Explain to me

Explain to me about World War 1. My Wld. Geography teacher barely covered it and I have little of an idea what is was about… So explain it to me. (Sorry if this needs to be in the HW forum but it’s a simple question. Nothing to do with homework or anything. Just curiousity)

It all began with an assassination…

Um… It had a lot to do with alliences, I had a sub during that chapter, cause my teacher was sick, so I’m in the same boat as you Chris.

<img src=“http://www.rpgclassics.com/staff/tenchimaru/td.gif”> Well, basically, Canada had these two comedians who made a movie. Only, the movie was complete filth, revolving around fart jokes and the f-word. After some children watched it, and got horribly corrupted by the language in the movie, some parents wanted it banned from the United States, and Canada to be boycotted. However, things soon got out of hand, and the two canadian comedians got arrested while on a visit to the US. Canada got outraged over this, and declared war on the US. So in response, the US prepared for war, and was going to execute the comedians for warcrimes, namely the production of said movie. Meanwhile, one of the children that saw the movie died, and ended up in hell. Upon his arrival, he soon learned that Satan was conspiring with Sadam Hussein to take over the world, unleashing a new age of terror. But for this to happen, the two comedians had to be killed. The boy then tried to contact his friends, who were still alive, warning them of Satan’s plot. These boys were already trying to save their beloved comedians, and had formed an underground resistance. However, the rescue of said comedians failed, when one of the children failed to shut down the alarms in time. As a result, The Mole got torn to shreds by the guard dogs. I also forgot to mention, the comedians were to be executed during a grand festival to increase the morale of US troops. However, this festival went to hell as Canada attacked it. During the fighting, the comedians got killed. This allowed Satan and Saddam Hussein to come back to earth and ring in the new dark age. However, Satan had gotten sick of how poorly Saddam treated him. After Saddam got beaten to within an inch of his life by one of the kids, he asked for Satan to kill the kid. When Satan refused, Saddam insulted him once again. This caused Satan to snap, and throw Saddam down the fiery abyss back into hell. Thanking the children for opening his eyes to what an asshole Saddam was, he granted their wish to restore the world to what it was before, and go back to hell. This revived all the war victims in the process, including the comedians. Then everyone got together, made peace, and they sang a song. Oh, and the kid that went to hell? He got sent up to Heaven. It had boobs.

Basically, the west and the east had a lot of conditional alliances with eachother. Say, Britain had an alliances with Italy, France, and Russia, and Germany was allied with Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

The whole mess started due to the assassination of Austria-Hungary’s archduke, Frans Ferdinand in the capital of Bosnia, while he was on an inspection tour. Now, the assassin was a member of a Serbian terrorist group, so Austria-Hungary pressures Serbia to solve the murdercase. Germany was allied with Serbia, so they support their ally to NOT let them get mixed up with Serbia’s inner affairs.

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 7th 1914, as a “punishment” for their screwups. The ally system worked like a machine, and therefore everyone on eachother’s throats within a week, thanks to their contracts and agreements on defense.

Did ease anything up, or did it just complicate things? I can try to tell more if you like

Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Serbia.
Austria demands investigation.Russia says “I don’t think so.”
Austria gives Serbs ultimatum, declares war 1 month later when ultimatum is not met.
Russia declares war on Austria.
Germany declares war on Russia.
France/Britain declare war on Germany.
Fighting takes place for a few years.
Lusitania is sunk(carrying American passengers). US declares war on Germany and kicks their asses.
Meanwhile, the Bolshevik revolution is occurring in Russia. Russians become Commies.
The End(sort of).

TD:… right O-o;;

Everyone else: Thank you. That does clear it all up. Thank you so very much. ^^

And that, as they say, is that.

No problem. History’s one of my better subject at school, so that’s why I could partake in this one ^^;

The reason why it was so destructive (and why it made such an impact on Europe’s collective psyche) was because it was fought with modern equipment (machine guns, mostly) but classical tactics (charging straight at the machine guns, for instance).

Originally posted by Tenchimaru Draconis
<img src=“http://www.rpgclassics.com/staff/tenchimaru/td.gif”> Blah blah blah, etc.

South Park movie XD

Wait, classic strategy? World War I revolved almost soley around Trench Warfare didn’t it? Or is that WWII? I’m pretty sure it’s WWI…

Sorry, I really don’t know much about WWI. I decided to sleep through that part of World History.

An assassination of the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinard took place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Ferdinard was to be the future ruler of Austria-Hungary. The assassin was a man named Gavrillo Princip who turned out to be funded by Serbia. He was among many of those who didn’t want Austria-Hungary rule, and he was part of a terrorist group called the Black Hand. Austria-Hungary sent Serbia a list and ordered that their demands be met. Serbia agreed to most of them and offered to submit the rest to an international court, but Austria-Hungary found this response to be unacceptable. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia, Serbia’s protector, mobilized her army. Germany, Austria-Hungary’s ally, declares war on Russia.

Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy were the Triple Alliance. They were to aid each other in case of an attack by two or more superpowers.

France, England and Russia were the Triple Entente. They functioned in the same manner as the Triple Alliance.

The United States certainly did not “kick their asses”, except maybe near the end of the war when it actually sent reinforcements.

The original German plan of attack developed by some general whose name I forget was to circle wide north of France and enter into the back door of France by a long and circular route. The general who came up with this plan believed that France would be conquered within a matter of just a few months with this plan. Unfortunately this general died before the war began, and his successor, von Schlieffen, decided that the original plan was too long. His 4 routes of attack were more direct, and because of Belgian resistance and British support, his plan failed and trenchlines were established.

Then there’s the war itself. People died, trenchlines moved slightly, and towards the end of the war Russia surrendered (the Russian revolution broke out) and Germany could concentrate on only its western side. But then the Allies (not to be confused with the Triple Alliance) launched a couple of major offensives and the Hindenburg line (which was thought to be impenetrable) broke and the Germans lost.

Sorcerer, trench warfare isn’t exactly high tech :stuck_out_tongue: You still had to pretty much rush an enemy to occupy a trench.

WWI also prompted Wilfred Owen to write one of the most moving poems I’ve read: “Dulce Et Decorum Est”. It’s too bad he died during the war, just weeks before Armistice I belive. Hell, WWI created the Lost Generatio , a generation of disillusioned boymen that had no other skills but to kill. It relates back to SK’s impact on the psyche comment. Many authors came out of the war, including Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Pssst, Cless. In WWI, Italy was on the side of Britain and whatnot. They had a helluva lot of trouble against the Austrian military, though.

Originally posted by Jiharn
Pssst, Cless. In WWI, Italy was on the side of Britain and whatnot. They had a helluva lot of trouble against the Austrian military, though.
He’s probably thinking WWII

Originally posted by Jiharn
Pssst, Cless. In WWI, Italy was on the side of Britain and whatnot. They had a helluva lot of trouble against the Austrian military, though.

Yeah, I should have clarified. Italy signed the Triple Alliance pact with Austria-Hungary and Germany. However, during the course of World War I Italy at first tried to declare itself neutral and later ended up on the side of the Triple Entente. I said “they were to aid each other”, not that they all actually did :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t forget what happened right AFTER the war. The current US President (I think it was Wilson) went to Versailles to have a hand in the treaty. However, the other nations there (ESPECIALLY Britain and France) laughed him out of the palace, due to his overly idealistic plans (the Thirteen Points). Only one of the points was taken: the League of Nations (which died and rose from the flames as the UN after WW2). Also, France and Britain sought to cripple Germany forever, and imposed ridiculous reperations, hidiously unrealistic requirements on the German military, and reduced a great empire to ruin by creating tons of new nations, which were thrown into complete instability afterwards.

Germany wasn’t even allowed to speak during the conference. Britain and France became the last two major superpowers. However, they didn’t realize that the Treaty of Versailles had REALLY pissed the Germans off, which is how it later started WW2.

As the 19th Century turned into the 20th Century, the Imperial Powers of Europe were starting to run very short of tiny nations of little brown people to conquer and push around and bleed dry; some of the people with foresight recognized that the next step would be to finally turn on each other, because soon the only way to gain new colonial holdings would be the old fashioned way – steal them from your neighbor.

To prevent this from happening and disturbing the Pax Europa that had settled in in the later 19th Century (a period marked by a curious and refreshing lack of wars IN Europe), everybody worth their colonialist salt started making a series of “I got your back if you got my back, G” alliances in secret. It basically broke down like this:

The Triple Alliance, later the Central Powers:


Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Ottoman Empire [by this point on a serious decline; Turkey and Bulgaria had gone splitsville, as had many of the Yugoslav countries; the eimpre that once sacked Constantinople now had little more than just Turkey itself. The war would finish it off for good.]

Bulgaria (note: not really an imperial power, but they REALLY REALLY wanted to play too, kinda like that not-so-cute girl the popular kids like to play tricks on come prom time and so they make her homecoming queen as a gag. In this case, they got to be on Germany’s arm in case of a war.)

and all their respective colonilal bitches.

versus The Triple Entente, later known as the Allied Powers:

Great Britain



Serbia (analogous role to Bulgaria, only a bit more significant historically, as we’ll see later)

Australia [part of the British effort, but Australian troops primarily fought with the Turks in the middle east, which could be a considered a third front of the war if one wanted to but nobody’s ever really made a case for it.]

And all their respective colonial property, except Serbia’s, because there was no such thing as Serbian colonial holdings.

Italy stayed neutral, and nobody really cared, because all the other Imperial powers looked down on them and called them names because they actually failed to conquer Ethiopia, mostly because unlike the other nations of Africa, Ethiopia was centralized, organized, and had guns.

I think Spain stayed neutral too. They were on the serious imperical decline too, so nobody missed them. They spent most of the turn of the century losing mass quantities of land to a newcomer to the imperial powerbroker scene, The United States [ex: Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Phillipines].

The plan was to have sweeping alliances that created two super armies so massive and gargantuan they would each act as each other’s deterrent, and nobody would dare attack anybody else because it would bring everyone else in Europe down on their ass. One slight problem: The Plan Was Bullshit. As they did not have talkie pictures at all yet, let alone the 1983 remake of Scarface, nobody on the scene was familiar with Rule #1: “Never Underestimate The Other Guy’s Greed.”

Okay, so anyway, fast forward to Summer of 1914. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, (comprised of Austria, Hungary, and bugger all else), decided that Serbia would be much better off it were absorbed into the A-H empire. So they decide to send a not-too respected member of the royal family, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as goodwill embassador, mostly to get him out of the house so they could tell dirty jokes about his wife being a mere commoner. Or was it his mother? I can’t remember which it was.

PROBLEM: He was about as dense and tactless in international diplomacy as George Bush The Younger, and basically made an ass of himself as he strutted through Serbia saying something along the lines of “join us or we’ll kick your ass.”

PROBLEM #2: He did this on the anniversary of a big ass medieval battle where Serbia stood tall and proud and fought to basically the very last man in a vailant but futile attempt to check the Muslim advance into Europe in the 700s. Pretty pivotal and damn important, like the Battle of Tours except the Euros lost here. ANYWAY, the fiercely proud and nationalistic Serbians were NOT ONLY ratcheted up by their recent hard fought independance from the Ottomans, and pissed off about having to be right next to Bosnians and Croatians (just like always) they were ALSO fired up about this tactless stuffed shirt asshole from Austria trying to push them around on the 1200 year anniversary of Serbia’s finest military hour.

So to say the Serbs were a bit miffed is the understatement of the millenium.

Enter Gavrillo Princip, fanatical Serbian Nationalist, and member of The Black Hand, a club for fanatical Serbian nationalists, who decides to bust a cap in The Archduke’s ass. Then he decides it’d be more effective if he busted said cap in the Archduke’s HEAD. He does, and kills the guy Stone Dead.

NOW, all of a sudden, the archduke is a National Martyr and Hero in A-H, and sufficient excuse for going to war. After a token check on Germany to make sure Kaiser Wilhelm II (who wasn’t much brighter than the Archduke; in fact, he was dumb enough to FIRE Germanys most brillant and effective political mind and diplomat, Otto von Bismark, and replace him with himself. Duh) had their back, and discovering that YES, Germany would have their back, A-H attacked Serbia.

Serbia’s soft ass would have been in big trouble by itself; however, Serbia had managed to make itself the prison bitch of just about the biggest dog in the European yard, The Russians. So Russia came to the aid of Serbia, declaring war on A-H and, by proxy, Germany. This brought The Ottoman Empire into the fray on Germany’s side, dragging Bulgaria along for the ride. France and Britain jumped in to back up their pals the Russians, with Britan siccing its old prison colony, Australia, on the Turks. Italy continued to ride the fence for another year, as they waffled on whose side they were actually on, waiting for the best deal for them.

So all the dumb young men in all concerned nations, hopped up on the worst mind-altering drug of them all, Jingoism, turned out in droves to join their respective nation’s armies, while their mothers were reassured with the propagandistic promise of “this’ll will be quick; the boys will be home by Christmas.” [History Note: They ALWAYS say this. It’s NEVER true.] And promptly took turns charging out of trenches and head on towards heavy mounted machine guns and getting sawed in half by the gusts of lead.

Like SK pointed out, it was a hideous mismatch: Antiquated tactics barely evolved beyond the days of marching in bright red coats to the tune of flutes and drums so that everyone knew you were coming, with the grisly and effecient tools of modern destruction. The tools that made conquering the technolgically primitive African nations in the late 1800s (i.e. fighting with spears and arrows vs. machine guns…guess who won?) relatively easy were now being used for the first time by white people ON white people. Nobody had bothered to figure out how to try and fight somebody who ALSO had machine guns and artillery cannons, because it hadn’t been necessary when fighting the Zulus et al. And the results were disasterous.

The Western Front was Primarily fought in Northeastern France, which is why every once in a while they still dig up an old expired WWI artillery shell in that part of the country. Yes, it was that damn pulverized. Four years of non stop shell firing and heavy machine gun fire and mustard gas clouds and sacrificing 20,000 troops to advance the line 10 yards a day tends to do that. (The fighting took place on French soil; German land was remarkably unbattered by trenches and shells and stuff; ergo the average German citizen didn’t taste war up close and knew only what they read in the paper. Ergo most Germans thought they were on the brink of victory when the Weimar Republic sued for peace. This becomes VERY IMPORTANT later when the Weimar Republic takes all the blame for the shitty economy and for “selling out” Germany way back when. Leaving the door wide open for extremist malcontents, including You-Know-Who.)

So basically, lots of brutal senseless slaughter and starvation and sacrifice for NOTHING over the next four years, get the picture?

Notable changes:

Italy gets bribed into joining the allies in 1915 (with the promise of getting the port cities of Trieste and Firenzi; these paired with Naples would give Italy a monopoly on Adriatic Trade. The Allies would later dick them over at the Versailles Treaty negotiations, as punishment for not being on their side from the get-go and for not being a very helpful ally. Italian soldiers didn’t fare very well, thanks to being undersupplied and having shitty commanders.)

Russian peasants get pissed off with the Czar (again) and this time, they sneak Lenin back into the country. Bolshevik Revolution, Czar arrested and later murdered, Soviet government makes truce with Germany in 1917 and pulls out of the war, meaning several million heavily armed germans on the eastern front are now going to be directed towards the western front. France collectively says “oh Shit, we’re in for it now” while Britain collectively shoots a suggestive glance towards America while whispering “Little help? Any time you wanna jump in and help us out would be just fine, thank you.”

Woodrow Wilson, meanwhile, wins reelection in November 1916 with the very popular stance of swearing up and down that under ABSOLUTELY NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOVER CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO DIE STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE will American boys be sent to sample the taste of Mustard Gas in Europe’s killing fields.

Cough BULLSHIT Cough.

April 1917, America officialy says “hey, wait up, we wanna die to, save a space for us!” and joins the allies, though the American army hems and haws and stalls over the incorporation issue. The French would like very much to put american troops piecemeal and as needed into the french army to fill in for the several million young frenchmen afflicted with a case of the common death. American leadership like General Pershing would prefer to take, oh, about a year or so to stand around back of the lines and practice and train, so they can come on like gangbusters as their own separate American force.

After about a year of “hey, are you gonna help us or not?” from the allies and “hold on, we’re not ready yet” from the yankees, Pershing finally decides yeah, we’re ready. America fights, as its own army, on the western front, in early 1918. A few months later, the war ends.

American casualties were actually disproportionately high for the short ammount of time actually fighting, largely due to inexpereience, contrasted with the french and such who had been surviving the trenches for four years by that point. America wasn’t really the difference maker that brought about the end of the war, though we like to think we were. By this point (1918) A-H, Bulgaria, and The Ottomans were basically crapped out, The Russians were off killing their royals and turning into The Soviets, and nobody else really mattered. It was basically England and France vs Germany, who had just punched themselves out with a last-gasp all out offensive that very nearly worked and penetrated fairly deep into France. Germany was all but punched out itself after this offensive bogged down, and the fresh American presence was a significiant help in the Anglo-French counterattack that pushed the German army back to the border and force a truce with the new German government (because yeah, meanwhile, they ALSO had a revolution, with the Kaiser booted in favor of a democracy that would eventually become the doomed Weimar republic).

America becomes most important after the war; Unlike the other countries, America seemed to be in it for the least selfish of reasons. America wasn’t tied up in the alliance system or European power politics at all, and was not really competing with the other imperial powers for slices of colonial pie, wasn’t a major colony-grabber and wasn’t going to be. Plus, Wilson really sounded like he really believed all the altrustic stuff he was spouting, so the other big national leaders respected him. Everybody SAYS they’re entering into war for noble reasons, but we always know better and the real motive is usually fairly obvious. Here there really wasn’t any obvious other motive. So basically everybody trusted America to be on the up-and-up come negotation time…including Germany.

One of the conditions under which Germany agreed to surrender was that the truce would conform to the terms Woodrow Wilson outlined in the Fourteen Points, which basically were designed to set up a lasting peace. In other words, Wilson’s idea was that the winners WOULD NOT take harsh extreme punitive measures against the losers and take all their land and money away from them as punishment and say “bad dog this was your fault” at them all the time. This way, nobody would want revenge when they got strong enough to fight again and everyone would live happily ever after and this would never EVER happen again EVER, especially not just 20 years later.

PROBLEM: This worked about as well as the Mutual Deterrent plan. At the last second, after Germany agreed, Britain France and Italy decided it would be better if they DID take extreme punitive measures against Germany and rub their nose in it and say “Bad dog” and basically turn their economy to shit with repairations.


Ottoman Empire Gone
A-H Empire Gone
German Economy = Shit
Russia now known as Soviet Union.
Czechoslavakia Exists.
Poland Exists.
Austria Exists
Hungary Exists
Serbia gets together with all the balkan nations freed from the Ottomans to form Yugoslavia, even though they all still hate each other because they’re all so virulently nationalistic.

Middle East divided up into new countries arbitrarily by England and france, creating brand new countries that didn’t exist before, like Iraq and Jordan.

The imperial powers of Europe are financially, geographically, and population-ally devastated, which opens the door for colonies to move towards independance (the dam will burst open after WW2).

League of Nations formed, minus Germany, who couldn’t join because they were On Restriction for being a bad boy and starting the war that was all their fault. And also minus America, because the Senate refused to acknowledge the Treaty, on grounds that they didn’t want some pissant international tribunal to think it could tell America what to do, so we won’t join. (It had not yet occured to us to do what we do with the United Nations, i.e. join it so we can tell it what to do, and just simply ignoring it when it tries to tell us what to do.)

Lots of people are dead.
Lots of people are wounded.
Lots of people are insane.
Lots of people are dirt poor.
Lots of people are pissed off.

Nobody really won anything that made it worth it. Especially since the exercise was repeated just twenty years later.

Nobody really won anything that made it worth it.
That’s the war in a nutshell. Germany didn’t really lose the war, they simply “got tired of fighting” first. When they called an armistice they were treated as the losers, and due to propaganda everybody thought that the “Evil German War Machine” had been defeated. The Germans were very badly treated in the post-war negotiations, and these harsh feelings eventually led to WWII.