War in Europe

MAIN IDEA Europe goes to war with new alliances on the Western and Eastern Front.

So Far...external image map3.gif
A Serbian assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Austria's prince) on June 28, 1914. In response, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This was the main trigger to start World War I; it was a chain reaction that brought all the European nations in to a deadly war.

Previously, there was the following alliance systems:
Triple Entente, which included Great Britain, France, and Russia.
Triple Alliance, which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.

The Triple Entente and Triple Alliance were just a alliance between European nations. They promised to help each other when their allies get invaded. However these alliances would not last forever.

(Right) This is a map of the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente nations in Europe. However after the chain reaction, they would not exist anymore. source

Alliances in New Colors

A Chain reaction

To begin, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In result, Serbia’s ally, Russia, joined the war and helped out Serbia (both had Slavic people). As Russia joined the war, German, Austria-Hungary’s ally, also came in and joined the war. Moreover, France, Russia’s ally, joined the war. Having two enemies on both west and east side, German declared war to both Russia and France. Italy was originally in the Triple Alliance, but because Italy thought that Germans made unwanted attack to Belgium, they joined the Allies.

European nations took sides

Eventually, the Tripe Entente and Tripe Alliance collapsed. Instead new alliances arose--the Central Powers and Allies. The following table shows who was on which side in World War I.
Central Powers
Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire
Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Japan
(below) This is a map of Europe in 1914 before WWI, showing the Central Powers (purple), Allied Powers (grey), and Neutral Powers (orange) source
external image westpoint02.jpg

A bloody stalemate along the Western front

In summer of 1914, Germany's strike along the Western Front turned into a long, bloody stalemate instead.
Western Front is the region in northern France where there was a long and bloody stalemate (deadlock).
The term, Stalemate is a situation which neither side is able to win or make any progress.

The Schlieffen Planexternal image schlieffen.gif

To the right, is a map of the Schlieffen Plan (right)

Having two battlefronts, Germany needed a special plan called the 'Schilieffen Plan'.
Germany wanted to end the war quickly. Since Russia lacked railroads, Germany decided to quickly finish France first and get ready for Russia. This plan was called the Schlieffen Plan. Germany knew France had their troops standing by their border, so they decided to go through Belgium, a neutral country, to attack France. However, Belgium refused, and this made Germany attack Belgium. Having a close relationship with Belgium, Britain also declared war on Germany.

Some predicted the terrible times ahead. Sir Edward Grey, Britain's foreign minister once said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

At first, the Schlieffen Plan seemed to work out great. At the end of August, the Germans overran Belgium and into France. Then, on September 3rd, the Germans were able to go up to the edge of Paris. However, the French military was told th exact direction of the German army. On September 5th, the Allies attacked the Germans in the northeast of Paris, in the valley of the Marne River. After four days of fighting, the Germans had to retreat. Eventually, the Germans drove back nearly 60 miles off the France and into Germany.

Now, the Germans' victory in the west no longer seemed to be possible. Unfortunately, at that time, Russia's forces invaded into Germany in the east. At this point, Germany's Schlieffen Plan was ruined totally and the Germany was in danger instead. Since the Russia invaded in the east of Germany, Germans had to fight in both fronts; east and west. As the mass number of population pushed up the eastern side of Germany,Germany sent thousands of troops from France to the east for aid. Now, in the both fronts, stalemates were settled.
external image trench.jpg
In early 1915, armies on the Western Front dug miles of parallel trenches for protection. The type of warfare at this time was called the trench warfare. In this, soldiers fought each other from the trenches. Despite the fact that the trenches were formed for protection, there were huge losses, and small land gains. Soldiers of this warfare said that it was a pure misery in the trenches. One soldier wrote, "The men slept in mud, washed in mud, ate mud, and dreamed mud." In the trenches, there were no fresh food, no sleep available, and no safety, of course. Because of these aspects of the trench warfare, the space between the opposing trenches were called, "no man's land."

With the trench warfare going on, the western front was called, "terrain of death." This stretched nearly 500 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
(right) This is a photograph of a trench taken during WW1 on the Western Front. source

The video below will explains trench warfare. source

During this time, new technologies and tools, such as machine guns, poison gas, armored tanks, and large artillery, were used during the war. These types of tools were much more effective in killing huge numbers of people. With poison gas as weapon, soldiers would have died for only breathing.

In Februrary, 1916, Germans attacked the French near Verdun, with each side losing more than 300,000 men. Then, in July, 1916, the British forces attacked the Germans in the Northwest of Verdun, and in th evalley of the Somme River. Only during the first day, more than 20 thousand British men were killed, and by November, when the battle ended, there were loss of more than half a million on each side. With this huge number of loss, the Germans advanced only 4 miles, and the British gained only 5 miles.

external image ww1_map.gif
Above is a Map of Europe during WWI source
As you can see, Germany and Austria-Hungary was sandwiched by France and Russia.

The Battle on the Eastern Front

On the Eastern side, the war was going on between Russia and Germany and is called Eastern Front. Before they actually start the war Russia had power to win against Austria. But since Austria was attacking Russia with German, Russia was completely defeated. Russia first attacked Austria and Germany counter-attacked Russia. On 1916, Russia's effort to the war worth nothing and it finally collapsed. Since Russia was not industrialized, and Germany was blocking all the supplies from other countries, Russia was loosing. But the only reason for Russia to stay in the war was because of the massive population from Russia. They just pushed down the battlefront with massive people.

Student Lectures: World War I

Daniel and William

Roger and Ilwon

The above information was combined from: A. pd 13.2 War in Europe and
E. pd 13.2 War in Europe