World War I
The First World War
Welcome to the World War I course
This course is an introductory course enabling students to understand:
- The causes of the war
- The key players in the war
- Significant events during the war
- The consequences of the war
The First World War (1914-1918) was the first multinational war of the 20th century. The complex political maneuvers designed to maintain a European balance of power following the end of the Napoleonic Wars lasted from 1815 until 1907. By 1882 the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire were set in a series of treaties and the final formation of the Triple Entente between the United Kingdom, France, and Russia had cemented by 1907. Several factors led to the signing of these treaties including the multinational dreadnought race. After the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip the declaration of War between Austria-Hungary and Serbia followed exactly one month later on July 28, 1914. Which then lead quickly to the continent-wide mobilization which resulted in the First World War.
Initially the conflict was one of a highly mobile nature, with seven German field armies crashing through Belgium and France in an effort to quickly crush France before swinging back east to support the single field army holding back what was assumed to be a slow Russian military mobilization. The First Battle of the Marne in early September 1914 signified the end of mobile conflict on the western front for the next three years, and the "Race to the Sea" digging trenches along the length of the entire 200 mile front. Although the trench warfare of the western front is a common image of the First World War, the war was indeed a truly global affair, combatants fought in Asia, Africa, Europe, and many pacific islands. The ground war was not totally consumed with trench warfare either, the British Middle-East Campaign was a highly mobile, if not disastrous, undertaking.
Also amongst the things new and unpredictable in warfare were airplanes, Her Majesties Land Ships (later known as tanks), giant artillery pieces, chemical warfare, machine guns, high explosives, total industrial focus on warfare, and massive submarine warfare. The largest naval engagement between battleships happened in 1916 off the coast of Jutland in the North Sea, although nations spent titanic sums on battleship building the engagement was a draw and battleships started to recede in the mind of naval strategists for a new concept the aircraft carrier. The legacy of the Great War's casualties is also a stunning one, both Serbia and the Ottoman Empire lost over 10 percent of the countries total population in death's alone. A solid figure for the death toll on all sides is 16,543,185 - with wounded totals of 21,228,813. The ratio of military deaths due to combat versus other factors (such as illness and malnutrition) was for one of the rare times in history higher in terms of combat fatalities. Factors such as the immobile nature of trench warfare and the higher lethality of the weapons involved led to this chilling statistical anomaly.
- All Lessons will be available for people to access. It is recommended that people follow the lesson plan in numerical order (ie: starting with lesson 1, proceeding to lesson 2, etc.)
- In the introduction, people can post their expectations of the course.
- In the lessons proceeding the introduction will contain:
- Lesson Content
- Questions pretaining to the Lesson Content
- Any Questions that people have about the Lesson Content
- Suggested Reading
- Appendices/extra content if required
People are encouraged to post questions that they have before studying the content about World War I. This section also contains information about the events, before the outbreak of war, which influenced World War I.
- Lesson 2 - "Europe explodes" - The crisis which lead to World War I
- Lesson 3 - 1914 - The alliances and their agenda
- Lesson 4 - The "Schlieffen Plan" - First weeks of war
- Lesson 5 - The Eastern Front
- Lesson 6 - Aircrafts, tanks and poison gas - Inventions during World War I and their effects
- Lesson 7 - War at Sea
- Lesson 8 - The United States in World War I
- Lesson 9 - The Russian Revolution
- Lesson 10 - 1918 - The end of war
- Lesson 11 - The Treaty of Versailles
The intention of this lesson is to read important articles of the Treaty of Versailles, then analyse and evaluate their impacts on the European states.
The planned result of this lesson is to answer open questions and to collect important achievements we've made during the course.
- Nationalism is the extreme patriotic feeling of a nation.
- World War I began in Europe in 1914.
- The Allies were Russia, France and Great Britain.
- The Central Powers were Germany and Austro-Hungary.
- The Schliefen Plan was the strategy that called for the Germans to attack France first and then march east to defeat Russia.
• Churchill, Winston, The World Crisis. 1911-1918 (2007)
• Keegan, John, The First World War (2002)
• Fussell, Paul, The Great War and Modern Memory (2000)
• Remarque, Erich Maria, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
- Wikipedia: World War I
- http://history.sandiego.edu/GEN/maps/list-ww1.html - Interesting maps with many details (and an extraordinary point of view)