Monday, July 28, 2014

On This Day: The First World War Begins 100 Years Ago.

The Assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdiand in Sarajevo
The First World War, one of two brutal worldwide military conflicts that would divide and consume the world in the 20th century, began 100 years ago today when the Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia. This action was triggered by the assassination of  Archduke Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, Bosnia, a month earlier by a Serbian nationalist.

Trench Warfare - Hellish Conditions for Both Sides
The major players in the First World War would quickly enter the conflict, allied and opposed to each other in a series of public and secret alliances and guarantees.

The German Empire  would enter the war to support her main ally, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, followed by The Ottoman Empire (Turkey), which owned much of the Middle East back then. The monarchies of all three Empires would fall at the end of the war, and the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires would break up into nation states, frequently in conflict with each other, by the end of the conflict.

The First Tank - Made By The U.K. 

Russia, France, Italy, and The British Empire would quickly enter the war to oppose Germany. The U.S.A. would enter the war later, in 1917, just in time to have her armies gassed by the German Army as they arrived at the front. Russia would withdraw from the war early, in 1918, as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution that would install the world's first Communist regime in 1918.

Poison Gas Bombardment

Poison Gas was used by both sides in this war. I say this because my Great Grandfather was in the trenches for the United States in 1918 and suffered badly from breathing mustard gas until he would die from long-term complications.

The Sinking of the Lusitania in 1917 Helps Draw The USA Into the War

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The Second World War would see nearly four times as many people killed 25 years later.

You can find our more about the First World War here:

An Aerial Dogfight Between a German Fokker Triplane and a French Spad

The First World War revolutionized warfare. Weapons used for the first time in widespread combat conditions in the First World War include submarine warfare, combat airplanes, aerial bombardment of cities (most famously in German Zeppelins), the tank, poison gas, and radio communications.

Bombardment of Major Cities by German Zeppelins During the War
The First World War was not the only calamity that the world would face this decade

More people would be killed by the virulent 1918 flu pandemic (commonly but incorrectly called "The Spanish Flu") which would grip the world for three years starting in January, 1918. An estimated 500 million people would be infected,  and an estimated 50 to 100 million would die, —three to five percent of the world's population at the time. You can read more about the pandemic here:

The Russian Revolution in 1917 Stops the War in the East

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