Causes of World War One
There were 4 main causes:
- Nationalism: 2 big causes - 1. The Balkans -> This was caused by desire for their own country to expand after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and each country was backed by the Great Powers with their own rivalries. 2. France and Germany -> Alsace Lorraine was sieged by Germany in the Franco-Prussion war in 1870-71. The French wanted revenge and they needed Allies to get Alsace-Lorraine back.
- Anglo-German Naval Rivalry: In 1898, Germany had the world's 6th biggest navy and they had a very small emprie. On the otherhand, the UK had the biggest navy and the biggest empire. The Kaiser was very jealous and he decided to try and compete with Britain. This was called the Anglo-Germany Naval Race. The Kaiser set out to build the a fleet that would be near Britain's size. However, Britain could outbuild Germany and this showed when we built 40 between 1905-1914, whereas Germany only built 29.
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Causes of World War One ctd.
- War Plans: 1. Germany (The Schlieffen Plan) -> As they were fighting both France and Russia, Germany had a dual-fronted war. The German Army was bigger than both the French and Russian Armies, but smaller than the two combined. Between 1891 and 1905 Chief of the General Staff Alfred von Schlieffen drew up a plan to defeat their enemies. Firstly, France would be taken out by a big Right Hook around Paris, then Russia would be confronted and defeated. 2. France (Plan XVII): The French solution was to partake in all out attack. The men were packed into columns and advanced loudly and colourfully. They relied on soixante-quinze field gun to neutralise enemy fire power. In practice, it didn't work.
- The Assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand: ADFF was assasinated on June 28th 1914 in Sarajevo. This was a trigger clause for the war. He was assasinated by a Serb, which heightened political tensions between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. The attack was planned by high-up Serbian military officers. This is one of the main causes attributed to the outbreak of WWI.
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- Life in the trenches was very uncomfortable for the soldiers.
- The trenches would be full of rats, and some could be the size of small cats.
- Lice and nits were also big issues as they caused the soliders to feel itchy.
- The two main diseases in the trenches were Trench Fever and Trench Foot.
- Trench Fever is a very painful disease which could take as much as twelve weeks to recover from.
- Trench Foot was caused by damp and soggy conditions in socks.
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Why did the war end in 1918?
- "Turnip Winter"- The British had blockaded all German trade ports and consequently German rations were very small. The German people were close to exhaustion. Many people were starving and strikes began to break out.
- German Michael Offensive- The Germans chose to atack when Russias withdrawal from the war caused 1 million soldiers to be freed up. Germany used a few tactics. Stormtroopers were specially trained and highly skilled soldiers desgined to infiltrate enemy lines. The Germans also used Hurrican bombardment in conjunction with these troops. They had huge successes in April and Ludendorf thought he could break the Allied lines and win the war. There was huge unrest in Germany, so the whole country held its breath for the Michael Offensive. The 5th army line was broken and the Germans managed to advance 14 miles and the Kaiser declared Germany were soon to win the war. However, German success was shortlived as the Allies regrouped and defended new lines and German momentum stalled. Ludendorf's gamble had failed and the German Army was exhausted.
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Why did the war end in 1918? ctd.
- Allied Counter-Attack: The British and French broke through Amiens with the help of tanks. The Germans then retreated to the Hindenburg Line. It was broken on 29th September 1918. This was due to a well planned and well executed military operation. The Allies also used a rolling attack to keep momentum.
- The end for Germany: German troops began to surrender and the German Army mutinied. In October, Ludendorf fled Germany and the Kaiser was told Germany would loose. All Germany's Allies deserted her and on the 11th hour, on the 11th day, on the 11th month, of 1918, the guns fell silent. War was won for the Allies. The war lasted 1,551 days. An Armistice was signed at Campiegne.
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