Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Menu
Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. Connections Across Continents, 1500–1800
    1. 1 Understanding the Past
      1. Introduction
      2. 1.1 Developing a Global Perspective
      3. 1.2 Primary Sources
      4. 1.3 Causation and Interpretation in History
      5. Key Terms
      6. Section Summary
      7. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    2. 2 Exchange in East Asia and the Indian Ocean
      1. Introduction
      2. 2.1 India and International Connections
      3. 2.2 The Malacca Sultanate
      4. 2.3 Exchange in East Asia
      5. Key Terms
      6. Section Summary
      7. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    3. 3 Early Modern Africa and the Wider World
      1. Introduction
      2. 3.1 The Roots of African Trade
      3. 3.2 The Songhai Empire
      4. 3.3 The Swahili Coast
      5. 3.4 The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    4. 4 The Islamic World
      1. Introduction
      2. 4.1 A Connected Islamic World
      3. 4.2 The Ottoman Empire
      4. 4.3 The Safavid Empire
      5. Key Terms
      6. Section Summary
      7. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    5. 5 Foundations of the Atlantic World
      1. Introduction
      2. 5.1 The Protestant Reformation
      3. 5.2 Crossing the Atlantic
      4. 5.3 The Mercantilist Economy
      5. 5.4 The Atlantic Slave Trade
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
  3. An Age of Revolution, 1750–1914
    1. 6 Colonization and Economic Expansion
      1. Introduction
      2. 6.1 European Colonization in the Americas
      3. 6.2 The Rise of a Global Economy
      4. 6.3 Capitalism and the First Industrial Revolution
      5. Key Terms
      6. Section Summary
      7. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    2. 7 Revolutions in Europe and North America
      1. Introduction
      2. 7.1 The Enlightenment
      3. 7.2 The Exchange of Ideas in the Public Sphere
      4. 7.3 Revolutions: America, France, and Haiti
      5. 7.4 Nationalism, Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Political Order
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    3. 8 Revolutions in Latin America
      1. Introduction
      2. 8.1 Revolution for Whom?
      3. 8.2 Spanish North America
      4. 8.3 Spanish South America
      5. 8.4 Portuguese South America
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    4. 9 Expansion in the Industrial Age
      1. Introduction
      2. 9.1 The Second Industrial Revolution
      3. 9.2 Motives and Means of Imperialism
      4. 9.3 Colonial Empires
      5. 9.4 Exploitation and Resistance
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    5. 10 Life and Labor in the Industrial World
      1. Introduction
      2. 10.1 Inventions, Innovations, and Mechanization
      3. 10.2 Life in the Industrial City
      4. 10.3 Coerced and Semicoerced Labor
      5. 10.4 Communities in Diaspora
      6. 10.5 Regulation, Reform, and Revolutionary Ideologies
      7. Key Terms
      8. Section Summary
      9. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
  4. The Modern World, 1914–Present
    1. 11 The War to End All Wars
      1. Introduction
      2. 11.1 Alliances, Expansion, and Conflict
      3. 11.2 The Collapse of the Ottomans and the Coming of War
      4. 11.3 Total War
      5. 11.4 War on the Homefront
      6. 11.5 The War Ends
      7. Key Terms
      8. Section Summary
      9. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    2. 12 The Interwar Period
      1. Introduction
      2. 12.1 Recovering from World War I
      3. 12.2 The Formation of the Soviet Union
      4. 12.3 The Great Depression
      5. 12.4 Old Empires and New Colonies
      6. 12.5 Resistance, Civil Rights, and Democracy
      7. Key Terms
      8. Section Summary
      9. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    3. 13 The Causes and Consequences of World War II
      1. Introduction
      2. 13.1 An Unstable Peace
      3. 13.2 Theaters of War
      4. 13.3 Keeping the Home Fires Burning
      5. 13.4 Out of the Ashes
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    4. 14 Cold War Conflicts
      1. Introduction
      2. 14.1 The Cold War Begins
      3. 14.2 The Spread of Communism
      4. 14.3 The Non-Aligned Movement
      5. 14.4 Global Tensions and Decolonization
      6. 14.5 A New World Order
      7. Key Terms
      8. Section Summary
      9. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
    5. 15 The Contemporary World and Ongoing Challenges
      1. Introduction
      2. 15.1 A Global Economy
      3. 15.2 Debates about the Environment
      4. 15.3 Science and Technology for Today’s World
      5. 15.4 Ongoing Problems and Solutions
      6. Key Terms
      7. Section Summary
      8. Assessments
        1. Review Questions
        2. Check Your Understanding Questions
        3. Application and Reflection Questions
  5. A | Glossary
  6. B | World History, Volume 2, from 1400: Maps and Timelines
  7. C | World Maps
  8. D | Recommended Resources for the Study of World History
  9. Index

11.1 Alliances, Expansion, and Conflict

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe was controlled by a series of alliances that served to check any one power from becoming too large. These alliances had worked for a number of decades, and there had been little in the way of warfare on the continent. However, competition existed among the powers, especially in colonial development. In particular, Germany’s desire to have more colonies and a correspondingly larger navy put it in direct competition with the British Empire. Meanwhile, innovations in shipbuilding meant that early twentieth-century naval ships were both faster and possessed of more firepower than at any time in history.

11.2 The Collapse of the Ottomans and the Coming of War

The Ottoman Empire was disintegrating due to military losses prior to the war and the push for nationalism within its borders. The same drive toward nationalism occurred in Austria-Hungary. People of different nationalities wanted to live in their own independent nations rather than being forced into an empire that did not serve their needs. When Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb in June 1914, it caused Austria-Hungary to undertake a war against Serbia, which it blamed for his death. This war drew in Serbia’s ally Russia, and Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany. Treaty and alliance obligations then brought more countries into the conflict.

In the first months of war, the invasion of Belgium painted Germany as the aggressor nation, and fierce fighting through Belgium and northern France forced civilians to evacuate. With the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, a system of trench warfare was established on the western front. On the eastern front, Russian troops were poorly equipped and poorly trained and therefore experienced heavy losses. The United States planned to maintain its isolationist foreign policy and continued trading with both sides in the conflict, but Britain’s naval blockade of German ports meant that U.S. trade with Germany was somewhat limited.

11.3 Total War

World War I introduced many new technologies seen in warfare today—tanks, machine guns, long-range artillery, and airplanes. Most troops found themselves under constant threat of bombardment, injury, and death, and the casualties and destruction of total war were enormous. The large empires fighting in the conflict brought troops from their colonies and dominions to fight. Fighting also took place outside Europe, across other continents such as Asia and Africa. Despite the diversity of the forces engaged in the war and the common cause espoused by each side, numerous examples occurred of racial prejudice and discrimination in the decision-making and activities of the war.

11.4 War on the Homefront

The war was so all-encompassing that governments had to find new ways to manage the supplies and support for the war, usually by taking tighter control of industrial output through new legislation. Women entered new types of work such as munitions manufacture to fill the gaps left by male workers now fighting in the military. Those on the home front found themselves confronting food shortages and sometimes civil unrest as people began questioning their government’s competence to fight the war. Such questioning was often met with harsh penalties. Other political challenges also arose, such as the Irish Nationalists striking out against British rule in the 1916 Easter Rising.

11.5 The War Ends

In 1905, the Russian people rose in rebellion after the government’s killing of peaceful protesters. Tsar Nicholas II allowed the creation of a legislature called the Duma, but he was still not ready to share power with the people. The tsarist government was unable to mount a successful war effort, however, and the tsar was forced to abdicate in 1917. The Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin the following year brought promises of peace, land, and bread to the Russian people.

In 1918, with Russia exiting the war, Germany threw its armies into action in the west, but food shortages and general unrest in the Central powers meant that early victories could not be sustained. The arrival of U.S. troops in mass numbers in Europe helped propel Allied victories by the second half of 1918 and pushed Germany to the brink of collapse. The abdication of the Kaiser and an armistice with a new civilian government in Germany brought an end to the fighting in November.

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/world-history-volume-2/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/world-history-volume-2/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Dec 13, 2022 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.