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Source: World History, Patterns of Interaction                            Click Here For PowerPoint/Keynote Preview

Chapter 29 Section 2

Presentation Notes

Higher Order Thinking Questions

Concept: Alliance

An Agreement between two or more parties to advance common goals or interests

    -1914: Europe Divided

        -Triple Entente: Great Britain, France and Russia

        -Triple Alliance: Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary

The Great War Begins

    -Chain Reaction

        -Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia!

            -Triggers Serbia’s alliance with Russia

            -Russia begins to mobilize it’s army

Russia knew that war against Austria-Hungary would mean war with Germany, so they mobilized against both. Germany knew France’s alliance with Russia would pull them into the conflict so they declared war on France 2 days later.

            -Russia’s mobilization triggered the German and Austria-Hungary Alliance

                -Germany declares war on Russia

                -Germany declares war on France

                -Great Britain declares war on Germany

Italy believed the war was started unjustly and was neutral at the start of the war.  Later they joined the Allies.  Japan would also join the Allies soon after.


        -Allies: France, Russia and Great Britain

        -Central Powers: Germany & Austria-Hungary

        -Italy leaves the Triple Alliance

“The lamps are going out all over Europe.  We shall not see them again during our Lifetime” Sir Edward Grey

Question: What would the impact be of not following through with an alliance?
Answer: Countries would be hesitant to make alliances with a country that does not honor it’s agreements.

A Bloody Stalemate

Concept: Invasion

The act of attacking a country or region with an armed force

    -The Western Front

        -The battlefield in the West was known as the Western Front.  It included Belgium and French territory.

            -Germany faces a two front war

Question: Why is a two front war a disadvantage?

Answer: You can’t concentrate all your forces, you have to split your forces and supplies in two different directions.

In 1905, Alfred Von Schlieffen developed a plan to defeat a two front war scenario for Germany. 

                -The Schlieffen Plan

                    -VonSchlieffen believed Russia would be slow to mobilize it’s army because of it’s poor transportation system.

                    -Knockout blow in the West against France

                    -Then move Germany’s forces on their vast railroad network to the East before Russia can fully mobilize.

                    -Objective: Fight Russia and France Separately instead of at the same time.

Concept: War

A conflict that results in military action between groups or nations.

        -The First Battle of The Marne

            -By September of 1914, the Germans had invaded France and were just outside Paris!

            -Germany seemed days away from the quick victory they needed

                -The Germans had not anticipated resistance from Belgium and it cost them valuable time.

            -At the same time, the Germans were pulling troops out of the line to meet the Russian advance in the East.

                -The Russians were mobilizing much faster than the Germans had anticipated.

More than 600 taxi cabs rushed soldiers to the front. It was the first use of the automobile in war.


            -The Allies attacked the weakened German positions Northeast of Paris in the Marne River Valley

            -As the gap continued to widen, the German Army found itself in danger of being encircled and was forced to retreat.

            -Realizing a quick victory in the West was impossible now, the Germans began to moving forces to the East.

Question: Why is the First Battle of the Marne considered the most important battle of the war?

Answer: Without the Allied counter-Attack, Paris would have fallen and France would have lost the war.

    -War In The Trenches

        -Trench Warfare

            -By 1915, both sides had dug in on the Western Front

            -The only strategies generals used were massive offensives that resulted in horrific casualties.

            -The trench system stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland- nearly 500 miles!

To launch an attack, they would blow a whistle and then the soldiers would “Go over the top” or they climbed out of their trenches and charged across no-man’s land.  Thousands were massacred by machine gun fire.

        -The Trench System

            -A complex series of trenches were dug on both sides.

                -The land in-between was called “No-Man’s Land” because nobody controlled it.

                -The machine gun made crossing No-Man’s Land practically suicide.

                -How do you get through that?

                    -Answer: You don’t

                -Artillery pounded the trenches with high explosive shells.

Question: What effect did all the new technology have on the war itself?

Answer: Instead of creating a mobile war, like they thought, it created more efficient ways of killing mass numbers of people.

        -1915-1616: Carnage: The killing of large numbers of people.

The losses were total from both sides.  The Offensive side usually suffered the most casualties.  In the Battle of the Somme, 20,000 British soldiers were killed the first day.  The battle also featured the first significant use of tanks.

        -Bigger Offensives= Bigger Losses

            -February 1916 (Germans)

                -Verdun: 600,000 Losses

            -July 1916 (British)

                -Somme: 500,000+ losses

            -Germans gained 4 miles

            -British gained 5 miles

            -1.1 million killed

The Eastern Front

Over 30,000 Russian soldiers were killed at Tannenberg.  The Russian Army was in full retreat!  The Russians were essentially fighting a two front war themselves against the Germans and Austro-Hungarians.  Their industry and transportation systems could not support that large of an invasion and eventually they ran out of supplies and weakened. The Russians had success against Austria-Hungary capturing Galacia. The Russians continued to advance until December 1914 when they weakened and were finally stopped by A-H. 

    -Russian Invasion

        -Russia mobilized a lot faster than Germany Anticipated

        -The Russian Army invaded East Prussia (Germany) and Austria-Hungary in August 1914

        -The Germans counter-attacked in late August smashing the Russian army at Tannenberg.

        -The Russians defeated Austria-Hungary twice in 1914.

            -Austria-Hungary turned the tide and drove Russia out of their borders

Question: Was Russia a benefit to the Allies? (Explain your answer)

Answer: Russia tied up hundreds of thousands of troops and supplies that could have been used in the West.

        -Russia Severely Weakened

        -Countries go through a lot of materials and supplies in a war.

            -Industrialized countries replenished their supplies

            -Russia’s two front war in the East drained their stockpiles

            -Lack of industrialization left them unable to replenish their supplies 

        -Russia Near Collapse


                -The Russian Army rebuilt itself over and cover during the war.


                -The people could no longer stomach the massive losses

                -Troops were without weapons, ammunition, food and clothing.

            -Factors pushing Russia to collapse

                -Lack of industrialization

                -Poor transportation system

                -Czar was a poor leader

                -Unstable government

The End

     Mr. Harms has designed a number of PowerPoint and Keynote presentations to help students understand history. Designed by a teacher for teachers, this PowerPoint focuses on "Europe Plunges Into War 1914-1916" This presentation is designed to give them an overview of the events in the first two years of the Great War. Students will be shown maps, animations and descriptions of some of the major events of the First World War.
      The presentation is totally customizable, allowing you to add your own pictures, graphics and animations to take what we've done even farther.  It comes with presentation notes to help you discuss the subject and engage them in the events of World War 1. At less than $4.00, it will save you time and lay the foundation for presentations that help students understand and remember.  
The Topics include: Alliance Systems, Chain Reaction, The Western Front, Two Front War, Schlieffen Plan, First Battle of The Marne, Stalemate, Trench Warfare, Battle of Verdun, Battle of the Somme, The Eastern Front.
Number of Slides: 33  $3.30

Included in The Presentation Package:
1.    Keynote Presentation
2.    Power Point Presentation
3.    Text edit file of the Outline of The Presentation and presenter's notes.

(The package is a digital download (Zip File) of these three items.

      We have a number of PowerPoints related to World War 1. Teaching an entire unit on World War 1. Then check out our interactive World War 1 lesson plans. These units are proven to engage students in a way that text books and documentaries can’t. Hundreds of teachers are using these lesson plans to bring history to life for students. It’s a unit you’ll use year after year.

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Mcdougal Littel's World History: Patterns of Interaction
The World At War
The Great War
Chapter 29, Section 2 "Europe Plunges Into War"

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WWI: Europe Plunges Into War Presentation