The first World War was waged mostly in Europe. It lasted from 28th July, 1914 to 11th November, 1918. It was originally called Great War. But it came to be known as first World War in reference to the Second World War which took place 20 years later. This war originated in Europe. In this war 70 million soldiers participated of which more than 9 million perished. The civilian causality was around 7 million.
Causes of World War I (1914-18)
The fundamental cause of the war was the system of hidden alliances contracted by the various powers of Europe. As it was later revealed, there was a secret pact between Russia, France, Serbia and Great Britain whereby they were bound to help each other in the case of a war with another country. Similarly Germany and Austria-Hungary had a secret alliance of this type. When the war broke out some other countries also joined in the conflict. Of these, Italy, Japan and the U.S. joined the former alliance, and Ottoman empire and Bulgaria joined the latter. Later on, these two alliances were called Allies and Central Powers respectively.
Another basic cause of the war was the fact that deprived of colonies outside Europe the Germans were sizzling with jealousy and anger against the countries that had captured colonies all over the world. Germany had become a great industrial country and wanted to have more markets for trade. Germany was envious of the colonial and naval greatness of England. William II, Kaiser of Germany, was very ambitious and wanted to gain influence in Turkey by linking Berlin with Baghdad by a railway line. This gave rise to great rivalry between England and Germany.
The immediate cause of the war was the murder of Archduke Ferdinand (the heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire) at Sarajevo by a Serbian. The Austrian held the Government of Serbia responsible for the murder and ultimately attacked Serbia.
Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria were on one side and were called Central Powers. England, France, Serbia, Belgium, Japan etc., were on the other side, and were called the Allies. Italy in 1915 and the U.S.A. in 1917 joined the Allies against the Central Powers.
Important Events of World War I
|Date||Names of Battles||Events|
|21st Oct to 11th Nov, 1914||First Battle of Ypres||Germany forces were defeated by French army|
|April, 1915||Second Battles of Ypres||The Allied army suffered losses. Poison gas was used for the first time by the Germans.|
|May, 1916||Battle of Jutland||The English fleet defeated the Germans near Jutland. Germany now began to destroy merchant ships by mines and submarines.|
|July-Nov 1917||Third Battle of Ypres||The British gained a few thousand yards of useless ground, suffering a huge number of causalities.|
|Nov, Dec 1917||Battle of Cambrai||It was remarkable for the use of tanks – a British invention – for the first time on a large scale.|
|May, 1918||Second Battle of Marne||Allied armies under the French General, Foch completely routed the Germans.|
|Nov 11, 1918||—||Germany signed the Armistice and the war came to a close.|
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