World War 1

Who started the "Great War"?

1. Serbia

* on June 28, 1914, the 19-year old student Gavrilo Princip, an agent of the Serbian Black Hand secret society, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of AH.
* Serbia had emerged victorious from the Balkan Wars 1912-13 over Turkey and Bulgaria, but AH had annexed Bosnia, Herzogovina, Albania and opposed the "pan-slavism" that Serbia represented.

2. Austria-Hungary

* on July 28, the AH Dual Monarchy declared war on Serbia.
* empire of Franz Joseph (ruled 1848-1916) was the best example of the "persistence of the ancien regime" (Arno Mayer). Alan Palmer in Twilight of the Habsburgs (1995) argues that the emperor was not so bad, sought peace and stability, that Vienna with a population of 2m. was a cultural center of Europe. He weakened the empire starting in 1908 by granting universal suffrage and opening the political system to ethnic minorities.

3. Russia

* on July 29, Nicholas II was pressured by his military to mobilize prematurely to defend Serbia. Ger. decd war Aug. 1
* Emperor Nicholas II was struggling to keep power from the revolutionaries who had established the Duma parliament in 1905.
* Gen. Samsonov invades East Prussia Aug. 13 but is defeated by Hindenburg and Ludendorff at Tannenberg Aug. 26-30

4. Germany

* on Aug. 1, Germany reluctantly followed its alliance with AH by declaring war on Russia
* Kaiser Wilhelm II (ruled 1888-1918) had ousted Bismarck and sought to keep government in his control, opposing the rising Social Democratic Party, favoring instead the Prussian aristocracy, von Moltke's General Staff, Tirpitz's navy
* Schlieffen Plan begins Aug.10 with huge wheel-like movemnet through Belgium by 1.5 million men in 7 armies, capture Liege Aug. 15, Brussels Aug. 20.

5. France

* on Aug. 1, France followed its alliance with Russia and mobilized - Ger decd war on France Aug. 3.
* Foreign Minister Delcasse had sought an Anglo-French front against Germany but fell from power 1905 as over the German-Morocco crisis and the Dreyfus affair. Church-state separation took place 1905 and Clemenceau led a radical majority in the 1906 elections to create a new French nationalism. Poincare was elected President in 1913 and saw the end of the Third Republic as war began 1914.
* French offensive in Lorraine is fails in the Battle of the Frontiers Aug. 14-25, and Joffre retreats to the Marne, but Ger. right is weakened to strengthen Lorraine

6. Britain

* on Aug. 4, Brit. followed its Triple Entente with France and Russia (formed 1907 by Edward Grey) and declared war on Germany, and after Ger. decd war on Belgium.
* George V (ruled 1910-36) struggled to work with the Liberal majority of David Lloyd George but faced growing turmoil of labor strikes, opposition to Irish home rule.
* Gen John French defeated at Battle of Mons Aug. 23 and joins French in retreat to the Marne. Gen. Joffre is able to stop Ger. Sep. 5-12 in the "miracle of the Marne"

7. Japan

* on Aug. 23, Japan declared war on Ger. and occupied Shantung

Why U.S. entry?

1. Americans unneutral in "thought & deed" (Aug. 19 speech)

* hyphenates = relief committees, 1914 Czech lobby of Edward Benes, Thomas Masaryk
* pro-British = propaganda, blockade, no Declaration of London, loans
* "merchants of death" = Remington, DuPont, Hog Island
* Dacia case - Grey opp'd McAdoo plan to buy German ships

2. U-boat

* Sep. 5, 1914 - Brit cruiser Pathfinder first to be sunk by Ger. submarine - the U-boat fleet grows from 21 in 1914 to 127 in 1917, but only 1/3 at sea at any one time.
* Feb. 4, 1915 - Ger. proclaims "war Zone" around Brit. - also begin Zeppelin attacks on London by air.
* Feb. 10 - Wilson protest - declares Ger would be held to "strict accountability" but ambiguous on passenger ships. Protest also made to Brit - no use of U.S. flag allowed.
* Mar. 28 - Brit steamship Falaba sunk - 104 dead include 1 American, Leon Thrasher
* May 7 - Brit passenger liner Lusitania sunk by one torpedo from Ger. Capt. Walter Schwieger's U-20; 1198 dead, including 128 Americans.
* Lusitania notes: 1st U.S. note on May 13 demanded right to travel, disavowal, reparations - Ger. reply strong: claimed that the Brit. ship carried munitions, that sinking it was "just self-defense" - however, on June 6 Ger. issued order to U-boats to spare passengers; 2nd U.S. note on June 9 was strong, demanded "specific pledge" - WJB resigns; 3rd U.S. note on July 21 was an ultimatum: any more sinkings by Ger. subs would be "deliberately unfriendly"
"Standing Back of Him" from
the New York Tribune, Feb. 1917

Jeanette Rankin in U.S. Capitol
* Arabic Aug. 19 - 2 Amer killed - Bernsdorff pays indemnity and makes pledge (for 9 mos)

3. domestic frustration

* Mexican revolution worsens in 1915 - Pershing expedition begins March 1916
* intervention in Haiti July 1915 & Santo Domingo 1916
* spy expose Aug 15, 1915 - Franz von Rintelen arrested in Atlanta - over von Papen and Boy Ed - plotted with Huerta - Brit "Purchasing Comm" in NY - Wm Wiseman of Kuhn-Loeb - gave info to Col. House - Eman. Voska & Bohemian Alliance - worked for Brit SIS - McAdoo tapped tel of Ger & AH ministers - Brit Room 40 made decrypts - Ralph Van Deman is the "father of Am. military intelligence" due to his 1916 report that led to the reestablishment of MID
* Peace Movement - Am. Peace Society 1907 - Cosmopolitian Club at Univ of Wisconsin - Nicholas Murray Butler pres of Columbia - J.B. Moore's 8-volume Digest of International Law - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Edwin Ginn World Peace Foundation - Henry Ford Peace ship to conference of Neutrals in Europe Dec. 1915 with Rosa Schwimmer - Jeanette Rankin was 1st woman elected to House of Representatives, represented pacifist Montana 1880-1973
* Preparedness campaign - both WW and HC Lodge claimed it was their idea - due to Lusitania, growing domestic pressures, esp Republican Party - Wilson speech Nov. 4, 1915 - expand Navy, Army - new volunteer reserve "Continental Army" - opp'd by 50 Dem in Congress, esp S & W, led by House Majority Leader Claude Kitchin - Wilson national speaking tour Jan and Feb 1916, but Congress deadlocked
* Feb. 8, 1916 - Ger to sink all armed merchant ships (Sussex Mr 24 mistake)
* March 7 - McLemore-Gore defeated - would have prohibited all passengers on belligerent ships
* March 9 - Columbus raid by Pancho Villa caused western states to support defense bills
* March 23 - House approves compromise bill - National Guard to be under feds (reversed 140 yrs of state militia) and volunteer summer training camps created (Plattsburg)
* paid by Revenue Act of 1916 - taxes on the rich and on munition makers, new fed estate tax

4. mediation

House and Wilson

* House-Grey memo of Feb. 22, 1916 during Col. House's 2nd trip to Europe - Wilson to summon peace conference if requested by Brit, Fr - if Ger refused, U.S. to war - but Grey refused to set date for conference, Wilson added "probably" - rejected Mr. 8
* McLemore-Gore is defeated that would have prohibited all passengers on belligerent ships - a Wilosn victory
* Sussex incident Mr. 24 - Wilson wanted to be decisive, to assure Brit, Fr that he was determined to get peace, and to allow Ger alternative to war - must follow cruiser rules or U.S. will "sever diplomatic relations" (Wilson's speech of April 19)
* Wilson opp'd to both Ger and Allies - both still seeking military victory in 1916 - Battle of Jutland May 31-June is a tactical victory of Ger. Admiral Reinhard Scheer whose 99 ships sank 117,025 tons of Brit Adm. John Jellicoe's 149 ships that sank only 61,180 tons. But the battle was a Brit. strategic victory keeping the Ger. navy bottled up, tightening the blockade, causing 750,000 Germans to starve to death, and leaving the U-boat as Germany's only alternative.
* May 27 speech - Wilson advocates U.S. join postwar League - goal of collective security w/ guarantees
* 1916 - Wilson wins Dem Party nomination because "he kept us out of war"- gets strong League plank in party platform, but is attacked as pro-British - Chas "Evasive" Hughes nominated by Repub Party seeking Ger-Amer votes, but Hughes said he would be tougher on Mexico, Ger
* Nov. election was close - Hughes (46%, 254, won east) vs Wilson (49%, 277, won south and west) - no mandate for peace or war but Wilson continued diplomacy to end the war.
* Dec. 18 note to Ger offering peace, but was refused - Wilson rejected by both Allies, Ger
* late 1916 - new young Emperor Karl of AH supported by Wilson - but press campaign of Alice Masaryk, d. of Thos, released 1916 from AH prison
* Jan 22, 1917, speech "Peace Without Victory" meant for Ger, but was rejected

5. unrestricted sub warfare Feb. 1, 1917

* decline of Bethman-Hollweg, rise of military - violated Sussex pledge
* Feb. 3 - U.S. breaks diplomatic relations - endorsed by Senate Feb. 7 - Wilson policy of patience replaced by decisive action
* Feb. 25 - Brit Laconia liner sunk - 3 Am. killed
* Feb. 26 - WW asks Congress to arm merchant ships - passed by House but not Senate - Wilson goes ahead March 12 by executive order

6. Zimmermann telegram Mar. 1

* pub'd by State Dept, based on decryption by British Room 40 in New York of Ger. Foreign Secy note to Eckhardt in Mexico of Jan 16
* Mar. 12 - sinking of unarmed U.S. ship Algonquin, then March 16 City of Memphis, Illinois, Vigilancia

7. Democracy

* April 2 - Wilson delivers war message to Congress
* April 4 - passed by Senate 82-6
* April 6 - passed by House 373-50 and signed by Wilson
* "the U.S. was going to war to establish a new world order, to establish the principles of democracy." (The Great War, Episode 6)


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