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Wednesday, March 06, 2019




Battle of the Somme- worst military disaster in British history.
Classic example of the wastage in WWI. British shelled German trenches for one full week with 1.5 million shells (the plan was to flatten the barb-wire with machine gun fire and then run across and kill the survivors). When the firing stopped, German machine gunners came up from the safety of their dugouts. The barb-wire was still there also, bent, but not broken and flattened. 110,000 British attacked; 60,000 were killed on the first day.

The Nature of Trench Warfare
- Trench Warfare, begun after the First Battle of the Marne, became a very elaborate form of defense. Trenches were protected by high entanglements of barbed wire; there were concrete machine-gun nests, mortar batteries, and heavy artillery farther back. The unexpected development of trench warfare baffled military leaders who had been trained to fight wars of movement and maneuver. The only thing they could think of was to “soften up” the enemy by firing artillery to flatten their barbed wire and then send men charging into no-man’s land. This was extremely ineffective; it killed millions of soldiers such as the Germans at Verdun, the British on the Somme, and the French in Champagne.

Battle of the Marne-
the Germans executed their Schlieffen Plan and within about a month had reached the Marne River in France, about 20 miles from Paris. In the first Battle of the Marne, the British had mobilized faster than the Germans had expected, and a British and French counterattack stopped the Germans. The French were too exhausted to pursue their advantage, and soon the war turned into a stalemate as neither side was able to dislodge the other from the trenches they had begun to dig for shelter. Soon, the two lines of trenches stretched from the Channel to the borders of Switzerland. There was little progress on this Western Front throughout all 4 years of the war

The German Republic & the Nature of the War’s End
- Germany had used up her resources by the time the Americans entered the war and was a defeated power. General Ludendorff knew they were defeated and urged the government to sue for peace. However, since the Allies were unwilling to make peace with the imperialistic government, Ludendorff instituted liberal government reforms. The reforms came too late for the angry and exhausted German people, who began forming their own versions of Russian soviets. In the face of this communist revolution, William II fled. Meanwhile moderate Socialists in the Reichstag announced the establishment of a German Republic. In December, left-wing socialists formed the German Communist Party, parallel to the Republic also in place. This Communist party, unlike the Russian one, was UNable to seize power. SIGNIFICANCE: the government and army that had conducted the war was NOT the same government that signed the hated Treaty of Versailles.

The Conflicting Goals of the Big Four
- The U.S. wanted to create democratic governments and a “general association of nations” that would guarantee the “political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike”. Wilson’s Fourteen Points summed up what he believed should result. Britain under Lloyd George felt that the Germans should pay for the dreadful war (the British people had been turned against the Germans by propaganda). France, under Clemenceau, wanted a demilitarized Germany, vast German reparations to pay for the costs of the war, and a separate Rhineland as a buffer state between France and Germany. Italy remained out of the major decision making.

“Peace without victory”
- Wilson’s seemingly far-fetched goal for a non-punitive peace settlement

David Lloyd George
Liberal Party British Prime Minister at the war’s end. Wanted to make sure Germany paid for the war and wanted an expansion of the British Empire.

- the Allies had promised to recognize the independence of Arab states in the Middle Eastern lands of the Ottoman Empire in order to gain support for the war. After the war however, the Allies returned to their imperialistic ways; France took control of Lebanon and Syria, and Britain received Iraq and Palestine. Both acquisitions were officially called “mandates” so as to not break their promise or anger the anti-imperialistic Wilson.

Ca$h payments a losing power makes to the victors. The Germans were forced to agree to huge reparations.

Article 231
The specific article of the Treaty of Versailles in which Germany accepts “sole guilt” for the war.

The 7 New Nations of 1919
- the German and Russian Empires lost considerable territory in Eastern Europe at the conclusion of the war, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire disappeared altogether. These changes resulted in the creation of several new nations: Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary. Romania acquired additional lands from Russia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Serbia formed the nucleus of the new Slav state Yugoslavia consisting of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

- small piece of land in the Rhineland taken from the French at the end of the Franco-Prussian war by Germany. Source of much French anger/hatred towards Germany. In WWI when Germany declared war on France, the French, having kept the grudge, went immediately for Alsace-Loraine against their best interest . It was returned to France in the Versailles settlement.

Armistice (11/11/18 11:00am)
- an armistice was called and the fighting ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

The Connection between Machiavelli & the Treaty of Versailles-
Machiavelli believed that if defeated your enemy, then you should either help them, or harm them enough so that they aren’t able seek revenge. The Treaty of Versailles unwisely fell in between the two, harming the Germans enough to anger and humiliate them but not enough to keep them from striking back later.

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