States, and other regions all had fought in this war. During the conflict in WWI, there were many countries involved that were split between two sides, the Central Powers, and the Allied Powers. On the Central Powers’ side; Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire fought against the Allied Powers. Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States were considered the Allied Powers and fought against the Central Powers. Germany was known to fear encirclement by its rivals; Austria-Hungary. As the war came to an end, there were more than 16 million people including soldiers and civilians who had died as innocent people.
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It is said that Kaiser Wilhelm secretly gave his support for the war which gave Austria-Hungary a “blank check” meaning that Germany was going to plan to back out of the war (Editors, 2018). Wilhelm and his generals saw conflict with Russia as inevitable as they were considered higher in power. As the Habsburgs of Austria-Hungary convinced others that they were ready to begin the war, the government of Serbia ordered the army to mobilize and conjoin with Russia for assistance. Serbia was accused of having aided the assassin which sent an ultimatum of demanding humiliating concessions. On July 28, 1914, the spark came to the city of Sarajevo where Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia which collapsed the peace between Europe’s power (Editors, 2018). Following that week, the sides Central and Allied had lined up against each other and began the war. Most of the war was pushed to happen because of imperialism and nationalism. When Germany considered war many times, they also knew that war with Russia meant war with France, Russia’s ally.
The Western Front began on August 4, 1914, when the troops from Germany crossed the border into Belgium (Editors, 2018). The Western Front was the first battle of World War I when the Germans assaulted Liege, a small city in the area, using the most powerful weapons that they had (“Who was involved in the First World War? Who was on each side? ,” 2018). By August 15, the German troops had captured the city leaving everyone in their path dead, and the destruction of buildings behind as well as the civilians. The battle line of trenches that the soldiers would use stretched to about 450 miles from the coast of Belgium to Switzerland. The Germans had planned to kill the Belgian Priest whom the German troops and city people accused of encouraging civilian resistance. With defeating Belgium, the German troops marched right through and targeted and planned to attack France next.
The First Battle of the Marne took place on September 6, 1914, and ended just three days later on September 9, 1914. The French and British forces stopped the invading army of Germany that then penetrated them both 30 miles deep outside of Paris. The Allied troops took their side and checked the German advance before they went ahead and mounted a counterattack that ended up being successful. Using the counterattack, it drove the Germans back North where they ended up by the Aisne River. With that small defeat, it meant that the end was near for German plans which gave France a quick victory. Both the Allied and Central sides dug into trenches on each of their sides for protection just where the Western Front had taken place. Little did they know, both sides just started the war that would take place for more than three years.
The Eastern Front is where the Russian army forces invaded the regions that Germans held outside of the East Prussia and Poland (Editors, 2018). Late in August 1914, they were stopped by German and Austrian forces at the Battle of Tannenberg while on their way to the destination. Although there was a victory, the assault made by Russia had forced Germany to move back from the Western Front to the Eastern due to the German loss in Marne.
After being at war for a little bit more than four years, the world’s economy was drained emotionally and physically. The United States was a major creditor and also a financier to help those of post-War restoration. Germany was buried in massive repairs due to being involved in the war. American loans to the cash-hungry Allies skyrocketed and by 1917, such loans would total over billions of dollars (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007). When most foreign loans were requested, they had to be approved by William McAdoo. McAdoo was very strong towards being pro-British and tried very hard to do his best to limit the money loaned to Germany without cutting out the supply completely. Britain’s economy, which relied on trading, faced serious problems when Germany had destroyed it with submarines that they used in the war. What they needed most was money to rebuild their city and help their economy get back on track. When the banks quickly ran out of money to help support, the banks started failing quickly in a deep hole. With little money in the banks put major pressure on European economies which contributed to the downturn to the global economy (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007). If the Allies won, the money would then be paid back; If not, the money would be lost forever
In May of 1915, a German submarine torpedoes killed 1,200 people on the Lusitania, a British ship, which also had more than 120 Americans on it as well (Brown, 2018). The incident changed the U.S public’s opinion into the favor of entering the war on the Allies side. Before the war, President Wilson declared that the United States would be neutral in an attempt to keep the country safe and from being drawn into the war. Although the President only wanted what was best, many Americans went behind him and showed support for one side or the other. Many immigrants from Europe who came became war were the ones picking sides. Many of the German Americans in the United States, supported their homeland, and the Irish Americans also supported their homeland of the British. Even though many Americans went behind the Presidents back, many of them had chosen to favor the Allied cause. Back in February of 1915, the Germans made a public announcement that they would attempt to sink without any warning any ship that they came across in the waters surrounding Britain. With Germany’s announcement, it triggered outrage in the United States and elsewhere as there was fear in peoples eyes of what could happen unexpectedly.
Following Wilson’s re-election, the events around the world quickly brought the country to the brink of the war. In early January 1917, Arthur Zimmermann, a German official, called the German ambassador while in Mexico demanding him to make an offer to the Mexican government. With his demand, he was offering United States territory including Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Mexico hoping for the return of them joining the German cause. Germany was hoping that Mexico would come to their senses and hold back the United States so that it was impossible for them to be stopped from going to Europe. Shortly after Germany’s offer to Mexico, it had made its way to the American news and quickly spread across the country of what Germany was wanting on their side.
In November of 1918, the fighting between both sides came to an end when Allied and German leaders meet in France to discuss and sign a peace treaty to end everything between everyone. Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empire have already surrendered by this time. Later that month, the Allies then went and met in Paris to draft the official Peace Treaty to put World War I to an end for life.
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