World War 1 Overview
World War I is also known as the “Great War” and the first time we referenced a war as a World War. A German biologist named Ernst Haeckel stated that “there is no doubt that the course and character of the feared ‘European War’…will become the first world war in the full sense of the word”, this was referenced by The Indianapolis Star on 20 September 1914.
In this overview, we will attempt to provide you with what started World War 1, who won WW1, and much more. Throughout the category of WW1 within this website, you will learn about the weapons, vehicles, technology created, victims, and heroes.
Table of Contents
- How long did WW1 last: 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918
- Who won World War 1: The Allied powers.
- Who lost WW1: The Central powers
- What countries were in the Allied powers:
- British Empire
- United States
- What countries were in the Central powers:
- Ottoman Empire
- How many died: Over 9 million military and over 7 million civilians.
How Did WW1 Start
There are so many things that could have started this war. Some things that led up to World War 1 were the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, the Anglo-German naval arms race, the Russo-Japanese war, the Italo-Turkish War, and the Balkan Wars.
The most recent event to happen prior to WW1 was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo. The two were shot by Gavrilo Princip after the convoy of the Archduke made a wrong turn where Gavrilo Princip just happened to be.
It was said the assassination had very little effect on the people of Austria, however politically, it was very damaging. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was heir to the throne.
Violence erupted in Sarajevo, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina cities controlled by Austria-Hungary. Bosnians were killing Serbs and destroying Serb owned buildings.
On 28 July 1914, a month after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Prior to the declaration of war against Serbia, there were many moving parts. Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain had all been making strategic maneuvers in preparation for what might come and ultimately did.
Once the war was declared against Serbia, Russia provided support to Serbia by mobilizing against Austria-Hungary. Germany issued a demand to France to remain neutral. France mobilized its reserve forces, causing Germany to mobilize. Britain would only remain neutral if Germany did not attack France. As you can see, the declaration of war against Serbia set off a chain of events that led to World War 1.
Austria-Hungary did not communicate with its ally Germany very well and improperly split its military against the Russians and Serbians. This ended with Austria-Hungary failing to defeat Serbia and forcing Austria-Hungary to retreat back to its own country.
Germany attempts to battle on two fronts in Belgium and France. Germany chose a tactic called the Schlieffen Plan, named after Alfred von Schlieffen where they would leave one front weak to draw in France while the other stronger front would surge through Belgium and surround French Armies. Germany was hoping for a decisive battle, however, due to the concerns of Helmuth von Moltke (Schlieffen’s successor) that the left was too weak. He chose to strengthen the left front, which prevented Germany from a quick and decisive victory over France.
The Central Powers began to weaken as countries began to give up. First Bulgaria withdrew from the war in September 1918, followed by the Ottoman Empire in October 1918 and the Austro-Hungarian empire in November 1918. Without most of the allies to fight, Germany signed an armistice agreement on 11 November 1918, ending the war.