World War I is considered to be the first global conflict and was called the World War or the Great War prior to the beginning of World War Two. Majority of the war was fought in Europe and involved all of the world great powers; United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Austria and Hungry. As the war progressed more countries became involved either through invasion or in support of other countries. More than 70 million military personnel were engaged in the war and approximately 9 million fatalities occurred. World War I lasted over four years and caused political and social change on a global scale.
When did World War I start?
The Great War or the World War started on 28th July 1914 with the invasion of Serbia by the Austro-Hungarian army forces. This was swiftly followed by the invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and France by German forces. Prior to these invasions tensions throughout Europe had been intensifying with border skirmishes, assassinations and a global arms race contributing to the instability of the region. The invasion of Serbia began a conflict between Austria–Hungary and Russia. Germany also declared war on Russia in August of 1914. Due to its invasion of Belgium and its reluctance to recognize its right to be neutral, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. This drew the Allied powers of the United Kingdom, Russia and France into an armed conflict against the Central Powers of Germany, Austria–Hungary and Italy. Later, Italy joined the Allied powers due to a secret pact they signed in 1902 with France.
When did World War I end?
After four long years of trench warfare and loss of life the Great War ended on the 11th of November 1918. Many factors contributed to the end of the war, but one of the most influential was the Hundred Day Offensive that began on 8 August 1918. In this attack the British Fourth Army, the French First Army and the combined Australian and Canadian Corps worked together to break through the Germany battle lines and weakened their position and hold on French Territory. They applied relentless pressure to the German army recapturing territory and taking prisoners. Over the next 3 months they continued to weaken the position of the German army and after suffering a staggering 6 million fatalities Germany began to move towards peace.
Negotiations began and Germany became a republic in the 9 November 1918. During the months of September, October and November a peace agreement was signed by Bulgaria (29th September), the Ottoman Empire (30th October), Austria-Hungry (3rd November) and Germany (11th November). On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a ceasefire was called and troops began to withdraw from their positions. A state of war continued to exist between the two sides until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919. The final treaty of the war was signed in Constantinople on 23 August 1923. These treaties ensured peace, but did not dismantle the tension still present between the European powers.