Historical Context

Week 2 and 3 – A. Effects of World War I

Mon. Aug. 19: What were the effects of the 1st World War?


Summary of the effects of WWI (from InThinking IB History website):

“After the armistices were signed with the Central Powers in November 1918, the victorious powers met met at Versailles near Paris in 1919 to discuss and agree terms for a peace settlement.  Europe was in chaos.   10 million people had died in the war, there was starvation and  a deadly flu epidemic. There was also widespread physical and devastation which had dire economic consequences. Where the fighting had taken place on the western front, France and Belgium had lost land and industry e.g France had 2 million hectares of farmland rendered unusable.  Italy was also badly effected, and in the east Poland and Serbia were  devastated.  Roads and railway lines needed to be reconstructed, arable land had to be cleared of unexploded shells and hospitals and houses had to be rebuilt.

The war had led to the collapse of the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. The Bolsheviks had established the first communist state in Russia, and there was fear that its ideology and revolution could spread across Europe in the post war period.  Its former imperial territories in Europe had declared independence; the Hungarians, south Slavs and Czechoslovaks had also declared independence from Austria-Hungary and there was a power vacuum in the Balkans.  It was in this complex and difficult context that the leaders of France, Britain, the USA, and Italy struggled to to create a lasting peace settlement.”

Read: Pearson, p. 77-79

Weds. August, 21 – What was the international impact of the war outside of Europe?

International impact of the war (InThinking IB History website):

“Americas – US: The US emerged from the war as the world’s number one economy. The war had boosted US industry and trade as food, raw materials, and munitions were bought or borrowed by the European.  It also took over overseas markets, replaced Germany as the main producer of fertilizers and chemical products.

President Woodrow Wilson wanted the US to play a key role in creating a new world order based on collective security in 1918.  However, most Americans did not want to get ‘dragged’ into European disputes as it would be bad for business, they also feared the spread of communism and had its own domestic racial tensions to deal with.

Asia – Japan and China: Like the US, Japan economically prospered during the war. Japan took over markets held by the Europeans and its exports almost tripled between 1915 and 1918. The war also gave Japan the opportunity for territorial expansion and it seized German holdings in Shandong province and islands in the Pacific.  It also attempted to gain more influence in China and presented the Chinese government with a list of ’21 demands’ that would give Japan economic control of the country.

China had also entered the war on the Allied side in 1917, it sent delegates to the Versailles Peace Conference. China wanted support to oppose Japanese expansion.”

Read: Pearson, p. 80-84

Thurs. Aug. 22 – What were the problems facing peacemakers in 1919?

Research your countries position at the Versailles Peace Conference. (Group 1, 2, 3 – France, Britain, USA; Group 4 – Germany) (Pearson 83-84)

Fri. Aug. 23 – What were the problems facing peacemakers in 1919?

Present out your countries position.

Read “The terms of the Treaty of Versailles” (Pearson 84-89)

Mon. Aug. 26 – Was the Treaty of Versailles a fair and workable settlement?

1. Consider which of the following terms were: economic, territorial, political, military or ‘other’.

2. In groups of 4, one representing the US, one representing France, one representing Britain and one representing Germany evaluate the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.  You should attempt to reach a decision on whether the Treaty of Versailles a fair and workable settlement.

3. Source Evaluation

Read “Alternative views of the Treaty of Versailles” (Pearson, 90-91)

Tues. Aug. 27 – Examine treaties determining the settlement of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe

Research and share out the terms of the following treaties:

  • Treaty of St. Germain (1919)
  • Treaty of Trianon (1920)
  • Treaty of Neuilly (1919)
  • Treaty of Sevres (1920)
  • Treaty of Lausanne (1923)

What were the criticisms of the peace settlements in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe?

Read: Pearson 91-97

Thurs. Aug. 29 – What was the impact of the war and the peace treaties by the early 1920s? 

Examine political / economic / social and issues affecting women as a result of the war and the peace treaties by the early 1920s.

Read: Pearson

Weeks 4 and 5 – B. Failure of Collective Security