World War I Essay Research Paper Jason

World War I Essay, Research Paper Jason Rollins December 1, !999 Cheryl Salley English III World War I World War I involved more countries and caused greater destruction than any other

World War I Essay, Research Paper

Jason Rollins

December 1, !999

Cheryl Salley

English III

World War I

World War I involved more countries and caused greater destruction than any other

war, except World War II. An assassin?s bullet set off the war, and a system of military

agreements plunged the main European powers into the fight. Each side expected a quick

victory; but the war lasted four years and took the lives of nearly ten million military


Military drafts raised larger armies than ever before, and extreme patriotism gave men

a cause they were willing to die for. Progaganda whipped up support for the war by

making the enemy seem villainous.

On June 28, 1914, an assassin gunned down Archduke Francis Ferdinard of

Austria-Hungary in Sarejevo, the capital of Austria-Hungary?s province of Bornia. The

killer, Gavrilo Princip, had ties to a terrorist organization in Serbia. Austria-Hungary

believed that Serbia?s government was behind the assassination. It seized the

opportunity to declare war on Serbia and settle an old feud.

Austria-Hungary decided to use this assassination as an excuse to settle its fight with

Serbia. Germany backed Austria, and on July 23 Austria presented a warlike ultimatum

to Serbia. It allowed forty-eight hours for a reply. On July 28, Austria refused Serbia?s

reply and declared war on Serbia.

Rollins 2

All nations in Europe had been expecting war and rival groups had been making

treaties and alliances for many years. Europe was divided into two camps. Germany,

Austria-Hungary, and Italy were members of the Triple Alliance, or Central Powers.

Russia, France, and England formed the rival Triple Entente Powers, which was later

called the Allies. The Balkan States sided with Serbia and the Allies. Serbia?s enemies

were on the side of the Central Powers. The alliances were brought into action when

Austria declared war. It took a week for all Europe to be at war. (Bender)

Germany won early victories in World War I on the main battlefields. The western

front hardly moved for three and a half years in spite of fierce combat. The fighting went

back and forth until 1917 when a revolution broke out in Russia which resulted in Russia

asking for a truce. (World Book Encyclopedia)

The United States remained neutral at first, but many Americans turned against the

Central Powers after Germany began sinking unarmed ships. In 1917 the United States

joined the Allies. As a result the Allies gained the manpower they needed to win the war.

In 1918, the Central Powers surrendered. (World Book Encyclopedia)

World War I grew into the greatest war the world had ever seen. The amount of

money spent was enormous. The war costed about two hundred billion dollars. The

United States alone spent as much money as it did on all the expenses of the government

from 1791 to 1914. (World Book Encyclopedia)

More than sixty-five million men were mobilized for the armies and navies. Over eight

million lost their lives, and more that twenty-one million were wounded. Civilian

populations worked as never before to produce enormous quantities of guns,

Rollins 3

ammunitions, and other supplies. Civilians suffered more in World War I than in any

previous war. Because they played such an important part, this was called ?total war.?

The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinard triggered World War I. But the war

had its origins in developments of the 1800?s. During this time one force that swept

across the continent that helped bring about World War I was nationalism. Different

groups of people felt they should each have a separate national government in a country

where everyone spoke the same language. Another cause of the war was that the

economic interest and rivalries played a considerable part in creating international tentions.

Also it was the growing feeling of insecurity that led the European governments, one after

another, to try to strength their positions by concluding alliances with other governments

having similar interest. (Tuchman)

During World War I, politicians and publicists spoke of great days to come, when

there would be no more wars or clashes between nations. Many historians have stated,

?The actuality of harsh compromises in the treaties along with continued violence in some

nations, distrust among the peoples, and a sharp recession produced a widespread sense of

disillustionment.? Peace agreements after the war did change the map of the world.

New governments appeared in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Germany,

Hungary, Latvia, Lithunia, Poland, Russia, Yugoslavia, and several countries of western

Asia. However this war did not solve the world?s problems. The peace settlements that

followed created conditions that plunged the world into another war less than twenty

years later. (Tuchman)

Rollins 4

Bender,David L. World War I. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

Tuchman, Barbara W. The Guns of August: Macmillan, 1962.

World Book Encyclopedia. Copyright 1996, V.21 World Book, Inc.