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World War I – Continuation

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Illustrated and Designed By
Christian Alas
Sound By
Margarita Onofre

World War I – Continuation

World War I broke out on August 4, 1914. By the time the war had ended four years later, bullets, shells, disease, and starvation had killed 15 million people. Most of the victims were Europeans, but many people from other countries died in the war, also. Other European countries and the United States also became involved in the war.

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In Western Europe, the Germans began a massive attack with more than a million men. These troops were fighting their way west, against heavy resistance, through Belgium toward the Marne River near Paris.

The British assisted the French in Paris and drove the Germans back. Both sides dug trenches facing each other, forming a double line 400 miles long. For four years, they attacked and counterattacked, resulting in the loss of millions of lives.

The huge Russian Army in Eastern Europe moved into action against Germany much faster than was expected. Once the Russians began to make a few gains, smaller but better led and trained German forces launched counterattacks and began to gain advantage over the Russians. German forces had expelled the Russians from German territory for good by late 1914.

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As the war started, President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, a Democrat, was busy putting his domestic program into effect which included The Federal Reserve Act. The purpose of The Federal Reserve Act was to create a government-controlled banking system.

Wilson’s agenda had no plans to involve the United States in a foreign war. On August 19, 1914, President Wilson told the American people that, “the United States must be neutral in fact, as well as in name.”

However, staying neutral was hard. The British navy set up a blockade in order to keep countries from trading with Germany. As a response to the blockade, Germany decided to use its new weapon, the submarine, to sink all enemy merchant ships that were found in the waters around Britain. Germany suspected that munitions and supplies meant to support the British War effort were being secretly transported on merchant and passenger (non-military) ships.

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All Allied Nations were warned that these ships would be sunk. In May 1915, the British passenger ship, the Lusitania, was sunk by a German torpedo, killing nearly 1,200 people, including 128 Americans. The sinking of the Lusitania was one of the first naval attacks using a submarine.

Despite President Wilson’s desire to stay out of the conflict, he made it clear that if the Germans sank any American ships, they would be risking war with the United States. In response, the German government decided to not attack merchant ships that were unarmed.

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By the fall of 1916, the war was in its third year of action. Both sides had suffered terrible losses. The British ships had cut off supplies to Germany and Austria, and the German and Austrian people were beginning to starve.

In early 1917, knowing that it might bring the United States into the war, the desperate Germans continued the submarine attacks on unarmed merchant ships. Germany hoped to defeat France and Britain before the Americans had time to train soldiers and send them into battle.

The Zimmermann Telegram was made public on March 1, 1917. This telegram was a message from Germany that promised the Mexican government the return of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico if Mexico joined the Germans against the United States. American anger towards Germany greatly increased as a result of this telegram. Americans knew that this would make it harder for them to stay neutral.

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Due to the starvation of the Russian people, the Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, was forced to give up his throne on March 15, 1917. The ancient monarchy was gone. It had become the United Soviet Socialists Republic or the U.S.S.R. The new Soviet Union that came out of the revolution promised to continue the war against Germany. However, neither the civilians nor the soldiers wanted to stay in the war.

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Find the vocabulary words (in bold), write them below, and find the definition of each in a dictionary.

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Write 5 sentences using some of the vocabulary words.

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Write one sentence to describe the continued history of World War I in the area below:

What?

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When?

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How?

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Where?

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Why?

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Who?

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Discuss:

1. Why was the sinking of the ship the Lusitania important?

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2. Discuss the Zimmermann Telegram.

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World War I – Continuation