This article is about the major war of 1914–1918. For other uses, see World War One (disambiguation) and Great War (disambiguation). "WW1" and "WWI" redirect here. For the album by White Whale, see WWI (album).
World War I
Clockwise from top: trenches on the Western Front; a British Mark IV Tank crossing a trench; Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles; a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and German Albatros D.III biplanes Date
28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918 (Armistice)
Treaty of Versailles signed 28 June 1919
(4 years and 11 months)
Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye signed 10 September 1919
Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine signed 27 November 1919
Treaty of Trianon signed 4 June 1920
Treaty of Sèvres signed 10 August 1920
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, China and off the coast of South and North America Result
End of the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires Formation of new countries in Europe and the Middle East
Transfer of German colonies and regions of the former Ottoman Empire to other powers Establishment of the League of Nations. (more...)
Allied (Entente) Powers
Russian Empire (1914–17)
United States (1917–18)
Commanders and leaders
Victor Emmanuel III
Ferdinand of Romania
Franz Joseph I (1914–16)
Karl I (1916–18)
Mehmed V (1914–18)
Mehmed VI (1918)
Casualties and losses
22,477,500 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details.
Military dead: 4,386,000
16,403,000 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details.
[show] v t e
Theatres of World War I
World War I (WWI) was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until the start of World War II in 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy; but, as Austria–Hungary had taken the offensive against the agreement, Italy did not enter into the war). These alliances both reorganised (Italy fought for the Allies) and expanded as more nations entered the war. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of technological advancements that led to enormous increases in the lethality of weapons without corresponding improvements in protection or mobility. It was the sixth-deadliest conflict in world history, subsequently paving the way for various political changes, such as revolutions in many of the nations involved. Long-term causes of the war included the imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, including the...
References: 13 External links
13.1 Animated maps
In Canada, Maclean 's Magazine in October 1914 said, "Some wars name themselves. This is the Great War." A history of the origins and early months of the war published in New York in late 1914 was titled The World War. During the Interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries.
After the onset of the Second World War in 1939, the terms World War I or the First World War became standard, with British and Canadian historians favouring the First World War, and Americans World War I. Both of these terms had also been used during the Interwar period. The term "First World War" was first used in September 1914 by the German philosopher Ernst Haeckel, who claimed 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." The First World War was also the title of a 1920 history by the officer and journalist Charles à Court Repington.
Main article: Causes of World War I
Map of the participants in World War I: Allied Powers in green, Central Powers in orange, and neutral countries in grey
In the 19th century, the major European powers had gone to great lengths to maintain a balance of power throughout Europe, resulting in the existence of a complex network of political and military alliances throughout the continent by 1900. These had started in 1815, with the Holy Alliance between Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Then, in October 1873, German Chancellor Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors (German: Dreikaiserbund) between the monarchs of Austria–Hungary, Russia and Germany. This agreement failed because Austria–Hungary and Russia could not agree over Balkan policy, leaving Germany and Austria–Hungary in an alliance formed in 1879, called the Dual Alliance. This was seen as a method of countering Russian influence in the Balkans as the Ottoman Empire continued to weaken. In 1882, this alliance was expanded to include Italy in what became the Triple Alliance.
After 1870, European conflict was averted largely through a carefully planned network of treaties between the German Empire and the remainder of Europe orchestrated by Bismarck. He especially worked to hold Russia at Germany 's side to avoid a two-front war with France and Russia. When Wilhelm II ascended to the throne as German Emperor (Kaiser), Bismarck was compelled to retire and his system of alliances was gradually de-emphasised. For example, the Kaiser refused to renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia in 1890. Two years later, the Franco-Russian Alliance was signed to counteract the force of the Triple Alliance. In 1904, the United Kingdom signed a series of agreements with Fr
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