World War 1.txt

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British Columbia Institute of Technology

World War I, also known as the First World War, was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II in 1939, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I. In America it was initially called the European War. More than 9 million combatants were killed; a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria- Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance. These alliances were both reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world. On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia. As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The war approached a resolution after the Russian government collapsed in March 1917 and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and American forces began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies. By the end of the war, four major imperial powers�the German, Russian, Austro- Hungarian and Ottoman empires�ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The map of Europe was redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created. The League of Nations formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim failed, with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the German feeling of humiliation contributing to the rise of fascism and the conditions for World War II. Names 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. 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 � Court Repington. 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. Background Political and military alliances 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. Bismarck had 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, 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, Britain signed a series of agreements with France, the Entente Cordiale, and in 1907, Britain and Russia signed the Anglo-Russian Convention. While these agreements did not formally ally Britain with France or Russia, they made British entry into any future conflict involving France or Russia a possibility, and the system of interlocking bilateral agreements became known as the Triple Entente. The arms race between Britain and Germany eventually extended to the rest of Europe, with all the major powers devoting their industrial base to producing the equipment and weapons necessary for a pan-European conflict. Between 1908 and 1913, the military spending of the European powers increased by 50%. Conflicts in the Balkans Austria-Hungary precipitated the Bosnian crisis of 1908�1909 by officially annexing the former Ottoman territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it had occupied since 1878. This angered the Kingdom of Serbia and its patron, the Pan- Slavic and Orthodox Russian Empire. Russian political manoeuvring in the region destabilised peace accords, which were already fracturing in what was known as "the powder keg of Europe". Prelude Sarajevo assassination On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, where a group of six assassins, consisting of five Serbs and one Bosnian Muslim from the nationalist group Mlada Bosna, supplied by the Serbian militant group Black Hand, ambushed his convoy and assassinated him. There were several members of the Black Hand in Sarajevo that day. Before Franz was shot, somebody had already tried to kill him and his wife. Nedeljko Cabrinovic threw a grenade at the car, but missed. It injured some people nearby and Franz Ferdinand made sure they were given medical attention before the convoy could carry on. The convoy took a wrong turn into a street where Gavrilo Princip stood. With a pistol, Princip shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The reaction among the Austrian common people was mild, almost indifferent. As historian Z.A.B. Zeman later wrote, "the event almost failed to make any impression whatsoever. On Sunday and Monday, the crowds in Vienna listened to music and drank wine, as if nothing had happened." Escalation of violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina However, in Sarajevo itself, Austrian authorities encouraged violence against the Serb residents, which resulted in the Anti-Serb pogrom of Sarajevo, in which Croats and Bosnian Muslims killed two and damaged numerous Serb-owned buildings. Writer Ivo Andric referred to the violence as the "Sarajevo frenzy of hate." Anti-Serb demonstrations and pogroms were organized not only in Sarajevo but also in many other larger Austro-Hungarian cities in modern-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austro-Hungarian authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina imprisoned and extradited approximately 5,500 prominent Serbs, 700 to 2,200 of whom died in prison. 460 Serbs were sentenced to death and a predominantly Muslim special militia kn
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