World War One


July 5, 2022

World War I was a global conflict, triggered by the shootings in Sarajevo, with the center of Europe lasting from 1914 to 1918. More than 70 million soldiers were mobilized, over 9 million combatants and over 7 million civilians were killed. The war included the great powers of the time: the Entente Powers (originally France, Russia and Great Britain, USA from 1917) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, shortly after the outbreak of war the Ottoman Empire). Both alliance groups tried to mobilize the entire economy in a total war; women in particular contributed to much of the work. Central causes of the war were the imperialism and militarism of the European powers, driven by racism and nationalism, in countries marked by class antagonisms and discriminatory gender roles. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany attacked Belgium and France in the west, and Russia attacked Germany in the east. After a few months, the fighting on the western front locked up, and until the spring of 1918, the front lines changed insignificantly. On the Eastern Front, the front lines were more dynamic, and the war ended with the victory of the central powers after the Russian revolutions in 1917. The fighting in Africa broke out in August 1914, when the conflict spread from the imperialist states in Europe to the colonies. From 1915, the Ottoman Empire initiated the genocide of the Armenians. After Russia's capitulation in 1918, Germany concentrated its forces on the Western Front, but the German spring offensive eventually stopped. The Entente Powers' hundred-day offensive pushed the German army back, and the country had to sign a ceasefire on November 11, 1918. At the end of the war, the borders of many countries were redrawn, and nations were again independent or established. The Ottoman Empire was dissolved. Austria-Hungary was replaced by a number of smaller Central European states. Germany was transformed from an empire into a republic. During the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the four great powers (Britain, France, Italy and the United States) agreed on terms for the losing nations in a series of treaties (including the Treaty of Versailles), and the League of Nations was established. The beginnings of decolonization are linked by historians to the First World War, and its aftermath. World War I ended Europe's centuries of hegemony over the rest of the world. A number of factors related to the aftermath of World War I, such as revolutions, major economic fluctuations (the Great Depression), and the German feeling of being humiliated (fueled by nationalist propaganda, as in the dagger-throwing legend), contributed to the outbreak of World War II.



Despite the fact that the war of 1914–1918 was referred to as «the first world war», there were several worldwide wars between European powers before that time; the first was the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). Until the outbreak of World War II, World War I was usually referred to simply as the "Great War".

Great Powers in the World 1871–1914

After the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), Germany was divided into many states; most were small, loosely connected in the German Confederation. In the 1860s, Prussia, under the leadership of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, was the driving force in the work of a German unity, against the rival Empire of Austria. Prussia defeated Denmark in the Second Schleswig War in 1864 and Austria in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866–1867 in conflicts over land. An almost united Germany defeated France in the Franco-German War in 1870. Alsace-Lorraine was established as a Prussian province (Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen). Germany's unification was proclaimed on January 18, 1871 in the Mirror Hall in Versailles. This created bitterness and revenge - revenge and demands for the return of the ceded areas - in France. With the victory, Germany also became the continental power in Europe. Germany was both feared and part of the great power game. The next 19 years, until 1890, were dominated by Bi