World War 1

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Before World War I, many European nations grew their military powers and produced new military technology dramatically as a result of direct competition over potential colonies. Countries such as Germany and Britain engaged in a race to produce the most powerful armies through invention and mass production of weapons. This arms race is often cited as a leading cause for World War I.

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  • Who Were the Allied Powers in World War I?

    Q: Who Were the Allied Powers in World War I?

    A: The Allied powers in World War I included Great Britain, France, the United States and Italy. The Allies included 25 nations in all.
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  • How Many People Died in World War I?

    Q: How Many People Died in World War I?

    A: Although there is some debate about the true number of World War I casualties, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that a total of 5,142,631 souls perished during the war. Russia lost the highest number of people, with 1.7 million people or 76.3 percent of its armed forces killed, while 116,516 American lives were lost.
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  • Why Did Great Britain Get Involved in World War I?

    Q: Why Did Great Britain Get Involved in World War I?

    A: When Britain entered World War I, it was primarily in reaction to Germany invading Belgium. Britain promised to defend Belgium in perpetuity under the Treaty of London, which it entered into in 1839. A secondary reason the country joined the war was too ensure that no European country became significantly larger or more powerful than the others.
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  • What Is the Definition of the Alliance System?

    Q: What Is the Definition of the Alliance System?

    A: The definition of an alliance system is a formal agreement or treaty between two or more nations to cooperate for specific purposes. An alliance system can also be defined as an agreement between individuals, families or corporations. However, the term alliance system is most often used in reference to a historical event when an agreement was reached to prevent the outbreak of war or to define territorial borders.
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  • Did the United States Want to Remain Neutral in WWI?

    Q: Did the United States Want to Remain Neutral in WWI?

    A: The United States wanted to remain neutral during WWI because it was not a signatory to the international agreements that had drawn other nations into the conflict. Disagreements occurred over who started the war.
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  • What Was the Arms Race During WW1?

    Q: What Was the Arms Race During WW1?

    A: Before World War I, many European nations grew their military powers and produced new military technology dramatically as a result of direct competition over potential colonies. Countries such as Germany and Britain engaged in a race to produce the most powerful armies through invention and mass production of weapons. This arms race is often cited as a leading cause for World War I.
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  • Why Did the United States Reject the Treaty of Versailles?

    Q: Why Did the United States Reject the Treaty of Versailles?

    A: The United States rejected the Treaty of Versailles due to the opposition of a group of senators called the Irreconcilables, who believed that under the terms of the treaty, the United States would lose too much of its autonomy to the League of Nations. All of the Irreconcilables were enemies of President Woodrow Wilson, who originally advocated for the League of Nations and helped compose the details of the treaty.
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  • Who Won World War I?

    Q: Who Won World War I?

    A: The Allies won World War I. The primary members of the Allies were the British Empire, France, Italy (after 1915) and the Russian Empire, although Russia pulled out before the end of the war. Japan, Greece, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and several other nations contributed to the Allied cause. The United States fought alongside Allied troops but never formally entered the alliance.
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  • Why Were the Balkans Considered a Powder Keg?

    Q: Why Were the Balkans Considered a Powder Keg?

    A: The Western Balkans were a source of ethnic tensions primarily due to the fact that Yugoslavia was formed as a federation of distinct ethnic groups. Once the Soviet central leadership failed in Yugoslavia, many of the individual groups within the country saw no reason to remain federated.
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  • What Was the Convoy System in World War I?

    Q: What Was the Convoy System in World War I?

    A: The convoy system in World War I involved organizing ships into large groups under the protection of armed naval vessels to provide better defense and countermeasures against German U-boat attacks. The ships protected were usually civilian merchant vessels, military supply ships and troop transports. Warships, such as destroyers, cruisers and torpedo boats, were used for convoy protection. They also sometimes deployed aerial reconnaissance to spot potential underwater U-boat movement.
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  • What Caused the U.S. Entry Into WWI?

    Q: What Caused the U.S. Entry Into WWI?

    A: On April 6, 1917, the United States officially declared war against Germany after the country repeatedly attacked armed and unarmed vessels traveling to Britain, resulting in American casualties. In 1915, Germany had enacted a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare against any ships that entered the British war zone. President Woodrow Wilson maintained neutrality until Germany ignored an agreement to ensure passenger safety before destroying enemy ships.
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  • How Did World War I Lead to World War II?

    Q: How Did World War I Lead to World War II?

    A: The terms on which World War I ended set the stage for World War II, which began just 20 years later, by negatively impacting the belligerent countries politically, economically and socially. The Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended World War I in 1919, was an instrument of vengeance against the Central Powers, and dissatisfaction over its terms left the defeated nations vulnerable to extremist movements promising revenge.
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  • Why Was WWI Called the "war to End All Wars"?

    Q: Why Was WWI Called the "war to End All Wars"?

    A: After it was over, World War I was called "the war to end all wars" because it was so destructive that the nations of the world wanted to prevent such slaughter from ever happening again. This prompted prolonged negotiations over proposed solutions like the League of Nations. Unfortunately, rather than end war, the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 set the stage for World War II.
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  • How Did the Treaty of Versailles Change the World Map?

    Q: How Did the Treaty of Versailles Change the World Map?

    A: The Treaty of Versailles radically reorganized the map of Europe, to the detriment of the German Empire, and restructured many of Germany's former overseas colonies. In every case, Central Power nations lost territory, and Allied nations gained territory, although some colonies were transferred to international control, and a number of European countries became independent.
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  • How Was Poison Gas Used in World War I?

    Q: How Was Poison Gas Used in World War I?

    A: During WWI, poison gas was used as a type of chemical warfare to attack large armies. The gas was delivered either by using the wind to carry the poisonous gas to the enemy's front line or by placing the gas into artillery and aerial bombs and firing them at the enemy's front lines.
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  • Q: Why Did the United States Enter the First World War?

    A: The United States entered World War I in 1917 because of the attacks that were occurring on American ships by German submarines. Additionally, Americans were enraged that Germany sought an alliance with Mexico.
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  • Q: What Were Zeppelins Used for in World War I?

    A: Zeppelins were primarily used for bombing runs during World War I. Though they had mixed results at this task, they were also effective in intimidating enemy forces and in transporting men and munitions.
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  • Q: What Are the Fourteen Points?

    A: The Fourteen Points was President Woodrow Wilson's plan for peace in Europe. Wilson announced the plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 8, 1917. The plan involved the Allied nations setting unselfish peace terms with the Central Powers and forming an association of nations that would eventually be known as the League of Nations with the goal of ensuring a future without world wars.
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  • Q: What Was "peace Without Victory" in American History?

    A: "Peace without victory" refers to Woodrow Wilson's attempts to advocate for a peaceful solution to World War I. Wilson made the speech in January of 1917, but his appeal was not heeded, and the United States declared war against Germany only two short months later.
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  • Who Rejected Wilson's Fourteen Points Plan?

    Q: Who Rejected Wilson's Fourteen Points Plan?

    A: Leaders such as David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Vittorio Orlando of Italy and Georges Clemenceau of France rejected Wilson's Fourteen Points plan. These leaders were skeptical of Wilson's idealism.
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  • Q: What Countries Made up the Central Powers?

    A: The Central Powers in World War I consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. They were so-called because the four countries lay between Russia in the east and the United Kingdom and France in the west. The Central Powers were also called the Quadruple Alliance, although Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire did not join until after the beginning of World War I.
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