The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)

The Western Front (1914)

The Armenian Genocide (1915)

Henri Dunant,
A Memory of Solferino (1862)

The Great War and International Society
History 300 / August 27, 2013

I. Codifying the laws of war
            A. The International Committee of the Red Cross (1864)
                        1. Instigated by Henri Dunant (1828-1910)
                        2. Geneva Convention: caring for the wounded during and after battles
                        3. Services organized along national lines
            B. The Brussels Conference (1874)
                        1. Response to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71
                        2. Responsibilities of occupiers -- and the occupied
                        3. Definition of belligerents
            C. The Hague Conferences (1899 & 1907)
II. The conduct of the Great War
            A. Germany identified (by the Allies) as the main aggressor
                        1. The war’s complex origins in the Balkans
                        2. But: German violation of Belgian neutrality
            B. Widespread belief in German atrocities
                        1. “Reprisals” against civilians, Aug. 1914
                        2. The use of poison gas, 1915
                        3. Unrestricted submarine warfare
            C. Ottoman Turkey and the Armenian genocide
            D. The behavior of the Allied Powers
                        1. The blockade of Germany
                        2. Plotting for territorial gains
            E. The Bolshevik regime challenges the system
                        1. Exposes incriminating “secret treaties”
                        2. Repudiates foreign debt
                        3. Signs a separate peace deal with Germany
III. The "Wilsonian Moment"
            A. The Fourteen Points (Jan. 8, 1918)
            B. Hope and anticipation in far-flung regions (Egypt, China, India, Japan)



Further reading
John Horne and Alan Kramer, Germany Atrocities 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001)
Isabel Hull, Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005)
Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (New York: Oxford, 2007)