WORLD WAR ONE and UNITED
Lawrence Charles Jorgensen
Professor of History and Political Science -- September, 1965
I. ORIGINS OF THE WORLD WAR
A. THE UNDERLYING CAUSES
- The system of secret alliances
- The Triple Alliance: Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy
- The Triple Entente: France, England, Russia
- Militarism: armaments and militarists
- Pan-Slavism: in Eastern Europe and the Balkans
- Pan-Germanism: Central Europe and the Balkans
- Revanche: France and Alsace-Lorraine
- Italia Irredenta the Trentino and Trieste
- Economic Imperialism: colonies, markets, raw materials, tariff walls
- Freedom of the Press -- OR "How to sell newspapers"
B. THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF THE WAR
- The assassination of Franz Ferdinand June 28, 1914 (Sarajevo)
- Serbian nationalism
- Subsequent Declarations of War
- Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia --- July 23
- Russia decides on war if Serbia is attacked --- July 25
France assures Russia of support
Serbia orders mobilization
Austria orders mobilization against Serbs
- British fleet held in readiness --- July 27
British promises Russia support
France makes initial mobilization steps
- Austria declares war on Serbia --- July 28
France reassures Russia
- Russia begins mobilization --- July 29 (later canceled)
- Russia again orders full mobilization --- July 30
- German ultimatum to Russia (12 hrs) --- July 31
Austria decrees general mobilization --- -5:00 P.M.
- French general mobilization --- Aug. 1 -3:55 P.M.
German general mobilization --- -4:00 P.M.
Germany declares war on Russia --- -7.00 P.M.
- German invasion of Luxembourg and
transit request through Belgium --- Aug. 2
- Germany declares war on France;
begins invasion of Belgium --- Aug. 3
- England declares war on Germany --- Aug. 4
- Austria declares war on Russia --- Aug. 6
- France declares war on Austria Aug. 12
England declares war on Austria
QUESTION: WHO STARTED WORLD WAR ONE? WHOM DO YOU BLAME?
(1) The European powers declared the New York Times, "have reverted
to the condition of savage tribes roaming the forests and falling upon each
other in a fury of blood and carnage to achieve the ambitious designs of
chieftains clad in skins and drunk with mead."
(2) "Do you want to know the cause of the war?" asked Henry Ford.
"It is capitalism, greed, and dirty hunger for dollars.... Take away
the capitalist, and you will sweep war from the earth."
(3) "We never appreciated so keenly as now (wrote an Indiana editor)
the foresight exercised by our forefathers in emigrating from Europe."
II. THE MOTH AND THE FLAME
A. NEUTRALITY: FICTION AND FACT
Official U.S. Position (Wilson: "impartial in thought as well as in
Actual U.S. Position
American public opinion
- Robert Lansing: Counselor and Secretary of State after May, 1915
- Colonel Edward House: Wilson's alter ego
- Walter Hines Page: American ambassador to Court of St. James
- Woodrow Wilson: President of All The People
- East European-Americans
WILL THE REAL AMERICAN PLEASE STAND UP?
B. THE RIGHTS OF NEUTRALS England and the Allies
|1. November 1914 - British
blockade of Germany
|2. Result (economic) of British
||from March 1915 to April 1917-- over $2 billion
C. THE RIGHTS OF NEUTRALS vis a vis
Germany and her submarines
- German blockade of British Isles-February 1915-warning to all
- May 1915-"Lusitania" 1,198 dead including 128 Americans a.
U.S. Response: warning to Germany -- Bryan resigns b. Germany orders
- August 1915-"Arabic", 2 Americans killed a. U.S. sends
strong protest Germany assures safety of unresisting passenger ships
- August 1915: "England arms her merchant ships - starts arming
- February 1916: Germany announces intention to sink armed merchant
QUESTION: WHEN IS A WARSHIP A WARSHIP? WHEN IS IT
NOT? AND HOW DO YOU TELL THROUGH A PERISCOPE?
- U.S. declares Germany to be held responsible
- March 1916: 'Sussex" (French channel steamer, unarmed) several
Americans seriously wounded
- Wilson reads ultimatum before Congress (April 19): abandon
unrestricted submarine warfare against all vessels, even armed
belligerents or U.S. would sever diplomatic relations.
- Germany replies: promise not to sink without warning those who do
WHAT IF THE UNITED STATES PERSUADED ENGLAND TO GIVE UP THEIR
BLOCKADE OF GERMANY-
(if not, Germany would retain freedom of action)
- Wilson accepts pledge -- ignores conditions
D. ELECTION OF 1916: "He kept us out of
War!" (Wilson to Daniels: "I can't keep the country out of war
.... Any little German lieutenant can put us into war at any time by some
III. THE WAR TO SAVE DEMOCRACY OR "NEARER, MY GOD,
A. RESUMPTION OF UNRESTRICTED SUBMARINE WARFARE-January 31,1917 Germany
to sink all ships, armed or unarmed, neutral or belligerent, within the war
QUESTION: The United States had permitted the Allies to cut off U.S.
trade with Germany; could the U.S. now afford to permit Germany to cut off
trade with the Allies? If so, who is going to buy all that cotton and wheat,
beef and pork, guns and munitions? Haven't neutrals any rights?
B. ZIMMERMAN NOTE -- February 25,1917
- Wilson orders the arming of U.S. merchant ships
C. "The World must be made safe for Democracy" - April 2, 1917
- Senate votes for war, 82 - 6.... April 4
- House votes for war, 373 - 50.... April 6,1917, GOOD FRIDAY
IV. GOOD-BYE 19th CENTURY; HELLO 20th!
THE WORLD WAR
"We are glad ... to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world
and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the
rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to
choose their way of life and of obedience. THE WORLD MUST BE MADE SAFE FOR
DEMOCRACY. (my emphasis)........ We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek
no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we
shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind.
We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the
faith and the freedom of nations can make them ....
-- W. Wilson (Liberal) Message to Congress April 2, 1917.
"We are about to do the bidding of wealth's terrible mandate. By our
act we will make millions of our countrymen suffer, and the consequences of
it may well be that millions of our brethren must shed their life-blood,
millions of broken-hearted women must weep, millions of children must suffer
with cold, and millions of babes must die from hunger and all because WE
WANT TO PRESERVE THE COMMERCIAL RIGHT OF AMERICAN CITIZENS TO DELIVER
MUNITIONS OF WAR TO BELLIGERENT NATIONS. (my emphasize)"
--George Norris (Progressive) Republican Senator from Nebraska. Speech in
the U.S. Senate, April 4, 1917.
SOME COSTS OF WORLD WAR I: The War lasted a total of 1565 days
Total military deaths -- 9,000,000
Total civilian deaths -- 10,000,000
grand (and glorious?) -- 19,000,000
over 5,750 military deaths per day
over 12,000 military and civilian deaths per day
Total of some 65 million men mobilized by all sides - one out of every
seven was killed; one out of every three wounded; some 5 million reported
missing; some 7 million permanently disabled
But the "World WAS made safe for democracy." SURE IT WAS!
Economic costs estimated $400,000,000,000 - 400 billion dollars for all
sides: U.S. loans: war loans, post war loans, relief loans, surplus American
war materials left in Europe:
TOTAL U.S. Government LOANS $10,350,000,000 (10.35 Billion)
Great Britain had loaned about 10 billion dollars to allies -- in
addition to our 10 billion: in December, 1918, Great Britain offered to
cancel all war debts IF the United States would also cancel all war debts.
We, of course, refused.
"We seek....no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely
AREN'T . . . WE . . . WONDERFUL?