Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

German Views

In the last half of the nineteenth century Prussia won territory by wars with Denmark, Austria, and France. As a result of this success, Prussia was able to take the lead in uniting the German states in a German Empire with the Prussian king as emperor or "Kaiser." Bismarck, the first Prime Minister, believed that a policy of force, or "blood and iron," should be used to decide disputed questions and make Germany a great nation. Most of the German men were drilled for a time as soldiers. William II, the third Emperor of Germany, followed Bismarck's policies and built up a large army and navy. Besides this, the increasing desire for markets and territory made many of the people of the country ready to support the government in whatever it might do. Germany was very prosperous. It had good schools, well-managed factories, valuable mines, and a large and profitable trade with other lands. Its population was rapidly growing larger.

A glance at the map of Europe will show you that nearly every country there has more than two neighbors. With each one, there is, of course, a chance for quarrels. It is not surprising, then, that European countries have often made war on each other and that different groups of nations have made promises to help each other in case any one of them was attacked. One such group of nations, formed by Germany, Austria, and Italy, was known as the Triple Alliance. Great Britain, France, and Russia also formed a league, but they were not all pledged to fight for each other.

In 1914 the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was murdered by a man of the Serbian race. A few weeks later, Austria made certain humiliating demands on Serbia, and allowed only forty-eight hours for her reply. Serbia and other nations protested against this treatment, suggesting arbitration and declaring that if Austria persisted in her unreasonable demands, all Europe would be dragged into war. Austria, however, would not agree to arbitrate the matter, and declared war on Serbia without delay.

After Austria began to mobilize her troops, Russia, as a friend of Serbia, did likewise. Germany then sent Russia a note, or ultimatum, giving her twelve hours in which to stop all preparation for war. At the same time she demanded to know whether or not France would fight in case Russia did. When Russia would not demobilize, and France would not desert her ally, Germany declared war on both of them.

Although many of the nations of Europe had large armies and navies, Germany and Austria were the ones most ready for immediate fighting. Italy was not forced to join them, since her treaty pledged her to fight only in case her allies were attacked. Later in the war, she joined Great Britain and France, The Germans, whose plans had long been made, promptly entered Belgium, although Prussia, with most other European countries, had promised to respect the neutrality of that country. They expected to go at once through Belgium, reach Paris in three weeks, take the Channel ports, and then turn and crush Russia, whose huge army was neither so well trained nor so well equipped as theirs. The Belgians, contrary to German expectations, bravely resisted the German advance; and instead of reaching Paris as they had planned, the Germans were delayed in Belgium ten days.