A School History of the Great War (1918)

To understand the Great War it is not sufficient to read the daily happenings of military and political events as they are told in newspapers and magazines. We must go back of the facts of to-day and find in national history and personal ambition the causes of the great struggle. . . . A person who understands, even in part, the causes of this great contest, will be in a better position to realize why America entered the war and what our nation was fighting for. . . . [pp. 5-7]

National Aspirations.--The Holy Allies [i.e., Austria, Prussia, & Russia] had refused to recognize the right of nations to independent existence. They had bartered peoples and provinces "as if they were chattels and pawns in a game." But when the peoples tried to found democratic governments, they often discovered that the quickest and surest way was to unite under one government all who belonged to a given nationality. Thus the last hundred years in Europe has witnessed the erection of a number of new national states created by throwing off the yoke of some foreign ruler. Among the new nations thus established were (1) Belgium, freed from the kingdom of Holland; (2) Greece, Serbia, Roumania, Bulgaria, and Albania, freed from Turkish rule; (3) Italy, united out of territories controlled by petty sovereigns and Austrian rulers; (4) Norway, separated from Sweden. The same period saw also the unification of a number of German states into the German Empire. But during this time several races were unsuccessful in obtaining independence, among which we may note the Poles (in Russia, Prussia, and Austria), the Czechs (in northern Austria) . . . and the Slavic people in the southern part of Austria-Hungary. [p. 9]

Industrial Development.-- The nineteenth century was not only a period of political change in Europe. It was also a time of great changes in the general welfare of the people. It witnessed a remarkable alteration in everyday employments and habits. . . . Beginning first in England about 1750 and extending to the Continent between 1820 and 1860, there came a great industrial change. [pp. 9-10]