Ww1 Essay, Research Paper
“Knowledge is power lets take over the world”-Nostajik
So many battles, so many wars, and so much bloodshed. The unprecedented amount of casualties, deaths, destruction and cruelty will truely make this century one to remember. With all this negativity a form of positivity was forged from it. We now have a higher technology and better understanding of how to react it certain cases in order to prevent mistakes made int he past. WWI and its prime example of the potential dangers of nationalism, militarism, and alliances. Although those actions or beliefs on their own can be positive it was the negative that brought the world in the state of world war. For example nationalism: brings a country together unifying it therefore working better and stronger and more effeciently, alliances: creating peace and understanding for support of two or more nations,militarism: makes a country stronger and shows developement in the countries economical areas. Although it was these “positive” things that created the disatrious events of the war, there it was also beficial. WWII showed the world of the extent of what bigotry, descrimination, and desperation can lead to. Vietnam and Korea both gave future wars a form of guideline on how to handle certain situations in upcoming wars and fueds with other nations.
It was known as the war to end all wars: “A war to make the world safe for democracy”, as president Wilson had said in a speech to congress on April 2, 1917( Marshall 32 ). World war one was a war mixed with both the old and the new. New technology was used, sometimes for the first time. Many new weapons and styles of warfare were first used in the war. But many times the generals on both sides resorted to the most primitive style, of just “throwing” as many men as possible at the enemy in an attempt to wear down and defeat them. One of the new styles of warfare was trench-warfare. Trenches would run for miles, and soon became the daily living place for many soldiers. World war one was a war of “unparalleled bloodshed”, with casualties in the millions. It was no doubt the bloodiest war that the world had ever seen before. Americans did not want war. They wanted peace and remained neutral for most of the war. America had already went through its own war about fifty years earlier, and they knew the destruction and devastation that war caused. But when the time came, the United States knew they had to enter the war. World war one had to be fought, and it had to be won for the preservation of “certain unalienable rights”.
Earlier in the decade many of the European nations had signed secret alliances with other ones, so they were bonded together both by politics and by the military. Through the rise of secret alliances
many of the European nations were building up their armies and becoming suspicious of other countries militaries. On June 28, 1914 Europe exploded. On this day the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand,
and his wife were visiting the Bosnian town of Sarajevo. While driving through the town, Gavril Pricip, just a schoolboy, pulled a gun and assassinated both the Archduke and his wife. The two nations that were directly involved, because of the secret alliances, drew several others into the issue, and within a few days most of Europe was involved in what would someday be called World War One.
Going into the war, soldiers were ready to fight for their country, and many thought that the war would be very short. But as the war dragged on, many soldiers lost interest in the war, and it seamed to many like everyday life. Although America was reluctant at first to enter the war, they made some key differences. Even before they
joined they were the key suppliers of amunitions to both Great Britain and France. America was willing to help the allies, but did not want to get directly involved in the war. But on February 4, 1915 the Germans declared the waters around Great Britain a war zone. This affected America because they could no longer take supplies to Great Britain safely.
One major turning point in America s actions toward war was the sinking of the British liner, the Lusitania, off the coast of Ireland on May 8, 1915. One-hundred and twenty-eight Americans drowned when the Lusitania was sunk. At first president Wilson did not even want to hear the details of the sinking, fearing he would overreact. He just sat down at his typewriter and sent the Kaiser a strongly worded letter
of protest against the sinking. The Kaiser ignored the warning, and the Germans sank another British liner. The president protested again, but refused to enter the war. The British became somewhat mad at the president for not entering the war. Whether the United States wanted to help, or not, this war had to be won by the Allies to put an end to the Kaiser s control, and to preserve democracy.
After the Germans had sunk the Lusitania in may, 1915 (which sank within 15 minutes), the United States protested and demanded that such attacks be stopped. But almost one year later, in march, 1916, another British liner, the Sussex, was sunk by German submarines. The United States again protested strongly, but the president refused to enter the war.
Even after all that America had gone through, one letter would convince them that they had to enter the war. This note was called the zimmerman note or also known as the Zimmerman Telegraph. It was a letter sent from the Germans, to the German ambassador in Mexico, asking Mexico to join the war with them. In return, Germany would help Mexico regain its lost territory in the United States. the telegraph was intercepted by British intelligence and sent to Woodrow Wilson.
The president still struggled with the thought of going to war, but when the British revealed that they had no more money, and were running out of men, the president had to face the possibility of a British defeat. President Wilson had always been a strongly belived in peace over war, but when he realized that the United States had to enter the war, and win it, he became one of the biggest advocates for the war. So on April 2, 1917 he asked congress for a declaration of war. He said the world must be made safe for democracy. The United States was ready to enter the war. On April 6, 1917 congress declared war on Germany. The United States believed that it was going to war to end all wars.
On July 25, 1917 the first American troops arrived in France, and by May, 1918 hundreds of thousands of Americans were entering France each month. Most of the American infantry was put under the control of General John J. Pershing. He was an outstanding General. One of the most famous American soldiers was corporal Alvin C. York, who single-handedly killed over twenty Germans and took another 132 prisoner.
America was proud and was more than willing to fight for a worthy cause. But America provided more than soldiers and ammunitions to the war. They provided inspiration and energy through the doughboys. The Americans were used somewhat as a moral boost. By this time the French and the British were not excited about war, so the Americans were seen as fresh, young, and confident. “but above all, the gleaming potential of men and steel that the Germans could see on
an endless horizon” ( Evans 31 ).
In the spring of 1917 America entered the war. About five million American soldiers, sailors, and nurses prepared to risk their lives against some of the newest weapons made. Such as the tank, submarine, poison gas, flame-throwers, and machine guns.
Tanks were one of the new weapons used in world war one. They were large, clumsy vehicles, but were used because of their ability to be drove over various types of terrain and the protection they provided to the riders. Another new invention used in the war were submarines. These were used mainly by the Germans, and given the name, U-boats. U-boats were maybe the most controversial of the new technology used in the war because they often violated international law by sinking merchant vessels without warning. The Germans said that they could not risk coming to the surface to check if the boat could be sunk or not,
so they would often fire torpedoes at ships while they were underwater. This meant that many ships that did not have any war materials on them, like passenger ships, were often sunk by accident. Flame throwers and camouflage were also fairly new when they were used in the war. Many men on both sides started out with brightly colored uniforms, but quickly learned that dull colors like gray or brown worked best. The Belgian troops even tried putting straw on their hats in an attempt to camouflage themselves.
One of the more deadly types of warfare was gas warfare. In 1915 chlorine gas was first used in battle, it was used by both the
allied and German forces. And since it was heavier-than-air it easily swept into the trenches, killing many men by clogging their lungs and causing suffocation. In 1917 mustard gas was first introduced by the Germans, this gas was one of the most dangerous gases. It caused severe burns on the skin and loss of sight. Because of the new gases being introduced, gas schools were set up to teach troops how to defend themselves against gas warfare. Even with these schools, the new gases killed thousands on the battlefield. Out of all the new technology and weapons used in the war, the machine gun was clearly the most deadly.By the end of the war it had caused nearly ninety deaths out of every one-hundred.
The development of the airplane after the Wright brother s first flight in 1903 was fast and furious, but by the beginning of the war airplanes were used mainly as scouting devices, with the flier holding no more than a pistol. The first bombs were dropped from airplanes by the pilot holding it over the side of the plane and dropping it. “But with the invention of the interrupter gear, pilots could synchronize the firing of their machine guns past their propellers and the attack capacity of aircraft gradually
increased” ( Marshall 316 ).
When the first Americans arrived on the battlefield, despite their confidence, they were just as shocked about the reality of war as the Europeans were four years earlier. With the troops out in battle, money had to be raised to help pay for the wartime goods. Many Americans helped in the war effort. The drive to buy liberty bonds raised billions from American citizens alone. Even if you could not afford to buy a bond you had to obey such laws as wheatless Tuesdays and meatless Mondays. The food administration was set up to conserve food during the war. Children were taught not to waste their food. Even restraunts helped by substituting whale or rabbit for pork or beef. Even fuel was conserved to help out in the war effort. The fuel administration was set up to conserve fuel during the war. Many people had heatless Sundays, and they did not drive their automobiles on Sundays or holidays. As the war called more and more men to the front, women became an important factor in each nation s economy. By 1918 one-third of the ammunitions workers in Great Britain were woman. The war caused great national pride and America became one of the most powerful nations in the world.
With so many Americans arriving in Europe every month, and the news that many more were on their way, Germany saw no hope. So on the
eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, of the year 1918 the armistice was signed. This ended one of the worst wars
the world had seen to that point. The war left a permanent memory in the minds of many Americans. Many saw bleeding men and death as they
never had before, many of them saw their friends die right next to
them of flu, or sickness. Many historians agree that America alone did not win the war, but it was America who made the difference.
Wilson’s peace plan or “Fourteen Points” discussed Wilson’s beliefs in the “the right of peoples to ‘national self-determination’” (The American Journey 675). Wilson had proposed the following with the ambition to develope good international relations; freedom of the seas, an end to secret treaties or agreements, reductions and limitson arms, and the peaceful settlement of disputes over colonies. But, problems occured when the other nations were more interested in the ways how territory was to be divided up. The last chapter of world war one was when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. This treaty was signed on June 28, 1919, but it was
so devastating to Germany that revenge was almost inevitable. And twenty years later it started as World War Two, with a new danger to the Allies and the world- Hitler.