Causes of World War I and Phases of the War

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Tension Factors

PATRIOTISM: People were deeply patriotic and wanted their country to be the best.

ARMS RACE: Germany, Russia, and Britain were building up lots of warships.

WAR PLANS: In 1914, the situation in Europe was tense. Secret alliances and the desire to grow empires had built up a dangerous climate of war.

KAISER: Germany had become very strong and its rivals were suspicious of their ruler, Wilhelm II.

COLONIAL EMPIRES: Some European countries, such as France and Britain, had created large worldwide empires and had become very rich.

ALLIANCES: In the years before the war, the nations of Europe were constantly making alliances. Germany with Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1881 to protect each other in the event they were attacked by France. Italy made a secret alliance with France, saying they would not defend Germany. Triple Entente: France, Britain, and Russia in 1907.

THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR: In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist student. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and Serbia was supported by the Triple Entente.

Phases of the War

MOVEMENTS PHASE 1914: Germany attacked Belgium according to the plans prepared before (Schlieffen Plan), but the Belgian army slowed them down. The British helped them, and the Russians attacked Germany from the east.

TRENCH WARFARE 1915-16: Both sides dug trenches. The trench lines stretched from the Belgian coast to Switzerland. The land between the two sides was called No Man's Land.

FINAL PHASE 1917-18: Two decisive events: in October, a revolution took place in Russia, and the new government signed a treaty with Germany and pulled out of the war. The USA joined the British and French. The USA joined the war because U-Boats were sinking their supply ships.

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