World War I

Essay add: 15-02-2016, 19:39   /   Views: 27
The First Total War

World War I, was the first total war. It lasted from August 1914 to November 1918, that involved many of the countries of Europe as well the United States and other nations throughout the world. Why did the Germans decide to take such harsh measures?

When Bismarck retired in 1890, however, his carefully crafted policy of isolating France began to unravel. The impetuous new German emperor, William II, abandoned Bismarck cautious foreign policy. When William refused to renew Germany's treaty with Russia, the French approached Russian Zsar Alexander III. By 1894 France and Russia had concluded a treaty of alliance, in which each country pledged to come to the assistance of the other in case of war with Germany. The Franco-Russian alliance obliged Germany to face the prospect of having to fight a war on two fronts, which would prevent Germany from concentrating all its military might against a single foe.

William also began to assert Germany's ambitions abroad. He loudly complained that Germany had fallen behind in the global competition for colonial territories and insisted that Germany make up for lost time. As the 20th century began, Germany aggressively acquired overseas territories. German industrial firms and financial institutions also began to compete fiercely with their long-entrenched British counterparts in distant lands.

William also decided that Germany must become a great naval power. The British were at first scornful, then irritated, and finally alarmed as Germany embarked on major battleship-building programs. The country, which under Bismarck had been content with its role as the most powerful nation on the European continent, now aspired to become a global power.

Concern about William new global ambitions and naval policy prompted Britain to resolve its disputes with France over colonial territories in the common interest of restraining Germany. In 1904 Britain and France established a friendly diplomatic relationship called the Entente Cordiale (French for œcordial understanding). Thereafter these two powers developed closer political ties and began to discuss possible forms of military and naval cooperation in the event of war in Europe. In 1907 Britain settled its outstanding conflicts with France's ally Russia, and the same year, these three powers began to cooperate in a loose diplomatic association that was known as the Triple Entente.

In the decade before World War I, Britain, France, and Russia began to compete with Germany and Austria-Hungary in a costly arms race. Anglo-German naval rivalry was accompanied by a competitive military buildup between France and Russia on the one hand and Germany and Austria-Hungary on the other. All of the powers except Britain had adopted the policy of conscription (drafting men to serve in the armed forces). These conscription policies left the European continent bristling with large, well-trained, fully armed, land forces. Britain alone was content with a small volunteer army because of its overwhelming naval superiority, which it deemed sufficient to shield the British Isles from invasion.

From 1904 to 1914 Germany's military, industrial, and commercial power grew steadily, while the country political leaders increasingly pursued an aggressive foreign policy. During the decade, Germany made two outright threats of war against France and one against Russia, and the German naval program was openly directed against Britain. By 1911 only Austria-Hungary continued to give diplomatic support to German policy. But the multinational empire, ruled by the Habsburg royal family, was hardly a reliable military ally. It faced mounting discontent from the many nationalities that made up its empire. Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, and the Slavic inhabitants of the southern portion of the empire in the Balkan Peninsula wanted autonomy within the empire. They were inspired by the principles of nationalism that had brought about the political unification of Italy in 1861 and Germany in 1871.

It was also openly known in Europe that if war should come, Germany could not depend on Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance. Italy was bound only to fight a defensive war, and in any event it was more of a rival than an ally of Austria-Hungary.

So even though Germain did have Erratic measures that may not even be thought of as sane and you™re probably right. Hitler was a dictator and a famous on at that. He controlled a whole nation and changed their thoughts proving that he was a seductive person.

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