World War I: The War to End All Wars

World War I: The War to End All Wars

The First World War, sometimes known as WWI or WW1, was a global conflict that began in Europe and continued from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. The Great War, often known as the World War and "the war to end all wars," was fought between 1914 and 1918. It mobilised almost 70 million armed troops, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the most massive wars ever fought. It was also one of the worst wars in history, with an estimated 8.5 million combatants and 13 million civilians killed directly due to the battle. The genocides that followed and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic resulted in an additional 17–100 million deaths globally, with an estimated 2.64 million deaths in Europe and as many as 675,000 in the United States.

Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav pro-autonomy and member of the Serbian Black Hand military organisation, murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 sparking the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. The Austrians were not satisfied with Serbia's response, and the two countries went to war. The crisis grew from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one encompassing most of Europe due to a web of interlocking alliances. By July 1914, Europe's leading nations had split into two associations. The Triple Alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, and the Triple Entente, which included France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The Triple Alliance was purely defensive, allowing Italy to stay out of the war until 26 April 1915, when ties with Austria-Hungary worsened and joined the Allied Powers. After Austria-Hungary attacked the Serbian capital of Belgrade, which was only a few kilometres from the border, on 28 July 1914, Russia believed it was imperative to support Serbia and ordered partial mobilisation. On the evening of 30 July, Russia announced a total rally; the next day, Austria-Hungary and Germany did the same, with Germany demanding that Russia demobilise within twelve hours. When Russia declined, Germany professed war on Russia on 1 August 1914, supporting Austria-Hungary, which did so on 6 August 1914. On 2 August 1914, France ordered a complete mobilisation in support of Russia. The Associated Powers, primarily collected of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the United States, France, the Russian Empire, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Central Powers, primarily composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire; and the Central Powers, consisting mainly of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.

Germany's strategy for a two-front war against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West for six weeks to beat France, then shift forces to the East before Russia could fully mobilise; this became known as the Schlieffen Plan. Germany wanted unrestricted passage through Belgium on 2 August, a requirement for a swift victory over France. When this was refused, German soldiers attacked Belgium on 3 August and professed war on France the same day; the Belgian government raised the 1839 Treaty of London. Britain professed combat on Germany on 4 August, following its responsibilities under the Treaty. Britain and France declared war on Austria-Hungary on 12 August, and Japan joined with Britain on 23 August, taking German assets in China and the Pacific. The Ottoman Empire joined the war in November 1914, siding with Austria-Hungary and Germany and establishing fronts in the Mesopotamia, Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The battle was fought and drew upon each power's colonial empire, expanding the fight over Africa and the world.

The Combat of the Marne stopped the German push into France, and by the end of 1914, the Western Front had settled into a battle of attrition, typified by a long sequence of trench lines that didn't change much till 1917. The Eastern Front, by difference, was marked by much greater exchanges of territory. Italy joined the Allies in 1915 and established a front in the Alps. Bulgaria merged the Central Powers in 1915, and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, broadening the scope of the conflict in the Balkans. The United States initially stayed neutral, but it became a significant source of war material to the Allies even while neutral. Finally, following the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, Germany's declaration that its navy would recommence unobstructed attacks on unbiassed shipping, and evidence that Germany was attempting to incite Mexico to declare war on the United States, the United States declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Although trained American men would not arrive in large numbers at the front until mid-1918, the American Expeditionary Force eventually grew to over two million troops.

Even though Serbia was beaten in 1915 and Romania joined the Allied Nations in 1916 only to be beaten in 1917, none of the major powers was defeated until 1918. The Provisional Government replaced the Monarchy in Russia after the February Revolution in 1917. Still, continued dissatisfaction with the war's cost led to the October Revolution, the formation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, and the new government's signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, effectively ending Russia's involvement in the war. Germany had gained control of much of eastern Europe and had dispatched a considerable number of combat troops to the Western Front. The German March 1918 Offensive was firstly successful, thanks to new tactics. The Allies retreated and held their ground. As 10,000 more American forces came every day, the last of the German reserves were depleted. In their Hundred Days Offensive, the Allies pushed the Germans back with a series of attacks against which the Germans had no countermove. The Central Powers left one by one: Bulgaria (29 September), the Ottoman Empire (31 October), and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1 November). (3 November). With its allies vanquished, a revolution at home, and a military unwilling to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November 1918. Germany contracted a settlement on 11 November 1918, bringing the war to a close.

World War I noticeable a watershed moment in the world's political, cultural, economic, and social climates. Several revolutions and uprisings erupted as a result of the war and its immediate aftermath. In a series of treaties agreed upon at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the Big Four (Britain, France, the United States, and Italy) levied their terms on the defeated states, the most famous of which was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. The Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires all ceased to exist due to the conflict, and countless new states arose from their ashes. Despite the Allied victory (and the establishment of the League of Nations during the peace conference to avert future hostilities), a second world war broke out just over two decades later.


In September 1914, German scientist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel invented the term "world war." He claimed that there is no query that the dreaded 'European War' will become the First World War in the complete sense of the term due to the course and character of the conflict.

1914–1918 were referred to as the Great War or simply the World War before World War II. For example, the Canadian magazine Maclean's said in October 1914, "Some wars have their names. This is World War I." Due to their impression of its then-unparalleled scope and devastation, contemporary Europeans referred to it as "the conflict to end all wars" or "the war to end all wars." Following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the words became more conventional, with historians of the British Empire, including Canadians, preferring "The First World War" and Americans "World War I."


Political and Military Associations

For much of the nineteenth century, major European nations attempted to preserve a precarious balance of power among themselves, resulting in a complex web of political and military alliances. The most significant obstacles were Britain's retreat into so-called glorious isolation, the Ottoman Empire's decline, and Prussia's ascendancy after 1848 under Otto von Bismarck. The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 cemented Prussian hegemony in Germany, while the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 consolidated the German states into a German Reich under Prussian authority. French revanchism, or the desire for vengeance for the defeat of 1871 and the return of Alsace-Lorraine, remained a significant focus of French strategy over the next forty years (see French–German hostility).

Bismarck arranged the League of the Three Emperors between Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Germany in 1873 to separate France and dodge a war on two fronts. The League was disbanded in 1878, following Russia's victory in the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War and its power in the Balkans. Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the 1879 Dual Alliance, which became the Triple Alliance when Italy joined in 1882.

Because their primary goal was to ensure collaboration between the three Imperial Powers while also isolating France, the practical details of these alliances were restricted. Bismarck reformed the League in 1881 in response to British attempts in 1880 to address colonial tensions with Russia and diplomatic initiatives by France. The Reinsurance Treaty, a secret pact between Germany and Russia to remain neutral if France or Austria-Hungary invaded either, replaced the League when it expired in 1887.

In 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the new German Emperor, compelled Bismarck to resign, and the new Chancellor, Leo von Caprivi, persuaded him not to extend the Reinsurance Treaty. With the Franco-Russian Association of 1894 and the Entente Cordiale with Britain in 1904, France challenged the Triple Alliance, while Britain and Russia joined the Anglo-Russian Convention in 1907. The agreements were not official alliances, but resolving long-standing colonial conflicts paved the way for British involvement in any future confrontation involving France or Russia. The Triple Entente was born because of these interwoven bilateral agreements. During the Second Moroccan Crisis in 1911, Britain's support for France against Germany strengthened the Entente between the two countries and intensified Anglo-German alienation, compounding the divides that would rupture in 1914.

Arms Race

Following Germany's victory in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the German Reich was established, resulting in a significant expansion in the country's economic and industrial might. Wilhelm II and Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz who became Emperor in 1890, hoped to establish a Kaiserliche Marine, or Majestic German Navy, to compete with the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom for global naval supremacy. He was impressed by US naval strategist Alfred Mahan, who maintained that having a blue-water navy was essential for worldwide power projection; Tirpitz translated his writings into German, and Wilhelm made them mandatory reading. However, Wilhelm's adoration for the Royal Navy and ambition to outdo it drove him to do so.

As a result, the Anglo-German naval armaments race erupted. Nonetheless, the Royal Navy gained a technological advantage over its German opponent with the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906, which they never relinquished. In the end, the competition redirected vast resources to building a German navy large enough to annoy but not defeat Britain. Finally, in 1911, Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg admitted defeat, triggering the Rustungswende, or "arms turning point," in which Germany transferred its military spending from the navy to the army.

Conflicts in the Balkans

By officially annexing the former Ottoman province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it had controlled since 1878, Austria-Hungary caused the Bosnian crisis of 1908–1909. The Realm of Serbia and its supporter, the Pan-Slavic and Orthodox Russian Empire, were enraged. As a result, the Balkans earned the moniker "Europe's powder keg." The Italo-Turkish War, which lasted from 1911 to 1912 and aroused nationalism in the Balkan republics and laid the way for the Balkan Wars, was a crucial forerunner to World War I.

The First Balkan Combat was fought between the Balkan League and the Ottoman Empire between 1912 and 1913. The Treaty of London that followed further diminished the Ottoman Empire, creating an independent Albanian state while extending Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece's territorial holdings. Bulgaria launched the 33-day Second Balkan War when it attacked Serbia and Greece on 16 June 1913, losing most of Macedonia to Serbia and Greece and Southern Dobruja to Romania, severely destabilizing the region. The Great Powers controlled these Balkan conflicts, but the next one would extend throughout Europe and beyond.

Progress of the War

Opening Hostilities

The Central Powers' strategy was marred by miscommunication. Germany had committed to back Austria-invasion Hungary's of Serbia, but different people had different ideas about what that entailed. As a result, early in 1914, previously tested deployment plans were replaced, but these were never tested. The authorities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire felt that Germany would protect their northern flank against Russia. On the other hand, Austria-Hungary envisioned directing the majority of its soldiers against Russia while Germany dealt with France. The Austro-Hungarian Army was compelled to divide its forces between the Russian and Serbian fronts due to the confusion.

Beginning on 12 August, Austria invaded Serbia and battled the Serbian army at Cer and Kolubara. Austrian attacks were repulsed with significant losses over the next two weeks, marking the first key Allied conquests of the war and dashing Austro-Hungarian hopes of a quick win. As a result, Austria had to keep prominent soldiers on the Serbian front, undermining its anti-Russian efforts. One of the significant upset successes of the twentieth century was Serbia's defeat of the Austro-Hungarian invasion in 1914. In addition, the Serbian army used medical evacuation for the first time in October 1915 and anti-aircraft warfare for the first time in spring 1915, after the ground-to-air fire shot down an Austrian plane.

The German Order of Battle placed 80 percent of the army in the West at the start of the war, serving as a screening force in the East. The goal was to quickly oust France from the war, then relocate to the East and repeat the process against Russia.

By the end of August, the Associated left, which comprised the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), was in full departure. French casualties in the first month totaled 260,000, counting 27,000 killed on 22 August during the Battle of the Frontiers. German planning gave army commanders broad strategic instructions while allowing them considerable latitude in resounding them out at the front; this functioned well in 1866 and 1870, but in 1914, von Kluck took advantage of this latitude to disobey orders, causing a gap between the German armies as they approached Paris. Through the First Combat of the Marne, from 5 September to 12, the French and British used this gap to halt the German advance east of Paris and push the German forces back 50 kilometers (31 mi).

The Russian Stavka and the French had promised in 1911 to attack Germany within 15 days of mobilization; this was impracticable. The two Russian armies that reached East Prussia on 17 August did so without many support forces. As a result, the Russian Second Army was effectively annihilated at the Battle of Tannenberg on August 26–30. However, the Germans were forced to reroute their 8th Field Army from France to East Prussia due to the Russian assault, which contributed to the Allied triumph on the Marne.

On 30 August 1914, New Zealand invaded German Samoa (later Western Samoa). The Australian Naval and Armed Expeditionary Force landed in Neu Pommern (later New Britain), which was part of German New Guinea, on 11 September. In the Fight of Penang on 28 October, the German cruiser SMS Emden sank the Russian cruiser Zhemchug. After the Siege of Tsingtao, Japan took Germany's Micronesian colonies and the German coaling port of Qingdao on the Chinese Shandong peninsula. When Vienna refused to remove the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth from Tsingtao, Japan declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary; the ship was lost in November 1914 while defending Tsingtao. Only sporadic commerce raiders and a few holdouts in New Guinea survived after the Allied forces had conquered all German holdings in the Pacific within a few months.

Western Front

Military strategies devised before World War I had not kept up with technological advancements and had become outmoded. These advancements allowed robust defensive systems that out-of-date military methods could not breakthrough for most of the war. Massed infantry advances were hampered by barbed wire, while artillery, which was far more destructive than in the 1870s, joint with machine guns made crossing open land extremely difficult. Both sides' commanders were unable to devise techniques for assaulting fortified positions without incurring enormous casualties. On the other hand, technology developed to produce new offensive weapons over time, such as gas warfare and the tank.

Next the First Combat of the Marne (5–12 September 1914), Allied and German forces failed in their attempt to outflank each other, resulting in the "Race to the Sea." By 1914, the opposing troops had established a continuous line of entrenched fortifications stretching from Alsace to Belgium's North Sea coast. Because the Germans could select where to stand, they usually benefited from the high ground; their trenches tended to be better built. Moreover, Anglo-French channels were "temporary" and only needed until German defenses were broken.

Naval War

The German Empire had warships worldwide at the outset of the war, some of which were later deployed to assault Allied commercial ships. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom tracked them down systematically, but with some embarrassment due to its inability to protect Allied ships. Before the start of the war, it was widely assumed that Britain had the world's most powerful and most influential navy. Alfred Thayer Mahan's book The Influence of Sea Power on History, published in 1890, was intended to push the United States to strengthen its naval forces. Instead, this book made its way to Germany, spurring readers to try to defeat the British Royal Navy. The German detached light cruiser SMS Emden, stationed at Qingdao as part of the East Asia Squadron, seized or destroyed 15 commercial ships and sank a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer. However, the German East-Asia squadron, which included the armored cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the light vessels Nürnberg and Leipzig, and two transport ships, did not have instructions to raid shipping and was instead on its route to Germany when it encountered British vessels. At the Battle of Coronel, the German flotilla and Dresden sank two armored cruisers. Still, they were practically annihilated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914, with only Dresden and a few auxiliaries surviving. Still, these, too, were destroyed or incarcerated following the Battle of Más a Tierra.

Britain began a naval blockade of Germany shortly after the commencement of the war. Although the embargo defied recognized international law codified by multiple international accords over the past two centuries, it effectively cut off crucial military and civilian supplies. In addition, Britain mined international waterways to prohibit ships from entering whole stretches of ocean, putting even neutral vessels in danger. Because the British method elicited a muted response, Germany anticipated a similar reaction to its unrestricted submarine warfare.

With HMS Furious initiation Sopwith Camels in a successful raid against the Zeppelin hangars at Tondern in July 1918, World War I also saw the first employment of aircraft carriers in combat, as well as blimps for antisubmarine patrol.

Southern Theatres

In the face of Russia to the East, Austria-Hungary could only spare one-third of its force to fight Serbia. The Austrians briefly took Belgrade, Serbia's capital, after incurring terrible losses. By the end of 1914, a Serbian counter-offensive in the Battle of Kolubara had driven them out of the country. Austria-Hungary employed the majority of its armed reserves to battle Italy for the first ten months of 1915. Diplomats from Germany and Austria-Hungary pulled out a coup by convincing Bulgaria to join the invasion of Serbia. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, all Austro-Hungarian provinces, contributed troops to Austria-struggle Hungary's against Serbia, Russia, and Italy. Serbia and Montenegro allied.

On 12 October 1915, Bulgaria declared war on Serbia, joining the Austro-Hungarian army under Mackensen's 250,000-strong army, which was already in the field. Serbia was captured in less than a month, with 600,000 men deployed in by the Central Powers, which now included Bulgaria. The Serbian army, facing an inevitable loss on two fronts, retreated into northern Albania. In the Battle of Kosovo, the Serbs were defeated. In the Battle of Mojkovac on 6–7 January 1916, Montenegro supported the Serbian retreat towards the Adriatic coast, but the Austrians eventually seized Montenegro. Serbian soldiers that survived were evacuated to Greece by ship. Serbia was partitioned between Austro-Hungary and Bulgaria after the conquest.

Eastern Front

Russian war preparations called for simultaneous assaults of Austrian Galicia and East Prussia at the start of the conflict. Although Russia's initial assault into Galicia was generally successful, Hindenburg and Ludendorff drove Russia out of East Prussia in 1914 at the battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. The events of the day were aided by Russia's underdeveloped industrial base and poor military leadership. Nevertheless, the Russians had withdrawn from Galicia by 1915, and the Central Powers' Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive had made a significant breakthrough on Poland's southern boundaries. They took Warsaw on 5 August and forced the Russians to leave Poland.

Central Powers Peace Overtures

Germany sought to negotiate peace with the Allies on 12 December 1916, ten months after the Battle of Verdun and a victorious attack into Romania. This endeavor, however, was dismissed outright as a "duplicitous war deception."

Soon after, US President Woodrow Wilson attempted to mediate as a mediator, requesting that both parties explain their demands in a note. Lloyd George's War Cabinet viewed the German offer was a ruse to cause dissension among the Allies. They treated Wilson's note as a separate endeavor after initial fury and lengthy consideration, signaling that the United States was on the superiority of entering the war against Germany due to the submarine outrages.  While the Allies discussed how to respond to Wilson's offer, the Germans opted for a direct exchange of views. When the Allies learned of the German response, they could make specific demands in their 14 January response. They demanded compensation for damages, the evacuation of seized regions, reparations for France, Russia, and Romania, and acknowledgement of the nationality principle. In addition, as a condition of any peace agreement, the Allies demanded security guarantees that would avoid or limit future wars, as well as penalties. The negotiations failed, and the Entente states rejected Germany's offer since it did not include any particular recommendations.

Allied Victory

The Battle of Amiens kicked off the Allied counter-offensive, known as the Hundred Days Offensive, on 8 August 1918. The action comprised nearly 400 tanks and 120,000 British, Dominion, and French troops, and by the conclusion of the first day, the German lines had been breached by a gap of 24 kilometers (15 miles). The defenders' morale had plummeted to the point where Ludendorff dubbed the day the "Black Day of the German Army." German resistance tightened after an advance of 23 kilometers (14 miles), and the combat was called off on 12 August.

The Allies diverted their attention away from the Amiens conflict rather than pursuing it through the point of initial success, as they had done so many times before. It was clear to Allied leaders that continuing an offensive after resistance had hardened was a waste of life and that it was preferable to turn a line rather than try to roll it over. They started attacking in a hurry to take advantage of promising flank advances, then broke them up after each attack lost its initial vigor.

On 13 August, in Spa, Hindenburg, Chancellor Ludendorff, and Foreign Minister Hintz agreed that the war could not be won militarily. The German Crown Council decided the next day that victory in the field was now unlikely. Austria and Hungary advised that they could only fight until December, and Ludendorff advocated for quick peace talks. However, Prince Rupprecht forewarned Baden's, Prince Maximilian.

On 21 August, British and Dominion soldiers began the second phase of the war with the Battle of Albert. In the days that followed, the assault was broadened by French and subsequently British forces. Allied pressure against the enemy was heavy and unrelenting throughout the last week of August along a 110-kilometre (68-mile) front. According to German reports, each day was spent in terrible combat against an ever-advancing enemy, and nights were spent in sleepless retreats to new lines.


The German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian empires all fell apart due to the conflict. Countless countries regained their freedom, and new ones were formed. The war brought down four dynasties, the Romanovs, the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, the Ottomans, and their attendant aristocracies. Belgium and Serbia, and France were severely destroyed, with 1.4 million soldiers killed, not counting other deaths. Germany and Russia were both affected in the same way.

The Formal End of the War

The two sides remained in a nominal state of war for another seven months until Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919. Despite widespread public support, the peace was not ratified by the US Senate. The war was not officially ended until President Warren G. Harding signed the Knox–Porter Resolution on 2 July 1921. The state of war terminated for the United Kingdom and the British Empire under the requirements of the End of the Present War (Definition) Act 1918 in the following areas:

  • Germany on 10 January 1920
  • Austria on 16 July 1920
  • Bulgaria on 9 August 1920
  • Hungary on 26 July 1921
  • Turkey on 6 August 1924

Agreements with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were settled after the Treaty of Versailles. However, the Ottoman Empire's treaty negotiations were fraught. In Lausanne, a formal peace treaty between the Allied Powers and the country that would soon become the Republic of Turkey was not completed until 24 July 1923.

Some war memorials marked the war's conclusion with the signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1919. Many of the troops stationed abroad returned home; however, most commemorations of the war's end focus on the 11 November 1918 armistice. The formal peace accords were not completed legally until the Treaty of Lausanne was signed. The Allied forces evacuated Constantinople on 23 August 1923, following the conditions of the Treaty.

Peace Treaties and National Boundaries

Following the conflict, there was an increased academic focus on the causes of war and the elements that could help peace thrive. Peace and battle studies, security studies, and international relations (IR) in general were all institutionalized due to this. As a result, the Central Powers were forced to sign a series of peace treaties at the Paris Peace Conference, finishing the war. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles allocated with Germany and established the League of Nations on 28 June 1919, based on Wilson's 14th point.

The Central Powers were forced to accept responsibility for all losses and damages suffered by the Allied and Associated Governments and their citizens due to the war inflicted on them by their aggression. Article 231 of the Accord of Versailles said this. Because most Germans felt embarrassed and bitter, this provision became known as the War Guilt clause. Overall, the Germans thought that the so-called Versailles diktat had mistreated them. According to German historian Hagen Schulze, the Treaty subjected Germany to legal sanctions, depriving it of military force, destroying its economy, and humiliating it politically. The fundamental importance of remembrance of the war and the Versailles Treaty on German politics in the 1920s and 1930s is emphasized by Belgian historian Laurence Van Ypersele.

National Identities

Poland re-emerged as an independent country after 123 years. As a tiny Entente nation with the most casualties per capita, the Kingdom of Serbia and its dynasty formed the backbone of a new multinational state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, subsequently called Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia was formed by uniting sections of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary. Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia became independent countries after Russia became the Soviet Union. Turkey and numerous other Middle Eastern countries quickly supplanted the Ottoman Empire.

The war ushered in new forms of nationalism across the British Empire. As a result, the Battle of Gallipoli became known as the "Baptism of Fire" in Australia and New Zealand. It was the first key war in which newly independent countries fought, and it was also one of the first instances that Australian troops fought as Australians rather than as British Crown subjects. This momentous occasion is commemorated on Anzac Day, honoring the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

Health Effects

Between 1914 and 1918, 60 million European military troops were mobilized, 8 million died, 7 million were permanently crippled, and 15 million were gravely injured. Germany lost 15.1 percent of its working-age male population, Austria-Hungary 17.1 percent, and France 10.5%. 7.8 million Men were mobilized in France, with 1.4 million killed and 3.2 million injured. Food shortages and hunger decreased resistance to disease in Germany, resulting in 474,000 more civilian deaths than peacetime. Famine-related starvation killed around 100,000 individuals in Lebanon by the end of the conflict. The Russian famine of 1921 killed between 5 and 10 million people. As a consequence of over a period of the devastation caused by World War I, the Russian Civil War, and the following famine of 1920–1922, there were between 4.5 million and 7 million homeless children in Russia by 1922. Following the Revolution, many anti-Soviet Russians departed the nation; by the 1930s, the northern Chinese city of Harbin had 100,000 Russians. Many more went to France, England, and the United States.

Support for the War

Yugoslav nationalists in the Balkans, led by Ante Trumbi, backed the war because they wanted Yugoslavs to be free of Austria-Hungary and other foreign countries and the construction of an independent Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Committee, commanded by Trumbi, was established in Paris on 30 April 1915 but quickly relocated to London. The Rome Congress of Oppressed Nationalities met in April 1918, with representatives from Czechoslovakia, Italy, Poland, Transylvania, and Yugoslavia urging the Allies to support national self-determination for Austria-Hungary's peoples.

In the Middle East, Arab nationalism grew in response to the growth of Turkish nationalism during the war, with Arab nationalist leaders demanding the establishment of a pan-Arab state. In an attempt to gain independence, the Arab Revolt occurred in Ottoman-controlled lands of the Middle East in 1916.

Iyasu V of Ethiopia was helping the Dervish state in the Somaliland Campaign, which was at war with the British. Before Iyasu's takeover at the Battle of Segale, owing to Allied pressure on the Ethiopian aristocracy, the Ethiopian Empire was on the point of joining the Central Powers in World War I. Iyasu was suspected of being an Islamic convert. The proof used to show Iyasu's conversion, according to Ethiopian historian Bahru Zewde, was a doctored photograph of Iyasu wearing a turban provided by the Allies. Some historians believe T. E. Lawrence, a British spy, fabricated the Iyasu photograph.

When the combat broke out in August 1914, several socialist parties backed it. However, European socialists split along national lines, with radical socialists such as Marxists and Syndicalists' belief in class warfare overshadowed by their patriotic support for the war. When the war broke out, socialists in Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia joined the burgeoning nationalist movement by supporting their nations' involvement in the conflict.

Opposition to the War

Many Marxists and labor organizations backed their governments once the war was declared. The Bolsheviks, the Communist Party of America, the Italian Socialist Party, Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and their adherents in Germany were exceptions.

A lot of nationalists were opposed to intervention, particularly in countries where they were hostile. Even though most Irish people agreed to fight in 1914 and 1915, a small group of advanced Irish nationalists were adamantly opposed. The war began during Ireland's Home Rule crisis, which had erupted in 1912, and by July 1914, there was a significant threat of civil war in the country. Irish nationalists and Marxists attempted to gain independence for Ireland, culminating in the Easter Rising of 1916, which saw Germany deploy 20,000 firearms to Ireland to cause trouble in the United Kingdom. In reaction to the Easter Rising, the UK government declared martial law in Ireland. Yet, once the immediate fear of the Revolution had passed, the authorities attempted to appease nationalist sentiment. However, in Ireland, opposition to participation in the war grew, resulting in the Conscription Crisis of 1918.

Conscientious objectors, some socialist, others religious, who refused to combat, were another source of opposition. Sixteen thousand persons in the United Kingdom applied for moral objector status. Most notably, Stephen Henry Hobhouse, a notable peace campaigner, declined both military and alternative service. Years in prison, including solitary confinement and bread-and-water diets, were endured by many. Many employment adverts in Britain were labelled "No conscientious objectors need to apply" even after the war.


The non-military diplomatic and propaganda engagements between the nations were intended to strengthen or weaken support for the cause. For the most part, wartime diplomacy was engrossed on five subjects: propaganda movements; defining and redefining the combat goals, which became stricter as the war progressed; enticing unbiased countries (Italy, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire, Romania) into the alliance by offering slices of enemy territory; and encouraging nationalistic minority movements within the Central Powers, especially among Czarists. There were also numerous peace initiatives from neutrals, as well as one side or the other. Unfortunately, they didn't get very far with any of them.