World War I: The Significant Turning Point
On June 28 1914 a spark was set off in Sarajevo which would become an explosion throughout the world. The event that led to World War One was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. A Serbian nationalist secret society, also known as the Black Hand, was who was responsible for Ferdinand's death. This spark would set off a "mechanical series of events that will culminate in the worlds first global war" the events to come in July through August of 1914 are a classical case of "one thing led to another" otherwise known as the treaty alliance system. The tangle of alliances is what made the world go crazy. It all started with Austria-hungry being unsatisfied with Serbia's response to her challenge. On July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungry went into war with Serbia. Russia, being bound by treaty to Serbia, announced recruitment of its immense army in her defense. This was a time-consuming process which took six weeks. Germany viewed the Russian mobilization as an act of war against their ally Austria-hungry, and after a scarce warning declared war on Russia on August 1st. France found itself at war against Germany and, additionally; on Austria hungry following a German declaration on august 3rd because they were bound by treaty to Russia. In order to reach Paris by the shortest possible route Germany quickly invaded neutral Belgium. Britain allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty declared war against Germany on August 4th. Because of the terms of a 75 year old treaty Britain was obligated to defend neutral Belgium. Britain committed herself to Belgium's defense later that day, with Germany's invasion of Belgium on August 4th, and the Belgium kings appeal to Britain for assistance. Like France, she was by extension at war with Austria-hungry. Britain offered military and financial assistance, to Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa, upon her entry to war. United States President Woodrow Wilson declared a US policy of absolute neutrality. This would last until 1917 when America's commercial shipping is seriously threatened Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The U.S is finally forced to enter the war on April 6th 1917. Honoring a military agreement with Britain on August 23rd 1914 Japan declared war on Germany. Responding to this event Austria-hungry declared war on Japan two days later. Italy, although allied to both Germany and Austria-hungry, was able to avoid entering into it by citing a clause enabling it to stay away from its obligations to both. Undersized, only in the event of defensive' war Italy was committed to defend Germany and Austria-hungry. However, arguing that their actions were offensive' she declared instead a policy of neutrality. She finally joined the conflict the following year, in May 1915. Such were the technicalities that brought the worlds major nations into the war at one time or another. It's clear from the summary above that the alliance system was much at responsibility as anything in bringing about the scale of the conflict. (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/1560/work99.htm, http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm) There were three men known as the "big three" that stood out at the Peace Conference at Paris in January 1919. They would always be remembered for all their decisions that they made that day. They were, President Woodrow Wilson (USA), Prime Minister of France Clemenceau, and Prime Minister of Britain Lloyd George. The decisions of the Big Three were influenced by five factors: Firstly, Secret Treaties: there were a series of agreements between allies that were being made for dividing up spoils while the war was being fought. France was promised Alsace-Lorraine, in March 1915. This would give them control of the left bank of the Rhine. Also Britain was allowed to take over German colonies in Africa and the Pacific. In April of the...
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