In week 10 and 11, we saw a documentary, the topic of discussion was World War 1, World War I (1914-1918) was finally over. This first global conflict had claimed from 9 million to 13 million lives and caused unprecedented damage. Germany had formally surrendered on November 11, 1918, and all nations had agreed to stop fighting while the terms of peace were negotiated. On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations (including Britain, France, Italy and Russia) signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war. (Versailles is a city in France, 10 miles outside of Paris.) The United States did not sign the treaty, however, because it objected to its terms, specifically, the high price that Germany was to pay for its role as aggressor. Instead, the U.S. negotiated its own settlement with Germany in 1921.
One of the long-term causes of the war was the resurgence of imperialism in the foreign policies of the great powers of Europe. More immediately, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on 28 June 1914 by Yugoslav nationalist Gavril Princip in Sarajevo triggered a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary subsequently delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
Events on the home fronts were as tumultuous as on the battle fronts, as the participants tried to mobilize their manpower and economic resources to fight a total war. By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost a great amount of territory, while the latter two were dismantled entirely. The map of central Europe was redrawn into several smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup of empires, the repercussions of Germany’s defeat and problems with the Treaty of Versailles are agreed to be factors contributing to World War II.