Events Leading to World War 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVENTS LEADING TO World War 1
Imperialism
Spanish American War 1898-99
Cuba – under Spanish control – Cuban rebels attack US sugar plantations, to gain interest of USA – “Yellow journalism” by Hurst & Pulitzer – frenzy the public with atrocities reported in the paper…US dispatches warship (USS MAINE)…newspapers publish stories saying the Spanish describe President McKinley as “weak”  — war frenzy mounts.  USS MAINE is destroyed (probably by fire), Spanish blamed.
Philippines – another Spanish colony rebelling…what a good base that would make…
McKinley negotiates with Spain for independence for Cuba, compensation for the MAINE, a truce, end to concentration camps in Cuba, Spain agrees but…McKinley feels the pressure for war…”REMEMBER THE MAINE” cries out the public…
BUFFALO SOLDIERS on San Juan Hill – Teddy Roosevelt called it a “splendid little war” – less than 400 Americans died in battle…for 20 million the US also received, Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines
To justify the “aggression” – McKinley said the people of the Philippines were about to rebel and were going to gain independence from Mother Spain, but the Filipino people were unfit for “self-government.”
The US did not have control of the Filipino people – war with the Filipino People lasted for years.  The islands gained independence in 1946.  Cuba had a government installed with the help of the US…part of their constitution allowed for 2 US naval bases & no agreements with other countries – Puerto Rico never has had self-rule…
Hawaii was “annexed” with the help of Sanford Dole (Pineapple Co.) when he removed Queen Liliuokalani from power (she and the Hawaiian people did not want a US presence)…
Samoa…dueling with Great Britain & Germany…almost led to war (stepping-stone on the way to trade with China) – GB backed off – Germany & US divided the Polynesian Islands

WW I  (1914) Causes:
– Complicated series of treaties – used to protect each other in case of attack – eventually led to the war
– assassination of (heir to the thrown) Francis & Sophie Ferdinand in Bosnia (Austrian-Hungarian Empire)
– Bosnia was focal point as the Bosnians worked with the Serbians to gain freedom from the Austrian-Hungarian rule
– Austria-Hungary wanted an apology and demands met…they were not and war was declared
– Chain reaction was set-off- Russia had a treaty with Serbia – Germany with Austria-Hungary – Russia refused support, but France, allied with Russia, readied troops – Germany feared being caught in the middle, declared war on Russia – believing France would soon attack, it moved toward France through Luxembourg & Belgium…bringing Great Britain into the conflict

Modern Warfare
New Killing Machines – horrifying number of deaths
– machine guns (450 rounds per minute), grenades, artillery shells, poison gases
– Britain suffered 60,000 casualties in one day
– Morale was poor as disheartened soldiers began slaughtering prisoners
– Blurred distinction between soldiers and citizens
– German subs sunk anything they believed to be carrying weapons
– Britain used a blockade to starve German people

THE AMERICAN RESPONSE
– 1/3 were first or second generation immigrants (25% were German-Americans) – Irish and other immigrants held hostile feeling toward Britain
– Feared the Militarism of Germany & autocratic government led by Kaiser Wilhelm
– Some felt it was a great day for American Business, selling arms
– Others felt that the international trade the US had established was in peril – to protect investments, US remained neutral
– “preparedness” was the mindset (economic ties most strongly with Britain) – camps set up to train men
– Peace Movement, led mainly by women

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