World War One

Clips from PBS, The Great War And the Shaping of the 20th Century (Vol.1 – “Explosion”)

part 1 – Rising Germany

Map illustrates the German empire. “Bismarck’s system of secret balancing alliances.  Kaiser Wilhelm sends Bismarck into retirement, upsetting balance of power.  German insecurity as France and Russia draw closer together, Austria remains sole ally.” (Clip also alludes to Kaiser’s psychology).

part 2 – Alliances

“Some damn foolish thing in the Balkans would ignite a major war… Tensions in Balkans in 1914… ethnic Slaves want to break away from Austria-Hungary and create a kingdom of Greater Serbia.”

part 3 – Trigger

“On June 14 1914 Black Hand assassinate Archduke and his wife. Austria needs to eliminate Serbia as a political factor.  Brinkmanship, not national interest.  Kaiser give Austria support. Alliance system had set a deadly trap as war between Austria and Serbia means war between all….  In a flash the whole continent was going to be at war.” (Illustrated with a Map)

part 4 – Willy/Nicky telegrams

“In desperation Nicolas and Wilhelm began a curious exchange by telegraph in order to prevent the war.”

part 5 – Honour

“Russia had to mobilize its army.  Tsar Nicolas held out.  Hidden element in war crisis is ‘honour.’  It was in no great power’s interest to go to war… honor at stake.”

part 6 – Russian mobilization

“Russian mob was just what the German general staff wanted… it was only responding to a threat. France followed…”

Clip from ABC’s No Man’s Land: The Great War

World War One and Kaiser Wilhelm

“No leader cared more about having an army that Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm… he assembles an army of over 5 million men…. Kaiser Wilhelm was physically and emotionally intellectually imbalanced….. He never got over that his grand mother didn’t love him… His cousins were so concerned that they formed an alliance against him.”

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