World War I: "The War to End All Wars" and the Birth of a Handicapped International Criminal Justice System

By Bassiouni, M. Cherif | Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

World War I: "The War to End All Wars" and the Birth of a Handicapped International Criminal Justice System


Bassiouni, M. Cherif, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy


"Strategy is a system of stop-gaps."

--Moltke (1)

INTRODUCTION

The words of Von Moltke, Germany's well-known general, are an apt prelude to the strategy of justice pursued by the Allies after World War I. It was, indeed, a "system of stop-gaps."

World War I, commonly referred to as the "Great War" and "the war to end all wars," took place between 1914 and 1918 and "was the first general war, involving all the Great Powers of the day, to be fought out in the modern, industrialized world." (2) The trigger for the war was an incident that occurred in the volatile Balkans (3) on June 28, 1914, in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip as they rode in a car in Sarajevo. (4) The plot to assassinate the heir to the Hapsburg throne was planned by a secret Serbian nationalist organization known as the Black Hand. (5) Bosnia, which had been annexed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1908, was viewed by such nationalist groups as an extension of Serbia. (6) On July 28, 1914, following a Hapsburg ultimatum and the Serbian government's refusal to allow Austro-Hungarian representatives to participate in its official investigation of the assassinations, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. (7)

What began as nothing more than a local Balkan conflict, however, soon escalated into a continental one. (8) Following Russia's general mobilization on July 30, 1914, and France's refusal to declare its neutrality in the event of a Russo-German confrontation, Germany declared war on Russia and France on August 1 and August 3, respectively. (9) Then, on August 4, 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany after the latter invaded Belgium. (10)

The Allied and Associated Powers included the major powers of the Triple Entente, namely: Russia; France; and Great Britain; as well as, Belgium; Serbia; Japan; Italy; and numerous other nations. (11) The United States did not officially enter the conflict until April 6, 1917, when it declared war on Germany and joined the Allied and Associated Powers. (12) The Central Powers' alliance comprised Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. (13) In total, twenty-eight countries entered the war. (14)

The number of casualties from the war was unprecedented--totaling 33,434,443. (15) The final tally of the dead was 7,781,806, in addition to 18,681,257 persons who were wounded, (16) and no one knows how many among the latter died of their injuries or related illnesses. Russian, German, and French deaths due to combat or disease were estimated at 4,696,404. (17) World War I was the first time that asphyxiating gas and mustard gas were utilized as weapons in warfare. (18) These chemical agents not only caused painful deaths and immediate illness, but permanent injuries as well. (19) In time, many of the chemical agents' victims died of their injuries or of health complications. (20) In addition, there were many allegations of atrocities being committed by combatants against civilians, including claims that women and children had been used as human shields, mutilated, and systematically executed. (21)

After four years of brutal trench warfare characterized by the Napoleonic-era strategy of massive frontal attacks, (22) which caused so many senseless casualties, the war finally ended on November 11, 1918, when a German delegation, led by Secretary of State Matthias Erzberger, signed the armistice agreement on behalf of Germany in an isolated railway car located in the Compiegne Forest near Paris. (23) Unfortunately, rather than promoting lasting European stability, the harsh terms of the armistice (24) and the Carthaginian peace dictated by the Allies at Versailles sowed the seeds that brought about the Second World War two decades later. (25) Thus, the "war to end all wars" was a prelude to another war whose consequences were even more devastating than the first one.

The Treaty of Versailles forced upon Germany draconian reparation measures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

World War I: "The War to End All Wars" and the Birth of a Handicapped International Criminal Justice System
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.