Facts About The First World War

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The First World War is said to be the deadliest in history.

1) Causes
● The main reason for the war was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife Sophie by the young Gavrilo Princip member of the Nationalist Young Bosnia Movement. This destabilized the already tense Europe and sparked the First World War.
● Alliances
Countries entered into mutual treaties to help each other.
Each country showed of their power through the countries they owned, this increasing competition and great desire for greater kingdoms led to the war.

2) Countries Involved

● Austria and Hungary
Declared war on Serbia.

● Russia
Bound by a treaty to Serbia decides to defend her.

● Germany
Allied to Austria and Hungary viewed Russia as a threat and declared war on Russia

● France
Bound by treaty with Russia found to war with Germany which was swift enough to evade Belgium

● Britain
Supported France because of its treaty with Belgium. Along with Britain came all her colonies.

● United states
Maintained neutrality until 1917 when Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare threatened American shipping forcing it to wage war against Germany.

● Japan
Honoring military agreement with Britain declared war on Germany. Two days after Austria and Hungary waged war on Japan.

● Italy
Although Italy tried to stay neutral, the following year it was pushed to participate.

3) The War
● German military was ready when the declaration of war against Europe was announced. They
intended to hold off Russians in the east and finish off with Austria.

The great war used great weapons like machine guns, poison gas, flame throwers , tanks and aircrafts.

Fighting in the bitter cold and rugged soil added to the agony of the soldiers.

● The most significant development was the invention of submarines by the Germans. These subs
could hide beneath the waves in the shipping lanes and attack the enemy without being seen.

4) Damage
● A group of miners, operating in total secrecy, dug tunnels up to 100ft underground, to plant and detonate mines beneath the enemy’s trenches. Many German soldiers lost their lives and the explosions were heard as far as London.

When the men went to fight the war, the women took their place in the workforce. They worked long hours, often in poor conditions and with dangerous chemicals, which gave them toxic jaundice and turned their skin yellow.

● The death toll was humungous, close to 17 million people lost their lives and about 20 million people were wounded.

5) Effects of the war
● Governmental changes
Socialist ideas experienced a boom as they spread through Germany , Austrian empire till Britain.
But the most popular form of government was the Republic.

●The Treaty of Versailles
Germany was forced to sign a humiliating treaty that held the country responsible for the war and wanted Germany to compensate for all the war costs. The Weimar government set up in Germany was disliked by its people. The soldiers refused to give up fighting even when the army was drastically reduced. The hostility and feelings of revenge by Germany foreshadowed the rise of World War 2.

● Economic changes
Technology experienced a huge boost as demand for machines, automobiles and certain chemicals skyrocketed. The cut down of working hours and the use of machinery proved beneficial to many countries such as US. However Europe suffered devastating loss property and finance. Once a reliable money lender ,now had to print new currencies to pay back her allies. This caused inflation.

●Psychological effects
A growing sense of distrust pervaded the minds of the people who had witnessed the horror of the war. The future certainly did not look bright for the families of those killed in the war.

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