WORLD WAR 1

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World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. Referred to by contemporaries as the “Great War”, its belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting also expanding into the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia. One of the deadliest conflicts in history, an estimated 9 million people were killed in combat, while over 5 million civilians died from military occupation, bombardment, hunger, and disease. Millions of additional deaths resulted from genocides within the Ottoman Empire and the 1918 influenza pandemic, which was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

By 1914, the European great powers were divided into the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Britain; and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Tensions in the Balkans came to a head on 28 June 1914 following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian heir, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia, which led to the July Crisis, an unsuccessful attempt to avoid conflict through diplomacy. Russia came to Serbia’s defense following Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war on the latter on 28 July, and by 4 August, the system of alliances drew in Germany, France, and Britain, along with their respective colonies. In November, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria-Hungary formed the Central Powers, while in April 1915, Italy switched sides to join Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia in forming the Allies of World War I.

Facing a war on two fronts, German strategy in 1914 was to first defeat France, then shift its forces to Eastern Europe and knock out Russia in what was known as the Schlieffen Plan. However, Germany’s advance into France failed, and by the end of 1914, the two sides faced each other along the Western Front, a continuous series of trench lines stretching from the English Channel to Switzerland that changed little until 1917. By contrast, the Eastern Front was far more fluid, with Austria -Hungary and Russia gaining and then losing large swathes of territory. Other significant theatres included the Middle Eastern Theatre, the Italian Front, and the Balkans Theatre, drawing Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece into the war.

World 🌎 war 1

World 🌎 war 1 ended

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

On June 28, 1914, in an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Principin Sarajevo, Bosnia. Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle’s imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted these Austro- Hungarian possessions to join newly independent Serbia. Austria- Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.

On July 28, Austria- Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. On July 29, Austro- Hungarian forces began to shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and Russia, Serbia’s ally, ordered a troop mobilization against Austria- Hungary. France, allied with Russia, began to mobilize on August 1. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3. After crossing through neutral Luxembourg, the German army invaded Belgium on the night of August 3-4, prompting Great Britain, Belgium’s ally, to declare war against Germany.

World 🌎 war 1 ended

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