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Germany and Italy in 1930 were determined to use military conquest to regain territory. The major democracies were distracted by economic problems at home. As the fascist movement spread through Europe, a similar movement occurred in Japan.

  • Japan Seeks an Empire

    The Japanese government moved to democracy in the 1920s, signing treaties with China and others such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war. However Japan’s parliamentary system had issues, putting strict limits on the powers of the prime minister and cabinet. Also, civilian leaders (democracy – prime minister, cabinet) had no control over the armed forces- the armed forces only listened to the emperor.

    • Militarists Take Control of Japan
      • While Japan was prosperous, the civilian democratic government ruled. However, during the Great Depression of 1929, the Japanese blamed their government. Unlike Fascists in Europe, these militarists wanted to restore traditional control of the government to the military. The emperor became the symbol of power.
      • Emperor Hirohito won popular support from the army leaders. These militarists were extreme nationalists and planned to take over China and create an empire. This would provide Japan with raw materials and give Japan room to grow.
    • Japan Invades Manchuria
      • Japanese businesses were branched out in Manchuria, which had many iron and coal resources. In 1931, Manchuria was seized by the Japanese army, against the wishes of the Japanese parliament. The army created a puppet government and sent Japanese engineers and technicians in large numbers to build industrial factories and mines.
      • This attack on Manchuria challenged the League of Nations. Many nations protested but Japan ignored them and withdrew from the League in 1933.
    • Japan Invades China
      • In 4 years, a war between Japan and China started from a small border incident. The Japanese forces swept through China, as the Chinese army was not well equipped or trained.
      • Beijing, Nanjing, and other major cities fell to the Japanese in 1937. The northern cities were taken and Jiang Jieshi had to move west. They setup a new capital at Chongqing. The Chinese guerrillas led by Mao Zedong (Communist) continued to fight on the northern front.
  • European Aggressors on the March

    The League’s failure to stop the Japanese encouraged European Fascists to start military movement. Mussolini, the Italian leader wanted an empire in Africa like Britain and France.

    • Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia
      • Ethiopia was an independent nation, which was one of the last three in Africa. The Ethiopians had resisted the Italians in the 1890s. Mussolini started another invasion in 1935. The Italian planes, tanks, guns, and poison gas crushed the Ethiopian spears and swords.
      • The Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie appealed to the League. Despite the League’s condemnation, no one did anything and Italy continued to invade. By giving in to Mussolini, the League of Nations were trying to preserve peace.
    • Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty
      • Hitler’s goal was to undo the Versailles treaty. The treaty limited the German army size, and in 1935, Hitler decided to ignore these restrictions. The League only mildly protested.
      • Their failure to stop Germany emboldened Hitler, allowing him to enter the 30-mile wide neutral zone around the Rhine River (Rhineland). This zone was designed to be a buffer between Germany and France. This invasion stunned France but they were still unwilling to risk war. The British wanted appeasement, giving in to keep peace.
      • Even Hitler would have backed down if either France or Britain had challenged him. However, they did not and this kicked off the war. Hitler became more powerful and France was in a vulnerable position. Hitler speed up his expansion.
      • Hitler and Mussolini reached an agreement in 1936, forming the Rome-Berlin Axis. Germany also made an agreement with Japan, forming the Axis Powers.
    • Civil War Erupts in Spain
      • In Spain, the republic was formed in 1931. However in 1936, the army leaders started a revolt, trying to create Fascist-style governments.
      • Hitler and Mussolini tried to help Francisco Franco, leader of the revolting Nationalists. They sent troops, tanks, and airplanes to help. The Republicans, supporters of the elected government, received almost no help from the other European nations. Only the Soviet Union sent equipment and advisors. In 1939, the Republicans collapsed and Spain fell to Franco, the Fascist dictator.
  • Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace

    Instead of fighting back, Britain and France continued to make concessions with he Fascists, trying to keep peace. They tried to avoid war as they were still going through economic issues and still remembered the horrors of WWI.

    • United States Follows an Isolationist Policy
      • Most Americans believed in isolationism and wanted to remain neutral. In 1935, Congress passed 3 Neutrality Acts, banning loans and selling arms to nations at war.
    • The German Reich Expands
      • In 1937, Hitler decided to take over Austria and Czechoslovakia, making them part of the Third Reich (German Empire). While the Treaty of Versailles banned a union between Austria and Germany, Austrians wanted this and Hitler annexed Austria. France and Britain did not do anything.
      • Hitler began to look at Czechoslovakia. The Czechs did not want to be ruled by Germany and turned to France for help.
    • Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement
      • France and Britain were about to prepare for war when Mussolini proposed the Munich Conference in 1938, At this conference, Germany, France, Britain, and Italy met to try and keep peace. Britain and France agreed to give Hitler the Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia). In exchange, Hitler would respect Czechoslovakia’s new borders.
      • 6 months later, Hitler broke the agreement and took Czechoslovakia. Mussolini took Albania. Hitler tried to take Poland, and Poland turned to Britain and France. However, Hitler was convinced that Britain and France would not risk war.
    • Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact
      • Britain and France talked with the Soviet Union about stopping Hitler. Stalin talked with both Britain and France AND Hitler. Hitler and Stalin made an agreement not to attack each other. Their leaders signed a nonaggression pact, and the Axis Powers continued unchecked.


While many democracies survived the economic crisis, others lost faith and turned to fascism. Fascists said they could revive the economy, punish those responsible, and restore order and pride. This message gained many people’s support.

  • Fascism’s Rise in Italy

    Fascism was a new militant-political movement emphasizing loyalty to state. Fascists believed in extreme nationalism and war. If your country did not make war, you were bound to be conquered. They believed in an authoritarian leader. Fascists wore a certain color uniform, using special salutes and holding rallies.

    Fascism was somewhat like communism as they had one-party (dictator + his party) rule. Both systems took away rights. However, Fascists believed in social classes and their individual functions. Fascists = nationalists, Communists – internationalists.

    • Mussolini Takes Control
      • Fascism’s rise was led by their failure to win land at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The inflation and unemployment also caused unrest. The people believed democracy was helpless- they wanted a leader.
      • Benito Mussolini was a newspaper editor and politician who promised to revived the economy and rebuild the armed forces. He founded the Fascist Party in 1919, and criticized Italy’s government. The Italian Fascists wore black shirts, attacking Communists, Socialists on the streets. He had the workers, middle class, aristocracy, and industrial leader’s support.
      • On October 1922, around 30000 Fascists marched on Rome and King Victor Emmanuel III handed power over the Mussolini. Despite the widespread violence and threats, Mussolini took power “legally”.
    • Il Duce’s Leadership
      • Mussolini became Il Duce, the leader. He abolished democracy and other political parties. He used secret police and censorship to control the people. He manipulated the economy with industrialists and land owners. Despite this, he did not gain full control like Stalin or Hitler.
  • Hitler Rises to Power in Germany

    While Mussolini was rising to power, Hitler was still a low level political leader. During World War I, he began a new life. He joined the German army and was awarded 2 Iron Cross medals for bravery.

    • The Rise of the Nazis
      • Hitler lived in Munich, before joining a right-wing political group in 1919. There, he tried to overturn the Treaty of Versailles and combat communism. This group was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party – Nazi. Their beliefs was the German fascism, known as Nazism. Their symbol was the swastika, hooked cross. They also created a militia, the storm troopers (Brown Shirts).
      • Soon, Hitler became the leader of the Nazi party. Inspired by Mussolini, Hitler tried to seize power in 1923. They failed and were arrested. He was tried for treason but was only sentenced to 5 yeas in prison. He actually served less than 9 months.
      • In jail, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, “My Struggle”. This book said that Germans, who he believed to be “Aryans”, were a superior race. He called the Treaty of Versailles an outrage. He promised to conquer eastern Europe and Russia.
      • Once Hitler got out of jail, he restarted the Nazi Party. Once the American loans stopped, civil unrest broke out and people turned to Hitler for leadership.
  • Hitler Becomes Chancellor

    The Nazis were the largest political party in 1932, and Conservative leaders supported Hitler as they believed they could control him. Hitler came to power legally.

    One Hitler reached office, he called for a new election to win parliamentary majority. Before the election, a fire destroyed the Reichstag (parliamentary) building. The Nazis blamed the Communists, and the fear of the Communists allowed the Nazis to win by a slim majority.

    Hitler turned Germany into a totalitarian state, using elite, black-uniformed soldiers called the SS (Schutzstaffel) to enforce Hitler’s orders. In 1934, they murdered Hitler’s enemies and used the Gestapo (secret police) to force Germans into total obedience.

    The Nazis controlled the economy, banning strikes, labor unions, and giving government complete authority. Millions of Germans worked at factories, on highways, weapons, and in the military. Unemployment dropped from 6 to 1.5 million in 1936.

    • The Fuhrer Is Supreme
      • Hitler wanted control over all aspects of life. He used propaganda, book burning, and the “Hitler Youth”/”League if German Girls” to persuade people to praise his leadership. He believed in continuous struggle and that it would bring victory to the strong.
    • Hitler Makes War on the Jews
      • Anti-Semitism was part of Nazi ideals. They were blamed for all of Germany’s trouble. Starting in 1933, Jews were deprived of many rights, and violence against Jew mounted. Nazi mobs attacked Jews, destroying homes and Jewish buildings. This rampage was the first step in eliminating German Jews.
  • Other Countries Fall to Dictators
    • While Fascists ruled Italy and Germany, other nations also went to dictators. Hungary in 1919 became a Communist regime – Admiral Miklos Horthy of Hungary was the first postwar dictator. In Poland, Marshal Pilsudski took power in Poland in 1926. In Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria and Romania, they all became ruled by one man. In 1935, eastern Europe only had Czechoslovakia as a democracy.
    • Only nations with strong democratic traditions such as Britain, France and Scandinavian countries preserved the democracy. Other inexperienced countries turned to dictators.
    • The Fascists dictatorships showed a willingness to use militaries to gain control. The Russian Communists and German Nazis were the most brutal.


In the 1920s, the war was over and European nations were rebuilding their economies. Many took loans from the United States, and only the United States and Japan came out of the war better than before. Americans had a booming stock market but there were still serious weaknesses that was about to lead to an economic downturn.

  • Postwar Europe

    World War I left European countries bankrupt, giving the United States domination in world affairs.

    • Unstable New Democracies
      • The end of the war brought the rise of democracy, as European absolute rulers were overthrown. The new governments such as the Provisional Government in Russia tried to create constitutional and democratic rule. While the Russian government did fall and become communist, most other nations had democracies.
      • However, many citizens were unfamiliar with this kind of government. They had dozens of political groups, making it impossible for one to govern effectively. Often, no single party would win a majority and a coalition government was needed. Because of disagreements, coalitions easily broke apart.
      • These frequent changes in government made it hard for countries to move to long-term goals, making voters sacrifice democracy for a strong dictatorship.
  • The Weimar Republic

    Germany’s post war government was formed in 1919, and was known as the Weimar Republic. This republic was weak, as German citizens blamed them for losing the war and humiliating Germany in the Versailles Treaty.

    • Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany
      • Germany faced economic problems after the war, as they had simply printed more money when they needed it. Unlike the other nations, who charged taxes, Germany cheapened its money. As inflation set in, people needed more money to buy goods, and people began to question the government.
    • Attempts at Economic Stability
      • Germany recovered from 923 inflation thanks to an international banking group. This group was led by an Charles Dawes, an American banker, who provided a $200 million dollar loan to help stabilize the German currency.
      • This plan started in 1924, slowing inflation and attracting loans and investments from the US. By 1929, German factories were back to their pre-war levels.
    • Efforts at a Lasting Peace
      • Once Germany’s future seemed secure, Gustav Stresemann and France’s Aristide Briand tried to improve relations. In 1925, these two ministers met in Locarno, Switzerland along with officials from Italy and Britain. This treaty declared that they would not make war against each other and that Germany would respect Belgium and French borders. Germany joined the League of Nations.
      • In 1928, this policy of peace continued with the Kellog-Briand peace pact. The US Secrety of State and France’s Aristide Briand worked together, getting almost every country in the world to sign, agreeing to renounce war as a national policy.
      • However, this treaty could not be enforced as the only possible group, the League of Nations, had no military. Also, the League did not have the American support. Even so, the peace agreement was a good start.
  • Financial Collapse

    The world’s economy in the 1920s was completely dependent on the US. In 1929, the US economy weakened, triggering a global economic collapse.

    • A Flawed US Economy
      • There were several weaknesses in the US economy – uneven distribution of wealth, overproduction, and Americans who began to buy less.
      • By 1929, the American factories made most of the world’s goods. However, the wealth they earned was not evenly spread, and around 60 percent of families were too poor to buy the goods produced by factories. Unable to sell goods, store owners lowered their orders from factories. Factories reduced production and laid off workers. This spiral continued on.
      • Overproduction also affected American farmers. Scientific methods made higher crop yields possible, and global production led to a huge surplus of agricultural products. This kept agricultural products prices low.
      • These farmers could not make a profit, and were unable to pay off bank loans. The unpaid debts forced some banks to close. These signs should have stopped people from gambling on the stock market, but no one listened.
    • The Stock Market Crashes
      • In 1929, Wall Street was the financial capital. The optimism in the US economy resulted in growing prices for stocks. Many people began buying stocks. These people bought a percentage of the stock’s price as down payment and borrowed the rest from a stockbroker. However, if the prices fell, they would be unable to pay the loan to the stockbroker.
      • In 1929, some investors began to sell their stocks. By October 24, the stock market was sliding downward with everyone selling. The market collapsed after around 16 million stocks were sold.
  • The Great Depression

    People could not pay back the money they borrowed from stockbrokers. Stocks became worthless, and unemployment rose. This Great Depression cut factory production by half in 1932, businesses failed, banks closed. People lost the money in their savings accounts at banks farmers lost lands when they failed at their mortgage payments. By 1933, 1/4 American workers were jobless.

    • A Global Depression
      • This depression spread across the world as bankers demanded repayment from overseas loans and investors took their money back. American demand for foreign goods dropped as imported goods got high taxes. This policy backfires, and the economy continues to worsen. Foreign exporters also suffered and World trade dropped by 65 percent. Unemployment soared.
    • Effects Throughout the World
      • Because Germany and Austria depended on American loans, they were hit hardest. The Austrian bank failed in 1921, Asian exports dropped by half, and Latin American products collapsed.
  • The World Confronts the Crises

    This depression challenged democracies, as each country dealt with it uniquely.

    • Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy
      • Britain was hit hard by the depression. Their response was an elected National Government. This government passed high taxes, tariffs on imported goods, and regulated currency. It slowed the depression and started a steady recovery. Britain avoided the extremes and kept democracy.
    • France Responds to Economic Crisis
      • France was more self-sufficient. Even so, it was still affected – by 1935, 1 million French workers wee unemployed.
      • The political instability was enhanced by the economic crises and five coalition governments came to power and fell in one year. Soon, people formed anti-democratic forces. Soon, moderates, Socialists, and Communists formed a coalition called the Popular Front. Despite this, France also preserved democracy.
    • Socialist Governments Find Solutions
      • The Socialist governments in nations like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway also met the challenge. In Sweden, government sponsored projects kept people employed. In these Scandinavian countries, the government taxed all citizens to meet challenges. Democracy remained intact.
    • Recovery in the United States
      • 1932 was the first election since the start of the Depression. During this election, Franklin Roosevelt’s confident manner appealed to the Americans hurt by the Depression. In 1933, he restored the American faith in the nation,
      • Roosevelt began the New Deal – large public projects gave jobs. Government agencies gave help to business and farms. Public money was used on welfare and relief programs. Regulations reformed the stock market.
      • This New Deal reformed the American economy, preserving American faith in democracy.
  • Intro
    • Central Powers lose morale
      • American troops arrive
      • They bring nearly unlimited supplies
        • No one knows how many resources and men the Americans can provide.
    • Germany becomes a republic
      • Armistice Day – 11/11/1918, Veterans Day
  • Legacy
    • New technology, warfare
    • 8.5 million soldiers died
      • Not including civilian casualties
    • Destruction of lands, civilization
    • Disillusionment vs Enchantment
      • War is no longer glorified
      • Enchantment wears off
    • Global anger and resentment
      • Lack of real peace
    • European economies drained
  • Treaty of Versailles
    • Big 3/4
      • US – Woodrow Wilson
      • France – Clemenceau
      • Britain – George
      • Italy – Orlando (none of his demands were met, Italy dropped out)
  • Treaty of Versailles
    • 14 Points Rejected
      • France and Britain want to punish Germany
      • League of Nations
        • Acts as France and Britain’s “World Police”
    • League of Nations
      • France and Britain are the only major powers in the league
    • Punishing Germany
      • Germany lost land and colonies
      • Limited military and supplies
      • No submarines or air force allowed
    • War Guilt Clause
      • Germany is blamed for war


WWI ended in 1919, but the terms were still being discussed in Versailles, near Paris. The terms for peace were discussed by delegates from 32 countries, who discussed how to create a lasting peace.

  • The Allies Meet and Debate

    The major decisions were made by the Big Four: Woodrow Wilson from the US, Georges Clemenceau of France, David George of Britain, and Vittorio Orlando of Italy. Russia was not represented because it was in the middle of a civil war. Germany and the other losers were also not invited.

    • Wilson’s Plan for Peace
      • In 1918, President Wilson created the 14 points, which outlined a way to achieve lasting peace.
      • These points included:
        • No more secret treaties
        • Freedom to travel over sees
        • Free trade
        • Smaller national armies and navies
        • Fairness to colonies and their people
        • 6-13 are suggestions for changing borders and creating nation.
      • Self-determination was a guiding principle, giving people the choice to live under whatever government they wanted.
      • The 14th point proposed a union of nations that would try to guide and protect both large and small states. This organization would try to peacefully resolve world conflicts.
    • The Versailles Treaty
      • Both Britain and France disliked Wilson’s vision of peace, as they wanted to strip Germany of all war-making power. These differences led to arguments, before they finally reached the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty adopted the 14th point and created the League of Nations, which would try to keep peace.
      • The treaty also punished Germany, taking land and power away. The harshest provision was Article 231, which blamed Germany for the war and forced the to pay reparations.
      • All German colonies became territories and were taken charge of the League of Nations until they were ready for independence.
  • A Troubled Treaty

    The Versailles treaty was one of the five treaties. However, these treaties created feelings of unhappiness among victors and the defeated.

    • The Creation of New Nations
      • The Western Powers signed treaties with each other, which caused large land losses for the Central Powers. New countries were created – Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.
      • The Ottomans had to give up their empire, only retaining Turkey. The lost land was split into mandates – Palestine, Iraq, and Transjordan for Britain, Syria and Lebanon for France.
      • Russia also lost land to Romania and Poland. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became independent from Russia.
    • “A Peace Built on Quicksand”
      • The Treaty of Versailles led to a temporary peace, especially because the United States rejected it. Americans believed that they should stay out of European affairs. The US came up with a separate treaty with Germany years later.
      • Also, the treaty with Germany, especially the war-guilt section left bitterness. The losers felt cheated by the Allies and colonies continued under the mandate system.
      • Without the support of the United States, the League of Nations was too weak to take any action and the world would soon fall into another great war.
  • War Affects the World

    The combatants tried to end the stalemate by forming new alliances with other nations outside Europe.

    • The Gallipoli Campaign
      • The Allies began to attack Dardanelles, in the Ottoman Empire. This sea strait led to Constantinople, which was a supply line to Russia. However, this area was held by the Ottoman Turks.
      • This attempt started in early 1915 and was called the Gallipoli campaign. British, Australian, New Zealand, and French troops assaulted the Gallipoli Peninsula on the western side of the strait. The Turkish troops defended the region, forcing them into another stalemate. This turned to trench warfare, which lasted a year before the Allies gave up. The lost nearly 250000 men.
    • Battles in Africa and Asia
      • German colonies were being attacked in both Asia and Africa. Japanese overran Germans in China. They also conquered islands in the Pacific. English and French troops attacked German colonies in Africa, taking 3 of 4.
      • The British and French militaries hired fighting troops and laborers from India, Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, and Indochina. Some colonial subjects did not want to be involved but others volunteered, hoping to win their freedom.
    • America Joins the Fight
      • In 1917, the war spread to the seas when the German submarines began sinking any ships in British waters, a policy named unrestricted submarine warfare.
      • Germans had tried this policy before, sinking the Lusitania in 1915. This attack killed over 1000 people, and around 129 US citizens. The American public was outraged and the President protested. After 2 more attacks, the Germans stopped attacking neutral and passenger ships.
      • However, the Germans were desperate and returned to this policy in 1917. They knew this might cause war with the US but needed to starve Britain into defeat. This moved the US 1 step closer to war.
      • In 1917, a telegram was intercepted. This telegram, the Zimmerman note, was a proposal to Mexico to help “reconquer” the land they lost to the United States.
      • This note was the last straw and America declared war on the Central Powers. America joined the Allies.
  • War Affects the Home Front

    War had dragged on for three years before the United States joined in. The Great War had affected everyone.

    • Governments Wage Total War
      • World War I was a total war, taking up all the resources of each country. Governments took over the economy, telling factories what to produce (usually munitions/weapons). All citizens were working to produce goods and goods that war used for war were strictly rationed. People could only buy small amounts of the items that were used for war.
      • Governments also limited anti-war efforts and used propaganda to keep up morale and support.
    • Women and the War
      • Women began to play a larger role as they replaced men in factories, offices, and shops. They built weapons, farmed, and operated hospitals. They transported food and weapons to soldiers.
      • Others participated in the war as nurses, helping injured soldiers.
  • The Allies Win the War

    Once the US entered the war, the Allies seemed to have an inevitable victory. However, Russia was on the verge of collapse, giving Germany a hope for victory.

    • Russia Withdraws
      • In 1917, Russian people protested the shortages of food and fuel, forcing Czar Nicholas to step down.
      • The provisional government continued the fighting. The army refused to fight.
      • Another revolution began, led by Lenin. Lenin offered Germany a truce and they signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
    • The Central Powers Collapse
      • Once Russia withdrew, Germany could focus its war efforts on the West. There, they pushed into France, reaching the Marne River, less than 40 miles from Paris.
      • However, the German military was tired and the newly arrived US troops had an endless supply chain. The Second Battle of the Marne began, and the Allied forces pushed nearly 350 tanks through the German lines. 2 million more American troops arrived and they pushed towards Germany.
      • The Central Powers collapsed, Bulgarians, Turks, and finally, Austria-Hungary. In Germany, soldiers mutinied and Kaiser Wilhelm was forced to step down in 1918. Germany became a republic and a representative signed a armistice with the French commander. WWI ended on November 11, 1918.
  • The Legacy of the War
    • World War I was a unique war, fought with new technologies with the power to bring unprecedented amounts of death
    • Around 8.5 million soldiers died and 21 million were wounded. Civilians also suffered through starvation, disease, and death. This tragedy wiped out an entire generation. The war drained treasuries and destroyed farmland. The estimated cost was around $388 billion, a huge amount. This suffering left a mark on society, reminding people of insecurity and despair.
    • The peace agreement was another legacy, which brought anger and resentment.


Europe was divided in 1914, split between the Triple Entente and Alliance. Austria-Hungary was part of the Alliance, and their declaration of war against Serbia brought all of Europe into war.

  • The Great War Begins

    Russia was allies with Serbia, and Russian troops quickly approached the Austrian border. Russia also sent troops to the German border because they anticipated that the Germans would help Austria. Germans saw this as a declaration of war and declared war on Russia.

    France tried to join the war against Germany, but Germany acted first. Once Germany declared war on France, Britain declared war on Germany.

    • Nations Take Sides
      • In 1914, Germany and Austria-Hungary were the Central Powers. They were located in the middle of Europe, and Bulgaria and the Ottomans soon joined in.
      • Britain, France, and Russia were the Allied Powers, attracting nations such as Japan and Italy. Italy had been on the other side until they left after accusing Austria of starting the war unjustly.
      • In late 1914, millions of soldiers were at war, expecting a quick victory.
  • A Bloody Stalemate

    Edward Grey predicted that the war would be long. This prediction came true as they were locked into a stalemate in France. This region was called the Western Front.

    • The Conflict Grinds Along
      • Germany had a war on two fronts – France in the west and Russia in the east. Their plan was to quickly beat France and then rush to fight Russia. This Schlieffen Plan needed a quick victory over France.
      • Germany seemed to be winning at first. However, the Allies regrouped and forced the Germans into retreat after 4 days.
      • While this was the first major fight, the First Battle of the Marne was the most important. It ruined the Schlieffen Plan, making victory in the west (France) impossible. Russia had already started to invade Germany. The German leaders moved troops from France to fight Russia, allowing the war on the Western Front to settle into a stalemate.
    • War in the Trenches
      • In 1915, the war moved to the trenches. This type of warfare was extremely deadly and had small gains.
      • Trenches were miserable, swarming with rats and lacking food.
      • The space between trenches was a now mans land, where soldiers would go to try and fight. However, machine-guns would cut them down. Artillery fire hit the trenches along the 500 miles of the western front.
      • Military strategies made war long and deadly, killing more people. By the Battle of Somme, over a half a million people were dead.
      • The Germans gained 4 miles, the British gained 5.
  • The Battle on the Eastern Front

    While the stalemate was killing people on the Western Front, more men were sent to the Eastern Front. Along this German-Russian border, Russians and Serbs fought the Germans and Austrians.

    • Early Fighting
      • Russia was winning at first, but Germany counterattacked. In Tannenberg, the Germans destroyed the Russian army and forced them to retreat in four days.
      • Russians still did better than Austrians, invading deep into Austria. In December, 1914, did Austria finally push the Russians out.
    • Russia Struggles
      • Because they were not industrialized, the Russian army did not have enough supplies. By 1916, they were about to collapse. However, the Russians had huge numbers to keep fighting, tying up German troops and keeping them from fighting the west.
      • As the war dragged on, it spread to Africa and Asia, becoming a world war.


The European nations had not been fighting for nearly 30 years. By the 1900s, there were hundreds of peace organizations. However, in around a decade, there would be a massive war.

  • Rising Tensions in Europe

    While peace was present across much of Europe in the start of the 1900s, there were other forces at work. Soon, other developments would begin to push the continent into war.

    • The Rise of Nationalism
      • Nationalism was a contributing factor. Nationalism was a unifying force within an nation, but could also cause competition between nations. There was a fierce rivalry between the European Powers: Germany, Austria-Hunger, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, France.
      • This competition came from the demand for materials and markets and territory.
    • Imperialism and Militarism
      • Imperialism also helped lead to war. As the nations attempted to create colonies, they would often end up competing, building distrust and rivalry.
      • Another development was the start of the arms race. They believed in a strong military and all nations had a strong army except Britain. Military experts valued mobilized armies who could quickly move at a sign of trouble.
      • This glorification of the military was known as militarism,. Having such a strong military made people feel patriotic, but also frightened some. Peace activists were extremely disturbed.
  • Tangled Alliances

    The growing mistrust led to new military alliances between he powers. This alliance system started in the 1870’s and was designed to keep peace in Europe. This failed and started a war.

    • Bismarck Forges Early Pacts
      • Prussia’s chancellor was Otto van Bismarck, a military leader who used war to unify Germany. After 1871, he decided that Germany was large enough and that he would now move to peace.
      • Bismarck felt that France was the greatest enemy as they were still angry for losing the Franco-Prussian
        War. Bismarck’s first goal was to isolate France. He formed an alliance with Germany and Austria. Italy joined later, forming the Triple alliance. In 1881, Bismarck made an alliance with Russia.
    • Shifting Alliances Threaten Peace
      • In 1890, Germany’s foreign policy was changed by Kaiser Wilhelm II. He forced Bismarck away and decided to show the world how mighty he was. The army was his pride and he let the German treaty with Russia expire.
      • Soon, Russia formed a military alliance with France. If either France or Russia attacked, the Germans would have a war on 2 fronts, west and east.
      • Wilhelm began to work on a German navy.
      • This alarmed Great Britain, who decided to join France and Russia. The Triple Entete did not require Britain to fight with France and Russia but prevented war between them.
      • By 1907, the two groups were formed: The Triple Alliance – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy. The Triple Entente – Great Britain, France, and Russia
  • Crisis in the Balkans

    The Balkan Peninsula had a large amount of ethnic groups and was known as the “powder keg” of Europe.

    • The Restless Regions
      • In the 1900s, the Ottoman Empire was in decline. The Balkan region were trying to free themselves from the Turks, forming new nations such as Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia.
      • These countries were strongly nationalistic, longing for extended borders. Serbia wanted to expand but Austria-Hungary opposed them.
      • In 1908, Austria took over some Slavic populated land, angering Serbia. Tensions continued to rise.
    • A Shot Rings Throughout Europe
      • Archduke Franz Ferdinand rose to the Austro-Hungarian throne. However, they were shot by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian. He was a member of the Black Hand, a secret society.
      • Austria decided to use this as an excuse to punish Serbia. Only July 23, Austria gave Serbia an ultimatum of demands. Serbian leaders offered to have some settled by international conference, but Austria did not want to negotiate.
      • Austria declared war. Russia, an ally of Serbia, began to mobilize towards Austria.
      • Everyone in Europe began preparations as the war loomed ominously.


The Industrialization required more resources for more production. Many nations saw Africa as a source of raw materials and a market for new products. They began to seize parts of Africa, imperialism. Stronger countries dominated the political, economic, and social life of smaller countries.

  • Africa Before European Domination

    Prior to the European invasions in the mid-1800s, Africa was composed of many small groups. They had either traditional beliefs or believed in Islam or Christianity. These groups had their own languages and they could be anything from large empires to small villages.

    Europeans established contact in the 1450s. However, the African armies were able to prevent invasions for 400 years. Europeans were unable to control more than 10% of the land until 1880.

    Nature was another obstacle to European travelers. The African rivers had rapids, cataracts, and uneven flows. However, the newly invented steamboats could navigate into the interior of Africa. Finally, the diseases also discouraged exploration.

    The Africans also had their own specialized trade networks.

    • Nations Compete for Overseas Empires
      • The European travelers who reached the center of Africa were explorers, missionaries, and humanitarians. They learned about Africa from the media. The media of the time hired reporters to search for adventure and mystery.
    • The Congo Sparks Interest
      • In the 1860s, David Livingstone from Scotland traveled to central Africa to promote Christianity. He was gone for several years with no contact. Finally, an American newspaper hired a reporter who found Livingstone one the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
      • Stanley began to explore Africa himself, tracing the Congo River. King Leopold II of Belgium was interested and commissioned Stanley to help him find and in the Congo. Stanley signed treaties with the chiefs, giving King Leopold II control.
      • Though Leopold claimed to abolish slave trade and promote Christianity, he actually brutally exploited Africans, forcing them to collect sap from plants. Over 10 million Congolese died from hi abuses. As a result, humanitarians from around the world demanded change. Leopold’s land was taken away by the Belgian government in 1908. However, this seizure alarmed France as the colony was extremely large. Soon, other countries such as Britain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain began to claim Africa.
  • Forces Driving Imperialism

    Imperialism drove colonization in Africa was also present at other lands – the drive to take over the world was everywhere. The Industrial Revolution was a major factor, as nations looked for new markets and more raw materials for their economy.

    • Belief in European Superiority
      • The colonies grew out of national pride. Europeans felt their empire was the best and they tried to put their flag on as much land as they could.
      • Many Europeans were racist, believing that their race was superior. This attitude showed Social Darwinism. In this theory, the theories of evolution also applied to human society. Only those who were fit for survival would enjoy wealth and success. Therefore, non-Europeans were lower down because they did not make the same scientific progress. Europeans felt they had the right to bring their work to other countries. Cecil Rhodes supported this.
      • Expansion was also promoted by missionaries who wanted to convert people to Christianity. Missionaries believed European rule would end slave trade and civilize the foreign peoples.
    • Factors Promoting Imperialism in Africa
      • The European conquest of Africa was aided by their technological superiority. The Maxim gun was invented in 1884, the first machine gun. European countries had access while the Africans still relied on primitive weapons.
      • Europeans could also control their empire, easily traveling on rivers with steam engine, using railroads, cables, and steamships to communicate.
      • However, despite these superior technology, the disease still kept them away. They were still susceptible to malaria. When quinine was created in 1829, the Europeans were protected.
      • Africa’s diverse languages and cultures caused disunity, making European colonization easy. Europeans soon learned to put rival groups against each other to weaken them.
  • The Division of Africa

    The French expanded from West Africa to the west Sudan in the 1880s. The discovery of diamonds and gold increased interest. Everyone wanted into Africa.

    • Berlin Conference Divides Africa
      • The fierce competition could have resulted in war, if not for the Berlin Conference in 1885. At this conference, they decided that each nation could claim land as long as they notified the other nations and showed they had to power to control the land. The nations quickly divided the continent without thinking about the native groups. No African ruler was present at this conference but this conference decided Africa’s fate. By 1914, only Liberia and Ethiopia were free from European control.
    • Demand for Raw Materials Shapes Colonies
      • The colonizing nations believed that Africans would by European goods. This never happened. However, European factories still needed raw materials, they exploited the rich minerals. The Congo had copper and tin, South Africa had gold and diamonds. Soon, plantations grew peanuts, palm oil, cocoa, and rubber. These products made it hard for the African farmers to grow food to feed their families.
  • Three Groups Clash

    South Africa was fought over by the Africans, Dutch, and British. Though the Europeans had just arrived, there had actually been land disputes for the last 100 years.

    • Zulus Fight the British
      • From the 1700s to the 1800s, there were local wars. In 1816, a Zulu chief, Shaka, used disciplined warriors and good organization to create a large central state. However, his successors failed defending the state from the British. In 1879, King Cetshwayo of the Zulu people began to fight. The Zulus used had spears and shields against the British guns, but the Zulu almost won. In 1879, the Zulus finally lost the Battle of Ulundi and their nation, falling to British control in 1887.
    • Boers and British Settle in the Cape
      • The Dutch were first to South Africa. Their “Cape of Good Hope” was a station of ships sailing to the Netherlands from the East Indies. Dutch settlers, Boers – Afrikaners, created farms. When the British took over, they clashed with the British over land and slavery.
      • In 1830, many Boers moved north in the Great Trek. They soon began to fight with the Zulu and other African groups.
    • The Boer War
      • When diamonds and gold were discovered in the 1880s, adventurers rushed in. The Boers tried to stop them but failed. Soon, the Boers began to blame the British and took up arms.
      • The Boer war is considered the first modern war as there were commando raids and guerrilla tactics against the British. The British burned Boer farms and imprisoned women and children in concentration camps.
      • Black South Africans were also involved. They fought, scouted, guarded, drove, and worked. Many were captured and killed by the British.
      • Britain finally won in 1910, and the Boer land was under British control.
      • These colonies changed the lives of Africans as the Europeans tried to change the lives of the conquered people.
  • Effects of Revolution
    • Loss of Confidence
      • State of Russia?
      • Czar?
    • People’s Desires
      • More rights
      • End hunger
      • Self-determination
        • Create their own nation
    • Anarchy
      • Radical influences
    • Return of Lenin
    • Multiple Governments
      • Parliamentary Government (Kerensky – temporary government)
      • Military Government (Kornilov)
      • Soviet Government
  • Kornilov Affair
    • Military
      • General Kornilov
    • Supported by nobility
    • Fails
      • Troops don’t follow Kornilov
      • They switch sides and become Soviets
  • Soviet Government (Petrograd Soviet)
    • More radical
    • Marxist socialism
    • Mensheviks vs Bolsheviks
      • Moderate vs radical
    • Return of Lenin
      • Supported by Germany
        • Germans want to create more trouble
  • Red October – 1917
    • Bolshevik Red Guards
      • Led by Leon Trotsky, Politics by Lenin
      • “Peace, Land, Bread”
    • Treaty of Brest-Litosk (March 1918)
      • Treaty with Germany, exits WWI
      • Treaty humiliates Russia
        • People are unhappy
    • Civil War
      • Red vs White
      • Damage, death
    • Bolsheviks Take Over
      • Give land to peasants, etc.
  • Lenin’s Order
    • New Economic Policy (1981)
      • Modernize, industrialize
        • Foreign support
      • Mini-Capitalism
        • Small industries are private
    • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1992, USSR)
      • Maintains unity
      • Prevent nationalism
        • Each republic is self-government
        • Bolsheviks oversee
    • Dictatorship of the Proletariat
      • Everyone is “equal”
        • Not really true
      • Actually dictatorship of the communist party
    • Checka (Red Army)
      • Also called KGB
        • Secret police
      • Maintain state security
        • “remove” revolutionaries
        • Execute enemy of people
        • Reign of terror
          • Kill opposing upper class
    • Followed by “man of steel”, Stalin