World War I - The Great War in Numbers
World War I: The Numbers covers the sheer numbers involved in World War I. The Imperial powers were not satisfied with the vast territories and wealth they acquired over decades. So when in 1914, when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was killed the world exploded. This war would kill 18 million people. This war would change world history.
The sheer number of guns, people, ships, and airplanes is enough to boggle the mind. This war was fought on an unprecedented scale. Men would die in the millions. The Generals believed that no cost was too high. The men died at 6,000 per day and 1/3rd of the men in Europe would die in the trench. In the aftermath of the war communism and fascism came out of it. Votes for women also came about after the war. The people would target the old ruling class. Why did this war have to happen?
It is August 1914, men are called up to fight. 18,000,000 men volunteer to fight. It had been decades since the last European war. The war is going to be industrial. Previous wars were done on a small scale. The Industrial Revolution and new technology will have an impact on the war.
The first brick in the road to war begins with the elites. The elites desired to build the biggest empire. The British possessed the largest empire that ever was seen. They govern one-fourth of the world’s population. The Russian Empire was the second largest empire. The French Empire was the third largest and Germany brought up the rear. The Empire was incredibly important because it gave the ruling classes a way to control markets.
In Britain, they had a large merchant class and therefore would promote free trade. The other rulers saw their empires as a way of control and gaining prestige. For Germany’s small empire it was both a source of bruised pride and limited economic expansion. German steel production increases 300% and Germany is the main producer of chemicals. Ironically, the chemicals that the British army used to dye their uniforms came from Germany. Unfortunately, Germany did not have the access to the markets that the British, Americans and even the Russians had. This would put them at a big disadvantage on the international stage.
Germany is also dominated by an officer class. Not only were they geared for war but they desired the colonial positions of their counterparts. The Germans then started building up their navy and their navy spending triples. The British response is to double the size of its Royal Navy. They had more and bigger ships. The HMS Dreadnaught was launched during this time. It was a formidable foe. In 1914 the British had at their disposal 22 dreadnaughts and had 500+ additional ships in total. The Royal Navy was a dominant force in the world. It is still considered the largest navy in the world.
The German’s large army and growing navy have yet to put a dent in their empire's growth. Their actions have alienated the British, French, and Russian. Germany's action unites the British, French, and Russians over their concern for the growing German ambitions. Tensions are high. The Imperial powers are trying to jockey for position. At the same time, they are suppressing the people who want change. The plot was set for World War I and all it needed was a spark. That spark came with the sound of two shots. Continue to watch the documentary to learn more about World War I.
This is a fascinating documentary about the sheer numbers behind World War I. I would share this documentary with a history class and independent study students. This would be a good documentary for a substitute teacher to show in class.
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