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The Violent 20th Century


provides us the raw information we need to see if our ideas about the way the ... of Austria-Hungary, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assasinated by a Serbian ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Violent 20th Century

The Violent 20th Century
  • World Wars I and II

Why should we study history?
  • provides us the raw information we need to see if
    our ideas about the way the world works are
  • understanding past events helps us understand the
    world we live in.

20th Century History the World Wars
  • We focus on the 20th century because events in
    that century are most directly responsible for
    important features of the 21st century world.
  • World Wars I and II
  • The two most devastating wars in human history

World War I
  • Took place on the Continent of Europe
  • More than 15 million people died
  • Destroyed three European Empires
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Germany
  • Russia

World War I
  • Gave rise to new major powers
  • Japan
  • U.S.
  • Led to the 1917 Russian Revolution
  • Birth of Communist societies
  • Set stage for Cold War post 1945

  • Europes instability can be traced back to the
    creation of a unified Germany in the 1870s.
  • The European powers clashed over imperial issues
    in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
    centuries, as Germany sought colonies and markets.

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Understanding WWI structural overview
  • Rigidity of system of European alliances
  • Before the war, Europe had a flexible alliance
  • England was holder of the balance
  • On eve of the war, the alliances became fixed
    against one another.
  • England casts its lot with France

Understanding WWI power
  • Power competition in Europe
  • By the 1890s, German heavy industry had surpasses
    that of England's.
  • By 1900 German Gross National Product was twice
    that of England's.

Understanding WWI security dilemma
  • Britain's response to German power contributed to
  • In 1904, England moved away from its position as
    an essentially independent state to one that
    established a tight alliance with France.
  • In 1907, the Anglo-French alliance broadened to
    include Russia and became known as the Triple

Understanding WWI alliances
  • Germany, seeing itself encircled, tightened its
    relations with Austro-Hungary.
  • What had been a flexible multipolar system in
    Europe prior to 1900 had become an inflexible
    bipolar system by 1913, the year before the war
    broke out.

Understanding WWI nationalism
  • Both Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey were
    multinational empires.
  • Both were threatened by the rise of nationalism,
    which was on the rise was growing, particularly
    in the Balkans and Central Europe.
  • On June 28, 1914 the heir apparent to the throne
    of Austria-Hungary, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    was assasinated by a Serbian nationalist while he
    toured Sarajevo.

Understanding WWI perceptions
  • Cult of the Offensive
  • Perception of easy victory

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Difficulty of War
  • WWI bogged down into trench warfare

Before and after the Battle of Ypres, France.
The top photo was taken in 1914, the bottom
photo in 1918.
Before and after the Battle of Ypres, France.
The top photo was taken in 1913, the bottom
photo in 1915.
Treaty of Versailles
  • WWI ended with German defeat.
  • Victorious powers, England, France, and the U.S.,
    met in Versailles, France to negotiate a peace
  • England and France blamed Germany for the war and
    demanded reparations
  • U.S. President Woodrow Wilson blamed the war on
    the balance of power and pressed for the creation
    of the League of Nations
  • Wilsons vision of the war ultimately shaped the
    majority of the settlement

Peace-making, 1919 the Versailles settlement
  • Germany was found guilty of having begun the
    war Germany lost land to Poland Alsace-Lorraine
    was returned to France Germany was to be
    disarmed, with France occupying the Rhineland as
    a security zone and reparations were to be
    repaid to the victorious powers.

The Versailles Settlement nationalism
  • A series of new states was created in the Balkans
    and Eastern and Central Europe, where the Ottoman
    and Austro-Hungarian empires had collapsed.
    Colonial territories of Germany and portions of
    the collapsed Ottoman empire were turned into
    League Mandates, administered by Britain and

The Versailles Settlement collective security
  • Future wars were to be deterred by the League of
    Nations, which would take collective action
    against aggressor states.

Twenty years crisis, 1919-1939
  • Since the Industrial Revolution, a global
    capitalist economy had been developing, drawing
    all parts of the world into transnational flows
    of finance and trade.
  • The First World War disrupted this development,
    with a profound negative impact on the
    international economic system.

The political economy of the Twenty years crisis
  • In 1929, the Wall Street stock-market crash
    induced a world depression
  • Depressions in many countries around the world
    stimulated the rise of extremist political
    movements, an upsurge of introverted nationalism,
    and the pursuit of economic autarky

Failure of the Versailles Settlement
  • Japan, although it fought against Germany during
    World War I, emerged from that war similarly
    dissatisfied with the post-war settlement.
  • Between 1931 and 1933, Japan consolidated its
    hold over Manchuria, establishing a puppet state,
  • the League of Nations found itself incapable of
    responding to this blatant act of aggression.

Origins of WWII Pacific theater
  • By 1937, Japan was at war with China, which
    caused worsening relations with the US, also with
    a strong imperial interest in China.
  • When the US limited Japans ability to import oil
    and other vital strategic commodities in 1939,
    relations between those two powers drastically
    deteriorated - culminating in the bombing of
    Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Origins of war European theater
  • Confronted with numerous international crises
    (e.g. China) policy-makers in Britain and France
    adopted a policy of appeasing Adolph Hitlers
    territorial demands.
  • September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville
    Chamberlain agreed to German demands to partition
  • Six months later Hitler breaks promise and
    invades rest of Czechoslovakia
  • Britain and France abandoned appeasement and
    declared war on Germany once it invaded Poland in
    September 1939.

What happened to the U.S.?
  • U.S. isolationism
  • By the end of WWI, the U.S., which emerged as one
    of the most powerful countries in the world,
    withdraws from involvement in European politics.
  • Crushing blow to League of Nations