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What is imperialism?

Imperialism is a foreign policy aimed at the permanent subjugation of territories, markets, and raw materials.


What made African imperialism attractive to Western European nations in the closing decades of the 19th century?

Africa is plentiful in many of the raw materials which were necessary to feed the manufacturing industry, such as rubber, cotton, and copper.

In addition, for the first time Europeans developed the means to combat the diseases of the African continent. Quinine, useful in mitigating the effects of malaria, was commonly served as part of the quintessentially British gin and tonic.


At the _____ _____ in 1885, the Great Powers set in place the rules for African colonialism.

Berlin Conference

Organized by Otto von Bismarck, the Berlin Conference was an attempt by the Great Powers to determine amongst themselves their various spheres of influence in Africa, offsetting any danger of war on the Continent. At the time, Germany's colonial possessions were negligible, but by 1914 she would be the third largest colonial power.


What Great Powers were active in the "Scramble for Africa"?

The Scramble for Africa refers to the acquisition of colonies in Africa during the late 19th century. The largest colonial powers were Britain, France, and Germany.

Italy had a few colonies, Belguim possessed the Congo, and Spain's and Portugal's small colonial presence was a remnant of their earlier empires.


Germany exacerbated European relations in the early 20th century by commencing an expansion in what branch of her armed services?

While Germany possessed Europe's most powerful army, prior to the early 20th century her naval presence was negligible. Kaiser Wilhelm II announced a massive naval program, building battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines.

If Germany built a large navy in addition to her army, it raised the potential of one power dominating Europe, upsetting the balance of power. Further, the new German navy was a threat to Great Britain, which had the world's largest navy. Britain announced that for every battleship the Germans built Britain would build two, setting in motion an arms race.


What strategic concern faced the Germans before World War One?

On one border, Germany was faced with the hostile Russian Empire, and on the other, the French Republic, bent on revenge for the Franco-Prussian War.

To the south her only ally, Austria-Hungary, had a weak army and was rent by internal divisions. Were France and Russia to declare war on Germany and attack her from both sides, Germany would be severely outnumbered.


What three powers made up the Triple Entente at the outset of World War One?

Britain, France, and Russia comprised the Triple Entente. Russia and France had a treaty dating to the late 19th century. Britain never formally pledged her cooperation in a European war, but mounting German militarism led to closer ties with France and Russia and an end to the British policy of "Splendid Isolation" from the affairs on the Continent.



Pan-Slavism referred to the unification of all Slav territory in Austria-Hungary into a single state. Pan-Slavism was fomented by Austria-Hungary's enemy Serbia, who aspired to head any Pan-Slav state.


In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, technically an Ottoman territory, but which Austria-Hungary had been administering. How did Serbia respond?

The annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina highly irritated the Serbs, who felt that they had justifiable territorial interests in the area. Russia, as a Serbian ally and self-proclaimed protector of the Slavs, backed Serbia's protest, and Serbia mobilized her army.

War was narrowly averted when Serbia and Russia backed down and agreed to a diplomatic resolution. Relations between Serbia and Russia on one hand, and Austria-Hungary on the other, had been irreparably damaged, and Serbia would not back down from the next Balkan crisis.


How did Germany propose to deal with the prospect of a two-front war in 1914?

The German Schlieffen Plan sought to take advantage of the time it would take the slow-moving Russian Army to mobilize, and sought to conquer France first by amassing troops on the Western Front, before transferring troops to the Eastern Front to fight Russia.

France's border with Germany was heavily defended and would unacceptably delay the German offensive, so the German Chief of Staff Alfred von Schlieffen designed a plan where the German Army would make a right hook around the French fortifications by marching through neutral Belgium.


What event set off World War One?

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Slav nationalist with ties to the Serbian secret service, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie. The assassination took place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.


How did Austria-Hungary diplomatically respond to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand?

Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the dispute, and after making sure that Germany would support Austro-Hungarian actions, sent an ultimatum to Serbia demanding retribution. Serbia refused and Austria declared war.

Interestingly, Kaiser Wilhelm II was largely unconcerned with Austro-Hungarian initiative, not thinking it could lead to war. After giving Austria-Hungary a "blank check," Wilhelm II departed on a cruise.


How did the Austria-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia in 1914 set in motion World War One?

Once Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Serbia's ally Russia began mobilizing her troops. In response, Germany mobilized her own troops, and demanded that Russia cease further mobilization efforts. Russia refused and Germany and Austria-Hungary declared war on her, and out of fears that France would declare war if Germany devoted her forces against Russia, Germany declared war on France.

With the Schlieffen Plan in effect and Germany invading Belgium, Great Britain declared war.


What prompted Britain to declare war on Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914?

As part of the Schlieffen Plan, Germany invaded France through Belgium, a neutral country. Much as Frederick the Great had called the Pragmatic Sanction a "scrap of paper," so did Wilhelm II call the treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality. Great Britain declared war in response to the German invasion.

Recent historical research into pre-war British plans has revealed that had Germany not invaded Belgium, the British would have done so. 


As the First World War progressed, which two nations joined the Central Powers?

In late 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers, and in 1915 Bulgaria followed suit.


What former German and Austro-Hungarian ally declared neutrality at the war's outset and then entered the war on the side of the Triple Entente?

Although Italy had an alliance with both Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1914, she first declared neutrality, then entered the war on the side of the Triple Entente in 1915, motivated by promises from Britain and France of land along the Adriatic. Despite sacrificing thousands of lives, Italian battlefield accomplishments were negligible.


What system of defense characterized warfare on the Western Front?

By late 1914, trench warfare prevailed on the Western Front, and trenches stretched from the Swiss border to the English Channel. Attempts to break the stalemate typically led to slaughter; in the Battle of the Somme nearly 60,000 Britons died.

The Germans were much better at preserving the lives of their men, and their casualties were 1/3 of those experienced by the British and French.


total war

Total war refers to devoting the entirety of a nation's economic resources to war. During both the First and Second World War, both sides converted factories to military production, and used the full measure of their industrial capacity for war purposes.


How did suffragette Emily Pankhurst request that British women respond to the outbreak of World War One?

Pankhurst encouraged the suffragettes to pause the campaign for female votes for the war's duration. Near the end of the war, the British government extended the franchise to include women, in part because of the contribution of women to Britain's war effort.

Thousands of British women worked in factories throughout the War, freeing men for front-line duty.


What was the Easter Rebellion?

In 1916, Irish Home Rule advocates rebelled against the British government during Easter, hoping to take advantage of the fact that Britain was distracted by World War One.

The revolution was a failure, and several leaders of the Easter Rebellion were executed.


Erich Maria Remarque penned the quintessential novel of life on the Western Front during World War One, _____ ____ ____ ____ _____ ____.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Although Remarque's novel depicted the life of German soldiers amidst the horrors of the trenches, the life he described spoke of the experience of millions of men on both sides of the war. 


What led to the collapse of the Romanoff dynasty in Russia?

In 1917, Russia was exhausted from years of war and faced food shortages at home. When workers rioted in St. Petersburg, Tsar Nicholas II sent troops to put down the unrest.

Instead of firing on the crowds, the soldiers mutinied. The mutiny spread, leading the Tsar to abdicate and to the establishment of the Provisional Government under Alexander Kerensky and prominent members of the Duma.


What strategic mistake doomed the Kerensky-led Provisional Government in Russia in 1917?

While Kerensky's government did establish some far-reaching reforms, including imposing an eight-hour working day and freedom of religion, it continued the war against the Central Powers.

The Russian forces met with little success, and popular discontent against both the new government and the war ensured that the Provisional Government would never be able to establish itself as the long-term Russian government.


Who was Vladimir Lenin?

Vladimir Lenin was a professional revolutionary, who was exiled from Russia in the wake of the 1905 Revolution. After Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne, the Germans arranged for Lenin to return to Russia to foment a Communist revolution against the Kerensky government.


Why did Lenin believe that a professional revolutionary must lead the movement to impose a Communist government on Russia, rather than wait for the workings of Marx's dialectic?

Lenin contended that because Russia lacked a true industrial working class, the development of a class consciousness would never take place. Thus, the imposition of the dictatorship of the proletariat must be led by professional revolutionaries rather than begin as an organic movement among the working class.



During the Russian Revolution, the soviets were "Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies," who were to serve as local governments under the Provisional Government that could hold national elections.

In 1917, most soviets had members who were Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and Bolsheviks. By November, the Bolsheviks had seized control of the soviets, and overthrew the Provisional Government claiming "all power to the soviets."


On his return to Russia in April of 1917, Lenin proposed his "April Theses." What did Lenin argue?

Lenin contended that the Bolsheviks should reject any conciliation with Kerensky's Provisional Government, and the country's banks, industry, and land should all be nationalized.

Lenin contended that the Bolsheviks should begin calling themselves the Communist Party, and that all political power in Russia should belong to the workers' soviets. Initially, Lenin's ideas were rejected by his contemporaries.


How did Lenin and the Bolsheviks manage to seize control of Russia between April and November 1917?

Lenin, with the able assistance of his ally Leon Trotsky, first instituted Bolshevik control of the workers' soviet in Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg). Working in opposition to Kerensky's Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks argued that power should reside in the soviets.

In late October, Lenin and Trotsky planned a coup, and by early November, had used the Petrograd Soviet to seize Petrograd's key strategic, transportation, and communication centers. By the night of November 6 the Winter Palace had been captured and the coup was complete.


Immediately after seizing power in early November, Lenin held a meeting of the soviets, known as the Second Congress of Soviets. What two decrees did the Second Congress issue?

The Second Congress issued two decrees, calling for immediate peace with the Central Powers and the end of private ownership of land. Under the Congress' decree, each landowner was only entitled to as much land as he could farm, and the distribution of land would be overseen by local villages.

The Bolsheviks dominated the Second Congress and Lenin used it as a vehicle to announce his policies.

The First Congress, which had been held in June of 1917, had broken up a few months earlier after accomplishing little of note.


Prior to the Bolshevik coup of November of 1917, elections to a Constituent Assembly had been promised by the Provisional Assembly, and Lenin allowed them to go ahead in late November. What were the results of the election?

Some 41 million voted, and the Socialist Revolutionaries received 58% of the vote, the Bolsheviks 25%, and the Kadets and other parties earned 17%.

The Constituent Assembly convened on January 18, 1918, and elected a Socialist Revolutionary as the Assembly's President. In protest the Bolshevik delegates walked out. When the Assembly's members returned the next day to continue work, Lenin's troops informed them that the Assembly had been dissolved.