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A 3 Pages Term Paper on WORLD WAR


Last century may have started on January 1st 1901 but it didn't really hit its stride until the First World War (1914-1918) when the industrialized slaughter of millions of people was perfected. We're still trying to make sense of it. The Great War is often seen as some kind of threshold, a loss of innocence. Before it there was certitude, progress and order. After it there is cynicism, revolution and turmoil. We have the misfortune to live in interesting times characterized by war, despotism and genocide. (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4046)

Causes of World War1

      World War I was the result of leaders' aggression towards other countries which was supported by the rising nationalism of the European nations. Economic and imperial competition and fear of war prompted military alliances and an arms race, which further escalated the tension contributing to the outbreak of war.      

      World War I was caused in part by the two opposing alliances developed by Bismarckian diplomacy after the Franco-Prussian War. In order to diplomatically isolate France, Bismarck formed the Three Emperor's League in 1872, an alliance between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. When the French occupied Tunisia, Bismarck took advantage of Italian resentment towards France and created the Triple Alliance between Germany, Italy and Austria- Hungary in 1882. In exchange for Italy's agreement to stay neutral if war broke out between Austria-Hungary and Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary would protect Italy from France. Russia and Austria-Hungary grew suspicious of each other over conflicts in the Balkans in 1887, but Bismarck repaired the damage to his alliances with a Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, allowing both powers to stay neutral if the other was at war.

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     Collapse of Bismarckian Alliances However, after Bismarck was fired by Kaiser William II in 1890, the traditional dislike of Slavs kept Bismarck's successors from renewing the understanding with Russia. France took advantage of this opportunity to get an ally, and the Franco-Russian Entente was formed in 1891, which became a formal alliance in 1894. The Kruger telegram William II sent to congratulate the leader of the Boers for defeating the British in1896, his instructions to the German soldiers to behave like Huns in China during the Boxer Rebellion, and particularly the large- scale navy he was building all contributed to British distrust of Germany.
      As a result, Britain and France overlooked all major imperialistic conflict between them and formed the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Russia formed an Entente with Britain in 1907 after they had reached an understanding with Britain's ally Japan and William II had further alienated Russia by supporting Austrian ambitions in the Balkans. The Triple Entente, an informal coalition between Great Britain, France and Russia, now countered the Triple Alliance. International tension was greatly increased by the division of Europe into two armed camps.

     President Woodrow Wilson really wanted to bring "peace   without victory," and end the war. In 1916 he began his  negotiation attempts. But then Germany announced  unrestricted warfare. It calculated to defeat Britain this way in six months. The U.S. didn't like this violation of their neutrality, and Wilson stopped his peacemaking efforts. In April, the U.S. declared war on Germany.

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      On November 9, 1918 Kaiser William II abdicated and the representatives of the new German Govt: signed an armistice. On Nov: 11, 1918 the war officially ended.

The American Revolution

Into the 1700's, many of the Protestant American colonists were ready to take a stand against Catholics and Anglicans. "To many eighteenth-century Britons and British colonials, Roman Catholicism was a Pope-led conspiracy on behalf of idolatrous religion and aristocratic, tyrannical government. Its ambitions were an automatic threat to the rights and freedoms of Englishmen. Protestantism and liberty went together and had since the Reformation….The foremost chronicler of conspiracy-mindedness in American politics, Richard Hofstadter, has profiled colonial anti-Catholicism--fear of every imaginable Popish plot--as an early example of the paranoid style."

Boston, the epicenter of colonial ship trade, and the center of American smuggling, was particularly on edge. The Liberty, a large merchant vessel owned by John Hancock, was seized in 1768. Riots followed the seizure, and when customs officials demanded help, General Thomas Gage, the British commander in North America, ordered troops to Boston to cope with the insurrection.

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      Historians Caroline Robbins, in the 18th Century Commonwealth, and Bernard Bailyn, in The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, both affirm that colonists were starting to see the troops as part of a larger plot by Anglicans against colonial liberties.

     One American historian concluded that "religious strife...furnished the mountain of combustible material for the great conflagration...while the dispute over...taxes and regulations acted merely as the matches of ignition."  (Phillips 92)

     Author Carl Bridenbaugh has written even more emphatically on the revolution thrust of the great fear of the Episcopacy: "The agitation over an American episcopate reached its peak by 1770, and the (American) public ad grown almost frenzied in the course of it."

Another historian, Perry Miller, concluded:

"What aroused Christian patriotism that needed staying power was a realization of the vengeance God denounced against the wicked; what fed their hopes was not what God promised as a recompense to virtue, but what dreary fortunes would overwhelm those who persisted in sloth; what kept them (the patriots) going was an assurance that by exerting themselves they wee fighting for a victory thus providentially predestined." (Phillips 97) Congregational ministers in New England were delivering more than two thousand sermons and discourses a week making religion and the divine destiny of American inextricable. The American Revolutionary War thus became an extension of the English Civil War.

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     In Radicalism of the American Revolution, Professor Gordon S. Wood has put forward a novel conception concerning the American Revolution, from a perspective on the relationship between the “Republican Ideology” and the drastic social changes. It was the Republicanism that led American colonial people overthrew the Monarchy social orders inherited from the mother country. Contrary to the Society those republican elites pre-contrived, the 1776 Revolution liberated the people’s energy which founded the Democracy in America, and this process is the true radicalism of American Revolution. The author set up a grand history construction and renovated those previous historical dogmas, however, its shortcomings and weaknesses began to show during the academic communications and discussions.


Gordon S. Wood, the Radicalism of the American Revolution, pp. 332, 333

Philip Davidson, Propaganda and the American Revolution, 1763-1783, (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1941) pp.205, 206.


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