World War I was the twentieth century’s first major conflict. It all began with an assassination and evolved into the largest war in human history, involving more countries than any other conflict. Numerous European countries reached an accord and fought each other for four years. This conflict claimed the lives of nine million soldiers and six million civilians.
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, was assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was then a part of Austria-Hungary. This event happened on June 28, 1914. Austria’s government declared war on Serbia after concluding that Serbia was responsible for the atrocities.
Although the war began with the assassination of the Austrian archduke, the conflict had deeper roots. Germany has developed into a hegemonic force in Europe. With time, its army rose in size and might. It has a long history of maintaining close ties with Austria and Hungary. Later on, a number of other countries joined the so-called Central Powers. On the other hand, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom backed Serbia. The group of countries became known as the Entente.
In 1917, the United States of America entered the war. It galvanized support for the Allies and supplied them with the manpower and military supplies necessary to win the war. The Central Powers were compelled to surrender in the autumn of 1918.
Following that, the European multi-national states disbanded and new states were founded as a result of the subsequent peace talks. Additionally, the peace treaty aided in the establishment of the conditions that resulted in the commencement of World War II in 1939.
Reasons For The Conflict And Beginning Of The War
During the closing decades of the nineteenth century, tensions over nationalities flared across Europe. Slav minorities in the Kingdom of Serbia were supported and inflamed in their efforts to unite southern Slavs and construct a ‘Yugoslavia,’ as the Kingdom of Serbia desired. Following the war of 1870, Prussia acquired the support of all German states, resulting in the establishment of a powerful German federation founded on nationalism. In France, the Republic was called into question because of its seeming failure to restore national pride and respect for the established order in the country. The ‘Action française’ movement, founded by Charles Maurras, recruited an increasing number of people who believed in the virtues of the monarchical system.
When the twentieth century began, the major European nations were at odds with one another, and hostility could be felt throughout the continent. In 1913, Germany sought but failed, to prevent France from establishing a protectorate over Morocco on its territory. The presence of the Ottoman Empire, as well as tensions between Austria-Hungary and Russia, gave the impression that the Balkans were Europe’s “powder keg” on the eve of World War I.
Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. The Balkan crisis became a full-scale conflict in less than two weeks, with the outbreak of World War I and the end of the First World War. In France, numerous demonstrations took place against the war, which exacerbated the political opposition between supporters of the war (who could be described as “revanchists”) and the pacifists.
A Very Particular Kind Of War
The German-formulated a strategy that included traversing Belgium and attacking northern France in order to reach Paris by the end of the year. When the Germans arrived in France, they found themselves 40 kilometers east of the capital, where they immediately unleashed their soldiers. To get to the front lines, they were transported by taxis that had been reserved just for this operation. The Germans were able to retire to the Aisne as a result of the “taxis of the Marne,” as they were known. Germany is concerned about the possibility of being obliged to fight on two fronts at the same time, in the East and in the West.
The Combat of Verdun was the longest battle of the war, lasting a total of 131 days. The French army was forced to move its troops at a slower pace in order to avoid being killed by German artillery as they approached the location. In October and November, the French recaptured land that had been lost, including Douaumont Fort, and Verdun in December.
In order to meet the demands of the conflict, a distinct economy was constructed. In order to preserve the armaments industries and supply the front lines, the state acquired broad economic management responsibilities. Women were mobilized in all fields (transportation, manufacturing, administration, and services), and they took up agricultural management in the countryside to fill the void left by men who had left for the war. Even while this contributed to women’s emancipation, it was only after World War II that they were granted the right to vote through the suffragette campaign in Great Britain.
1917: A Crucial Year
The year 1917 was a turning point in the Great War. Because of domestic concerns, the Russians withdrew from the battlefield. Because of the participation of the United States in the war, the conflict took on a more global scope. Europe witnessed the emergence of a massive pacifist movement, which led to mutinies and desertions from the military.
Since January 1917, the domestic situation in Russia has deteriorated, according to Alexander Nekrassov’s report. Spartakism emerged in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution as a popular movement between revolutionaries and reformists, and it continues to this day. Lenin devoted his life to the establishment of communism, founding the Third Socialist International in 1919 and the Soviet Union in 1922, respectively, to accomplish this goal. His claim is that during the 1918 German revolution, the Spartakists acted as close allies of the Bolsheviks and were actively involved in it.
The United States entered World War One in 1917 in order to safeguard its trade with England, which was unable to feed itself due to a lack of food production. As part of their economic embargo, the Germans conducted submarine warfare against American convoys, sinking a large number of cargo ships in the process. The United States’ entire trade with Europe was at the risk of being decimated by the Great Depression. The United States’ entry into the war on April 2, 1917, is explained by this threat, paired with Anglo-Saxon solidarity and President Wilson’s personal participation in the conflict.
French mutinies, a German naval mutiny, and Italian desertions were among the highlights of the year 1917. The failure of General Nivelle to capture control of the Chemin des Dames between Soissons and Reims ignited a wave of popular insurrection. As a result, the socialists in France retreated from the government and abandoned the “Sacred Union” during this time period, which was marked by a significant pacifist outburst.
Clémenceau’s ascension to the throne was designed to give the conflict a fresh appearance. He galvanized soldiers, prosecuted defeatists he had imprisoned, and concentrated command in the hands of General Foch, who became the commander in chief. Following the war, he was called the “Father of Victory,” and he remained in power until his death in 1920.
First used in action during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, battle tanks were not introduced until after the war. For much of the duration of the Great War, tanks were a crucial part of the Allied offensives (Triple Entente). For example, airships such as the Zeppelin were able to fly substantially higher than planes and were particularly effective at bombing missions. As more powerful aircraft and incendiary bullets were available starting in 1917, these airships became increasingly vulnerable to attack.
End Of War
During the spring of 1918, the Germans launched three key offensives on the Somme battlefield. All of them were doomed due to a scarcity of adequate manpower and equipment reserves on hand. In July 1918, Marshal Foch launched a counter-offensive against the Germans, which forced them to withdraw from the battlefield. The armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, and it became effective the following day (11th of the 11th month at 11 am).
The First World War came to an end in 1919 as a result of a series of peace treaties signed around the world. The Treaty of Versailles resulted in Germany losing territory to Poland in the east and territory to France in the west as a result of the war. The Treaty of Sèvres resulted in the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the loss of its Arab provinces as a result of its provisions. As a result of the Treaty of Saint Germain en Laye, the Austro-Hungarian Empire came to an end, and a number of new states were established.
More than ten million people were murdered, millions were injured, and millions more were left widowed or orphaned as a result of the war in Afghanistan. Veterans were a new social category that emerged on the Champs-Elysées on July 14, 1919, when a large group of mutilated persons marched to the front of the procession. They were known as veterans. During the period 1920 to 1930, the cult of recollection was institutionalized, and monuments to the departed were erected in every commune throughout France.
Consequences And League Of Nations
Aspects of post-1919 accords created seeds of discontent that would fuel twentieth-century tensions and conflicts.
In his address to Congress on January 8, 1918, President Wilson outlined the new international relations in fourteen themes. To maintain the international economy, he believed the war destroying Europe was a battle between democracy versus imperialism. The conversations showed Wilson’s devotion to his goal as a judge and hope. He didn’t want a harsh treaty but had to make concessions since the French wanted Germany to pay and the British opposed seaborne freedom of movement.
When he returned to America, he couldn’t get Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. In the 1921 presidential elections, the Republicans defeated him. His work in Europe earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.
His diplomatic initiatives during the peace conference positioned the US as a global diplomatic hub. America’s engagement in WWII will be justified by his support for the principle of people’s liberty. It has been a vital partner since then, culminating in the 1990s as the “world’s policeman.”
Wilson’s desire for a global government accord led to the creation of the League of Nations. He wanted to persuade them to cease the arms race that had exacerbated the power balance and sparked conflict. He wanted global collective bargaining to secure global balance and peace. Raoul Dandurand, a Canadian, presided over the General Assembly in 1925-1926.
The League’s early admission of weakness was that the United States was never a member because Congress refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty.
Furthermore, the League was helpless to stop the rise of European totalitarianism because it only used diplomatic channels and relied on member compliance. Germany, Japan, and Italy withdrew from the League in 1930. The failure of this peace institution triggered WWII.
An organization with a military intervention force was founded in June 1945: the United Nations Organization (UNO).
It is difficult to pin down the exact causes of the First World War because they include factors such as nationalism, imperialism, militarism, as well as conflicts between nations and military alliances. There were other European leaders who became more alarmed at the socialists’ growing power within their borders and their propensity to threaten internal stability through strikes and revolts. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, served as a precipitating event in the outbreak of World War I. Due to Austria’s refusal to back down from its ultimatum, Germany compelled Austria to declare war on Serbia, prompting Austria to act. It was necessary for them to support the Austro-Hungarians in order to maintain their rule over Europe.
With the exception of Italy, all of Europe’s major powers became immersed in a battle with far-reaching consequences. During World War I, trench combat took the lives of an almost unimaginable number of soldiers. The fight began on three European fronts: the western (or Franco-Belgian) front, the eastern (or Russian) front, and the southern (or Serbian) front. The western (or Franco-Belgian) front was the first to be engaged. While participating in World War I, Russia suffered tremendous and devastating defeats on the Eastern Front. They had no immediate impact on the combat, but they were ultimately responsible for Germany’s victory in the war. When the Germans launched an attack in 1918, they hoped to bring the war to a close before American forces arrived on the scene.
In 1919, the Big Four met in Versailles to try to negotiate a peace treaty with the Allies. In comparison to the attitudes of David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau toward the peace negotiations, President Woodrow Wilson’s stance toward the peace negotiations appeared idealistic. Germany was urged for reparations by the French and the British. The supposed conclusion of the combat gained the battle the nickname “war to end all wars” very quickly. In a nutshell, the economies of Europe were destroyed. Psychologically, the men and women who participated in the war were traumatized, and many of them had a difficult time reintegrating into society after the war’s conclusion.
Top 13 Interesting Facts About World War I
During WWI, many women joined the labor force. As a result of their exposure to TNT, many who worked with it developed yellow skin, a condition known as jaundice.
Throughout the battle, a team of miners labored in secret to construct tunnels beneath the trenches in order to plant and detonate mines. The explosions devastated a large portion of Germany’s front line and were so loud that the prime minister heard them from London, 140 miles away.
Around 70 different types of planes were employed by all sides.
Soldiers’ attire and equipment in 1914 were inadequate for contemporary warfare. Soldiers were later issued steel helmets to protect them from artillery fire.
Harold Gillies founded the discipline of plastic surgery, pioneering the earliest attempts at facial reconstruction, inspired by the sight of soldiers’ faces damaged by shrapnel and many of which remained covered by masks. Additionally, blood transfusions were routine to save soldiers, with the first front-line blood bank established in 1917.
Adolf Hitler was wounded in the head two years earlier and was exposed to a gas bombardment in October 1918 on a colline south of Wervicq, near Lille. His eyes being injured, he spent a month at the hospital and is released only when the armistice is signed.
When a soldier was discovered with his toes exposed, it was highly likely that he had committed suicide. Due of the soldiers’ lack of revolvers, the unfortunate ones were forced to pull the trigger with their toes by pointing the barrel into their mouths.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Germans were not the first in the First World War to employ asphyxiating gas. In August 1914, the French attempted to prevent the Germans from entering northwestern France by using tear gas grenades containing xylyl bromide. However, it was the Germans who mastered and actively deployed this chemical weapon during the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915.
The most famous mascot of the Canadian Army, a black bear named Winnipeg, was donated to the London Zoo for the benefit of its visitors. A.A. Milne was inspired to create the character of Winnie the Pooh by this bear.
In 1915, British intelligence authorities suspected two cats and a dog of being German spies due to their nocturnal walks between trenches.
Initially, British tanks were divided into males and ‘females’. Males carried firearms, while females carried heavier artillery.
Germany also sent the Zimmerman Note in 1917, a letter attempting to draw Mexico into the war against the United States.
Following the war, many women gained a new sense of independence and freedom. This spirit developed as a result of their involvement in the whole war effort. Numerous women altered their appearance, began smoking in public and asserted their independence. Women eventually gained suffrage in several countries as a result of their contributions.