The Modern World
1906 - 1989
Causes of the First World War
Long term- competition for Empire between Europe and European countries. Britain had a huge empire that covered 1/4 of the world's surface. Other European countries, especially Germany, wanted an empire too. Therefore, between 1870 and 1900 there was competition for overseas colonies ( a piece of land controlled by European powers on other continents.)
An arms race. Britain had a very powerful navy and in 1906 launched the very first 'dreadnought' battleship. The Kaiser (ruler of Germany) wanted Germany to have a strong navy too and so a competition began between Britain and Germany to build more 'dreadnoughts'.
The Alliance System
The Triple Entente
France and Russia promised to help each other if either was attacked, signing an agreement in 1893. Britain joined them in 1907. These countries thought Germany was getting too powerful.
The Triple Alliance
Germany had joined an alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy. They promised to help each other if any of them was attacked or had to go to war. Germany was worried it would be attacked by France or Russia.
June 1914, the Austria-Hungary heir, Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian terrorist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Bosnia was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire, but there were many in the Serbian population. The terrorists wanted to unite all Serbians in an independent nation. Austria-Hungary used this as an excuse to try and take over Serbia. Russia threatened to declare war on Austria-Hungary of they attacked Serbia, so Germany declared war on Russia in defence of Austria-Hungary. This led France to declare war on Germany in support of Russia.
When German troops marched into neutral Belgium to attack France, Britain declared war on Germany.
The Cost of the War for Britain
Nearly every family in Britain lost a relative. 450,000 men were so badly injured that they were unable to work again. The majority of the dead and wounded were between the ages 18 and 25, "the lost generation".
The Government in Britain were spending approximately £3.85 million per day on the war. The national debt increased from £625 million in 1914 to £7980 million in 1918.
In France, where most of the fighting had taken place, there was widespread devastation.
-1.4 million dead
-75,000 houses destroyed
-23,000 factories destroyed
The League of Nations
The League was established to resolve international disputes and prevent countries for needing to go to war again. It was dealt a serious blow when the U.S.A. refused to join, it still encouraged other nations' co-operation.
The league had some successes, mainly in Greece, where they were encouraged to resolve conflicts peacefully. However, they were too weak to stand up to the Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and could not prevent the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, by the 1930's it had lost authority and ceased to play an effective role in international affairs.
The Terms of Armistice
When nations make peace at the end of a war, they will first agree…