The 6 key IB history concepts through the lens of current US interest in World War I

If you have studied the First World War as an IB student, the importance of this war is not lost on you.  World War I sowed the seeds of communist revolution in Russia, independence in Ireland, decolonization in much of the world, and a change in the international perception of a number of countries. 2014 marked the beginning of the centennial for most of the belligerents involved in the war, and this has led to a renewed interest and reconsideration of ...

The espionage act of 1917 and opposition to the First World War in North America

On June 15, 1917 the US Congress passed the Espionage Act which, while modified over the years, has remained in tact as legislation for a century.  This Act addressed key concerns from that point in time: 'interference' in military recruitment interception of materials considered seditious or treasonous by the US Postmaster prohibited the transference of information to a foreign agent that may could hinder the US war effort Passing the legislation was not at all surprising or unusual; all European countries had ...

Bulgaria enters the war, October 1915

Nearly 102 years ago, the Bulgarians entered the Great War on the side of the Central Powers.  While it began the 20th century as a client state of Russia it had become increasingly alienated from its patron.  As a member of the Balkan League it found itself in an unlikely alliance of Balkan countries.  The desire to, well, balkanize, the Ottoman Empire was a shared goal but the countries had very little else in common, and all wanted to expand ...

Mess – o – potamia (homage to Jon Stewart) in World War I

World War I took place on may different fronts, but the focus tends to be on the Western front and a few key battles here and there.   This post will focus on the Mesopotamian campaigns. As you read through this, consider the following question: How did the Mesopotamian campaign affect the course and outcome of the First World War? This is a very long post, and to do the subject justice would be even longer, so I have tried to ...

Japanese military participation in World War I

Most IBDP students have a clear understanding of Japanese participation in the peace talks after World War I.  Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919 very effectively illustrates Japanese goals of racial equality and great power status, and many historians look at World War I as a means of further subjugating the Chinese but little time or effort tends to be given to Japan's actual military participation in World War I.   Consider the following questions: What interests did Japan have that led to ...

First World War centennial – Africa

While most of us spend time on the role of colonialism, and the 19th century Scramble for Africa as a cause of the war, we rarely spend much time on the continent after the outbreak of war.  There is some mention of North Africa vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire but there is little consideration of the Sub-Saharan region. The Germans maintained colonial empires on both coasts but they tended to be poorly defended.  When war broke out the Allies took advantage of ...

Battle of Galicia August to September 1914

General Nikolai Ivanov, Russian commander who oversaw victory in Galicia Front for the Russian Army In this context, Galicia does not mean the region in northwestern Spain. Once Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the Russians mobilized their armies against Austria-Hungary in compliance with their alliance with Serbia.  The Austrians knew that they needed to strike quickly as the Russian army was much larger, so Austria needed the advantages of time and surprise if they would stand a chance against the Russians.  Thus, ...

Bosnia dateline August 1914 and the origin of aerial warfare

If you are studying European history you most likely study in the most minute detail the events that transpired in Bosnia on June 28, 1914.  And this year in particular there was a certain amount of fanfare - if we can say that about an event with such disastrous consequences - surrounding the assassination as it was the 100-year anniversary of the "shot heard 'round the world".  However, how many of you then go on to study what happened in ...

100th Anniversary

The city of Sarajevo is commemorating the events of this date in a number of ways and it seems only appropriate on this June 28th to look at the trigger that led to the First World War.  There are so many who see this war as inevitable but it is never good history to see things as such.  There are a number of ways at looking at the outbreak of war: look at general causes - the "isms" that your ...

the shot heard around the world

This is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  With the centennial of this, many more will follow and we will see the First World War in the mainstream media once again. The causes of World War I continue to intrige historians and there has been very little break in the evaluation of the outbreak of war, but several books have been released this year, probably in anticipation of a renewed interest in the subject.  Richard Alduous ...