The Effects of World War I on European Society Persia, The Ottoman Empire, Serbia, Montenegro, Spanish Morroco, these are names of countries that are no longer with us today, but were major European countries before the outbreak of World War I. With the new inventions of the theatre and automobiles, Europe was on an upswing. That all ended on June 18, 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne. Gavrilo Princip, a student, shot and killed the Archduke.
Princip was a member of Young Bosnia, a group that wanted the unification of the South Slavs, and independence from Austria-Hungary. On July 23, 1914, Serbia was sent a list of ultimatums, some so extreme that the Serbs rejected the sixth demand. The Serbians, relying on support from Russia, removed acceptance of the sixth key demand (the draft reply had accepted it), and the Serb nation mobilized its troops. In response to this, Austria-Hungary issued a declaration of war on July 28. Initially, Russia ordered partial mobilization, directed at the Austrian front.
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On July 31, after the Russian General Staff informed the Czar that partial mobilization was impossible, a full mobilization was ordered. The Schlieffen Plan, which relied on a quick strike against France, could not afford to allow the Russians to mobilize without launching an attack. The Germans declared war against Russia on August 1st and on France two days later. Germany then violated Belgium’s neutrality when the Germans advance through Belgium on the way to Paris, and this brought the British Empire into the war.
With this, five of the six European powers were now involved in the largest continental European conflict since the Napoleonic Wars. Fast forward four years and 40 million deaths later, an armistice was signed in November of 1918 which ceased the bloodshed. Eventually the Treaty of Versailles would be signed and the war would officially be over. But this was just the beginning of a long struggle for Europe, especially the Central Powers of Germany, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire (now called Turkey) and Austria-Hungary (now 2 separate countries).
The conditions that were set forth on the Germans after the war, they felt, were harsh. The German armed forces and fortifications were to be disbanded, and Germany was allowed to retain only a small 100,000-man army to keep peace at home. Germany was denied the right to make or use aircraft, submarines, and most forms of heavy army weapons. All German colonies were taken and distributed as “prizes” to the victorious powers. To pay for damages caused by the war, Germany was eventually required to pay 132 billion gold marks, in installments, up to the year 1988. Financially and emotionally, Germany was ruined.
All through the ’20s Germany looked for help anywhere, and faced mass unemployment and lost confidence in their government. This led to a young World War I veteran named Adolf Hitler to rise out of prison, and take over the country with his new party, the National Socialist Party, or Nazi. In Russia in October 1917, Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, the most radical wing of the Russian revolutionary movement, seized power in St. Petersburg, and declared Russia a Communist regime. Bolshevik leaders expected that their revolt would start the onset of a Communist worldwide revolution.
After three years of civil war, Bolshevik rule was secured by 1921 but world revolution did not follow. Short Communist revolts erupted in Hungary and Germany in 1919, and violent confrontations occurred between workers and the government in Italy and Spain in the immediate postwar years, but no other European society saw any Communist rule. The Communist movement outside Russia was violently suppressed, and many of its leaders were murdered or imprisoned. The high point of the post-war decade was reached in 1928, when U. S. ecretary Frank Kellog and French foreign minister Aristide Briand invited the states of the world to Paris to sign an act of declaration that they would never again resort to war as a means of settling disputes between them. The Pact of Paris was signed by more than 60 countries, including Italy, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union. On January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as the new Chancellor of Germany. Many people today ask why people voted for Hitler, but what many people don’t know is that he was a very well-spoken politician, ruling over a very vulnerable German people.
If elected he would bring order to Germany and create jobs. Nazi propaganda promised ‘food & bread’ if elected. Elegant rallied and displays were held, that made Hitler look like he was the chosen one to bring Germany back to life. Hitler’s new Germany scared the rest of Europe, and they let him do whatever he wanted, no one stood in his way. World War I was originally called “The Great War” because it was supposed to be the war that ended all wars, when in actuality, the First World War was the first war of modern day warfare, and many military leaders still learn from that war today.