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World History (Horn/Ohl - Shaw)

July Crisis Activity – World War I Introduction

Day 1 – Intro and research. Day 2 & 3 – Research and gallery walk presentation. Begin work on peace proposal. Day 4 – Present formal statement (background info, long-term causes, and short-term causes). One person from each country will make this statement. Work back in groups on peace proposals. Peace Conference – Negotiations with other groups using peace proposal.

Purpose: This allows you to fully understand the long and short-term causes of World War I, as well as hidden agendas of different pre-World War I countries. It also helps you to understand on-going and current issues in the Balkan region.

Focus Skills: evaluating and analyzing primary resources, organizing information, determining importance of information, collaboration, compromise, communication of knowledge, and use technology as an educational tool.

Grading: This is mainly a group grade, so all group members must work together – collaborate.

1. Research – In Google Classroom, you will find a link (under our current unit of study – World War I) to a list of primary sources for each country. You MAY go outside of these links to find information if you need to, but you NEED to cite any different sources you use in the notes section of your paper. Please, you are in a group, work together! You can assign roles, divide up the research and then report back to each other.

2. Gallery Walk – Each country will have a large piece of paper given to them where you will record your country’s information. You MUST think seriously about the amount of information you will present. What is truly important for your classmates to know about your country? How can you make this concise while still getting the important details across?

3. Peace Proposal – Please write a peace proposal, using the provided paper and addressing the specific issues on it to be addressed at the Peace Conference in Belgium. You will plan ahead for this and will have an opportunity to add to it prior to the conference.


Received: July 30, 1914 The Nations of Europe are on the verge of war which will involve all of us. This war can be prevented. We urge all delegations to attend the peace conference convening in Brussels.

Arrangements have been made for your delegation to meet in Brussels on July 31, 1914. In order to help this conference proceed quickly and smoothly, it is necessary that you prepare the following presentation for the other delegates.

1. Background information about your country including a brief history and alliances.

2. Long -te rm reasons explaining why you may feel forced into war.

3. Recent or short -term events in the past month that you feel are forcing your country into war.

4. You should also outline your peace proposal which you will augment after the other delegations make their presentations.

Minister of Foreign Relations, Kingdom of Belgium

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

o 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 motion a series of alliances. During the month of 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.

1879-1914: The Deadly Alliances

The July Crisis

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 country’s 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 bargaining points.