World War I (often abbreviated as World War I or WW1 ), also known as World War I or the Great War, is a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Simultaneously described as the “War to End All Wars”, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the biggest wars. in history.
More than nine million fighters and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including victims of numerous genocides), casualty rates were exacerbated by the advancement of technology and industry on the part of the enemy, and tactical stalemate caused by grueling trench warfare.
It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and sparked major political changes, including the 1917–1923 Revolution in many of the countries involved. The unresolved competition at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War twenty-one years later.
The war attracted all the major world economic powers, gathered in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Three Ententes of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland) versus the German Central Powers and Austria -Hungary.
Although Italy was a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, because Austria-Hungary had carried out attacks against the terms of the alliance. These alliances reorganized and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.
Serbian Prince Assassination And Pre-war
The trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This triggered a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and, as a result, became entangled in an international alliance that formed during the decades preceding it emerged.
Although Serbia agreed with almost all the conditions of the ultimatum and Russia declared its intention to support Serbia in the event of conflict, Austria-Hungary went ahead with its declaration of war against Serbia on July 28, exactly a month after the murders.
With that declaration, the tenuous peace that existed among the great European powers went down the drain.
Germany’s Declaration Of War On Russia
Within weeks, the major powers were at war, and conflict soon spread across the globe.
Russia was the first to order a partial mobilization of its troops on July 24-25, and when on July 28 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia announced a general mobilization on 30 July 1914. Germany warned Russia, still only partially mobilized, that if it were to mobilize fully against Austria-Hungary, this would mean war with Germany. While insisting with Russia that it should immediately suspend its mobilization, Germany initiated the mobilization itself.
A good population part of Europe hailed the outbreak of war with joy.
When Russia refused German demands, Berlin declared war on the tsarist empire on 01 August 1914
Outnumbered on the Eastern Front, Russia urged its French Triple Entente allies to open a second front to the west.
Japan entered the war on the side of the Allies on 23 August 1914, seizing the opportunity to divert Germany by the European War to expand its sphere of influence in China and the Pacific.
More than forty years earlier in 1870, the Franco-Prussian War had ended the Second French Empire and France had given up the province of Alsace-Lorraine to unified Germany. The bitterness of the defeat and the determination to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine made accepting Russia’s plea for help an easy option, so France began full mobilization on August 1 and, on August 3, Germany declared war on France.
The border between France and Germany is so heavily fortified on both sides that, according to the Schlieffen Plan, Germany then invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France from the north, leading Britain to declare war on Germany on August 4 for their violation of Belgium’s neutrality.
After the German marches in Paris were stopped at the Battle of the Marne, what became known as the Western Front was resolved in frictional battles, with trench lines changing slightly until 1917. On the Eastern Front, Russian troops led a successful campaign against Austro- Hungary, but Germany stopped the invasion of East Prussia. in the battle of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Sinai Peninsula. In 1915, Italy joined the Allies and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. Romania joined the Allies in 1916. After the sinking of seven US merchant ships by submarinesGermany, and the revelation that Germany was trying to get Mexico to fight in the United States, the US declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
The End Of The War And The Collapse Of The Russian Government
The Russian government collapsed in March 1917 with the February Revolution, and the October Revolution followed by further military defeats brought Russia to peace with The Central Powers through the Brest-Litovsk Agreement, which gave Germany a significant victory.
After the miraculous German Spring Offensive along the Western Front in spring 1918, the Allies mobilized and drove the Germans out in a successful Hundred Days Offensive. On November 4, 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an Armistice from Villa Giusti, and Germany, having its own problems with the revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on November 11, 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.
At the end of the war or soon after, the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with nine independent states restored or created, and German colonies divided among the victors.
During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the powers of the Big Four (Britain, France, the United States, and Italy) imposed their terms in a series of treaties. The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing a recurrence of such conflicts. These attempts failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, the weakening of successor states, and feelings of humiliation (especially in Germany) eventually contributed to the start of World War II.