- Empires before World War I
- World War I Articles
- Beginning of World War I
- Empires before World War I (video) | Khan Academy
Empires before World War I
By the time the armistice was signed, November 11, , 20 million people had been killed including , U. The modern world had never seen such horror poisonous gas, trench warfare, improved technology and new weapons. Tensions in Europe were very high before the archduke's assassination. However, three elements undermined this fragile co-existence. Both alliances had countries committed to building empires and their competing desire to annex territory in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East increased their distrust of one another. Industrialization allowed a rapid increase in military and naval equipment.
And finally, many of the ultraconservative governments faced strong internal challenges from liberals and socialists. America had a history of noninvolvement in European wars and, during Woodrow Wilson 's first term, tried to remain neutral. The Atlantic Ocean separated the U. When the war ended, the Ottoman Empire was broken up. England and France drew borders for new countries in the Mideast without regard for ethnic and religious factions.
The centuries-old tensions between the native inhabitants of the region led to many of the problems causing turmoil in the Mideast today, another irony of the War to End War. Africa was home to a sideshow of the European fighting.
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European nationals and colonial troops of both sides fought against each other, but the German colonies were widely separated and unable to support each other. In German East Africa Tanzania an aggressive general named Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck waged a guerilla campaign against his British opponents until after the armistice was signed in Europe that ended the Great War.
World War I Articles
In the waters of the Pacific Ocean German commerce raiders found prey among merchant vessels of Allied nations. Japan joined the Allies war effort on August 23, , ostensibly in fulfillment of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Accomplishing that goal while supporting large armies engaged in warfare proved impossible for Germany, but World War I saw the last great battles fought entirely between surface ships. Jutland would prove to be not only the largest naval battle up to that time but the last in which fighting would take place only between surface ships. The most significant advance in naval warfare to come out of the Great War was the development of submarines, which the German Imperial Navy called Unterseeboots undersea boats.
That got shortened to U-boats, a name that became synonymous with submarine.
Subs could hide beneath the waves in shipping lanes to attack merchant or combat ships with torpedoes without ever being seen. Germany engaged in such unrestricted warfare until U sunk the British passenger liner Lusitania off Ireland in May Over 1, lives were lost, including Americans, and the US threatened to break diplomatic relations with Germany.
Beginning of World War I
The Imperial Navy subsequently instituted strict regulations for U-boat attacks, but those went by the boards in as the Germans tried to cut off supplies to Britain and starve the island nation into submission. It was a bad decision. Airplanes had already seen limited military before World War I began. Italian aircraft were used for reconnaissance and small-scale bombing during the Italo-Turkish War of Aircraft during World War I continued to be used primarily for reconnaissance, including photo-reconnaissance missions. Pilots began shooting at each other with pistols and rifles.
Soon various schemes were attempted to attach machine guns to planes. Early war planes were very light and used small engines with top speeds of less than mph. On many designs the engine was in the rear and pushed the plane through the air. Changes might occur within weeks; in the decades following the war, such changes would take years. Zeppelins were also used for reconnaissance and for bombing over land and sea. While the war on the ground was a miserable existence in muddy, rat- and disease-infested trenches, and millions of lives might be spent to gain a few miles of territory, the war in the air captured the imagination of the world.
Using this exciting new technology to maneuver through the skies and engage the enemy in one-on-one dogfights in which skillful pilots could rise to the status of ace gave the air war a sense of glamour that still hangs over the pilots of World War I. America was drawn into the conflict by the Zimmerman telegraph and unrestricted submarine warfare.
Empires before World War I (video) | Khan Academy
On January 16, , Foreign Secretary of the German Empire Arthur Zimmerman sent a coded message to the German ambassador in Mexico City, Heinrich von Eckart informing him Germany would return to unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1, a policy that might cause America to declare war. The code was broken, and the contents of the telegram published on March 1. Americans were outraged. Two weeks later German U-boats sank three American vessels. Wilson asked Congress on April 1 to authorize a declaration of war against Germany, which it did four days later. War was declared on the other Central Powers shortly thereafter.
When American troops and war materiel began arriving in Europe later in , it unalterably shifted the balance of power in favor of the Allies. A final German offensive began on May 21, , an attempt to win the war before the full weight of American strength could arrive. An Allied operation that became known as the Hundred Days Offensive pushed the enemy back to the German border by September.
The German navy mutinied. Ludendorff, architect of many German victories in the east, was dismissed. Riots broke out, often led by German Bolsheviks. Prince Max, Chancellor of Germany, authorized negotiations for peace terms and stipulated that both military and civilian representatives be involved.
He then turned his title over to Friedrich Ebert, leader of the Socialist Democratic movement. An American military cameraman captured footage of Smoyer and his crew in action, and the video was seen around the world. Smoyer became known as the "Hero of Cologne. But as we walked down the street, these two little kiddies come running out and they're saying 'Kaugummi!
I pulled my pockets out to show them they were empty," Smoyer went on.