top of page

Time Period 4: 1914 - present

General Timeline
Euro TP4 Timeline.png
General Map

Map # 1: Europe

Euro TP4 Map #1.png
Course Content

World War 1:


Causes & Build-up of World War 1

Initial Nationalist Rivalries & Alliances

  • Germany was becoming most powerful nation in Europe, threatening other nations

    • France was defeated in 1871 (after Franco-Prussian war), so Germany sought to further weaken it

    • Otto von Bismarck (Germany) formed alliances with Austria-Hungary & Russia to isolate France

    • As William II (new German emperor) fired Bismarck in 1890, he repealed the alliances

    • France thus allied w/ Russia in 1894 against Germany

  • Britain also hated growing German power

    • German industrial power was approaching that of Britain

    • German military was threatening British navy

    • German colonial expansion was threatening British colonies

    • Britain thus improved relations w/ US & Japan, signed alliance w/ France in 1904

  • Germany declared French Morocco a free territory in 1905 to test the response of other nations

    • Britain, France, Russia opposed Germany, became known as Triple Entente (Allies)

    • Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy formed alliance, known as Triple Alliance (Central Powers)

  • People believed war was heroic & good

    • Wanted to test their nation's nationalist response, often stimulating national pride

    • Ruling classes wanted to pursue a war to distract the lower classes from domestic issues

download (2).jpeg

Official Start of War

Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was visiting Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina province

Gavrilo Princip, member of Serbian independence terrorist group, shot Ferdinand

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after Serbia refused to allow Austria-Hungary to investigate the crime

Germany refused to respect Belgian neutrality, so Britain declared war on Germany

Germany declared war on Russia & its ally, France. Wanted to attack France through Belgium

Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary to protect the Slavs. Later declared war on Germany as it allied with Austria-Hungary

Initial War Plans

  • All nations were initially happy about war
    • Believed war would be a quick victory
    • Common saying: "the boys will be home by Christmas" (the war started in August)
    • Nations formed specific timetables of when to attack whom, assuming the war would be quick
  • Schlieffen Plan was German military plan

    • Would initially attack France through Belgium

    • Then would attack Russia after defeating France

    • This failed as beating France took long

  • Germany used submarines to sink British boats, while Britain imposed a naval blockade on Germany


Battles of World War 1

German Battle on Western Front (with France)

Germany tried attacking France through Belgium (according to Schlieffen Plan)

France stopped Germany at River Marne. British also helped Belgian army attack Germans. Later attacked Germans at Battle of Somme

Battle was a stalemate for 4 years

Italy Joined Allies & Battle of Caporetto

Britain & France got Italy to join Allies in 1915, promised to give them Austria-Hungary if Allies won

Italy lost miserably at Battle of Caporetto (1917) against Austria-Hungary

Britain & France helped defend Italy from further invasion

German Battle on Eastern Front (with Russia)

Germany & Austria-Hungary invaded Balkans

Russia invaded Prussia to help Balkans

Germans invaded Russia, causing Russia to lose miserably

Germany acquired many Russian-occupied territories (present-day Poland, Belarus, Baltic nations). Russia still continued to fight

Trench Warfare & New Battle Techniques

  • Trench warfare was used on the Western Front
    • Soldiers would stay in dug-up trenches & occasionally come up and fire machine guns
    • No Man's land was between trenches, very deadly as opposing side would easily fire machine guns & kill you
    • Trenches were dirty as disease spread easily
    • Trench warfare caused endless stalemates as no one would advance forward from their trench
  • New weapons were developed

    • Barbed wire was used to guard & fence trenches 

    • Chemical weapons (poison/mustard gas) were used, caused harm to lungs & eyes of opponents

    • Airplanes were invented but mostly used during World War 2

    • Submarines were used by Germans to sink British boats


Home Front & Death Toll

  • Government needed maximum production of resources, so it took full control of economy
    • Imposed production quotas, wages, prices
    • Put government control in all private enterprise, abolished laissez-faire economics
    • Formed many unemployed people to work
    • Labor unions got more power & were able to campaign for better rights
  • Many women went to work as men were at battle

    • Some worked as police or postal services

    • Worked as physicians, nurses, communications clerks at battle

    • Some worked in munitions industries & were exposed to dangerous conditions

  • Nations manipulated propaganda to support war

    • Portrayed enemies as weaker​

    • Suppressed those who were against war effort

  • To control the home front, nations imposed military dictatorships

    • German​ generals Paul von Hindenburg & Erich Ludendorff removed chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg from office

  • Many people also revolted against war efforts

    • German socialists ​rioted in Berlin against the war

    • Irish nationalists declared independence from Britain in Easter Rising of 1916 (actually got independent a few years later)

    • French prime minister Georges Clemenceau suppressed anyone who opposed the war

    • Many soldiers became tired of war & mostly central powers were collapsing

  • Many people died from the war

    • 8 million soldiers, 7-10 million civilians died​

    • 20 million died from the influenza pandemic of 1918 that followed the war

    • Germany had the worst fate as 10% of its civilians died

    • Many people were left orphaned or widowed

    • Many suffered from shell shock (PTSD)

women workers.jpg

Japan's Entry into World War 1

Japan wanted to remove German ships from East Asian waters. Japan also wanted to annex German-controlled Jiaozhou peninsula

Germany refused to comply

Japan declared war on Germany, joined Allies in August 1914. Took over German-controlled islands in Pacific

Battle of Gallipoli (1915-1916)

Britain wanted to take over Ottoman-controlled Dardanelles strait to get easy access to Russia

Britain lost miserably after attacking Ottomans at Dardanelles

Britain tried again, this time attacked Gallipoli Peninsula. Used troops from British colonies

Britain lost miserably. Led to weakened control over British colonies

War in the Middle East & Africa

  • Ottoman Empire & Bulgaria joined the war with Central Powers against Allies
  • Armenians (last major non-Muslim ethnic group in Ottoman Empire) sought Russian help to liberate them from Ottoman rule
    • Ottomans were against the Russians in the war, so Ottomans ordered mass deportation of all Armenians​​

    • Ottomans killed millions of Armenians

  • British allied with Arab states against the Ottomans, liberating them from the Ottomans

    • Hussein ibn-Ali, chief magistrate of Mecca, allied with British​

    • British freed Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine from Ottoman rule

  • European nations also got people from their African colonies to help in the war

    • Many served in the army, others served as porters to carry equipment


End of World War 1

US Joins the War

  • Woodrow Wilson (US president, 1913-1921) initially opposed the war
  • US economy boomed as it exported munitions to Allies powers (Britain & France mostly)
    • US also gave loans to Allies​
    • Only made financial sense for Allies to win, so US joined the war to help the Allies (1917)
  • German submarines sank British ship Lusitania, killing 128 US citizens

    • This was one reason why US joined the war against Germany

  • The main reason why US joined the war against Germany was because of Zimmerman telegram

    • Zimmerman telegram was sent from Germany to Mexico, asking Mexico to declare war against US so US wouldn't declare war on Germany​

    • In exchange, Germany would help Mexico gain back its territories lost in Mexican-American War

    • However, US intercepted the telgram & declared war on Germany

  • US intervention was the only reason Allies won

End of the War

British imposed a naval blockade on Germany, preventing food from reaching there. There were many German protests for more food

France also had a protest among soldiers, but Germans didn't hear it due to censorship

Germany decided to give one last attack westward to France

Bulgaria, Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, and Germany surrendered to the Allies (1918)

France easily defended, Germany ran out of resources

Paris Settlement & Treaty of Versailles (1920)

  • Woodrow Wilson (US), Lloyd George (UK), George Clemenceau (France) led meeting at Paris
    • 28 nations were invited, none of Central Powers​
    • Meeting was in chaos due to conflicting views
    • Discussed how to punish Germany for the war
  • Wilson's 14 Points
    • Wilson previously drafted 14 Points, a document entailing potential post-war peace treaties
    • Suggested reduction in armaments production, equal naval trade, self-determination (independence) for some colonies, etc.
  • They established the League of Nations, an organization of nations to promote security
  • League of Nations failed as it relied on collective security (nations agree to maintain security with each other)
  • Eventually they passed Treaty of Versailles (1920)
    • Made Germany pay reparations for the war
    • Made Germany reduce armaments production
    • Restricted size of German military
    • Banned Germany from having air force & navy

Peace Settlement in the Middle East

  • When Britain & France allied with Arabs against Ottomans, they made vague promise of independence

  • In Sykes Picot Agreement (1916), Britain & France would establish mandates (protectorates) over the Arab states instead of giving independence

    • Britain had Palestine, Transjordan, Iraq

    • France had Lebanon, Syria, South Turkey

  • In Balfour Declaration (1917), Britain would create a Jewish state in Palestine

    • Eventually, as Palestinians revolted, this plan was canceled (the UN later created Israel in 1948)​

  • Arab nationalists hated the mandate system & created General Syrian Congress (1919)

    • French hated this & took over Syria

  • Britain & France occupied parts of Turkey, and Greece also took some Turkish territory

  • Mustafa Kemal founded modern nation of Turkey

    • Treaty of Lausanne (1923) recognized nation of Turkey (Ottoman empire disintegrated)

    • Kemal was known as Ataturk ("father of the turks")

    • Made Turkey a secular nation

    • Kemal was a military general & helped defend Turkey from Britain & France


Revolution in Austria-Hungary & Germany

  • Austria-Hungary broke apart into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, & Romania

    • A Serbian monarchy (under Austro-Hungarian control) became Yugoslavia

  • Germany experienced a radical democratic revolution​

    • German republicans & liberalists crushed William II's authoritarian regime, established democratic Weimar republic​

    • German socialists didn't take power because  German SPD wanted gradual decline of capitalism & still wanted to retain civil liberties

      • Communism does not have civil liberties while republicanism does

  • Radical socialists Karl Liebknecht & Rosa Luxemburg attempted to seize power during Spartacist Uprising in Berlin (Jan 1919)

    • German democratic gov killed Liebknecht & Luxemburg, causing lots of protests

    • Communists & socialists depised the gov for murdering the 2 socialist leaders

    • Nazi party believed Germany didn't actually lose WW1 but was deteriorating due to German socialists


Russian Revolution

Fall of Tsarist Regime & Creation of Provisional Government

Germany defeated Russia in WW1, causing Russians to lose a lot of resources. Russia had weak leadership as tsar Nicholas II fled to battlefield, leaving his wife, Alexandria, in charge

In Mar 1917, Russians marched in St. Petersburg, wanting more food. WW1 wasted many resources, causing food shortages. Russian soldiers were ordered to attack the protestors but instead joined them

Duma (parliament) wanted more power, so Alexander Kerensky declared a provisional Russian government, and Nicholas II abdicated. Established basic civil liberties & supported participation in WW1

Ordered Summer Offensive (Jul 1917) against Germany (last Russian attack in WW1). Russia lost miserably, peasant soldiers were seizing land upon return, creating an anarchy

Soviets put military power in ordinary soldiers instead of officers, decreasing military power

A rival government, Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies (Soviets) opposed participation in WW1. Acted as a parallel gov, weakened power of provisional gov

Lenin, Bolshevik Revolution, Russian Civil War

Lenin supported socialism & wanted to impose it in Russia. Wanted a violent socialist revolution with efficient human leadership

Other communists (Mensheviks "minority group") believed revolution should be led by a large group. Lenin's peers (Bolsheviks "majority group") believed revolution should be led by small group of elites

Lenin was exiled in Switzerland. Went to Russia & mounted coup on Russian provisional gov. Appealed to peasants & soldiers with promises of peace, land, bread

Allowed peasants to seize property & reform land. In Nov 1917 elections, Bolsheviks didn't win majority in Constituent Assembly, so Lenin declared Bolshevik dictatorship

At Congress of Soviets, Bolshevik majority put Lenin as leader. Lenin became leader due to efficient leadership, appeal to peasants, and Russian anarchy

Leon Trotsky led Bolsheviks against other communists. Built Bolshevik army, took over buildings in St. Petersburg, arrested members of provisional gov

Lenin signed Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) w/ Germany, removing Russia from WW1. Gave Western territories (Poland, Belarus, etc) to Germany

Some Russians (White Army) hated Bolsheviks (Red Army), started Russian Civil War (1917-1922). Reds had strong army, "Red Terror" campaign executed all dissidents. Whites failed to receive efficient foreign aid

Reds initiated "War Communism," an economic policy mobilizing the entire home front for the civil war (nationalized all business). Reds won in Spring 1920, gained many territories previously ceded to Germany

Interwar Period:


Great Depression

US Stock Market Crash of 1929

In 1929, people were buying stocks on margin. They'd buy stocks & sell them after making a slight profit

People believed stocks would go down in price, so they all sold all their stocks

On Black Thursday (10/24/1929), all prices plummeted significantly, stock market crashed. People lost their life savings

Spread of Great Depression throughout Europe

  • After stock market crash of 1929, people lost confidence in the market, causing economic downfall

    • People bought less goods, so the price of goods fell, causing people to become poor as they couldn't make enough money from selling goods

    • Industrial goods had little demand, so factories produced less, so they fired more people

      • Thus, more people became unemployed & couldn't buy goods, causing ​factories to produce less & fire more people

  • Economic downfall spread from US to Europe quickly

    • US gave many loans to Europe during & after WW1

    • US bankers sought to repeal their loans & reclaim their money after this crises

    • Thus, Europeans had to quickly pay their loans, causing economic crisis

  • Austrian bank collapsed in 1931

  • Many European nations abolished gold standard for currency to decrease price of money​

    • This actually led to more inflation

  • Nations increased tariffs to protect domestic industry, causing global trade to decline

  • As unemployment grew, marriages were delayed, fertility decreased, mental illness became more common

Destitute_man_vacant_store (1).gif

Responses to Great Depression

  • In the US, Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal to combat the Great Depression​

    • Devalued the dollar to raise prices, allowing farmers to earn more

    • Promoted public works projects to employ people

  • Scandinavian countries were the most successful in combating the Great Depression

    • Social Democratic leadership allowed these nations to be successful

    • Very cooperative with their community, promoted public works projects to employ people

    • Increased social welfare benefits

  • Britain was also successful in combating the crisis

    • At first, it was unsuccessful as the unemployed people received few social welfare benefits

    • Later, they raised tariffs to protect domestic industry, & abolished gold standards for currency, which actually boosted domestic industry

    • While industrial goods like coal & textiles declined, other goods like automobiles & electrical appliances boomed

  • France was unsuccessful in combating the Great Depression due to political conflict within France

    • Had steady decline until 1935,​ later recovered slightly but never fully

    • French republican gov was challenged on both sides: Communists & Fascists competed for influence

    • Communists, Socialists, Radicals formed alliance called Popular Front against Fascists

      • Led by Leon Blum, initiated social reform programs (paid vacation, 40-hour work week, etc.)

      • This failed due to inflation & because Fascists and conservatives hated this

    • During Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), French communists supported Spanish republicans, while French conservatives supported Spanish fascists

    • All of this dissension within France caused its economy to recover slower than other nations


Problems in Germany & France

German Reparations

Germany didn't want to pay the WW1 reparations listed in the Treaty of Versailles. France needed these reparations for economic recovery

France allied with Central European nations against Germany because France needed German reparations

Germany agreed to pay $33 billion in reparations in annual installments of $2.5 billion

Germany told people of Rhine-Ruhr to stop working so French would leave. French sealed Rhine-Ruhr from rest of Germany (only allowing food to pass through) & forced inhabitants to pay war reparations