WW1 research

Research 1:

What is the historical context that led to WWI and how can they be organized into the themes of: militarism, alliances, imperialism, nationalism (MAIN)?

The factors that caused WW1 are diverse and complex. The 4 major factors that set the sage for the start of WW1 include militarism, alliances, imperialism and nationalism. And the spark the lit the fires of war was assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

Militarism: Is the desire for a country to have a strong military. This was a factor that started the war because Britain and Germany started spending lots of money on building up their navies. This all started after Britain defeated the Spanish armada. After Britain did this, they made the Navel Defence act 1889 which stated that they had to have a “2 power standard” regarding their navy. The 2 power standard meant that their navy had to be as strong as the second strongest navy and the third strongest navy combined. So in the event of the second strongest navy and third strongest navy teaming up, Britain would still win. Now when Germany was looking to gain more influence in trade and land they had to build up their navy more because most of the trade was controlled by the trade routes throughout the oceans. And because Britain had the 2 power standard policy this created competition between the 2 countries.

Alliances: Are associations or unions made for mutual benefits. These also played a big part in starting the war because when one country would go to war all of their allies would have to join in too. One of the first alliances that was made, The dual alliance, was between Germany and Austria-Hungary. This alliance was made because the Austrian-Hungarian peoples and the Germans were both Germanic peoples and therefore shared lots of similarities in culture. Later it became the triple alliance when they added in Italy. Then to gain support from Russia, Germany made a different treaty that was separate from the Triple alliance. This was called the reinsurance treaty and It gave Russia some influence with the Balkans and made a promise that each country would remain neutral if the other became involved in a war. But later this deal failed to get renewed because it conflicted with other German alliances. Because Germany’s alliances were getting too powerful, Britain, France and Russia made an alliance called the triple Entente in response to the triple alliance.

Imperialism: Is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force. This policy of Imperialism that Britain, France and Germany had, was yet another factor that led to WW1. In the 18th century Britain controlled territories in Canada, 13 colonies on the coast of North America and now controlled the Atlantic coast, India, and the Caribbean. Because Britain had all of this land and the largest navy after defeating the Spanish armada, they controlled most of the trade routes around the world. This made Germany feel restricted because they were rapidly growing and needed to use these trade routes to access East Asia and West India; “In short, we do not want to put anyone in our shadow, but we also demand our place in the sun. True to the tradition of German policy, we will make every effort to protect our rights and interests in East Asia and West India – without unnecessary harshness, but without weakness either.”-Bernhard von Bülow (1849-1929) gave his famous speech on Germany’s “place in the sun” when he was foreign minister. This speech shows that Germany wanted to expand to be able to trade with other countries so they could have their “place in the sun” which references to a British speech with was talking about how Britain controlled so many colonies across the globe that the sun was always shining in one of them. France also had Imperialistic thoughts during the war because they wanted to take one of their territories called Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany. Germany had gotten control over Alsace-Lorraine after France ceded it to them at the end of the Franco-German war in 1871.

Nationalism: Is an ideology that focuses on promoting the interests of a nation and gaining and maintaining control of the nation’s land. One group of people that had these nationalistic thoughts was the Bosnians. After Serbia gained their independence the Bosnians wanted to have their own country as well because they were a clearly distinct group from other Austria-Hungarians. Austria-Hungary did not like this Idea because the Bosnian land gave them a great access to the Mediterranean Sea and other trade routes.

What was the event that directly started the war?

The event that directly started the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. This happened when he was visiting Serbia and he was killed by a terrorist group in Serbia called the Black Hand. This group assassinated the Archduke because they wanted an Independent union of Bosnia and Serbia.


Political cartoon

Identify the countries:

A. Serbia
B. Austria-Hungary
C. Russia
D. Germany
E. France
F. Britain

Identify the theme and explain the history:

Circled in blue is the triple Entente plus Serbia and circled in yellow is triple alliance. First, Austria-Hungary is declaring war on Serbia because Serbia didn’t let Austria-Hungary do a private investigation on the assassination of Austria-Hungary’s archduke in Serbia. This was for obvious reasons because you don’t just give another country access to all of the information and files you have. Second, Russia starts mobilizing their forces to help Serbia because they do not have a chance to win the war they are in. Third, Germany joins the war because they are allied to Austria-Hungary. And last, Britain and France join the war because they are allied to Russia.

Serbia is depicted as a kid or a little person because their country isn’t very strong at all and they don’t stand a chance until the Entente stepped in.

France and Britain Attack Germany because they are in an alliance with Russia and they are rivals. Britain is rivalled with Germany through militarism (they competed in building up their navies) and through Imperialism (Germany wants more land/access to Asia and Britain is stopping them with their navy and colonized land). And France is rivalled with Germany because in a previous war Germany seized some of their land and now France wants it back.

Explain the sequence of events:
1. A terrorist group from Serbia kills Austria-Hungary’s Archduke and Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
2. Russia starts mobilizing troops to help Serbia
3. Germany joins the war because they are allied to Austria-Hungary
4. Britain and France join the war because they are allied to Russia.


I think this is from a British perspective because it is written in English and they kind of characterize the the cartoon as it wasn’t at all Britain’s fault and only Serbia and Austria-Hungary’s fault.
Serbia I think is depicted as a child because they aren’t that powerful a country at all.
I think this comic is a satire because it ridicules the chain of alliances by showing it as a chain of people threatening one another. An the “title chain of friendship” is ironic because the countries aren’t friends and just people allied for mutual benefit. Hence the saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Research 2:

To what extend did Canadians support the war (find primary evidence)?

Canada sent around 619,000 Canadian soldiers throughout the whole war because Britain forced them to help.

Search for “Canada WWI war propaganda”, what are the posters trying to make you do and how are they supposed to make you feel? Find some and share your favourites.

This poster wants you to buy victory bonds to help support the war. It makes you feel you need to do so by reminding you of the soldiers over seas that need our help.

This poster is trying to get you to donate to a family fund for wives that can’t support their family without their husband. It makes you feel like you should be doing something to help if you aren’t fighting in the war.


How did the war affect Canada’s development as a nation?
The production of weapons boosted the the economy and the fact Britain forced Canada into the war made more Canadians realize that Canada should have autonomy.

Research 3:

What was it like to fight on land, sea and in the air?

“Being a night bomber I did not have the opportunity to participate in any aerial combats-possibly if I had I wouldn’t be here today to tell it.”
Based on this quote I believe to fight in the air you wouldn’t live very long If you were battling with other airplanes. So there is a low life expectancy for pilots.

“We were co-operating with the Infantry in obliterating several very strong machine gun nests. The artillery had been hammering at them, but every time the infantry went to advance they were met with a stubborn resistance.”
Based on this quote it looks like it is very chaotic in the trenches with heavy machine-gun fire and artillery fire. It also looks like it was very hard to advance because of all of this fire.

“We ran into a 50 mile an hour gale and believe me the waves did pile up, 25 to 50 feet. Here are some of the different positions on deck in 2 minutes: [diagram in original letter].
Once both I and my deck chair shot suddenly for the railing and on the rail I was smashed very unceremoniously into my chair again. A Lt. Col. fell backwards in the smoke room and put his head through a panel in the wall, knocking him senseless. The dishes on the table danced the Highland fling
and one morning our waiter had to set the table 8 times in a half hour. Oh, it was some gale and the number of sick was large. I am quite satisfied with my record and think that I may yet make a good sailor.”
Based on this quote and the letter it is from It doesn’t look like there was much action in the seas and their main enemy was mother nature.

What are some important Canadian contributions to the war on land, sea and in the air?
For the war on land Canada contributed Arthur Currie who helped plan the success of the battle at Vimmy ridge and many other battles.
For the war in the air Canada contributed Roy Brown who shot down the red baron and Canada contributed many other ace pilots.
For the war on the sea Canada contributed by building up a patrol force of 36 ships. To help patrol and defend North American waters. Canadians also made up a substantial part of the ships’ companies of Canada’s cruisers and two submarines
acquired by the British Columbia government.

What are the common themes in the poems? What do they tell you about how soldiers felt about the war?
Common themes in these poems are how horrific war is. In the happy warrior poem it paints this grotesque scene of an injured warrior killing someone and in MCMXIV it talks about how because of the war everything is ruined and there will “Never such innocence again.”


One thought on “WW1 research

  1. You missed one of the questions about the WWI causes cartoon. But excellent description of the causes overall.
    Any primary evidence that shows support for the war?
    A lot the posters try to get Canadians to enlist and there’s a sense of guilt being created if you don’t.
    Canada’s participation in the war did make us think about our own autonomy. It also helped us gain notoriety on the world stage with the CEF and battles like Vimy and Passchendaele. Canadians were also brought together under one cause which we never really had on such a large scale beforehand.
    Excellent job with the conditions on land, sea and air and the use of primary evidence to support it.

    Well done. Keep this up and I’m confident your last project will raise your mark!

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