When one is called a ntional, it means they are extremely proud, sometimes even fanatical towards their country or culture. This feeling of pride or devotion led to many nations being founded. Nations such as Germany and Italy were founded on such principals. These proud nations were determined to be the most powerful and they argued who would control what region, especially the Balkans. The Austro-Hungarian Empire began annexing areas located in the Balkans. Some of the citizens of these lands did not want to be ruled by who they viewed as outsiders, so they revolted. Russia backed the revolution, claiming that they were the protectors of the Slavic peoples, and this strained the relations between these powerful nations.
Many nations were attempting to expand their infleunce and gain land in the late 19th century. By gaining land, these European Empires culd gain power and wealth. Things like national resources and demand for their products were what these countries sought and that is what they often acquired. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm the ll, wanted colonies for Germany as well, so he decided to produce an extremely strong military.
Military preparedness and stockpiling weapons were what this boiled down to. Germany began to amass an armu with one goal: take on the most awestriking navy in the world's; Great Britain's. Germany's army had also increased dramatically in size, with the latest technology any military had to offer. When this powerful force was ammassed, it was hard to say no to the German generals who were clamoring for an invasion. Plans were drawn up, and the Schlieffen Plan was chosed. The plan laid out, in detail, the correct way to fight a dually-fronted war. One front was with France, while the other was with Russia. A surprise Invasion of France by invading through the nuetral country of Belgium, which of course was promised protection by the enemies of Germany. Simultaneously, the Germans invaded Russia. The other countries, intimidated by Germany's military might, began manufacturing weapons to defend their sovereign territory should war break out.
Alliances were used to prevent war and protect Europe, but instead it plunged the world into a nightmarish struggle that had devestating consequences and whose effects led through the mid-1900s. Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the triple alliance with Italy. Afraid of the military might of Germany, France and Great Britain aspired to create a secret alliance. By now most countries either wanted to abstain from the turmoil that was to envelope Europe and remain neutral, or had picked a side. It was The Triple Alliance; Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; versus the Triple Entente; Britain, France, and Russia. Some leaders of Europe believed that this created some kind of balance of power, though is is obvious that they were gravely mistaken.
Assassination and war
Archduke Ferdinand was shot by a young assassin, him and his wife gunned down with a handgun. An organization called the Black Hand called the hit, and they were supplied explosives and other weapons by the Serbian government. This caused a ripple effect, and all the alliances that were supposed to keep Europe safe did the exact opposite. Instead all the various treaties, favors, and alliances were called in leading to World War ll.
The war is fought
France and Germany went head-to-head from the start. The French army was fourty years out of date, while the German divisons were an extremely well equiped, technologically advanced army that were prepared to fight a modern war. One month of fighting led the Germans to advance to within 25 miles of Paris. This led to a daring counterattack by the French army in a battle known as the First Battle of the Marne. Here 2 million men fought along an enourmous 125 mile front. After almost a week the french had caused the Germans to reatreat forty miles. This came at a terrible cost to the French and the Germans as well with 250,000 lives lost. Also the Russians joined the fight finally, which drew central power soldiers away from the western front. By now soldiers were digging extensive trenches and laying barbed wire.
new Military Technology
scientists on both sides were racing to gain an upperhand in what had become a stalemate. Poisonous gas was the first advancement that was implemented. This dealt death on a whole new scale. Gas attacks were risky due to the fact that the wind direction could change at any moment, blowing the gas back on friendly troops. Gas was relatively ineffective after gas masks were used. When tanks were first used 18 out of 48 tanks got stuck in the mud. Airplanes soon showed themselves as usefull. Machine guns were mounted on these planes and they fought in airbattles called dogfights. U-boats were small submarines that the germans used to implement a plan they called unresticted submarine warfare. This is the main cause of the United States eventually entering the war.
America enters the war
After events like the sinking of the Lusitania and Germany's Zimmerman Note, which was Germany asking Mexico to instigate war with the United States by invading. The United States followed up by declaring war on the axis powers. The Selective Service Act was passed by congress, which required 18 to 25 year old men to enlist in the draft. African Americans and Latinos faced discrimination, and were often not allowed to act in a combat compacity.
THe war ends
The Second Battle of the Marne was the death throughs of the Germans and the Axis Powers. This last desperate offensive signified the end of the war and the start of negotiations and terms of surrender. An Armistice was reached on November 11, 1918. When the bullets and artillery finally stopped firing, the soldiers were extremely releived, but also weighted upon by the horrors that they had witnessed. Unfortunatly, the allied powers took the surrender as an oppurtunity to take revenge on the Germans, and make them pay for reparations.