** war and social upheaval: World War I country overviews F-L First World War

War and Social Upheaval: World War I--Country Overviews F-L

Figure 1.--All the major combatant countries published sentimental postcards prominently featuring children, especially the French and Germans. This French post card reads, "Je suis trop jeune, hélas! pour aller á la guerre Remplacer mon papa qui m'embrassait naguére." That translates as, "I am too young, alas! to go to war. Take instead my dad, who hugged me recently (or: replace me with my dad)." The post card is undated, but we it would have been at the beginning of the War I do not That was in the beginning of the war when patriotism was at its peak. We know it wa made sometimes between May 1915 and April 1917 because the Italian flag can be seen with toy soldiers, but not the American flag. Also note the Russian flag is not there, even though it was the Russians who saved the French in 1914. (The democratic Allies were somewhat embarassed to be associted with depostc Tsarist Russia.) Interpreting cards like this a fscinating, but complicated exercise. They might be dismissed as war propaganda. Yet they were not published by the different governments. They were commercial cards that were published by private companies and sold in the stores. Thus cards out of sync with public thinking probably would not sell very well. Another question id who would buy and use these cards. We doubt if front-line soldiers would. We wonder if families would send cards like this to men in the front.

Here we will collect overviews of the experiences of individual countries in World War I. The central conlict was the tension between Germany and France. This time French diplomats were careful not to face Germany alone. In the end, Germany defeated Russia and destroyed the offensive capability of the French Army, but was defeated by the British and American Armies. The war in many ways was the central event of the 20th century and the consequences of the War affected much of the 20th century and have not yet fully played out. We do not yet have many extensive country entries here, but have begun to collect information. Here we have included not only the belligerent countries, but also colonies and areas that were to emerge as independent countries after the War.


Finland was part of the Russian Empire. Thus Finns fought with the Tsarist Army when war broke out (August 1914). The most noted Finnish soldier involved in the War was Gustaf Mannerheim. He was promoted to Major General (1911). He was the commander of the Emperor's Uhlans of the Guard which was deployed in Warsaw. Perhaps because he was not Russian he had good relations with the Poles. He was thus in Poland when World War broke out. He fought against the Austrians, first as a brigade commander and then as the commander of the 12th Cavalry Division. He was awarded the the Cross of St George, the highest Tsarist military decoration (1914). He was promoted to Lieutenant-General and and commanded the 6th Cavalry Corps deployed on the southern front. With the collapse of the Russoan Army and the Bolshevick Revolution (Icyober 1917), Mannerheim made his way back to Finland (December 1917). Finland had declared its independence. The result was chaos. There were 40,000 Russian soldiers in Finland and the Bolsheviks were contesting the streets with the new Government. Mannerheim was the highest ranking Finnish Tsarist officer. The Finnish Senate assigned Mannerheim the responsibility of forming a Finnish national army and establishing order. Mannerheim's used his troops to disarm the Russian garrisons in the north. When the revolutionary Red Guards attempted to seize power in the south, civil war broke out. Fighting lasted 3 moths. Mannerheim's White Army emerged victorious (May 1918). After this achievement, Mannerheim's relations with the Senate souered. The primary issue was the Sente's generally pro-German policy. Germny's defeat of the Russians had made Finnish independence policy. Mannerheim believed that a pro-German policy left Finland vulnerable if Germany lost the War in the West, which of corse is precisely what transpired. Mannerheim resigned and left Finland. He was able to influence Allied policy toward Finland. When Germany capitulated (November 1918), the political situation shifted and he was called back (December 1918). He was appointed regent. (Finland was still theoreticlly a monarchy.) Finland's held its first presidential election (Summer 1919). Mannerheim was defeated by K.J. Ståhlberg. Mannerheim participated in creating the constitution of the Republic of Finland (July 1919). Mannerheim wanted Finland to fight the Bolshevicks in the Russian Civil War. Hecfailed in this effort and retired to private life. He worked with charities, including the Red Cross. He founded the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (1920). After the War, America provided vital food shipments that precented famine in Finland, part of the massive ARA effort.


France had learned its lesson in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Never again would France attempt to fight the Germans without allies. Bismarck had effectively kept France isolated. His restrained polices changed with the accession of the belicose Wilhelm II (1883). As a resuly of Wilhelm's policies, Fance was able to sign an allince with Russia meaning that Germany would have to fight a two-front war. The French were less successful with Britain, but Wilhelm's belicose policies and decession to build a High Seas Fleet paved the way for military cooperation. The French war plan was Plan XVII. Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch personally devised the plan. It was adopted by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre in 1913. The plan ebtailed an offensive to take Alsace and Lorraine, seized by the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. The Germans had a opportunity to win the War in a massive strike against France. The Allies had an advantage against Germany in population and resources. But the Germans had the strongest army at the onset of the War and the Schiliffen Plan directed the bulk of that army at France. The Germans launched a massive invasion through Belgium (August 1914). The goal was to seize Paris and force the French to accept Germany terms, quickly ending the War. If the War was to be won by the Allies, it was the French Army that would have to stop the German invasion. The Russians could distract the Germans on the Eastern Front. The Belgians could slow the Germans and the British could assist on the left flank and to hold the Channel Ports, but it was the French Army that would have to stop the Germans. This occurred on the Marne--the Miracle of the Marne. (September 1914). The war then bogged down into a war of attrition and deadly trench warfare. The Germans decided to bleed the French Army by focusing their forces on Verdun--fortifications they knew the French would defend at whatever cost. Here the Germans were successful, the French Army was destroyed as an offensive military force. In the process, however, the German Army was also weakened. And the end evem though siccessful in the East was unable to stave off an expanded British Army and a new American Army in the West.


Germany unlike the situuation in World War II did not launch World War I. Imperial Germany, however, played a major role in launching the War. The Kaiser decided to back Austria-Hungary and decided that war was necessary when the Russians began to mobilize. Faced with the prospects of fighting a two-front war against an alliance of France and Russia that might eventually include Britain, the German military ativated the Schlieffen Plan, a massive attack in the West that would knock France out of the War. Germany could then turn on the Russians. France and Russia had an alliance. It was not clear how Britain would react, but a strike through Belgium would bring the British into the War. This was a risky strategy as the Allies with Britain had superior industrial and manpower resources as well as contol of the seas. Unless Germany suceeded in its initial strike at France, the superior resources of the Allies would likely prevail in a protracted war. The German Army was the most powerful in Europe. The Kaiser and the army High Command believed that they could succeed in a quick war along the lines of the Franco-Prussian war. The German war plan was conceived by Count Alfred von Schlieffen and as a result is known as the Schlieffen Plan. It involved a massive attack on France which avoided the heavily fortified French frontier by attacking through neutral Belgium. The Germans realized that this would almost surely bring Britain into the War. Again the Germans were gambling. A quick victory over France would mean that Britain's naval power would have little impact on the War and thus worth the risk of striking through Belgium. Russian pressure in the East forced the Germans to weaken their thrust west and the French held at the Marne. The result was a long devestating war. The Western Front proved a terrible killing field. The British control of the sea severly affected the German economy. The Germns succeeded in knocking out the Russians, but incredibly inept diplomacy and militay calculations resulted in America entering the War. And it was the American infantry that made the difference on the Western Front.


The Allies and Central Powers offered enducements for the Balkan countries to enter the War on their side. The Balkan countries had fought wars just before World War I. The principal targets were Turkey and Bulgaria. Thus when those two countries joined the Central Powers it helped build support for the Allies in Serbia and Romania. Serbia of course had already been attacked by Austria. This World War I in the Balkans was a continuation of the wars begun earlier, but on a wider scale. Greece which had participated in the Balkan Wars, was more reluctant to enter World War I. This was primarily because of King Constantine. Border disputes with Bulgaria meant that there was support for the Allies in Greece. There were also historic ties with Britain because the Royal Navy had played a role in Greek independence during the 19th century. Primeminister Eleftherios Venizelos wanted to join the Allies. King Constantine was against this. The royal family had ties to the Germans. His wife was German, but the King also thought entering the War was not in Greece's interests, especially as it was not at all clear who would win the War and fighting the Turks, Bulgarians, and Austrians seemed a dangerous undertaking. The King even began negotiations with Germany. Primeminister Venizelos resigned (March 5, 1915). About a month later Venizelos won a substantial mandate in national elections (June 1915). Venizelos then persued efforts to join the Allies. He also wanted to support Serbia. King Constantine continued to oppose this. Venizelos resigned again (October 5, 1915). The Bulgarian army moved into northern Macedonia, at the time occupied by Serbia (October 1915). Venizelos saw this an act of war. He formed a government in Crete and challenged the King. The opposition government consisted of Eleftherios Venizelos, Panagiotis Daglis and Pavlos Kountouriotis. The Venizelos Government began recruiting volunteers. An estimated 20,000 men enlisted to fight the Bulgars. The fighting proved difficult in tough mountenaous terraine. As the King anticipated, the Allies provided only limited support. The Allies continued to try to convince King Constantine to formally enter the War. When he refused, French Admiral Dartigue du Fournet blockaded Athens. The King abdicated and left Greece (June 11, 1917). Prince Alexander became king and agreed to work with Venizelos who formed a new government. Greece declared war on the Central Powers Germany (June 29). This opened a newcfront in the war. The Greeks deployed 250,000 men in Macedonia.


Guatemalan President Estrada Cabrera had decidedly domestic motives for declaring war on Grmany. Germans since the 1890s had begun to play a major role in the country's importsant coffee indusyry. The introduced modern agricukltural methods and had significantly improved the industry. They also came to dominate it. This meant essentially that Germans controlled half the Guatemalan economy. German investments in infrastructure (utilities, transportation and communications) were bringing the country into the 20th century. President Cabrera was a true Latin Americn caudillo (military strong man). He was a dictator of the old school. His personal attitudes caused him to respect the Germans--especially the Prussian military tradition. The problem for him was that it was no fun to be a dictator (and less lucraive) if foreigners controlled the economy. For diplocatic reasins, they were more difficult to shake down than Guatemalans. Cabrera was also a realist. He had no desire to pick a fight with the United States. He had watched the Americans intervene throughout the Caribbean and Central America. The German Ambassador Kurt Lehman provided Estrda Cabrerra all the justifiction he needed to move against the Germans. Lehman was obsessed with the United States which even before entering the War was shipping vitl supplies and war material to the Allies. Lehman helped to organize operations against the United States throughout Central America. One of his plots was to bring about a Mexican invasion of Guatemala. He also was involved in various other plots to foment coups and wars. His basic strateggy was to divert American attention from to Mexico and Centrl Americ. After the Zimmerman Telegtam, Americans were sensitive as to German interference to he south. When details of Lehman's activities surfaced, President Estrada Cabrera broke relations with Germany. He also made Guatemalan ports and railroads available for the use of the United States. Eventually the Guatemalan Assembly voted almost unanimously to become an associate of the United States in the war against Germany.


Haiti after the United States declared war on Germany began to consider entering the War. Haitian President Sudre Dartiguenave asked the Haitian Congress to declare war on Germany (May 1917). The reason was a German U-boat sank a French steamer which had Haitian crew and passengers aboard. The Congress refused to vote for war, but within a few days approved a resolution condemning German unrestricted submarine warfare. They gave President Dartiguenave the authority to break diplomatic relations with Germany if that country refused to pay reparations and guarantee that they would not attack Haitains in the future. Haiti did eventually declare war on Germany, one of the last Latin American presidents to do so.


Honduran President Francisco Bertrand after the United States declared war, broke relations with Germany. A year later Honduras declared war on Germany (July 1918). It was the last country to do so. The President's sympathy with the United States was not popular among the country's strong German community. They supported his overthrow after the War (1919).


Hungary at the inception of World War was part of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy. The creation of the constitutional arrangements of the dual monarchy had reduced, but not eliminated desires for an independent Hungary. We do not yet have details specifically on Hungary during the War, but thiswould have been included in the Austro-Hungarian section. The Austro-Hungaian Empire had been held together by the Empire's army. As the War progressed conditions gradually worsened. Food sortages became an increasing problem. the Empire begn to desinigate. With the collapse of the Army at the end of the War, there was nothing to hold the Empire together. this was no longer possible. The long-term weakenesses of the Empire such as ethnic dissent coupled with the privations resulting from the War resulted in nationalit groups seizing power and demanding independence. This occurrred in Hungary as well. The monarchy collapsed and a republic proclaimed in Austria itself (November 1918). The Allies had planned to maintain Austria-Hungary as a political state, in part to offset Germany's influence in central and Eastern Europe. The Allies thought that Wilson's 14 points, especially national self-determination, could be accomodated within a federalized and democratized Austria-Hungary. Developments in the region, however, spun out of control. Several countries declared independence (September and October 1918). The Allies had neither the men or inclination to try to control developments in the region. Emperor Karl I appointed Karl Karolyi Prime Minister in an effort to maintain the monarchy (October 31, 1918). He managed to replaced Alexander Wekerle who had declared independence (October 19). The Emperor engineered Wekerle's replacement. Karolyi was known for advocating land reform, universal suffrage and full civil status Hungary's non-Magyar subjects which put him on the fringe of Hungarian politics. His appoint was a last desperate attempt by Emperor Karl to save the monarchy. Karolyi realized that the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Army and the strength of the nationalist forces meant that independence was inevitable. Karolyi proclaimed an independent republic (November 11). A factor here was that a Hungary without attachments to the former Hapsburg monarchy might expect better treatment at the post-War peace settlement. The Allies nonetheless insisted on a much reduced Hunary than what nationlists had invisioned. This affected Karolyi's popularity. Bela Kun, the pre-War founder of the Communist Party, launched a Communist coup (March 1919). His popularity rapidly fell when he used force to persue a series of radical reforms seizing private popularity, both agricultural lands and industry. Czechs and Romanian military forces intervened as well as a French-supported counter-revolutionary force headed Admiral Miklos Horthy de Nagybanya. The Kun regime fell (August 1, 1919). Admiral Horthy served as regent until replaced by the NAZIs during World War II (1944). The Treaty of Trianon ending the war between the Allies and Hungary (a successor state of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) was signed June 4, 1920. Hungarian nationalists were horrified. Not only did they find the new Hingarian state a fraction of what they had forseen, but large numbers of ethnic Hungarians were left within the borders of neighboring states. This would result in constant difficulties and threats of War during the 1920s and 30s. The ousted Emperor Karl I made two unsuccessfil efforts to regain his throne (1921).


World War I was largely limited to Europe, but the British Empire, both dominions and colonies, each played a role. India was an important source of both men and resources for Britain. At the time British India included not only modern India, but Pakistan, Bangaldesh and Sri Lanka as well. Indian units were also imployed in the fighting. As part of the BEF rushed to northeast France and Belgium were 30,000 Indian troops. They helped slow the German advance and prevented the Germans from seizing the Channel Ports. Here the Lahore Division of the Indian Corps played an important role. Khudadad Khan at the First Battle of Ypres was the first Indian to win a Victoria Cross. German possession of the Channel Ports would have greatly complicated Allied supply problems on the Western Front. A total of 0.14 Indians were deployed to the Western Front. About two-thirds were committed to the front-line Indian Corps, and one-third to auxiliary battalions. The Indian Corps served in the front line trenches for about a year. They were then withdrawn, decimated by sickness and casualties. Indians accustomed to a tropical climate were especially affected by trench warfare. Indian units totaling about 0.7 million men were subsequently deployed primarily in the Middle East. They saw action against the Ottomans in the Mesopotamian campaign. Indians were also committed in the costly Gallipoli peninsula as well as actions in East and West Africa as well as China. There was no conscription, but 1.5 million Indians volunteered to serve with British forces. This was a major contribution to the Allied effort. Had the Indian forces not been available, Britain would have had to divert men from the critical Western front. Nearly 48,000 Indins were killed. About 100,000 Gurkhas from Nepal fought in the War.


Modern Iraq at the onset of World War I did not exist, ot had been a bacxkwater of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries. The Ottomans after a serious of military defeats at the hands of the Tsarist forces along the northern Black Sea and Balkans, saw Wotld War as a opportunity to use German military power to regain lost territory from the Russians. The Ottoman Empire had recently suffered reverses in Libya and the Balkans. The Ottomans entered the War on the side of the Central Powers (November 1914). The sultan declared jihad (holy war) against the Allies. The Ottoman Arrmy was a largely unknown factor at the onset of the War. Its 0.6 million men grouped into 38 divisions with access to German arms and military advisrs were a potentially significant threat to the Allies, especially Britain. The British thus responded by seizing Basara in southern Iraq with an Anglo-India force. The British concern was the the Anglo-Persian oil pipeline, vital to the Royal Navy. The Ottoman response was an offensive from Palestine toward the Suez Canal in Egypt (February 1915). The Ottomans hoped that the attack would cause an Islamic revolt in Egypt. This did not occur and the Ottomans were repulsed with heavy losses. The British from their Basara base fought a little known campaign for Iraq along the banks of the Tigris. The Anglo-Indian Army achieved imortant victores throughout 1915. The Ottomons, however regroued (early 1916) and achieved a major victory at Kut-al-Amara (April 1916). Sir Frederick Stanley Maude was appointed regional Commander-in-Chief. A renewed British offensive finally achieved vicory (October 1918).

Iran (Persia)

The Qajar Dynasty ruled in Iran (1795-1925). A Constitutional Revolution occurred in Iran just before World War I (1906-09). Iranian reformers sought to curb the arbitary power of Shah Muzaffar ad Din and install a modern elected parliament. The first Majlis was elected (1906). Iran at the time was not a state with a population willing to operate undermocracy and the ballot box. The result was disorders in the pfrovinces. Some of the population was nomadic with very traditional outlook. Many were unwilling to support the new government. In prt because of the growing instability, Britain and Russia sign the Anglo-Russian Agreement (1907). This divided Iran into spheres of influence,. The Russians achieved exclusive right to the north along the Cauususes. The British claimed the south along the Persian Gulf nd the east along British India. The treaty detailed a neutral sphere in central Persia which was open to both signatories. Mohammad Ali Shah sought to restablish royal power (1908). A brigade loyal to the shah with Russian officers fired on the Majlis. The Brirish discovered important oil fields in Iran (1908). The British formed the Anglo-Persian Oil Company company (APOC--modern British Petroleum) to develop the resource. Military units loyal to the new constitution match on Tehran and depose the shah. Mohammad Ali Shah is forced into exile in Russia. Disputes develop between the constitutional government and the Russians over taxing rights. The Russians object to the government collecting takes in its sphere and Russian trops stationed in Oersia move on Teheran. Eventually the Majlis accepts the Russian demands, but then is again closed (1911). The new Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) begins to build an oil refinery at Abadan Island in the Persian Gulf. The political situation in Persia is further complicated by the War and foreign intervention. The urban middle classes and intelligentsia with the failure of democracy were more willing to accept a strong-man ruler. This was to create an opportunity for Reza Shah. When World War I breaks out in Euope (August 1914), Persia declared its neutrality, but the presence of Russian, Turkish and British troops as swell as the importance of the newly discovered oil resources makes this in practice impossible. The Royal Navy signs a long-term contract with the APOC to supply fuel oil for the fleet. The British Government purchases a majority of the company's stock. Persia bordered on the Ottoman Empire which had held Mesopotamia since 1534. The Britain needed the oil for its fleet. The most modern dreadnoughts had been converted from coal furnaces to clearn burning oil. The British after the Ottomans entered the War launched an offensive and took Basra (Mesopotamia/Iraq) with its oil wells (November 1914). The British also occupied the terminus of the oil pipeline and the refineries situated on Abadan Island (Persia) in the Shatt El Arab. This was the border between Ottoman Mesopotamia and Persia. Accross the border the British and Ottomons fought over Mesopotamia. Some Persian soldiers fought with the Ottomans. A Ottoman diversionary force crossed the Tigris (April 1915) as a threat to pro-British Persia, especially the refinery at Ahvaz. The British suffered a major defeat at El Kut in Mesopotamia (Iraq). The British Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force regrouped and launched another attack. They crossed the Tigris and captured Kut-el-Amara (December 1916). The British reached Baghdad (March 1917). Turkish offensives drove toward Baku in the Caususes supported by the Germans to tghe north. The Ottomons also moved into northeaster Iran (autumn 1918). The British respomded with small mobile forces (Dunsteforce expedition). Ottomon military power is broken, however by a British drive from Bagdad toward Mosul and the British Arab drive toward Jeurusalem and Damascus and then as far noth as Alepo. With the Bolshevick Revolution, Russia is no longer an important player in Persia. Britain attemoted to establish a kind of protectorate under the terms of the Anglo-Persian Agreement. Iranian nationalists object. Iranian Prime Minister Vosuq od-Dowleh supports the agreement because the Majlis refuses to approve it. Vosuq od-Dowleh is forced out of office. Moshir al-Doleh replaces him. The elected government is again overthrown in a British-instigated military coup. Reza Khan leading a force of Persian Cossacks seize control (1921). Reza Khan becomes prime ministership. Reza Khan formally deposes the royal Qajar Dynasty (1925). He then has himself crowned shah (1926) founding the Pahlavi Dynasty.


Ireland at the time of World War I was part of the United Kingdom. At the time that the crisis developed in the Balkans, the Goverment was considering the Irish question. Parlialment was considering the Third Home Rule Bill. The Government decided to postpone consideration until after the War. Most believe that the war would be a short one. Ireland at the time was divided between Nationalists and Unionists. When Britain declared war (August 1914), both Nationalists and Unionists that the best course was to lyally support Britain. The common logic was that by fighting with Britain, they would be best situated to gain support for their position after the War. The Irish were recruited and eventually drafted for military service just like the English as British subjects. Thousands of Irishmen enlisted and many were mobilized in the British Army's 10th and 16th divisions. Members of the Nationalist Irish Volunteer Force (IVF) joined the war alongside the British. There were dissenters. A relatively small splinter group objected to any cooperation woth the British. Tho stress their loyalty, the majority of the IVF renamed themselves the National Volunteer Force (NVF). This left the splinter group in control of the IVF. Members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) also joined the British war effort. They were mobilized separately from NVF. The UVF men and other Unionists were organized as the 36th Ulster Division. This division was heavily engaged on the Somme (July 1916). The Somme was one of the most costly engagements fought by the British Army. Losses were dreadful. Out of the 10,000 men of the 36th Ulster there were 5,000 casualties. The sacrifice of the 26th Ulster demonstated the loyalty of the Irish unionists. This affected British attitudes to home rule. An estimated 250,000 Irish men from north and south served in World War I. They came together during the Messines offensive (1917). As many as 50,000 Irish died during the war. The Easter Rebellion was staged in Dublin (1916). Irish Nationalists like most Europeans had thought the War would quickly be over, at which time the question of home rule coldbe taken up again. When the War continued throughout 1915 and into 1916, it ws clear that the War could continue for some time. The Irish Republican Brotherhood and the splinter IVF decided to tak a bold action against against British rule in Ireland. They planned to take advantage of the fact that the British Army as in France with only a small force in Ireland. The Easter Rising was mastermined by Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, and Joseph Plunkett. Roger Casement was to obtain German weapons. The British intercepted the weapons, but the Rising occurred as planned on Easter Monday (April 24, 1916). Although unsuccessful it was the first action that would eventually lead to Irish independence after the War.


Italy which was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary decided to remain neutral when war broke out (1914). This was a critical decesssion as an Italian attack from the south might have been sufficient to have brought a German vicyory in the west. The followung year the Allies convinced Italy to join them, offering financial assistance and territorial concessions at the expense of Austria-Hungary. Italy declared war on May 23, 1915). Four indesivive battles on the Isonzo River followed with Austro-Hungary (June-December 1915). The Italian goal was to take Trieste, a largely Italian city on the Adriatic. The city was important to the Audstria because it was the Empire's only important port. Without Trieste, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was largely land-locked. The War proved to be much more costly than the Government expected. There were huge casualties and the the financial impact destabilized the Italian economy. And despite the losses and cost, Italy achieved only limited territorial gains.


Japan joined the Allies almost at the onset of the War (August 23, 1914). It seems surprising that Japan would have entered the War so quickly when the German Army was marching through Belgium and seemed likely to reach Paris. Japan had signed an Alliance with Britain (1902), but it was not aimed at Germany nor did it require Japan to join the Allies when war broke out in Europe. The British fearing that the German Far Eastern Squadron would disrupt trade, asked the Japanese for assistance. The Japanese Government for largely domestic reasons quickly agreed to the British request. Japan saw the opportunity to seize Germany�s Pacific colonies and obrin control over its Chinese concessions. [Strachan] Germany had acquired several colonial possessions, including concessions in China and Pacific islands. The Germans build a major naval base at Tsingtao. It was hear that the only major engagement in the Far East was fought. The Japanese supported by the British succeeded in seizing Tsingtao a very little cost in a combined land sea operation (November 1914). More importantly for the future, the Japanese seized control of the formerly German owned Shantung Railway. Japan seized German Pacific islands without resistance, includung Palau and the Marshall, Caroline, and Marianas islands. This gave them the naval bases at Yap, Ponape, and Jaluit. Japanese naval surveyors subsequently discovered the potential fleet base of Truk, and after the war built a major naval base there. As agreed by the Allies, the Japanese seized German colonies north of the Equator while those to the south were seized by British and Dominion forces. A New Zealand force escorted by British, French and Australian warships seized German Samoa (August 28, 1914). A British ship seized the guano-mining island of Nauru. The Australian Navy seized the Bismarck Islands (September 1914). The German forces surrendered German New Guinea and the Bismarck, Admiralty, and Solomon Islands. After seizing the German bases, the Japanese Navy assisted the Allies in convoy protection from German raiders. There were small German military units in these colonies as well as civilians. We do not notice any attrocities by the Japanese during World War I like they committed during World War II. After the War, the Treaty of Versailles awarded Japan a mandate over the islands.


Latvia at the time of World War I was a part of the Russian Empire. The initial fighting was in East Prussia and Poland, but after Hindenberg and Ludendorf snashed Russian armies at Tannenburg and other battles (1914), the Germans moved into Poland and the Baltics (1915). Terrible Russian losses caused theRussian Army to mutiny and the Tsar to abdicate. This was followed by the Nolshecick Revolution (October 1917). Latvian nationalists were anti-Communist abd formed the Latvian National Ccouncil (LNC) (October 29, 1917). German occupation forces did not allow the KNC to organize an independent government or recruit an army. The Germans were intentent on organising Latvia as a Baltic duchy. The Soviets and Germans finally signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 3, 1918). The Treaty obliged the Bolsheviks to accept the loss of Latvia and the other Baltic states. The Allied offensive in the West broke the German Army and an Armistice was signed ending the War (November 11, 1918). The German defeat in the West changed the situation in the East. The Germans were required to abrogated the Treaty of Brest-Litosk. This meant that the status of the Baltic states was unclear. The Latvians established a People's Council which proclaimed an independent republic. Karlis Ulmanis was the first prime minister (November 17). The next day The Council declared Latvian independence. The Latvians, however, had to fight the Bolshevicks to secure their independence.


Italy had largely missed out on the 19th cenury European effort to stake out overseas colonies. Libya until the early 20th century was nominally an Ottomon province, but the Ottomon's exerted only limited control. Italy saw Libya located as it was close to home as the ideal colony with a Mediterranean coast. Italy began the final assault on the Ottomon Empire by declaring war in this case to secure a new colony in North Africa--Libya. The Italo-Turkish War (1911-12). While fought outside the Balkans, it weaked the Ottomon Army in the years just before World War I. The Italians became the first country to drop ordinance from an airplane in warfare. They tossed grenades from a German-built monoplane. The Ottomons largely ceeded to Italian demands because of the worsening situation in the Balkans, an area of much greater importance to the Ottomons. The Ottomons were, however, then further humiliated in the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912-13). Libyan nationalists were torn during World War I. Some were pro-British, but since the Italians which were turning Italy into a colony joined the Allies, some were now more favorably disposed toward the Ottomons, their former colonial masters. Senussi tribesmen supported by the Ottmons staged an uprising against the Italians (November 1915). The uprising was a relatively limited action. It did, however, cause the deployment of a substantial Allied force--some 110,000 British, French and Italian troops. Peace or more accurately truce terms were reached (April 1917). After the War, Italy would continue efforts to colonize Libya. Mussolini with his dreams of reconstituting the Roman Empire would wage a merciless campaign to end Libyan resistance to Italian rule.


Lithuania was part of the Tsarist Empire which lay to the east of East Prussia. The Russians honoring their treaty with France lsunvhed an offensive into East Prussia. The Germans smashed the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg (August 1914). This required them, however, to shift forces from their western offendive east. As a result of Tannenberg, the Germans moved into and occupied large areas of Lithuania. It would take longer to occupy Latvia. There were no Tsarist Lithuanian forces, Lithusnians were conscripted into Rusian units. This was because the Tsarist officials questiined their loyalty, 'The German occupation regime was Oberbefehlshaber der gesamten Deutschen Streitkr�fte im Osten' (Ober Ost). The term meant Supreme Commander of All German Forces in the East". It could refer to the commander, but was the term used for the military administration and the area they controlled (1914). The initial commander was Paul von Hindenburg who won the Tannenberg victory. Ober Ost was ininitially captured Lithunania, but gradually expanded as the Germans win more battles and drove the Tsarist forces east. It eventually included a large area: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, parts of Poland (beyonf the gOvernment General) and Courland. The German Army devises plans for the settlement of demobilized soldier-farmers in the occupied Baltic region--Land Ober Ost. [Liulevicius] After Verdun, the Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn was dismissed (1916). Hindenburg replaced him and Prince Leopold of Bavaria was given command of an expanding Ober Ost. Ober Ost was the German administration of the norther area awarded to in the Treary of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918). A Lithuanian conference of prominent Lithuanians met at Vilna (September 18-22, 1917). This led to the establishment of a national council and after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, a commitment to independence (December 11). The Germans had occupied Lithuania and encouraged the Lithuanians to declare independence. The Lituanians formally declared independence (February 16, 1918). The Bolsheviks invaded, but German forced prevented any important gains. The Bolsheviks under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 3), however, were forced to recognize Lithuanian independence (March 3). The Germans also recognized Lithuanaia (March 23). The Germans convinced the Lithuanians to sign an alliance (May 14). The Lithuanians decided to create a monarchy rather than a republic. They elected Duke William of Urach as their king (June 4). I am nor sure as the Kaiser Wilhelm's role in this. At the time it looked like the Germans now that the Russians were out of the War to achiece victory in the West. The defeat of Germany in the West changed the political situation. The Germans began withdrawing immediately after the armistace on the Western Front (November 11). The election of the king was canceled. Augustinas Voldemaras formed a government, but the political situation was unstable. With the withdrawl of the Germans, the Bolsheviks invaded. Further confusing the situation, the Poles seized Vilinus. This would poison Lithuanian-Polish relations during the inter-War era.


Germany invaded and occupied Luxembourg along with the invasion of Belgium at the onset of World War I (1914). Unlike Belgium, Luxembourg did not have an army tpo resist. The Duchy was occupied throughout the War. Princess Adelaide had suceeded her father as Grand Duchess just before the War (1912). Thge Germans as occupiers were arrogant and very tough, but wiuthin the limits of military law. They were not the World Wwar II NAZIs which acted beyond, but the Germans thoroiughly allienated the local population. As Grand Duchess Adelaide was very friendly to the occupying Germans,she alienated public support for the monaerchy, despite German control of the media. The German occupation did not end until the Armistice was signed (1919). Liberal and socialist politicans hoped to end the monarhy. Some favored a republic. Others wanted to join Belgium to ensure that the Germans would never take over the Duchy. There was some chance of it because Grand Duchess Adelaide has brought the monarchy into disrepute. In the end, Grand Duchess Adelaide abdicated. Princess Charlotte who was not as associated with the Germans promised the government that she would not meddle in state affairs. She accepted a new democratic constitution with place substantial limits on the power of the monarchy. When the Germans invaded again in World war II (1940), Grand Duchess Charlotte fled to Britain and became a national sumbol of resisrtance.


Keegan, John. The First World War (Knopf: New York, 1999), 475p.

Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel. War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity and German Occupation in World War 1 (Cambridge, 2000).

Strachan, Hew. The First World War (Viking Press, New York, N.Y., 2004).


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