CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARD 10.5.1 Factors Leading to World War I

Specific Objective: Analyze the arguments for entering into war presented by leaders from all sides of the Great War. Analyze the role of political and economic rivalries, ethnic and ideological conflicts, domestic discontent and disorder, and propaganda and nationalism in mobilizing the civilian population in support of “total war.”

Competition Among Nations—Late 1800
Rivalry Example
Competition for markets and materials Germany competed with Great Britain, Europe’s industrial leader.
Competition for colonies in Africa and Asia; imperialism Great Britain was the leader in the race for colonies. Germany and France each sought to control Morocco, in northern Africa.
Competition for European territory Austria-Hungary and Russia vied for influence in the Balkans.

The Rise of Nationalism and Militarism—Nationalism, a deep devotion to one’s own nation, fueled competition. It also encouraged the growth of militarism, the policy of glorifying military power and keeping an army prepared for war. In the 1890s, many European nations began building large armies.

The Alliance System—Each nation was required to support its allies. A conflict between any two countries could draw everyone into war. The Great Powers formed two alliances.

The “Powder Keg” Leads to Total War—The Balkan Peninsula was called the “powder keg” of Europe because of its more than 400 years of ethnic and political conflict. After the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Serbia, a mostly Slavic country, nearly doubled its territory. Russia, also a largely Slavic country, supported Serbian expansion. Austria and Germany did not.

The Powder Keg Ignites in 1914

Directions: Choose the letter of the best answer.

  1. “Nationalism” is best defined as
    1. belief in private property.
    2. desire for territories overseas.
    3. strong devotion to one’s country.
    4. support for a strong army.
  2. Which countries made up the Triple Entente in 1907?
    1. Austria-Hungary, Sweden, and Russia
    2. The United States, Germany, and Russia
    3. Great Britain, France, and Russia
    4. Belgium, Germany, and France
  3. Why were the Balkans known as the “powder keg” of Europe in the early 1900s?
    1. Several large explosions had taken place in its factories.
    2. It had endured more than 400 years of ethnic and political conflict.
    3. It produced both weapons and gunpowder.
    4. It had an unusual geographic shape that others wished to change.
  4. The assassination of which leader led to the outbreak of World War I?
    1. Otto von Bismarck
    2. George Clemenceau
    3. Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    4. Kaiser Wilhelm II
  5. What did Russia, a largely Slavic nation, do after Austria-Hungary declared war on the Slavic nation of Serbia?
    1. declare war on Germany
    2. pledge to remain neutral
    3. prepare to send troops to support Serbia
    4. try to negotiate a settlement
  6. “Serbia must learn to fear us again.” The quotation, was spoken to the U.S. president in 1914, after the Austrian archduke was assassinated by a Serbian student. The quotation was spoken by a diplomat from
    1. France.
    2. Austria-Hungary.
    3. Italy.
    4. Great Britain.

Specific Objective: Examine the principal theaters of battle, major turning points, and the importance of geographic factors in military decisions and outcomes.

During World War I, the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Turks, and Bulgaria) faced enemies on both sides of their borders—France to the west, and Russia to the east. France, Russia, Great Britain, and Italy in 1915 were the Allied Powers. Fighting concentrated in these border areas, which became known as the Western Front and the Eastern Front. Germany’s strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, was first to attack France through neutral Belgium, before Russia on the Eastern Front had a chance to gather its forces.

The Western Front

The Eastern Front

Directions: Choose the letter of the best answer.

  1. Why did Germany have a geographic disadvantage at the start of World War I?
    1. It was a landlocked nation.
    2. It was bordered by enemies on two fronts.
    3. Its inland mountain ranges were nearly impassable.
    4. Its major rivers blocked the movement of troops.
  2. Germany’s Schlieffen Plan for military attack was to
    1. first attack Russia with lightening speed before facing France in the West.
    2. attack France in the West before Russia in the East had a chance to mobilize.
    3. try to get the United States to align itself with Germany.
    4. engage both France in the West and Russia in the East at the same time.
  3. After the Battle of the Marne in 1914, German forces realized that victory
    1. would be theirs, as long as they stuck to the plan.
    2. on the Western Front would not be quick.
    3. against the West could only be won through trench warfare.
    4. in the East could only be achieved before the harsh Russian winter began.
  4. Trench warfare in World War I was characterized by
    1. a series of Russian victories.
    2. swift invasions and decisive attacks.
    3. heavy casualties and little territorial gain.
    4. tremendous German victories in the East.
  5. During World War I, Russia’s main strength was its
    1. control of the seas.
    2. industrial production.
    3. large number of soldiers.
    4. military technology.
  6. In November 2003, workers digging to build a highway near Ypres, Belgium, uncovered a network of shallow passages and found skeletons in World War I–era uniforms, newspapers, dishes and other items. The finding is most likely
    1. an unmarked World War I grave along the Eastern Front.
    2. a World War I hiding place for civilians.
    3. a bunk site for World War I troops.
    4. a site of trench warfare.
CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARD 10.5.3 Major Events Affecting the Course of World War I

Specific Objective: Explain how the Russian Revolution and the entry of the United States affected the course and outcome of the war.

The Turning Point of the War
The war dragged on. Hundreds of thousands of people had died or were homeless. Every country was short of food and weapons. Then, in 1917, a series of events brought the war to an end. The first event took place in Russia.

Directions: Choose the letter of the best answer.

  1. What was the immediate goal of Lenin and the Bolsheviks?
    1. to gain access to Germany’s industrial resources
    2. o help the temporary government fight the war
    3. to end Russia’s involvement in the war
    4. to return the tsar to power
  2. What happened when the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed?
    1. The Russians pulled out of the war.
    2. The treaty ended World War I
    3. Germany withdrew from the war
    4. The United States entered the war.
  3. Which German action was most important in bringing the United States into World War I?
    1. German invasion of Russia
    2. unrestricted submarine warfare
    3. trench warfare on the Western Front
    4. German use of poison gas
  4. By the time the United States entered World War I, fighting was focused on
    1. the Eastern Front
    2. the Western Front
    3. former Russian territory
    4. the seas around Great Britain
  5. After entering World War I, the United States most helped the Allies by
    1. fighting Germany in the sea around Britain.
    2. negotiating with the Central Powers.
    3. sending the Allies supplies, troops, and monetary loans.
    4. trying to convince the Russians to return to fighting.
  6. What main motivation finally forced the Central Powers to surrender on November 11, 1918?
    1. They did not have the resources or soldiers to fight the Americans.
    2. Their people refused to fight any longer.
    3. Austria-Hungary had already signed a peace treaty with the Allies.
    4. They no longer wanted to fight the large Russian army in the East.


CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARD 10.5.4 The Human Costs of World War I

Specific Objective: Understand the nature of the war and its human costs on all sides of the conflict, including how colonial peoples contributed to the war effort.

The War to End All Wars World War I was called “the war to end all wars.” The destruction it caused was so extreme, people could not bear the thought of another war.
Military Casualties In the first three years, Europe lost more lives than it had in three hundred years of war before that. Deadly new weapons, such as the machine gun and the submarine, along with infection killed an estimated 8.5 million soldiers. About 21 million more were wounded. Trench warfare led to daily deaths from artillery. Poison gas caused many deaths and serious injuries.

  Total Mobilized Forces Killed or
Wounded Prisoners or Missing Total Casualties Casualty Rate
Central Powers* 22,850,000 3,386,200 8,388,448 3,629,829 15,404,477 67.4%
Allies** 42,188,810 5,142,631 12,800,706 4,121,090 22,064,427 52.3%

* Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey
** 95% of troops were from Russia, the British Empire, France, Italy, the United States, and Japan.

1. Includes death from all causes. Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Effects on Civilians

Colonial Participation One reason a European war, became a “World War” was the participation of colonial peoples. Great Britain used soldiers from India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and others. French colonies in West Africa, and German colonies in East Africa sent troops. Allied forces attacked German colonies in China, the Pacific islands, and Africa. Although some individuals defended their ruling countries eagerly, others fought because they were required to serve. After the war, those who survived returned home to find that, as colonial subjects, they were still second-class citizens.

  1. What conclusion can be drawn from these data about casualties in World War I?
    1. The Central Powers had more total casualties than the Allies.
    2. Most of the casualties were prisoners or missing.
    3. The Allies had a lower casualty rate than the Central Powers.
    4. The number killed was greater than the number wounded.
  2. Which reason for Allied victory is supported by the chart?
    1. fewer wounded soldiers
    2. greater number of troops
    3. deadliest weapons
    4. took more prisoners
  3. What is one reason why millions of European and Russian civilians died during World War I?
    1. They were not as strong as civilians during other wars.
    2. They did not hide from the enemy.
    3. The Allied troops ignored their plight
    4. Much of the fighting took place in Europe and Russia.
  4. Civilian casualties in World War I were
    1. fewer than military casualties.
    2. extremely rare.
    3. increased by disease and starvation.
    4. primarily due to overwork.
  5. Which country recruited colonial troops from India in World War I?
    1. Britain
    2. France
    3. Germany
    4. Japan
  6. After World War I, some colonies that had participated made demands for independence primarily because
    1. American troops taught colonists that all men are created equal.
    2. colonists felt entitled to citizenship because they had served in the military.
    3. colonists were inspired by the example of the Russian Revolution.
    4. colonists were afraid for their jobs in the unstable European economy.
CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARD 10.5.5 Human Rights Violations and Genocide

Specific Objective: Discuss human rights violations and genocide during World War I, including the Ottoman government’s actions against Armenian citizens.

Atrocities on Both Sides

The Armenian Genocide
The Armenians were an ethnic minority of about 2.5 million in the Ottoman Empire ruled by Turkey. As Christians in a mainly Muslim land, they were also a religious minority. They had long been denied basic rights and wanted to be independent. When war broke out, they pledged to support the Allies, the enemies of the Turks.

Directions: Choose the letter of the best answer.

  1. Stories of German atrocities in Belgium were used as propaganda, meaning that the stories were used to
    1. encourage Belgium to support the war.
    2. make the Germans look worse than they were.
    3. convince neutral nations to fight for the German army.
    4. show that the Germans treated civilians humanely.
  2. Which statement best describes the existence of atrocities during World War I?
    1. Both sides followed the rules of warfare and avoided civilian deaths.
    2. Germany was the only member of the Central Powers that killed civilians.
    3. The Allies were fighting for democracy and did not harm civilians.
    4. Both sides justified the use of harsh tactics to achieve their military goals.
  3. The Armenians in Turkey were a minority group partly because they were
    1. atheist.
    2. Christian.
    3. Jewish.
    4. Muslim.
  4. The Ottoman Empire was ruled by
    1. the Armenians
    2. the Germans
    3. the Turks
    4. European coalition
  5. What was the political position of the Armenians at the beginning of World War I?
    1. They supported the Turks.
    2. They supported the Allies.
    3. They wished to remain neutral.
    4. Their position was unknown.
  6. How did the international community respond to Turkey’s actions against the Armenians?
    1. It supported the Turkish government’s actions.
    2. It tried to keep Turkey’s actions secret until after the war.
    3. It did not know about the actions until after the war.
    4. It condemned Turkey but did not fight to save the Armenians.