Teacher Notes 

The July Crisis: Can you stop the Great War?

"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." Sir Edward Grey

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated while visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand society. The Austrian government blamed Serbia for harboring terrorists and sent the Serbian government an ultimatum with which that country found it impossible to comply. This set into a motion series of alliances. During the month July, European diplomats debated whether to engage in a war to obtain certain long sought goals, colonies, and justify a huge military buildup. By the end of July all of Europe was poised on the edge of war.

 

TELEGRAM

RECEIVED: 30 JULY, 1914

THE NATIONS OF EUROPE ARE ON THE VERGE OF WAR WHICH WILL INVOLVE US ALL STOP THIS WAR CAN BE PREVENTED STOP WE URGE ALL DELEGATIONS TO ATTEND THE PEACE CONFERENCE CONVENING IN BRUSSELS STOP

ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR YOUR DELEGATION TO MEET IN BRUSSELS ON JULY 31, 1914 STOP IN ORDER TO EXPEDITE THIS CONFERENCE, IT IS IMPERITIVE THAT YOU PREPARE THE FOLLOWING PRESENTATION FOR THE OTHER DELEGATES STOP

1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY INCLUDING A MAP, BRIEF HISTORY, AND ALLIANCES STOP

2. LONG TERM REASONS EXPLAINING WHY YOU MAY FEEL FORCED INTO WAR STOP

3. RECENT OR SHORT TERM EVENTS IN THE PAST MONTH THAT YOU FEEL ARE FORCING YOUR COUNTRY INTO WAR STOP

4. YOU SHOULD ALSO OUTLINE YOUR PEACE PROPOSAL WHICH YOU WILL AUGMENT AFTER THE OTHER DELEGATIONS MAKE THEIR PRESENTATIONS STOP

MINISTER OF FOREIGN RELATIONS
KINGDOM OF BELGUIM

 

Task

The date is July 30, 1914 and the situation is critical when you receive the bove telegram. You are a diplomat for one of the countries involved in the origins of World War I. Austria-Hungary has already declared war on Serbia after receiving reassurance from Germany of full support. Because of the alliance system, this war is not destined to remain a small, regional flare up. Russia and Germany are about to declare war because the Russian army has been mobilized at the German border. Germany has plans to attack France through neutral Belgium, and Great Britain has sworn to protect Belgium's neutrality. Belgium is trying to make one last effort to bring the interested countries together to avoid war.

The Process

Step1: Your team is a diplomatic advisory group representing one of the following:

Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and Ottoman Empire. Each country's team of diplomats will meet in neutral Belgium on July 31,1914. In order to prepare for the peace conference, you and your team must research and make an oral presentation with visuals on the following topics as stated in the telegram:

All students should take notes on these three topics: background, long term reasons, and short term reasons in their journals.

Step 2: After your group has made a presentation representing your country's point of view on these topics and studied the information given by the other countries, you will prepare and present a proposal to prevent the war. Take into account all that you have learned from the presentations of other countries, and try to formulate an agreement that will prevent the war by presenting a valid compromise. This proposal should obtain for your country what it really wants and make some concessions to other countries

Step 3: After your country has presented its peace proposal, the class will divide up into 4 groups with at least one representative from each country in each group. In these new peace negotiation groups, start by voting on the proposals from each country. Because some countries are more powerful than others, some countries will receive more votes: Germany (3), Great Britain (3), France (2), Russia (2), Serbia (1), Ottoman Empire (1), Austro-Hungarian Empire (2), Italy (1) . Any country may abstain from voting. Modify the proposal with the most votes until you reach a consensus. If you do not reach a consensus in 45 minutes, you will write out a declaration of war stating the reasons why you are going to war.

Resources

Read the information that your textbook gives about the beginning of World War I. You should also read the following background information first:

Assassination in Sarajevo (http://www.worldwar1.com/tlsara.htm)

1879-1914: The Deadly Alliances (http://www.worldwar1.com/tlalli.htm)

The July Crisis (http://www.worldwar1.com/tlplot.htm)


Germany

Look for the answers to these questions:

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-Germany
http://www.worldwar1.com/atger.htm

May, 1882 - The Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripally.html

The Daily Telegraph Affair 28 October, 1908
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/dailytel.html

8-12 February,1912The Haldane Mission
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/haldane.html

5 December, 1912 Expanded Version of the Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripall2.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

6 July, 1914-The 'Blank Check'
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/blankche.html

1914 The German White Book
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/germbook.html

June-July, 1914 German Dispatches and the Kaiser's Notes
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/wilnotes.html

Autograph Letter of Franz Joseph to the Kaiser, Vienna, 2 July, 1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/frzwilly.html

29 July-1 August, 1914 The "Willy-Nicky" Telegrams in the original English
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/willynilly.html

July, 1914 Prince Lichownowsky's Reply to Sir Edward Grey
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/lichno.html

Kaiser Wilhelm II's Account of Events, July, 1914. From his Memoirs
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/kwiijuly.html


France

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-France
http://www.worldwar1.com/atfra.htm

18 August, 1892 The Franco-Russian Alliance Military Convention
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/franruss.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html


Great Britain

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-Great Britain
http://www.worldwar1.com/ateng.htm

8-12 February, 1912 - The Haldane Mission
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/haldane.html

28 October, 1908 - The Daily Telegraph Affair
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/dailytel.html

British Imperial Connexions to the Arab Nationalist
Movement, Lord Kitchener and the
Arab National Movement, 1912-1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/arabetuk.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

31 July, 1914 Sir Edward Grey's Indecisiveness
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/greyegal.html

July, 1914 Prince Lichownowsky's Reply to Sir Edward Grey
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/lichno.html


Russia

Look for the answers to these questions:

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-Russia
http://www.worldwar1.com/atrus.htm

October, 1909 - The Racconigi Bargain
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/racco.html

18 August, 1892 - The Franco-Russian Alliance Military Convention
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/franruss.html

1907 - The Anglo-Russian Entente
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/anglruss.html

1914 - The German White Book
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/germbook.html

British Imperial Connexions to the Arab Nationalist
Movement, Lord Kitchener and the Arab National Movement, 1912-1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/arabetuk.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

28 July, 1914: The Pledge Plan
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/pledplan.html

29 July-1 August, 1914 - The "Willy-Nicky" Telegrams in the original English
http://www.lib.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/willynilly.html

July, 1914 Prince Lichownowsky's Reply to Sir Edward Grey
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/lichno.html


Austro-Hungarian Empire

Look for the answers to these questions:

  • What countries is the Austro-Hungarian Empire allied with?
  • What problems does the Austro-Hungarian Empire face?
  • How is nationalism affecting the Austro-Hungarian Empire?
  • What are the Austro-Hungarian Empireís goals in the Balkans?
  • What happened in Sarajevo to bring events to a crisis and what did the Austro-Hungarian
  • Empire demand of Serbia?
  • Would the Austro-Hungarian Empire go to war without the help of Germany?
  • How does the Austro-Hungarian Empire force Serbia into a war?

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, War Atlas Austria
http://www.worldwar1.com/athng.htm

20 May, 1882 The Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripally.html

5 December, 1912 Expanded Version of the Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripall2.html

September-October, 1908 The Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/bosherz.html

6 July, 1914 - The 'Blank Check'
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/blankche.html

British Imperial Connexions to the Arab Nationalist
Movement, Lord Kitchener and the Arab National Movement, 1912-1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/arabetuk.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

23 July, 1914: The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/austro-hungarian-ultimatum.html

25 July, 1914: The Serbian Response to the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/serbresponse.html

28 July, 1914: The Pledge Plan
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/pledplan.html

July 1914, Prince Lichownowsky's Reply to Sir Edward Grey
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/lichno.html


Serbia

Look for the answers to these questions:

  • Who are Serbia's allies?
  • Why does Serbia object to the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria?
  • What are the goals of the Serbian nationalist organizations?
  • What is Pan-Slavism and what are its goals?
  • What is Serbia's response to the ultimatum sent by the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-Serbia
http://www.worldwar1.com/atserb.htm

September-October, 1908 The Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/bosherz.html

1911 The Narodna Odbrana
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/odbrana.html

The Constitution of the Black Hand, 1911
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/blk-cons.html

British Imperial Connexions to the Arab Nationalist
Movement, Lord Kitchener and the Arab National Movement, 1912-1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/arabetuk.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

23 July, 1914: The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/austro-hungarian-ultimatum.html

25 July, 1914 - The Serbian Response to the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/serbresponse.html

July 1914 - Prince Lichownowsky's Reply to Sir Edward Grey
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914/lichno.html


Italy

Look for the answers to these questions:

  • Who are Italy's allies?
  • Under what conditions will Italy go to war to aid its allies? Is the Triple Alliance an offensive or defensive alliance?
  • What territorial and colonial interests does Italy have in Europe, and Africa and how might their decision to declare war be affected by this?
  • In what ways is your ally in the Triple Alliance, Austria, also your rival?

 

The documents below will help you:

20 May, 1882 The Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripally.html

1914 - The Austro-Italian Naval Race
http://www.worldwar1.com/tlainr.htm

October, 1909 - The Racconigi Bargain
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/racco.html

5 December, 1912 Expanded Version of the Triple Alliance
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/tripall2.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html


Ottoman Empire

Look for the answers to these questions:

What is Ottoman Empire's relationship with Bosnia and other countries in the Balkans?

What strategic strait does Turkey control and why is it strategic?

What relationship does Turkey have with Great Britain in the Middle East?

 

The documents below will help you:

Trenches on the Web, the War Atlas-The Ottoman Empire
http://www.worldwar1.com/attur.htm

September-October, 1908 The Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/bosherz.html

British Imperial Connexions to the Arab Nationalist
Movement, Lord Kitchener and the Arab National Movement, 1912-1914
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/arabetuk.html

My Mission to London, 1912-14 by Prince Lichnowsky
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1914m/lichnowy.html

Learning Advice

Remember that the causes of war go beneath the surface of what countries publicly say and write. Often they have hidden agendas. Each country wants something, and they may use their alliance with another country as an excuse to pursue their real goals. Ask yourself, what is your countryís real goal(s)?

When you read the primary source documents, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who wrote the document and does the author have a bias?
  • For whom is it written and why?
  • Did the author create it for a particular cause?
  • Was it written by an eyewitness?
  • Was the document translated and could the translation affect the meaning of the document?
  • What kind of document is it and who was meant to see it?
  • What was happening when this document was written?
  • When you prepare your peace proposal, make sure that you offer something to your enemies. What are you willing to compromise and/or allow to change so that the other country can 'save face.' List your main points succinctly.

Evaluation

The class will develop a rubric based on the following criteria:

  • scope, depth and accuracy of the information
  • use of primary sources-quotes
  • restatement of issues
  • persuasiveness
  • clarity of the oral presentation
  • innovative peace proposals
  • listening to others and using the information in your proposal
  • ability to stay in character and express your country's point of view

Conclusion

Europe has often been described as a powder keg" in 1914 and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the "spark" which touched off the explosion. In your opinion, was World War I inevitable?

The Versailles Treaty (http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/versailles.html) held Germany responsible for the war, what do you think?

Reflection

Content:

Process:

  • What part of the lesson you like best?
  • What part did you like least?
  • What would you change in this lesson?

Teacher Notes


Credits

Name: Madeline Antilla
Location: Arcadia High School/Arcadia Unified School District
E-mail: antilla@ausd.k12.ca.us
SCORE _ CH/SSP Technology Academy
Reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Bill Daverell, Califormia Institute of Technology