World War I

Article

August 13, 2022

The First World War - or, as contemporaries called it, the Great War - was a four-year worldwide military conflict at the beginning of the 20th century, between 1914 and 1918. Almost all the states of Europe, the Russian Empire, Japan, the Ottoman Empire and, in the last year and a half, the United States and many smaller states took part in the war. Its main theaters of war were in Europe, but it extended to the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. It is considered one of the bloodiest wars in history with 9 million soldiers killed on the battlefields and another 5 million civilian victims who lost their lives as a result of occupations, bombings, famines, and epidemics. The genocides carried out by the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 claimed the lives of millions more. The war broke out as a result of the conflicts of interest of the European powers. In 1914, they united into two large alliances: the Entente, which included France, the Russian Empire, and Great Britain, while the Triple Alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The direct cause of the war was the Sarajevo assassination, when a Bosnian Serb nationalist murdered the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Ferenc Ferdinand and his wife, who were visiting the city on June 28, 1914. The assassin was a member of the Young Bosnia organization, which, according to assumptions, may have been in contact with the Serbian authorities. With his action, he wanted to advance the "liberation" of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Austro-Hungarian occupation, after which a South Slavic state could be established in the Balkans under Serbian leadership. The Monarchy blamed pro-Russian Serbia for the assassination. After the assassination, diplomatic relations between the great powers revived, a period known as the "July Crisis". At the end of this, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy declared war on Serbia on July 28. However, Russia rushed to Serbia's aid and on August 4, Germany, France and Great Britain entered the conflict with their colonial empires. By November, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were on one side (the Central Powers), while on the other side were Great Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia (the Entente). He joined them in April 1915, even before the war, due to the promise of territorial gains by Italy, a member of the Triple Alliance. 40 countries took part in the war and nearly 70 million people served in the military. In the face of the threat of a two-front war, Germany developed a strategy before the war, according to which France had to be defeated first, and then the troops liberated there were to be thrown to the east over Russia (Schlieffen Plan). In 1914, this strategy failed after the French were able to stop the German offensive in the First Battle of the Marne. By the end of the year, the Western Front had stiffened and trench warfare had developed from the English Channel to the Swiss border, and the frontline hardly changed until 1917. This changed way of fighting was due, among other things, to the new weapons. Such were, for example, the machine gun, the hand grenade, the mortar and the rapid-fire cannon, which helped the defense. During the World War, tanks and combat gas, flamethrowers, machine guns, and combat aircraft were used for combat for the first time. It was much more mobile on the eastern front than on the western front. Here, in the Battle of Tannenberg, the Germans succeeded in stopping the Russians who invaded East Prussia at the beginning of the war. Further south, the Monarchy and Russia occupied large areas from each other and then lost them. Another important battlefield was Köze