Imperialism And World War I 1st Period

Imperialism/World War I Key Terms

Berlin Conference - Organized by Bismarck in 1884, the Berlin Conference sought to avoid War in Europe. It set up set rules and guidelines for the annexation of new territory, which was something extremely needed because of Imperialism in Africa. Bismarck practically served like a referee in a heated match between rivals. One major important feat of the Conference was that all nations agreed on having all access for doing business (free trade) in Africa. - Ellie Sheild

Like Ellie said, the Berlin Conference (1884) was organized by Bismarck in efforts to avoid European nations going to war over territory in Africa. The conference established ground rules for annexing territory and a system of free trade on the continent. However, it is important to note that no African nations were invited to the conference. Also, it is interesting that Bismarck—who had been preparing his nation for war by increasing military spending and organizing alliances like the Three Emperors’ League—was so concerned with avoiding war. (Meaghan Shimota)

Boer War - The Boer War lasted from 1899-1902 and was chiefly responsible later for the establishment of the Apartheid. It was fought between 400,000 British troops and the Dutch who had holdings over two republics. The British seized civilians who could potentially be detrimental to their war efforts and locked them up in concentration camps. Despite these internment camps being not nearly as horrific as say Hitler's, it nonetheless was a devastating blow to basic human rights. The War ended with a signed armistice and the set up of two states, but the British still dominated the politics and economics. Importantly, this war could serve has a major turning point in people's mindset on the negative aspects of imperialism b/c for the British, it was purely an economic motive. - Ellie Sheild

Additionally, the war made Germany question the strength of British power, which although seemingly unimportant, gives us some insight into their mentality: “if Britain cannot not keep a tight grip on their colonies, how can they defeat us?” —-TB

This war also exposed a tactless blunder made by Wilhelm, when he sent a tasteless telegram to the Boers after a victory against the British, congratulating them. This was idiotic of Wilhelm, and though it wasn't actual aggression, was characteristic of the blind militarism that Germany had preceding the war. Matt Borin

British raj- The British Raj was the British rule in India from 1858-1947. During this time the British Queen was named Empress of India. Before this Great Britain had indirectly ruled India through the British East India Company, however they assumed direct control after the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. (Connor Haines)

Under the raj, India was the crown jewel of the British Empire, used for its cotton, indigo, and opium. The indirect rule of the British, which used local Indian leaders as puppets, symbolized the tradition of rulers being distant from the people’s wants and needs as well as traditions and culture. (KatieMayo)

Cook, Captain James - Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was a British explorer, navigator, and captain in the Royal Navy. He is remembered for making detailed maps of Newfoundland, voyaging to the Pacific Ocean and recording the first European contact with the eastern coasts of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as being the first person to circumnavigate New Zealand. (Connor Haines)

Eugenics - The field of eugenics is the “science of human heredity” as well as a program for purifying and perfecting the human race via breeding decisions. Led by Francis Galton, this field arose in 1883 from Darwin’s ideas and sought to control natural selection in order to craft a more perfect humanity. However, eugenicists soon realized more research into heredity would be needed to make eugenics successful, leading to the rise of a new science: genetics. Eugenics became so influential that states often shaped public policy around these ideas, attempting to sterilize what they considered “unfit” people and limiting immigration, “nefarious” twists of Darwin’s true ideas. –DavisHeniford

Indirect rule, Direct rule - The British initially ruled India indirectly, keeping local Indian rulers in place as puppets, with the British East India Company as puppetmaster. After the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion, however, the British crown took direct control of India (making Queen Victoria the Empress of India). Realizing that the earlier hands-off style of governing was insufficient, the British began to try to make the Indians into Englishmen. (Jane Wester)

-It’s also important to see that this move by the British to take control of India represents not just a political shift but in fact an economic one as well, shifting from the Lassiez Faire hands off approach to a more direct and involved role in the economy. During most of the 19th century, it would never have occurred to Britain to take it over but instead to increase regulations on and resource diversion to the area.

Leopold II of Belgium - Serves as the ultimate bad example of Imperialism because the Congo Free State was essentially the private property of Leo II of Belgium. He employed Henry Stanley as an explorer, journalist, and got him to persuade the natives to acquiesce massive amounts of land. Leo (who also wanted Ivory) forced locals to farm rubber and if a local resisted, they would get their hands chopped of by African policeman whom he had forced to harass the locals. This is the best example of pure economic exploitation and sadly Leo was able to get away with it because he claimed to be stopping the slave trade. In Europe, he appeared to be a humanitarian b/c of his antislavery initiatives, but he was completely the opposite b/c millions of innocent locals were killed under his watch. In 1908 there was an international outcry and so the Belgium Parliament seized the land from Leo. - Ellie Sheild

Livingstone, David-David Livingstone was famous for supporting the moral argument of imperialism. He believed that imperialism was beneficial to spread Christianity, improve commerce, and establish areas of civilization. (Lauren Burton)

Livingstone became the subject of international interest upon his disappearance within Africa. Newspapers kept the public enthralled with Livingstone's disappearance, further fostering the European mindset of Africa as a strange, exotic, and dangerous place. The fascination allowed for further racism and stereotypes to build w/r/t Africa (think of the shaving creme ad). Finally, Henry Stanley, explorer, found Livingstone, leading to the famous phrase, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"-David Farrow

Opium Wars: The Opium Wars were not just skirmishes over drugs, they symbolized the effect of European, specifically British, influence on China. Before the wars, China and Great Britain’s trade was unbalanced: the Chinese made a profit by selling tea to the British while the British simply threw away the tea bags once they had finished. In order to even out this trade imbalance, the British forced opium, grown in India, into China. With his citizens becoming addicted to the drug, the Emperor of China would not stand for it; he banned and seized the illegal drugs causing the British to freak out over their trading rights. The First Opium War, from 1840 to 1842, was resolved with the Treaty of Nanjing, which forced China open to opium trade, leased Hong Kong to the British on lease, and permanently exposed China to European influence. (KatieMayo)

The Opium Wars represent a different, although just as dangerous kind of imperialism. Whereas in Africa imperialism took the form of overbearing, colonial rule, in China, the British goal was to maintain open doors to allow trade to continue to flourish. The forceful opening of markets, although seemingly innocuous, proved just as deadly as seen through these wars. The Opium wars also portray an important comment on the Chinese psyche. Whereas the Japanese had conceded to opening borders for American trade, the Chinese remained much more aloof to European countries, attempting to avoid all contact. The only way for Europe to thus open up China was with these wars.
-David Farrow

Sepoy Rebellion - The British East India Company indirectly ruled over India, keeping in place many of the local Indians rulers but still controlling them like puppets. Sepoy is the term for the Indian soldiers in the army and the Rebellion occurred in 1857. There was huge resentment over banning the sati (a ritual where a widowed wife will burn herself at the stake), and unrest with using pig and cow fat to grease the rifles. Pig is considered bad for Muslims and the Hindu believe cow is a sacred animal, so this was not a good combination! The soldiers rebelled because of having to use these animals fat to grease the barrels of their guns, so 200,000 British soldiers were sent into crush the revolt and successfully did so. The 1857 Rebellion marks the start of the British crown taking direct control over India and placing Queen Victoria as the Empress. - Ellie Sheild

The disputes over suttee and the cow and pig fat in rifle grease indeed sparked rebellion, as Ellie said, but these issues alone probably would not have started a rebellion. These two issues should be viewed as the last straw following centuries of Indian resentment of British indirect rule. (Jane Wester)

Shaka Zulu - Shaka Zulu, a military genius, built up a powerful Zulu empire in southern Africa. The Zulus successfully drove out other African peoples, such as the Bantus, as well as Afrikaaners who dared to expand north into Zulu territory in 1837-8. (Jane Wester)

Spencer, Herbert-Spencer is the late 19th century and early 20th century English philosopher who applied Darwin’s evolutionary theories to a wider subject area, specifically sociology. He was responsible for the term “survival of the fittest” and his philosophy contributed to the intense and insistent condescension of Europeans towards Africans and thus the abusive imperialistic systems set up there.
An English philosopher, Herbert Spencer used social Darwinism to justify and almost encourage the exploitation of Africans by European imperialists. He believed that Darwin’s idea of the strong survive while the weak perish applied to not only species but also to cultures. Thus the African cultures would be expelled in exchange for the stronger European cultures. (Meaghan)

Stanley, Henry- Because King Leopold II of Belgium thought of the Congo free state as his personal domain, he hired an explorer, Henry Stanley to seek out this land and sign the treaties with all of the local peoples. (Lauren Burton)
After spending a lot of time in America, Stanley was tasked in finding Doctor Livingstone. After accomplishing his task, he went on to explore the rivers of Africa that he became so fascinated by. When he could not convince the British to allow him to explore the Congo, he accepted the invitation of Leopold II to discover new things about the region. (Robert Jessell)

Suez Canal- The Suez Canal was apart of the strategic interests for the British to further their imperialism ambitions. In 1869, the Egyptians hit hard economic times and were forced to give up their claim on the Suez Canal. The British quickly bought them out in hopes of establishing a better trade route to India. This location was purchased with an entirely political goal in mind with no intentions to start wars with other territories. (Lauren Burton)

Armenian genocide - A large minority in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians were heavily and violently persecuted by the Ottoman government in the decades leading up to World War I. The Ottoman government resented their nationalistic outcries, their refusal to support Ottoman war efforts, and what seemed like cooperation with Russia. When the Ottoman Empire entered World War I, it created a plan to force the removal of the Armenian populations from the empire in 1915, with the outward excuse of “protect[ing] them from the Russians.” The ottomans relocated 1,750,000 Armenians, with over 800,000 of them dying during the deportation or on the road to the deserts of Mesopotamia. –DavisHeniford

Article 231, Treaty of Versailles - Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles is often referred to as the “Guilt Clause” or “War Guilt Clause.” This article was part of the reparations part of the treaty and essentially lays all blame for WWI on Germany aggression and holds Germany solely responsible for all “loss and damage” suffered by the Allied powers. (Connor Haines)

The Treaty of Versailles lies the groundwork for WWII. In shifting such an enormous financial burden onto the Germans, the German economy shrinks as so much money must be diverted towards paying reparations. The downturn in the German economy and simultaneous downturn in the world economy leads to a depression within German, ravaging the people and thus creating a bitter, angry atmosphere that would allow the likes of Adolf Hitler to rise up.-David Farrow

Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal)- Ataturk is considered the George Washington of Turkey, having essentially been the father of the modern Turkish state. He was a general in WWI fighting for the Ottomans and following their defeat he returned home and led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence, going on to win and establish Turkey as an independent nation. He also instituted some of the countries most groundbreaking and essential economic and political policies and is credited with building Turkey into a freestanding nation from the ruble of war.

Balfour Declaration- On November 2, 1917, Secretary Arthur James Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild declairing Britain's support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Following intense fear of their own safety, Jews created political Zionism, which became popular right before World War I began. At the time, the British were desperate for help, so they turn to Chaim Weizmann, who helped Britain fermentate liquid acetone. He was also a leader of the Zionist movement, so the British government felt a little obligated to help. (Robert Jessell)

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk- This treaty brought the war between Germany and Russia to a bitter end. Lenin wanted his Bolsheviks to get a quick treaty done with Germany so they could focus their efforts more in their home country. When Germany started to reinvade Russian land following an agreement of peace, Lenin forced his political opponents to comply and sign the treaty of end the distracting war. (Robert Jessell)

Had it not been for the Treaty of Versailles which nullified the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Germany would have held claim to Poland, Ukraine, Finland and the Baltic States, further disrupting the balance of power in Europe. —-TB

Dreadnought - Dreadnoughts were revolutionary battle ships in the early 20th century. The British made the first dreadnought in 1906. This ship was so much better (faster, stronger, more fire power, etc.) than any ships previously built that the creation of this ship divides the history of military ship building into pre-dreadnought and post dreadnought eras. Before long, other nations were making their own versions of dreadnoughts, and this kind of ship went on the dominant the seas for the next 35 years. (Connor Haines)

Also, use of the dreadnought invigorated the arms race across Europe, (but most importantly between England and Germany) as these battleships symbolized power. —-TB

Fourteen Points- Considered a product of Wilsonian Idealism, the Fourteen Points were US president Woodrow Wilson’s stated foreign policy objectives following the war. He gave these in a postwar speech in the hopes of anticipating what problems might arise at the peace conference and outlined specific policies like open trade (no trade barriers like tariffs), open sea navigation, and most importantly, self-determination or the idea that countries’ borders should be decided on demographic outlines like putting borders around clusters of ethnicities rather than right through them to avoid the border tussles in the Balkans. –Richmond

One of the notable ideas that ended in failure was the League of Nations. This plan called for an organization of nations to work together to resolve international crises through diplomacy as opposed to violence. Wilson's goal was thus to create a body that could prevent violence like WWI from occurring in the future. The league of nations was unsuccessful in this goal (WWII), largely due to the lack of support internationally (including the United States, with the Congress refusing to join the organization WIlson himself had outlined.)-David Farrow

Gallipoli (Winston Churchill) - A British and French operation, the Gallipoli Campaign was an attack on the Ottoman Empire through the Gallipoli Peninsula which began in April 1915. The Allied goal was to capture Constantinople and knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war and allow for water access to Russia. Winston Churchill, who would have so much fame in the next world war, was in charge of planning this operation. The British, however, were over-optimistic. While both sides suffered heavy and equal casualties (250,000 men on both sides), the Ottoman defense held out, and the attack was completely repulsed. Thus, the battle is widely considered one of the greatest Turkish victories and one of the biggest Allied failures. –DavisHeniford

Irish Free State: Established by the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922 and replaced the Irish republic and the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State. This state, along with the previous ones, was led by W.T. Cosgrave. The Irish War of Independence began in 1919 between the Irish and the British and ended in 1921 by ceasefire. Prior to the war, efforts, such as Easter Rising in 1916 aimed to end British rule in Ireland. —-TB

Lusitania - On May 1st, 1915, RMS Lusitania, a British luxurious passenger liner, left from New York on its transatlantic journey to England. However, the Germans, who were beginning to clamp down on their submarine blockade of Britain (the Germans declared the waters surrounding the island a war zone), torpedoed the ship, killing 1198 passengers. This perceived violation of international law caused an uproar in the United States and elsewhere. Germany therefore backed off of unrestricted submarine warfare for two years, yielding to the international pressure. However, it was discovered later that Germany did not in fact break international law, as the British were secretly smuggling weapons on the Lusitania… -DavisHeniford

Mandates (mandate system)The mandate system was created at the Paris Peace Conference. It classified territories and countries into three categories based on a country’s ability to self-govern: Class A-close to self government, Class B-kind of close to self government, Class C-not close to self government. The mandate system hindered self-determination, as the further in the alphabet a country was, the less control of it had within its government. (Meaghan)

Princip, Gavrilo - Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian nationalist group called the Black Hand Society, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie as their driver made a wrong turn in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on July 28, 1914. He failed to kill himself - twice - and was sentenced to 20 years in prison (at 19, he was too young for the death penalty), but he died in 1918. (Jane Wester)

Black Hand Society: The Black Hand Society was a serbian terrorist group responsible for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. They assassinated him because one of their main goals as a group was to liberate serbs who lived outside of serbia, specifically in Austro-Hungary.(Beuler)

After the assassination of the Archduke, the wounded Austria-Hungary assumed that the Serbian government was in charge of the Black Hand. Actually, the Serbian government did not support the terrorist group, but certainly did tolerate it. (KatieMayo)

This assassination really shouldn't have started this big of a war. The Austrian officials didn't like Franz, and only retaliated to save face and to attempt to gain more influence over Serbia. Also, the assassination attempt was so idiotic that it is a miracle they succeeded.

Reinsurance Treaty: The secret Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia, signed in 1887, promised neutrality if the other went to war. While this prevented a two-front war, Germany’s biggest fear, it also conflicted with Germany’s position in the Triple Alliance since Austria-Hungary’s relationship with Russia was already in a tense condition. However, Germany clarified that it would support Austria-Hungary, its official ally, if a war between Russia and Austria-Hungary occurred. (KatieMayo)
Schlieffen Plan: The Schlieffen Plan was the german strategic plan for avoiding fighting a two-front war with both France and Russia. Their plan was to go through Belgium and sneak attack France, thus knocking them out of the war very quickly in order to concentrate their forces against Russia. This plan failed because the Germans moved too slowly through Belgium and France had time to get ready, resulting in trench warfare.(Beuler)
The Schlieffen Plan was also one of the causes for WWI and apart of the increased militarism in all of the territories. When the French doubled the size of their standing army, Germany also doubled the size of their army and quadrupled their military spending in order to plan for a two front war against both France and Russia. The Schlieffen Plan was produced by the German military in 1905 as a measure to try to eliminate France from war and invade through the neutral territory of Belgium. (Lauren Burton)

Self-determination (Paris Peace Conference)- Many consider the Paris Peace Conference, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, to be the most significant event in the twentieth century. There, the idea of self-determination was created. It stated that every nation or culture had the right to rule itself as a democracy if it so please. The concept helped to rearrange the map of the continent so that more rights could be possible. (Robert Jessell)

This idea, one of Wilson's 14 points, while used extensively in the reshaping of Europe, was largely ignored in the application to the rest of the world. This resulted in colonies being labeled by the mandate system, which determined their "ability" at self government. Naturally, even the best non-European nations were usually found unfit to self govern and were made into protectorates of European countries. Matt Borin

Somme, Battle of: The Battle of the Somme in 1916 was England’s first significant offensive invasion of the war. The British forces, led by General Douglas Haig, lost more men in the first three days than American forces did in WWI, Korea, and Vietnam combined. By the end of the battle all sides suffered huge casualties: the British totaled 420,000 casualties, the French totaled 200,000, and the Germans totaled 650,000. Despite their efforts, the British gained merely a few kilometers. The Battle of the Somme showed that 20th century technology was being utilized using 19th century war strategy. The Battles of the Somme and Verdun will have lasting impacts on the British and French people, as seen later in WWII. (Meaghan)

Total War: Total war is a concept that really developed in World War I. It meant that the war involved not only the soldiers fighting the war on some distant soil but every civilian at home, man, woman, or child. Children learned of the war in school. Women began to work in factories to produce supplies for the war. Also the men who remained, especially those in control of factories, converted their factories so that they would produce materials necessary for war. Thus, almost every facet of the life, whether on the battlefront or the homefront, was involved in the war. (Beuler)

Verdun, Battle of: The battle of Verdun in 1916 was one of the most historically significant battles between France and Germany during WWI. Verdun was practically sacred to the French because it had never fallen under foreign control, not even during the Franco-Prussian War when Prussia had control of almost all of France. General Falkenheim of the german army thought that it would be advantageous for the germans to try to take Verdun because he knew the French would fight very hard to keep it, and thus they would lose a lot of men. He intended to "out-attrition" the French and thought that for every 2 germans dead, there would be 5 frenchmen. He ended up being wrong and 540,000 French died, and 430,000 germans died. (Beuler)