The major event that would lead to the start of World War I was known as the Assassination at Sarajevo.This assassination occured on June 28th, 1914. On this date, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife were on their visit to the newest acquired territory of the Empire, Bosnia. However, they were unaware that a group of Serbian revolutionaries, known as "Young Bosnia", waited to fire upon them as they drove through the streets. At first, the couple escaped unscathed but when they made the mistake of turning, unknowingly, towards one of the revolutionaries, Gavrilo Princip, they were shoot dead and soon, anger of his and his wife's death boiled over on the empire and war began in a matter of a month.
Much to the encouragment of the German Empire, formed years before by the prussian prime minister, Otto Von Bismarck, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia on July 28th, 1914 for being supposedly fully responsible for the assassination of Ferdinand. Then, fearing that Serbia would fall, Russia joined the battle on Serbia's side. The German Empire, also, fearing the same for Austria, entered the war with their ally. Germany, however, split their army into, mainly, two. One group marched through Belgium, into France in order to make sure that Germany was not defenseless when France would, supposedly, surprise attack Germany's western borders. While the other group marched eastwards against Russian borders. After France was attacked by the Germans, Britain joined the French side, much against Germany's hopes that they would remain neutral.
The Germans, at first, struggled to even pass through Belgium's defenses, giving the French troops time to prepare against their enemy. When Germany finally passed Belgium, they very nearly reached Paris, passing many of the French defenses easily. However, the French army regrouped and chased the Germans north, towards the English Channel. By this time, both the Germans and the French had developed a Trench System in order to increase their defenses.
The Trench System were hand-dug trench lines that were heavily protected. An average trench would have barbed wire covering the top and machine guns ready to fire at any unwelcomed guests. The Germans, however, advanced this further when they began using Chlorine as a poisonous gas against the allies, or Entente. This deadly advancement would contribute greatly to the high death rate of World War I. Then again, the trenches were already very unsanitary, even before Chlorine was being used. Epidemics of disease weren't uncommon when it came to the Trench System.
The war pushed on into the year of 1917, when neither side had any major advantage and both the allies and the Central Powers were losing or winning the same amount of battles. However, in Eastern Europe, the war seemed to be going the Central Powers' way. The Austro-Hungary and German Empire both won many successful battles against Russia and took large amounts of territory from the massive but declining country. The Russians, luckily, regrouped and took back the lost territory but, also, refused to fight anymore in the war, due to the Russian people's dissatisfaction with the Czar, or the ruler of Russia. Russia, however, also suffered attacks against another threat, the Ottoman Empire.
The sultan once had supreme control all over the Empire. However, in the past years before World War I, the empire had suffered a revolution by a group known as the "Young Turks". The Young Turks succeeded in forcing the sultan to agree to a constitution and by doing this, formed the CUP. The CUP had done successful progress in improving education and the economy but chose very poorly on who to support during World War I. In favor of the Central Powers, the Ottomans successfully destroyed many Russian Black Sea ports and crushed the allied force that attacked them over the Gallipoli Peninsula Straits. The Allies only found a weakness in the Ottoman Empire when british officer, T.E Lawrence, persuaded Sharif Hussein ibn Ali of Mecca to start a revolution against the Ottoman rulers. The Arab Revolt of 1916 then allowed the allies to capture Jerusalem and Istanbul, the capital, ending the war in this region in September 1918. However, in 1922, Kemal Mustafa Ataturk drove the Allies out of Istanbul and all of Turkey and became the president of the new Turkish Republic in 1923.
The German navy was filled with many heavily armored warships, known as dreadnoughts. However, these dreadnoughts could not win any battles or situations against the allies. The Germans then decided to use submarine warfare against the allies instead. The submarines, or German U-boats, proved to be quite successful, disrupting much of the British, French, etc, trade. However, the U-boats were also a contribution to the U.S entering the war when U-boat #20 sank the world-famous ocean liner, the Lusitania, which, when sunk, was carrying many inoccent American passengers.
The stalemate of 1917 was finally broken by reckless German action, such as their unrestricted U-boat attacks on foreign shipping, the sinking of the Lusitania and the most threatening of all, they were highly encouraging that Mexico attack the U.S. The U.S at last sent troops to assist the allies in Europe and crushed all the German forces that were outside of their home country. However, by this time, the Russian economy was near collapse. On November 7th, 1918, Vladimir Lenin had seized power. In March, 1918, Russia and the German Empire signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, effectively ending Russian participation in the war. The Allies then surrounded Germany and began pressurizing the German Trench defenses. Germany slowly began to succumb to the Allies' pressure on them. Since, after all, their major ally, Austro-Hungary, had signed an armistice, agreement to stop fighting, with Italy and the allies after losing a series of battles against them. And now, the German people had started a revolution against Kaiser, or King, Wilhelm II of Germany, in response to Allies' presence. Finally, the Allies broke through the German Trenches and began marching eastwards towards the German capital, Berlin. Germany then finally gave in and signed an armistice on November 11th, 1918, ending the war for good.
The Treaty of Versailles aimed greatly to punish the Central Powers for the amount of destruction they caused during the war; especially Germany. The policy the Allies had put upon Germany and Austria could be certainly considered strict. Germany and Austria could not ever be allies with one another again and all future alliances of either country had to compromise with the policy of the Allies. Plus, the Central Powers were to pay an extremely large fee, some 11 billion euro. However, this policy and fee had sent both Austria and Germany into bankruptcy and marked the dissolution of both empires. The Germans could never let go of their grudge against the Allies and because of this, World War II was just waiting to occur.
Table of Contents
Origins of the WarEdit
Triple Entente (list)Edit
Triple Alliance (list)Edit
Major Battles of World War IEdit
The Western Front, or Western Europe
- The Battle of 1st Marne, occured in 1914, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
- The Battle of 1st Aisne, occured in 1914, land battle, indecisive
- The Battle of 1st Ypres, occured in 1914, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
- The Battle of Verdun, occured in 1916, land battle, Entente/Ally (French) Victory
- The Battle of 1st Somme, occured in 1916, land battle, indecisive
- The Battle of Vimy Ridge, occured in 1917, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
- The Battle of Messines, occured in 1917, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
- The Battle of Passchendaele, occured in 1917, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
- The Battle of Cambrai, occured in 1917, land battle, indecisive
- The Battle of 2nd Marne, occured in 1918, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory
The Eastern Front, or Eastern Europe and Asia
- The Battle of Tannenberg, occured in 1914, land battle, Central Powers Victory (against Russia)
- The Battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, occured in 1915, land battle, Central Powers Victory (against Russia)
The Middle East
- The Battle of Kut-al-Amara, 1915-1916, Siege, Turkish Victory (against British, Indians)
- The Battle of Gallipoli, 1915-1916, land battle, Turkish Victory (against British, Australians, New Zealanders)
- The Battle of Megiddo, 1918, land battle, Entente/Ally Victory (against Turks)
The Countries of Both SidesEdit
The Triple Entente/Allies
- British Empire
- New Zealand