Europe has always been divided, because some countries dimply hated each other. There had been several conflicts before 1914 which had caused Europe to split up between the Triple Alliance ( Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) and the Triple Entente (Britain, Russia and France). When Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated by the Serbian Nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on the 28th of June 1914 a direct cause for war was given. Europe was soon at war. In 1914 things were different, people were excited by the idea of war- they wanted to show how powerful their country was.The Germans were the first to declare war, they wanted to use ‘The Schlieffen Plan’ to launch a surprise attack on France through Belgium. The invasion of Belgium caused nothing but Britain declaring war to Germany. All the major powers in Europe were now at war.
The British army didn’t have a big army (unlike German) so they made pamphlets for men to join the army, a lot of men had volunteered to fight. Britain didn’t have the money to train and cloth all new recruits, so many men went to war without the right equipment. The experience of war was not what the young men in the army had signed up for. They had to fight in the trenches that ran in zigzag lines from the North Sea to Switzerland - a horrible experience. It was deadly. The worst place to be killed was in No Man’s Land (the area between the trenches of both sides). The worst thing was that the war lasted longer than anyone had expected. Propaganda was used to promote the war, encourage the troops and persuade men to join the army. Often in propaganda the enemy was made to be seen really bad. The problems of the war were not being told in propaganda, they tried to minimize it and to tell only the good things about the war. It was designed to mislead people.
In 1918, large numbers of American troops helped the Allies on the Western Front (in the Trenches) to drive the Germans back. At 11 A.M. on the 11th of November 1918 the Fighting stopped. Now they had to negotiate the peace treaty. The German Government expected that the treaty would be based on a peace treaty announced by the president of the US- Woodrow Wilson. They were wrong. The German had Allies governments did not negotiate together to draw up the peace treaty that ended the first world war. The Allied governments (not including Germany) drew up the peace treaty themselves and insisted that the Germans accept it. (the treaty of Versailles).
The main things objected in the treaty were:
- The Diktat
- War guilt and reparations
- The loss of territory
One of the main aims of the peace treaties that ended the First World War was to set up an international organisation to prevent further wars. This League of Nations, as it was called, was set up by a Covenant, which was written into the peace treaties. The Covenant included the rules for the League and a statement of its aims. The aims were to prevent further wars and to help to solve economic and social problems. The League had 18 members when it first met in 1820. Many countries did not join, some of the most powerful countries were not allowed to join or did not join. The first members were the countries that had signed the peace treaties at the end of the war, plus other countries that were invited to join. Russia, The USA and Germany did not join- which were the major world powers!
The decisions of The League were made by its General Assembly and its council. Each member was represented in the General Assembly, which met at least once a year.The League’s aims mostly did work well, the only aim that didn’t really work out was the aim of stopping further wars. During the 1920s, the League managed to stop some fighting between smaller countries, but in the 1930s, it was increasingly ignored.A British plan was accepted to promote international co-operation and achieve international peace and security. The League did not prevent a second world war within 20 years