- The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
- The New technologies in the Great War
- The Russian Revolution
- Russia’s withdrawal in the Great War
- The provisional government of Russia
- What was the significance of Lenin and Trotsky?
- Creation of the Soviet Union
- The Paris Peace Conference of 1919
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The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of Archduke Franz is what sparked the Great War into motion. The Serbians wanted to take possession of the Austria-Hungary’s South Slav provinces so they orchestrated the assassination of the Archduke. They were not content with the territory or size of the country and were looking for a way of expansion.
The Austria- Hungary government issued an ultimatum to Serbia to prosecute the murderers. It declared war on Serbia. Russia came strongly to Serbia’s defense. Germany was quick to declare war on Russia in support of Austria-Hungary. France and Britain in turn declared war on Germany leading to the Great war that lasted in 1914-1918.
The New technologies in the Great War
The technology in the World War 1 was better than any other time in history. The weapons used in World War 1 included the hand grenades that were introduced by the British during the war. The Germans used the rifle grenades in the trenches. They were used to attack soldiers from a greater distance than the hand grenades. The different countries also introduced poison gas. The effects on the soldiers were deadly. The gun ammunition used in the Great war was more sophisticated and dangerous.
The soldiers’ lungs were destroyed by the gas. There was also innovative use of weapons such as the submarines and the war planes. The effect on the civilians and the soldiers was great. Many countries lost thousands of soldiers within days. Many civilians also lost their lives. At the end of the war, countries in Europe were devastated as they assessed the number of lives lost and the people who were maimed for life. The impact of the sophisticated weapons on the infrastructure was also devastating.
The Russian Revolution
The Russian people grew tired and angry at the Tsar government for several reasons, First of all, the Russian army was highly weakened by the war and many soldiers died. The dead soldiers were over 200,000. These men came from the farms causing food shortages. Trains were being used in the war so limited transport to the cities. There was high inflation and famine in the cities. The government had increased inflation by printing millions of the country’s currency in order to finance the war.
There were riots and strikes concerning the economic crisis which made the Tsar flee the city. The imperial government took over and formed the Russian provisional government. The Tsar was seen unfit to rule, and in his absence he had left his wife who was incompetent to rule. She was also regarded suspiciously as she was of German origin.
Russia’s withdrawal in the Great War
When the Russian government withdrew from the Great War, the German decided to concentrate its military efforts on fighting the French and the British. The Allied countries now had to be united like never before to prevent Germany from gaining more territories.
The turn of events caused the United States of America, which had initially declared a neutral stand in the Great War to participate in the war on the side of the Allied powers. With the increased reinforcements, the Allied powers were able to defeat Germany and reinstate peace in Europe. The territories that had been captured were released in order to function as sovereign states. The withdrawal of Russia is significant as it ultimately led to the defeat of Germany.
The provisional government of Russia
Despite Russia’s weak army and great losses, the provincial government of Russia still led the Russian army to continue participating in the Great War. The government took the foreign policy to take action against Germany in the war in support of the agreements it had with France and Britain.
These were agreements that the ousted Tsar government had entered into when it was in power (Smith, 1956, p 469). There was enormous power from Britain and France to continue participating in the war and the provisional government complied with their demands.
What was the significance of Lenin and Trotsky?
Lenin was the leader in the Russian Bolveshiks government who wanted Russia to withdraw from the war. He led the country to sign a peace treaty with Germany known as the treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Chamberlin, 1935, p 197). It signaled the final withdrawal of Russia from the war. Germany though did honor the treaty and attacked the country.
Trotsky was a part of the Bolveshik government. He supported the peace negotiations but was suspicious and way of the Germans. He found the treaty that Germany wanted Russia to sign as negating the past successes of Russia in terms of territory accumulation. He therefore wanted the treaty not to be signed however Lenin led the country to sign the treaty.
Creation of the Soviet Union
The Creation of the Soviet Union had an impact on the west after the Second World War 2 in what is known as the Cold War. This was a period marked by high political tension and economic competition between the world’s two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. The Cold war was not a physical war like the World War 1 and 2 however it was marked with a lot of propaganda, military coalitions and espionage. Both countries tried to get the neutral countries to support them.
Both countries did not give financial aid to the countries that supported the other side. The USSR supported communist countries in Latin America and Asia such as Cuba. The US and the Soviet Union were operating on different political and market systems that is capitalism and communism.
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The US explained its actions as necessary for the containment of communism which was deemed as a dangerous system that should not spread throughout Europe and America. The Cold war ended with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. US was now the only superpower in the world.
The Paris Peace Conference of 1919
The Paris conference led to a number of decisions made by the three super powers, Britain, U.S and Italy. There was a peace treaty that was signed by all the countries. Germany, Austria and Hungary were found guilty of the Great War and were fined heavily. This was found in the Guilt clause that was in the treaty of Versailles, Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the Treaty of Trianon respectively. Germany also faced various number of restrictions.
The military was greatly reduced and they had to give up control of their colonies. Additionally the land that they had gotten by warfare was returned to their previous owners. The conference also led to the formation of the league of nation that was to help the countries maintain peace and prevent further wars from taking place. The organization would assist in the arbitration of international disputes.
Chamberlin, W. (1935). The Russian Revolution: 1917-1921. New York: Macmillan Company.
Smith, C. (1956), The Russian Struggle for Power, 1914-1917; a Study of Russian Foreign Policy During the First World War .New York: Philosophical Library.