First World War The First World War began as a spark and exploded into a merciless blood bath of money, power, and land. The little spark began in the mountainous Balkans of southeastern Europe where small state-sized nations argued back and forth. For hundreds of years many of these small nations were held under the gripping powers of Turkey, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. It started in the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo. Bosnia was also a mini-nation of the Austria-Hungary Empire.
On the day of June twenty-eight, 1914, the leader of Austria-Hungary and his wife were visiting the city. Shots rang out from a young Slavic nationalist heading for the two. They were both killed. This person lived in the neighboring nation of Serbia. Someone had to be blamed for the incident and all their fingers were pointing at Serbia.
The spark soon turned into a flame as of July twenty-eight, exactly one month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on the neighboring nation of Serbia. Suddenly everyone felt they must help and the card game of Alliances was dealt. The leader of the Slavic people was essentially Russia. This enormous nation felt that they must aid Serbia and begins mobilizing troops to that area. Germany allied Austria-Hungary, and Russia was allied with France.
Germany was now in a great deal of trouble; they had two very large and prosperous nations coming from the East and the West sides of Germany. Germany began to get a little claustrophobic. Fearful of an attack from both sides, Germany decided to attack first before they have time to gather. Germany declared war on Russia then two days later on France. Since France was only a small step away and is a lot smaller than Russia Germany chose to attack France first. Ignoring Belgium being a neutral country, Germany forced itself through anyway to get to France. This force England to enact its defense agreement with France and join the Allied powers.
Among the allied powers when the war ended were Great Britain, Ireland, France, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Romania, Serbia, and Greece. In the opposing side the Central powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Other European nations stayed neutral. In America, people felt that the bloodshed of the civil war was enough to deal with and fifty years later with handling this war was too much. The optimistic Americans wanted to stay neutral.
By staying neutral nations were to obey a new set of neutral rights. Any nations that were waged in war were allowed to stop and inspect neutral vessels at sea under international laws (which were not policed in any sort of way). This was in order to make sure that any ship was not the enemy under neutral flags. The warring nations were allowed to confiscate any materials such as weaponry, if found. German submarines were threatening these special rights called the freedom of the seas.
President Wilson strictly warned if any American ship was hurt, they would pay. Germany killed numbers of people with their submarines and sank three American ships. This heeded for Wilson to call upon the American people to make preparations in case there is war. On April second, 1917, President Wilson asked for a declaration of war against Germany. ” The world must be safe for democracy,” he said, as he insisted the Americans to fight for peace and safety to make the world truly free.
One fear that struck the American people was the fact the Great Britain controlled the Monroe Doctrine by policing it and they also controlled the sea to allow safe trade with their advanced Navy. If Great Britain were to lose to the Germans, trade would significantly decrease and the government would be forced to spend mass amounts of money on a superb Navy. President Wilson wanted to ensure the American people of their ideals back in the 1900’s of freedom, and justice all over the world. President Wilson developed his famous fourteen points. Secret diplomacy was to be abolished. All treaties would be “open covenants openly arrived at.” The bright light of publicity would make rulers ashamed to trade away other people’s lives and liberties.
Freedom of the seas would be restored. National borders would be adjusted to allow all people to govern themselves. And there would be a League of Nations to preserve peace and insure justice, which later came to be known today as the United Nations. The fourteen points put smiles on the faces of the planet. These ideas were what America was based on and democracy for the world was peace.
Trench warfare on the Western Front marked in history as the most gruesome and illogical plans for strategic attacking. In this time period machine guns and automatic rifles reigned on the front. This warfare was mostly stationary since it consisted of digging out trenches, which stretched from the Swiss border to the North Sea, and firing back and forth at each other relentlessly for months. These holes were surrounded by barbed wire and often men who charged from the opposite side were torn limb to limb by either gunshots or barbed wire. Poison gas was injected into the trenches numerous times by each side, and if a soldier took more than two seconds putting his gas mask on his lungs would liquefy and the soldier would die.
As the war went on America found out that they needed more mobilization. The Selective Service Act, which was passed on May twenty-eight, 1917, required all men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one to register for military service. By 1918 nearly 4.8 million people were in the armed services. In order to move these troops the U.S. used convoys to ensure that the German submarines wouldn’t sink them.
This “convoy” strategically placed destroyers around merchant and passenger ships so that the Germans wouldn’t risk their submarines, backing off. The money used to supply this operation was obtained by borrowing, selling bonds and loans, and taxes which all estimated in total to 23 billion dollars. World War I was the start for woman’s rights. With the four million men gone off to war one million woman replaced them. These woman were allowed to do jobs only men are allowed to do, they also discovered themselves and found that they are equal and they can do the same stuff as men.
Eventually they were discouraged of their accomplishments and were asked to leave their jobs and return home. The openings for jobs also motivated the black community to move up north in hopes of getting one of the many jobs that was open. The Germans gave up in the end. They thought that they would be treated with the fourteen points, but instead they were dealt with the Treaty of Versailles. After the war the top nations Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States all wanted some kind of monetary or land payback for their expenses.
The German colonies were parceled amongst them and reparations were made. Great Britain and France were the harshest with the money making Germany pay for the costs of the whole war, damages and expenses. In conclusion, the war of the worlds brought together woman for their rights, separated nations, and spilled the most blood ever. The war was not the last. Not before long another world war will spark as a result of the Versailles Treaty and the Nuclear Age will be born.