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World War 1

Unit 7: c. 1900-Present

Main Ideas:

  • The MAIN causes of World War 1 were Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Nationalism

  • World War 1 was a "total war," where soldiers used extreme weapons, and nations mobilized their home front and produced political propaganda to boost nationalism

  • The use of extreme weapons and other wartime techniques led to massive casualties

Causes of World War 1


European nations kept competing with each other by making larger weapons 


Europe had 2 main alliances (Triple Alliance & Triple Entente). A small rivalry between 2 nations would lead to a huge war between each nation's alliances


European nations competed for colonies abroad. The main rivalries were between Germany and Britain/France


European nations had huge popular nationalist sentiment → The people would cheer on their nation to win the war without dropping out

Themes of World War 1

World War 1 was an Extreme War with Lots of Support & Massive Casualties

Key Ideas:

  • The development of new weapons & new styles of combat led to many more casualties that other wars

    • The war used many new weapons such as chemical weapons (poison gas, mustard gas) and machine guns

    • The war used a new style of combat called trench warfare → Soldiers would hide in dirty trenches and occasionally peek out to shoot → War took a long time and was a stalemate for so long → Massive casualties & long battles


  • In each nation, governments mobilized their economies for the war effort and also created propaganda to boost nationalism and pro-war spirit

    • Nations imposed mandatory production quotas and encouraged women to join the industrial workforce to produce weapons and other war supplies

    • Nations made political propaganda to display their enemies as weaker in order to boost support for the war

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