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Europe's system of alliances and centuries-old tensions erupted into war in August of 1914. This week on Crash Course Euro, we're talking about the military history of World War I, and taking a look at the broad strokes of how the war unfolded. We'll take you from the guns of August through gruesome battles like Verdun and the Somme, and follow the thread all the way through to the Armistice in 1918. It didn't turn out to be the War to End All Wars, sadly, but there is a lot to learn from it.

Sources

-Engelstein, Laura. Russia in Flames. War, Revolution, and Civil War 1914-1922. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1918.
-Hunt, Lynn et al. Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, 6th ed. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s 2019.
-Sanborn, Joshua A. Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
-Suny, Ronald Grigor. “They Can Lie in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.
-Watson, Alexander. Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I. New
York: Basic Books, 2014.


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 Intoduction (00:00)


Hi, I'm John Green and this is Crash Course European History

so leading up to World War I, Germany had promised to back Austria, Hungary in any war; whether it was offensive or defensive and armed with this so called 'blank check' of support, the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburgs issued an ultimatum to Serbia, which the Hapsburgs blamed for the assasination of their Archduke. Serbia accepted the harsh conditions ... except one: that Austria-Hungary would be allowed to participate in the investigation of the murder. "All reason for war is gone," German Kaiser Wilhem II said. And yet Austria-Hungary and Germany -- the Central Powers -- both mobilized against Serbia by the end of July; eager to crush the pesky Serbs; believing the war would be a local and contained one ... it didn't go that way.

 Opening Credits(00:50)


 
In a swirl of military activity, Austria and Germany mobilized their armies; while virtually simultaneously, Russia came to the defense of its ally -- Serbia. France mobilized to aid its ally -- Russia. The wild card was Britain, which Germany thought would not come to the aid of Britain's frequent historical enemy, France. And indeed, Britain did not immediately declare war, which was a good thing for the Anglophile Germany Kaiser ...