World War I

World War I
Clockwise from the top:
Date28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918 (1914-07-28 – 1918-11-11)
(4 years, 3 months and 2 weeks)
Peace treaties
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, China, Indian Ocean, North and South Atlantic Ocean

Allied victory

Allied Powers:
 British Empire
Central Powers:
Commanders and leaders
Total: 42,928,000[1]
  • 12,000,000
  • French Third Republic 8,660,000[m]
  • British Empire 5,839,000 [n]
  • Kingdom of Italy 5,093,000
  • United States 4,744,000
  • British Raj 1,680,000
  • Kingdom of Romania 1,234,000
  • Empire of Japan 800,000
  • Kingdom of Serbia 707,000
  • Canada 629,000
  • Australia 417,000
  • Belgium 380,000
  • Kingdom of Greece 230,000
  • First Portuguese Republic 200,000
  • Union of South Africa 136,000
  • Dominion of New Zealand 129,000
  • Kingdom of Montenegro 50,000
  • Kingdom of Hejaz 50,000
Total: 25,248,000[1]
  • German Empire 13,250,000
  • Austria-Hungary 7,800,000
  • Ottoman Empire 2,998,000
  • Kingdom of Bulgaria 1,200,000
68,176,000 (Total all)
Casualties and losses
  • Military dead: 5,525,000
  • Military wounded: 12,832,000
  • Total: 18,357,000 KIA, WIA and MIA
  • Civilian dead: 4,000,000
further details ...
Military deaths by country:[2][3]
  • Russia 1,811,000
  • French Third Republic 1,398,000
  • British Empire 1,115,000
  • Kingdom of Italy 651,000
  • Kingdom of Romania 250,000–335,000
  • Kingdom of Serbia 275,000
  • United States 117,000
  • Belgium 59,000–88,000
  • Kingdom of Greece 26,000
  • First Portuguese Republic 7,000
  • Kingdom of Montenegro 3,000
  • Empire of Japan <1,000
  • Military dead: 4,386,000
  • Military wounded: 8,388,000
  • Total: 12,774,000 KIA, WIA and MIA
  • Civilian dead: 3,700,000
further details ...
Military deaths by country:[2]
  • German Empire 2,051,000
  • Austria-Hungary 1,200,000
  • Ottoman Empire 772,000
  • Kingdom of Bulgaria 88,000
World War I: Mobilized forces per total population (in %)[citation needed]

World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was an international conflict that began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. It involved much of Europe, as well as Russia, the United States and Turkey, and was also fought in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. One of the deadliest conflicts in history, an estimated 9 million were killed in combat, while over 5 million civilians died from occupation, bombardment, hunger or disease.[4] The genocides perpetrated by the Ottomans and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic spread by the movement of combatants during the war caused many millions of additional deaths worldwide.[5][6]

In 1914, the Great Powers were divided into two opposing alliances, the Triple Entente, consisting of France, Russia, and Britain, and the Triple Alliance, made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Tensions in the Balkans came to a head on 28 June 1914 following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian heir, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia and the interlocking alliances involved the Powers in a series of diplomatic exchanges known as the July Crisis. On 28 July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia; Russia came to Serbia's defence and by 4 August, the conflict had expanded to include Germany, France and Britain, along with their respective colonial empires. In November, the Ottoman Empire, Germany and Austria formed the Central Powers, while in April 1915, Italy joined Britain, France, Russia and Serbia as the Allied Powers.

Facing a war on two fronts, German strategy in 1914 was to defeat France, then shift its forces to the East and knock out Russia, commonly known as the Schlieffen Plan.[7] This failed when their advance into France was halted at the Marne; by the end of 1914, the two sides faced each other along the Western Front, a continuous series of trench lines stretching from the Channel to Switzerland that changed little until 1917. By contrast, the Eastern Front was far more fluid, with Austria-Hungary and Russia gaining, then losing large swathes of territory. Other significant theatres included the Middle East, the Alpine Front and the Balkans, bringing Bulgaria, Romania and Greece into the war.

Shortages caused by the Allied naval blockade led Germany to initiate unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, bringing the previously neutral United States into the war on 6 April 1917. In Russia, the Bolsheviks seized power in the 1917 October Revolution and made peace in the March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, freeing up large numbers of German troops. By transferring these to the Western Front, the German General Staff hoped to win a decisive victory before American reinforcements could impact the war, and launched the March 1918 German spring offensive. Despite initial success, it was soon halted by heavy casualties and ferocious defence; in August, the Allies launched the Hundred Days Offensive and although the German army continued to fight hard, it could no longer halt their advance.[8]

The Central Powers began to collapse; Bulgaria signed an Armistice on 29 September, followed by the Ottomans on 31 October, then Austria-Hungary on 3 November. Isolated, facing revolution at home and an army on the verge of mutiny, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and the new German government signed the Armistice of 11 November 1918, bringing the fighting to a close. The 1919 Paris Peace Conference imposed various settlements on the defeated powers, the best known being the Treaty of Versailles. The dissolution of the Russian, German, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires led to numerous uprisings and the creation of independent states, including Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. For reasons that are still debated, failure to manage the instability that resulted from this upheaval during the interwar period ended with the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ a b Tucker & Roberts 2005, p. 273
  2. ^ a b Mougel, Nadège. "World War I casualties" (PDF). Centre européen Robert Schuman.
  3. ^ Nash, Jay Robert (1976). Darkest Hours. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1590775264.
  4. ^ Gilbert 1994, p. xv.
  5. ^ Spreeuwenberg 2018, pp. 2561–2567.
  6. ^ Williams 2014, pp. 4–10.
  7. ^ Zuber 2011, pp. 46–49.
  8. ^ Sheffield 2002, p. 251.

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