Map Exercise 17: War and Revolution (This exercise includes 6 maps)
At the beginning of the twentieth century, few people would have thought it possible that mankind's progress through the centuries would also unleash the potential for mass killing. But by 1914, a number of forces had come together that made this possibility a distinct reality. Although most Europeans welcomed the Great War and believed it would be over by Christmas, the war of attrition dragged on for another four years. When it was over, nine million people lay dead, the countryside of France had been all but destroyed, and Germany was forced to accept total responsibility for the war.
Russia forced the abdication of their tsar and then completed the world's first socialist revolution in October 1917, clearly indicating that this century would be vastly different from the preceding one. Meanwhile, the democracies of Europe were facing a profound challenge from the rising authoritarian regimes of the interwar years. Mussolini pronounced the twentieth century to be the century of fascism, while in the Soviet Union, Stalin pressed his "revolution from above." The result of that revolution was forced collectivization, Five-Year Plans, the Terror, and the Gulag.
Make sure you consider these important questions:
• Why was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914 only the ostensible cause of the Great War?
• In what ways did the Treaty of Versailles guarantee a future European conflict?
• Was revolution in Russia somehow inevitable?
• Why did the interwar years witness such a drastic increase in the number of European authoritarian regimes?