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The Great War

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The Great War , or as it is known now, World War One was a global conflict fought between the Allied Powers ; Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States along will other smaller nations and the Central Powers ; Germany, Austria Ð'- Hungary, Turkey/Ottoman Empire and other small nations from 1914 to 1918. World War One began from a series of tumultuous events, that in turn affected the balance of alliances that had been made between countries at that time in the world.

The ignition, or rather start of these events occurred on June 28th, 1914, when the Archduke of Austria Ð'- Hungary, Frances Ferdinand and his wife, were assassinated by a young Serbian militant, Gavrilo Princep. Austria Ð'- Hungary was ensured of support from the German government if the declared war against Yugoslavia, who had a defensive treaty with Russia. On July 25th, Austria Ð'- Hungary extended a ten point ultimatum to the Serbian government, along with a forty Ð'- eight hour deadline to enforce the ultimatum. July 28th marked the official declaration of war between Austria and Yugoslavia. The conflict was begun with the intentions of seizing a portion of Serbian territory and utilizing that as a leverage tool to gain their demands. The Russian military began its mobilization efforts to protect Yugoslavia. Trying to still maintain peace the Russians said they would not attack if peace talks would begin. The Germans then issued a twelve hour deadline for the demobilization of the Russian build up, and the Germans declared war on the Russians on August 1st, 1914.

Although Germany had perhaps not been planning for this conflict to materialize in the exact manner that it had, they did have a "contingency" plan. That plan was known as the Schlieffen Plan. The Schlieffen Plan consisted of war plans for the invasions of all the European nations. The German Military leader Moltke determined that the war had to be fought and won on the western front in order to defeat the Russians (Germany in World War One, Holburn) . Germany then declared war on France on August 3rd , 1914, and invaded Belgium the following day. Belgium tried to resist the oncoming Germans, but fell in three days.

The English became involved due in part to the Treaty of London of 1839, in which Great Britain guaranteed to help defend Belgium's independence. Great Britain then issued an ultimatum to the Germans to withdraw from Belgium or they would declare war on Germany, ( Causes of World War 1,Wikipedia). Although sustaining losses along the way to Paris, the Germans were a dominant onslaught until the Battle of the Marne. By mid September 1914 the introduction of trench warfare had begun and on the western front for the Germans it had become a war of attrition. By November 1914, with the exception of the United States of America, most major nations were at war due to allegiances or direct involvement.

By February 1915 the Austria Army had lost 5 million soldiers and consequentially, was no longer involved in the war until the insurgence of the Germans. Russian successes alongside the eastern front and against Austria attributed to the Germans dividing their forces into two active fronts. The Germans were quite successful on the eastern front, despite being outnumbered by 93.5 divisions of Russian armed forces to 78.5 divisions of German armed forces. By May of 1915 Germany liberated the Austrian forces and together they took Poland, Lithuania, Galicia and Latvia, moving increasingly forward (Germany in World War One, Holburn). The western front did not bode as well for the Germans.

The Allies rallied an offensive for the liberation of France in late September 1915. This resulted in a stalemate between the powers, inflicting heavy casualties on the Allied and Central Powers. This fierce battling with no progression continued into late 1916, when the Germans became concerned at the amount of the allied forces on the western front and the invention of the tank - technology that Germany had not engaged in until that point. In 1917, the Germany Navy began to sink American ships that were carrying munitions and other supplies for the Allied forces, instigating American involvement. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front the Germans induced a revolution in Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution in early November 1917. Lenin, who became the new leader of Russia, decided to ensue talks of a peace treaty with Germany. This was done to bring permanence to himself and his country. Although Germany did enter a treaty with Russia on March 3rd, 1918, they advanced as far as the Caspian Sea before making a last treaty with Russia on August 27, 1918, (Germany in World War One, Holburn).

The United States of America had chosen a policy of neutrality throughout the beginning of the war. At the onset, President Woodrow Wilson had said the war, "Ð'....which we nothing to do with, whose causes cannot touch us.", ( America, Past and Present, 7th ed., Divine). The ideal of neutrality was reaffirmed by the predominant political philosophy at that time , Progressivism. Progressives believed that war would infringe on their platform of reform. As well, the progressives believed that the war was one of greed, profiting "munition manufacturers, stockbrokers, and bond dealers", ( America, Past and Present, 7th ed., Divine). Although America had tried to maintain neutral, they did actively

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