Notes from the Great War

WWI (Chapter 7) Notes


World War One  (Also known as the Great War) June 1914 - November 1918

- U.S. involvement approx. 6-9 months  (Woodrow Wilson was U.S. President during the war)

- Triggered by the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia by Gavrilo Princip (a Serbian nationalist – hoping to free Serbia from control by Austria-Hungary).


Triple Alliance or Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy


Triple Entente  or The Allies: Great Britain, Serbia, France, Russia


Neutrals: Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Holland, Denmark, U.S.A.


Note: Italy (with a change of government) will become one of the Allies early in the war, and Belgium and the United States end their neutrality and will also become Allies.


Isolationism – a policy to remain neutral , uninvolved, and isolated from other countries.

    Alfred Mahan - suggested the importance of trading on all continents. If you isolate yourself you'd be safe, but poor. Trade is needed all around the world. The U.S. was becoming a world power and could not expect to stay isolated from the rest of the world.


New Weapons – these weapons or devices were used for the first time in great numbers during the Great War. Their use will result in greater casualty counts than ever before.

    Airplanes, machine guns, tanks, chemical weapons (risky because they could not accurately target the enemy), gas masks, U-Boats, depth charges, barbed wire, zeppelins, mines, flame-throwers.


  Airplane technology progressed quickly. Used in air combat. If a pilot shot down five or more enemy planes they earned the distinction of being a Flying Ace. Germany’s best ace was Manfred von Richthofen with 80 kills, Georges Guynemer shot down 56 for France, and Eddie Rickenbacker was the top flying ace for the United States with 26 kills.


American Expeditionary Force (AEF) – This is the name given to the large number of troops sent to Europe as America’s fighting force. Leader of the AEF: John J. Pershing


 3 Events that brought the U.S. into WWI:


May 7, 1915 - Passenger liner Lusitania torpedoed by German U-boats. 128 Americans killed in that attack. Americans outraged, so Germany makes two pledges: Sussex and Arabic Pledges –Germany promised not to sink passenger liners and promised to give fair warning for other ships to allow lifeboats to be deployed.


Zimmermann Note This secret coded telegram was sent from German foreign minister Arthur Zimmerman to a German ambassador in Mexico. It proposed a deal to Mexico where Mexico would join the alliance with Germany and in return Mexico would gain back territory it lost to the United States in the 1800s.


Unrestricted Submarine Warfare – When Germany resumed unrestricted warfare and began sinking vessels without warning, this resulted in tremendous loss of life, and much outrage from the United States.


-Russian Revolution- Czar Nicholas overthrown and the monarchy toppled.

    -Russians back out of war to fight their own civil war at home - lost land to Germany in turn.

Armistice (ceasefire) called on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918.

    -Now named Veterans Day



1913 - 16th amendment ratified (creates federal income tax)


1913 - Woolworth building completed - becomes world’s tallest at 792 feet


1914 - Petitions made to congress successful in creating a day for moms. Mother’s Day is now the second Sunday of May.


1914 - President Wilson proclaims US neutrality as war beaks out all over Europe.


1914 - After almost 10 years of construction, Panama Canal opens for business.


1915 - Congressional law creates Coast Guard - will protect U.S. shores, but also targets smugglers and illegal traffickers.


1915 - Americans outraged by sinking of the passenger liner the Lusitania -but American neutrality maintained.


1916 - WSU Cougars defeat Bears of Brown University in the Rose Bowl (14-0). This is the last time that the Cougars won the Rose Bowl.


1916 - Running on the slogan "He kept us out of war,” Woodrow Wilson wins his bid for re-election, defeating opponent Charles Evans Hughes – 277 electoral votes to 254.


1916 - William Boeing opens new factory to build float-planes in Seattle. Had just 21 employees in the beginning.


1917 - US Congress votes to go to war in Germany.


1917 - Russia leaves WWI because of the Russian revolution. U.S. begins mobilizing and enters the war officially.


1917 - Congress authorizes military draft - 10 million men expected to be registered, and of that number 500,000 would be drafted initially.


1918 - President Wilson proposes his "Fourteen Points" - includes a League of Nations.


1918 - Americans asked to ration valuable commodities at home – on a volunteer basis: Meat, wheat, sugar, electricity, etc.


1918 - Armistice declared - allied victory brought about with American assistance.


1918 - 20 million Americans infected with Influenza virus - 600,000+ will die, and approx. 30,000,000 will die worldwide.


1919 - President Wilson hailed in Europe - helps negotiate Versailles Treaty.


1919 - President Wilson lacks support at home - congress rejects League of Nations and Versailles Treaty. U.S. does not join the League and does not sign Versailles Treaty. U.S. makes a separate peace with Germany.


1919 - Prohibition becomes part of the constitution - 18th Amendment prohibits the sale of alcohol, the transportation of alcohol, and the consumption of alcohol.


1919 - President Wilson bed-ridden by exhaustion and stroke, following nation-wide speaking tour in which his tries to build support for the Versailles Treaty and U.S. participation in the League of Nations.


1919 - Chicago White Sox defeated by the Cincinnati Reds in World Series of baseball.