APWH: The Causes of World War I

Posted on March 31, 2020

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Everything that we’ve been discussing leading up to the start of this unit is a contributing cause of World War I. Nationalism led to a belief that individual countries’ cultures were superior to their neighbors’. To prove how much better they are, they had to build up their militaries – especially Germany – and they had to get as many overseas colonies as possible.

Add in a complicated alliance system, and it’s a recipe for war.

Germany, led by Kaiser Wilhelm II, was (as I like to describe him) *that kid* of Europe. Thanks to Queen Victoria’s large family marrying far and wide throughout European ruling houses, nearly every monarch was related to every other monarch. The trio of Wilhelm II, George V, and Nicholas II were the three cousins whose decisions leading up to the war shaped Europe’s future trajectory. Add in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s ham-fisted attempts to control rebels in the Balkans, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Everyone wanted to prove that they were better than everyone else – and it cost over 20 million lives and created untold damage – and laid the groundwork for the rise of Adolph Hitler.

Today, please view the following Crash Course videos:

When you are done (aka, tomorrow), please play one of the two listed WWI trench warfare games – or both! – and write a two paragraph reflection of your experience. What was difficult? What were some things that you noticed that you didn’t expect? What do you think the pros and cons of this system of fighting is? Finally, how do you feel it contributed to the high casualty totals at the battles?

Games (you may need to unblock Flash for them to work properly):