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Name: __________________________________________________ McKenna: World History II


World War I & The Russian Revolution
Directions: Read each section independently and answer the questions that follow. You will turn this in for classwork credit at the end of each class period. If you don’t finish the assigned section during class, you will be responsible for completing it for homework.

Essential Understanding

World War I (1914-1918) was caused by competition among industrial nations in Europe and a failure of diplomacy, or the ability to manage international relations. The war transformed European and American life, wrecked the economies of Europe, and planted the seeds for a second world war.

Militarism – A government’s desire to maintain a strong military and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote the country’s interests.
1. Describe militarism in your own words.

Alliances – An agreement or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests.
In a period of extreme tension, the great European powers made non-binding agreements, called alliances, to try to keep the peace. The Triple Alliance (later known as the Central Powers) was made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Russia, France, and Great Britain made up the Triple Entente (later known as the Allies).
2. Why did the European powers make alliances?

3. Use the chart below to list the members of each alliance.

Imperialism – One (stronger) country extending its control over a weaker country.
In the decades before 1914, economic competition led to tension and rivalries between European powers as they fought for new colonies in Africa and elsewhere. Industrialization created a need for resources and new trade markets, which led to imperialism.
4. How did imperialism cause tension between European nations?

5. How did industrialization lead to imperialism?

Nationalism – Excessive pride, loyalty, and devotion to a nation, often associated with a belief that one country is superior to all others.
Nationalism also caused tensions to grow. Ethnic and territorial conflicts caused a dangerous and volatile situation in the Balkan region of Southeast Europe, leading to it being nicknamed the “powder keg.” The crises in the Balkans between 1908 and 1913 made many European nations angry with one another and they were willing to go to war to preserve the power of their national states.
Then, on June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist while visiting Sarajevo. The Austro-Hungarian government didn’t know whether the Serbian government was involved, but it didn’t care; it saw this as an opportunity to crush Serbia.
Austrian leaders wanted to attack Serbia, but they feared that Serbia’s ally, Russia, would intervene to help Serbia. So, the Austrians asked their German allies for help. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany agreed to give Austria-Hungary his full support. With Germany’s support, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.
Soon, the network of alliances drew other great powers into the fight. Russia began to mobilize, or prepare its army to support Serbia. Germany then declared war on Russia. France said it would keep to its earlier treaty with Russia, so Germany declared war on France too. When Germany invaded Belgium to get to France, it ended Belgium’s neutrality, which caused Britain to declare war on Germany. World War I had begun.

  1. What region became known as the “powder keg”? Why did it earn this nickname?

  1. What event gave Austria-Hungary an excuse to attack Serbia (and thus SPARKED WWI)?

  2. Which country was Serbia’s ally?

  1. Which country was allied with Austria-Hungary?

  1. Who was the leader of Germany?

  1. What does mobilize mean?

  1. Why did Great Britain enter the war?

  1. Describe the political cartoon below. Which M.A.I.N. cause of WWI does this cartoon represent?


1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate

Germany hoped to win the war quickly and devised The Schlieffen Plan, which was based on the strategy of fighting a two-front war – fighting France on the Western Front and defeating them quickly and then turning to fight Russia on the Eastern Front. The plan called for German troops to make a wide arc through Belgium into northern France, at which point the army would sweep around Paris and surround most of the French army. However, the German advance was halted a short distance from Paris at the First Battle of the Marne (September 6-10).

14. Describe The Schlieffen Plan in detail:

  1. Was the Schlieffen Plan a success for Germany?

The Great War was the largest conflict in history up to that time. On the Western Front (the western border of Germany – between Germany and France), both France and Germany dug deep trenches on the battlefront to protect their armies from enemy fire. Trenches were ditches protected by barbed wire. Eventually, these trenches stretched from the English Channel to the border of Switzerland. The war quickly turned into a stalemate, or deadlock, that neither side could break. This system of trench warfare kept both sides in virtually the same positions for four years. Harsh characteristics of life in the trenches included: rats, lice, boredom, trench foot, and shell shock.

The war on the Eastern Front (the eastern border of Germany – between Germany and Russia) was fought much differently. There was a great deal of movement by the various armies on this front and the number of deaths was much higher than on the Western Front. Russia was not ready to fight a modern war. When pushing into East Germany, Russian armies were badly defeated. These defeats ended the Russian threat to Germany. Germany’s ally, Austria-Hungary, fared less well at first. The Austrians were defeated by the Russians in Galicia and were thrown out of Serbia. Then Italy, their other ally, betrayed the Central Powers by attacking Austria in May 1915. Italy joined France, Great Britain, and Russia. The success of the Central Powers in the east (against Russia) allowed them to focus their attention back on the Western Front (against France).

  1. Where was the Western Front of WWI?

  1. What type of warfare occurred on the Western Front? How long were the French and Germans in a stalemate because of this?

  1. What were some of the harsh conditions soldiers living in the trenches faced?

  1. Where was the Eastern Front of WWI?

  1. How did fighting on the Eastern Front differ from the war on the Western Front (identify two differences)?

  1. Who was more successful on the Eastern Front, Germany or Russia?

  1. What did Italy do in 1915?

New Technologies

New technology made WWI different from earlier wars. Modern weapons were able to kill more soldiers than ever before and modern machines transformed the way that war was fought.



Rapid-fire machine guns

Waves of soldiers were mowed down

Long-range artillery guns

Flying debris killed or wounded many

Poison Gas

Blinding and choking caused many fatalities


Moved above and through trenches past enemy fire


Large gas-filled balloons that were used to bomb the English coast


Used to observe enemy movements and to fight other planes in the sky; took war to the air

U-Boats (Submarines)

Sank ships carrying vital supplies; took war to the sea

  1. How did technology make WWI different from earlier wars?

  1. What two functions did airplanes serve in battle?

  1. What were u-boats? What were u-boats used for?

A Global Conflict

Although most of the fighting took place in Europe, WWI was a global conflict. Japan used the war to seize German outposts in China and islands in the Pacific. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers and created a third front to the war: the Balkan Front. The Ottoman Empire’s strategic location along the Mediterranean Sea (spanning three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia) enabled it to cut off Allied supplies to Russia. European colonies in Africa and Asia were also drawn into the war. Many native people in the colonies decided to voluntarily join the war effort, hoping that commitment to their mother country might lead to independence.

26. What did Japan do during WWI?

27. What was the third front of WWI?

28. How did the Ottoman Empire’s location benefit the Central Powers?

29. Why did Africans and Asians in European colonies agree to join the war?

All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque was a German soldier during WWI and left the war after being badly wounded. Ten years after the war ended, he published an antiwar novel titled, All Quiet on the Western Front about the realistic yet rarely discussed experiences of ordinary German soldiers during the war. People were drawn to his story because other war novels weren’t as realistic; they often romanticized ideals such as glory, adventure, and honor instead of discussing the harsh conditions and long-term physical and emotional effects of war. In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany banned Remarque’s book and held a bonfire to burn copies of the book.

  1. Who was Erich Remarque?

  1. What was All Quiet on the Western Front about?

  1. Why were people drawn to the book?

  1. What happened to the book when Hitler and the Nazi party came to power in Germany in 1933?

Entry of the United States

At first, the United States tried to remain neutral, meaning that it didn’t want to help or support either side in the conflict. United States President, Woodrow Wilson, believed that there was no reason for the United States to get involved in European affairs. However, as the war dragged on, this became increasingly difficult. The United States finally entered the war for three main reasons:

Reason #1: Germany’s use of unrestricted submarine warfare – naval warfare focused on attacking both military ships and merchant ships.

Reason #2: The sinking of the Lusitania, a civilian passenger liner that was sunk by a German submarine with 28 Americans on board.

Reason #3: The Zimmerman Telegram – In early 1917, the British intercepted a message from the German foreign minister, Arthur Zimmerman, to his ambassador in Mexico proposing that Germany would help Mexico “reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona” in return for Mexican support against the United States should the U.S. enter the war.

After much consideration and with the support of U.S. citizens, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany in April of 1917. “We have no selfish ends to serve,” he stated. Instead, he painted the conflict idealistically as a war “to make the world safe for democracy” and later as a “war to end all wars.” The U.S. entered the war on the side of the Allies and by 1918, large numbers of American troops had arrived in Europe. The entry of the United States in the war boosted the Allies psychologically and gave them a new source of money, supplies, and soldiers.

  1. What does neutral mean?

  1. Who was the President of the United States during WWI?

  1. Identify the three things that motivated the United States to enter WWI.




  1. What is unrestricted submarine warfare? Who used this strategy during WWI?

  1. What was the significance of the sinking of the Lusitania?

  1. What were the contents of the Zimmerman telegram?

  1. By entering the war, President Wilson hoped that it would be a “war to ____________________________________________.”

  1. What was the result of U.S. entry in the war?

42. Explain this political cartoon.


The Last Year of the War

The year 1917 had been a very difficult year for the Allied forces: Russia left the war to fight a revolution at home and the Allied offensives on the Western Front had been defeated (in 1917, Germany was winning). However, the entry of the United States into the war gave the Allies a much-needed psychological boost and by March of 1918, the Allies were strong enough to drive back the German forces. On September 29, 1918, German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II was informed that the war was lost; however, the Kaiser wouldn’t surrender. After a mutiny, or rebellion, led by the German people, the Kaiser was forced to leave Germany. The new government signed an armistice, or a truce/agreement to end the fighting in a war, on November 11, 1918 and WWI came to an end.

  1. Why did Russia leave the war?

  1. Why did the German people mutiny and force Kaiser Wilhelm II to leave Germany?

  1. What brought WWI to an end?

The Peace Settlements

Prior to the end of the war, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had already drafted a peace settlement, known as the Fourteen Points, which were his terms for resolving this and future wars. He pushed for a “League of Nations” that would use collective security to preserve peace and would guarantee independence for large and small nations alike.

In January 1919, representatives of 27 victorious Allied nations met at the Paris Peace Conference to make a final settlement of the war. President Wilson of the U.S., Premier Clemenceau of France, and Prime Minister Lloyd George of Great Britain made up the “Big Three” and were responsible for the most important decisions. Germany wasn’t invited to attend and Russia couldn’t be present because of its civil war.
In addition to accepting Wilson’s idea of a League of Nations, Clemenceau had additional requests that he wanted included in the agreement. Geographically close to Germany, Clemenceau was mainly concerned about France’s security. Clemenceau wanted Germany to be stripped of all weapons. He also wanted German reparations, or payments to cover the costs of the war, and a separate Rhineland as a buffer zone between France and Germany.
Unfortunately, the League of Nations would prove to be weak for two main reasons: it had no policing powers and the U.S. Congress refused to join. Many U.S. government officials feared that the League of Nations would force U.S. involvement in future European conflicts.

  1. What were President Wilson’s Fourteen Points?

  1. What did Wilson want to create to keep peace?

  1. What countries did not participate at the Paris Peace Conference?

  1. What three things did France’s Clemenceau want included in the agreement?




  1. Why would the League of Nations end up being weak (identify the two reasons)?

  1. Why didn’t the U.S. government want to join the League of Nations?

51. Explain this political cartoon.

52. Explain this political cartoon.

The Treaty of Versailles

The final peace settlement consisted of five separate treaties with the defeated nations – Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The most important treaty was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. It was signed on June 28, 1919 and required the following:

  1. War Guilt Clause: Germany had to accept responsibility for starting the war

  2. Reparations Clause: Germany had to pay money for the damages done to the Allied nations

  3. Disarmament Clause: Germany had to reduce the size of its army and navy and completely eliminate its air force

  4. Territorial Clauses: Germany had to return Alsace and Lorraine to France, give up parts of eastern Germany to create a new Polish state, and give up land in western Germany (on the French border) to create a demilitarized buffer zone

The Germans signed the Treaty of Versailles because they had no other choice; however, German resentment of the hated treaty would last for 20 years. The results of WWI in Germany were severe. The German people were upset about the Treaty of Versailles and thought that it was too harsh. Post-war economic difficulties left many German people without jobs, food prices were high, and Germany couldn’t afford to pay reparations. Eventually, the German people would become so dissatisfied with their government that they would vote into power a man who promised to rip up the Treaty… his name was Adolph Hitler. The seeds of WWII were sown at the Paris Peace Conference.

As a result of the war and the peace treaties, the map of Europe was redrawn. Germany and Russia lost a lot of territory; the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires were broken up; and new nations emerged, including Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary.

As mentioned, the Ottoman Empire was broken up by the peace settlement. To gain Arab support during the war, the Allies had promised to recognize the independence of Arab states in the Ottoman Empire after the war. However, the Europeans broke their promise: France took control of Lebanon and Syria and Great Britain took control of Iraq and Palestine. These arrangements were called mandates. Under the mandate system, a nation officially governed another nation as a mandate on behalf of the League of Nations but did not own the territory. The purpose of the mandate system was to prepare territories for future independence.
WWI had global and long-lasting effects, which included:

  • Great loss of life

  • Economic problems (raising money to cover war debts and to rebuild homes and infrastructure would lead to serious economic distress in Europe and beyond)

  • End of old empires

  • Creation of new nations (increased insecurity)

  • Participation of colonies in the war led to increased demands for independence

  1. Who was blamed for World War I?

  1. What were the terms of the Treaty of Versailles? Identify and explain at least three of the four main terms.




55. Explain this political cartoon.

  1. Explain how the ‘seeds of WWII were sown’ at the Paris Peace Conference:

  1. What three empires were broken up as a result of the peace treaties?

  1. What new countries emerged as a result of the war and the peace settlement?

  1. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the mandate system, what two countries did France take control of? Great Britain?

Great Britain:

  1. What was the purpose of the mandate system?

  1. Identify two of the long-lasting effects of WWI.

Main Idea: Russia entered World War I as an absolute monarchy with a great divide between classes. The grievances of workers and peasants were not resolved by the Czar. This led to revolution…
Review: Causes of Revolutions

Social Injustice Enlightenment Ideas Nationalism

Religious Intolerance Unpopular Method of Rule Economic Distress
Causes of the Russian Revolution:

  • Prior to WWI, Russia faced a humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War

62. What cause(s) of revolutions is this an example of?

  • Russia was not prepared for war: during WWI, Russia suffered a lot of military losses (battles) and loss of life

63. What cause(s) of revolutions is this an example of?

  • The reigning Czar of Russia was Nicholas II, who was seen as an incompetent ruler; with food and fuel shortages causing distress in Russia, the Czar could not help

64. What cause(s) of revolutions is this an example of?

  • During WWI, Russia was still a feudal society, meaning that peasants worked on the land of wealthy aristocrats and didn’t have the means or the ability to own their own land

65. What cause(s) of revolutions is this an example of?

Background and Revolution

Russia was not prepared for WWI for many reasons. However, the biggest problems were that Czar Nicholas II and many top military leaders had no training or ability to lead an army (incompetent leadership) and Russian industry was not able to produce the weapons needed for the army (lack of industry). It is said that many officers told their unarmed troops to pick up weapons from dead Allied forces to use in battle.

In addition to military difficulties, the Russian people were also suffering. Food shortages caused by the war led the government to ration bread. Women, who were working 12 hour shifts in the factories, were now forced to wait in long lines to get bread to feed their children.

With poor leadership and widespread military and economic problems, the Russian people demanded change. With no support, Czar Nicholas II stepped down and a provisional government was put in place. However, the provisional government also faced challenges to its authority – the Bolsheviks, a soviet Socialist council of workers and soldiers who favored communism.

Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks and told the people of Russia what they wanted to hear: they promised to get Russia out of the war (peace), to give land to the peasants (land), and to shift control of the economy to the workers so that there wouldn’t be food shortages (bread). With general support from the people, the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government in November of 1917. This is known as the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Bolsheviks changed their name to the Communists. Now that they were in power, they faced the difficult task of removing Russia from WWI (remember: the Russian people wanted Russia to withdrawal from the war). In order to do this, Russia would have to give up a lot of its territory to the Central Powers. In March of 1918, Lenin signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which gave the Central Powers land in eastern Poland, Ukraine, Finland, and the Baltic provinces. Even with this treaty, real peace did not come as Russia quickly sank into civil war.
66. Identify the two reasons that Russia wasn’t prepared for WWI.

67. The poor leadership and widespread military and economic problems (for example, bread shortages) faced by the Russian people are VERY SIMILAR to the problems faced by another country we learned about. Which country had similar problems that eventually led to revolution?

68. Who were the Bolsheviks? Who was the leader of the Bolsheviks?

69. What three things did the Bolsheviks promise the Russian people?

70. What did the Bolsheviks change their name to?

71. Why did Lenin sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers?

Civil War in Russia

Many people, including groups loyal to the Czar and the Allies, disapproved of the new Communist government. When civil war broke out between the Communist (Red) Army and the Anti-Communist (White) forces, the well-disciplined, unified Red Army gained control of Russia and defeated the White Army, despite the support the Allies provided to the White Army. The royal family was a victim of the civil war. On July 16, 1918, members of the local soviet in Ekaterinburg murdered Nicholas II and his family.

In 1922, under Communist control, the country’s name was changed from Russia to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR.

Lenin’s death in 1924 set off a power struggle between two men: Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. In the end, Stalin was successful at acquiring power and quickly began to use ruthless measures to move himself into a dictatorial position.
In sum, Russia entered World War I as an absolute monarchy under Czar Nicholas II, but a demand for change led to revolution and ultimately the RISE OF COMMUNISM!!!
72. What two groups disapproved of the new Communist government?

73. The Russian Civil War was fought between what two groups?

74. Who won the civil war?

75. What happened to the royal family?

76. Who acquired power after Lenin’s death?

77. What type of political system was in place in Russia before WWI?

78. What type of political system was established after the Russian Revolution?

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