"This war, with all its
ghastliness, is nevertheless grand and wonderful. It is worth
--Sociologist Max Weber (1914)
Things fall apart; the centre cannot
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
--W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" (1919)
The "great War" itself was proceeded by
national and economic rivalry among the European nations of which the
Imperial and Colonialist policies are the most glaringly evident. The
European powers had drawn themselves into two broad networks--the Triple
Alliance or Central Powers, and the Triple Entente, more commonly known as
the Allies. The vast public opinion in those nations was also deeply
nationalist, even jingoistic, and the public appetite for heroic warfare
was quite palpable. What almost no one expected was a sustained, brutal
conflict that would change the nature of warfare and that would act as a
great cultural trench between the long nineteenth century (1789-1914) and
the modern world. The war allowed for the Russian Revolution under Lenin
to come to fruition. Imperial ties drew in numerous forces from Asia,
Africa, and the Middle East, and the failure of WWI to achieve any lasting
results give rise to numerous rebellions and wide-spread dissatisfaction
in the colonized countries. Likewise, the outcome of WWI created the
conditions of dissatisfaction that would create a failed Weimar Republic
and a fascist Nazi Germany.
28 June 1914--Assisination of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand by Serbian nationalist triggers alliance system of Europe. On
July 23, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Remaining powers declare
war between July 29 and August 4.
2 August 1914--Ottoman Empire signs an accord
with Germany; enters war in November.
1914-1917--Western Front at an
impasse; trench warfare immobilizes both sides with horrific results.
1915--Italy joins the Allies.
1915--The Aremenian Genocide
1916--Battle at Verdun lasts 6
months--Germany loses 281, 000; France loses 315, 000.
1916--Battle at the Somme lasts four
months--Germany loses 450,000; France loses 200,000; Britain loses 420,000
7 May 1915--British ocean liner Lusitania
sunk, killing 1, 198 people, including 139 Americans; Germany agress to
stop submarine patrols to keep U.S. neutral.
25 April 1915-6 January 1916--Gallipoli
campaign fails to take Constantinople, despite heavy costs to Turkish
forces; first sustained experience of war for Australians and New
Demands--Japan's gives China an ultimatum to become a protectorate.
1917--Russian Revolution under
Bolsheviks & Lenin
April 1917--Germany renews submarine
patrols; United States enters war against Germany.
3 March 1918--Treaty of Brest-Litovsk--Russia
exits the war with German concession of Baltics, Caucasus, Finland,
Poland, and Ukraine.
Spring 1918--Allies break through
the line and begin to push Germany back.
11 November 1918-- Armistice
1919--Paris Peace Conference opens;
despite Wilson's Fourteen Points, Germany effectively crippled by British
and French demands. Austria-Hungary dismantled
1920--League of Nations meets
1920--Treaty of Sèvres--Ottoman
1923--Treaty of Lausanne--Republic
of Turkey recognized