World War I

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World War I,

1914–18, also known as the Great War, conflict, chiefly in Europe, among most of the great Western powers. It was the largest war the world had yet seen.

Causes

World War I was immediately precipitated by the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian nationalist in 1914. There were, however, many factors that had led toward war. Prominent causes were the imperialistic, territorial, and economic rivalries that had been intensifying from the late 19th cent., particularly among Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Austria-Hungary.

Of equal importance was the rampant spirit of nationalism, especially unsettling in the empire of Austria-Hungary and perhaps also in France. Nationalism had brought the unification of Germany by "blood and iron," and France, deprived of Alsace and Lorraine by the Franco-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War
or Franco-German War,
1870–71, conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. It was provoked by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of his plan to create a unified German
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 of 1870–71, had been left with its own nationalistic cult seeking revenge against Germany. While French nationalists were hostile to Germany, which sought to maintain its gains by militarism and alliances, nationalism was creating violent tensions in the Austro-Hungarian MonarchyAustro-Hungarian Monarchy
or Dual Monarchy,
the Hapsburg empire from 1867 until its fall in 1918. The Nature of Austria-Hungary

The reorganization of Austria and Hungary was made possible by the Ausgleich
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; there the large Slavic national groups had grown increasingly restive, and Serbia as well as Russia fanned Slavic hopes for freedom and Pan-SlavismPan-Slavism,
theory and movement intended to promote the political or cultural unity of all Slavs. Advocated by various individuals from the 17th cent., it developed as an intellectual and cultural movement in the 19th cent.
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.

Imperialist rivalry had grown more intense with the "new imperialism" of the late 19th and early 20th cent. The great powers had come into conflict over spheres of influence in China and over territories in Africa, and the Eastern QuestionEastern Question,
term designating the problem of European territory controlled by the decaying Ottoman Empire in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th cent. The Turkish threat to Europe was checked by the Hapsburgs in the 16th cent.
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, created by the decline of the Ottoman Empire, had produced several disturbing controversies. Particularly unsettling was the policy of Germany. It embarked late but aggressively on colonial expansion under Emperor William IIWilliam II,
1859–1941, emperor of Germany and king of Prussia (1888–1918), son and successor of Frederick III and grandson of William I of Germany and of Queen Victoria of England.
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, came into conflict with France over MoroccoMorocco
, officially Kingdom of Morocco, kingdom (2005 est. pop. 32,726,000), 171,834 sq mi (445,050 sq km), NW Africa. Morocco is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (N), the Atlantic Ocean (W), Western Sahara (S), and Algeria (S and E).
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, and seemed to threaten Great Britain by its rapid naval expansion.

These issues, imperialist and nationalist, resulted in a hardening of alliance systems in the Triple Alliance and Triple EntenteTriple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
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 and in a general armaments race. Nonetheless, a false optimism regarding peace prevailed almost until the onset of the war, an optimism stimulated by the long period during which major wars had been avoided, by the close dynastic ties and cultural intercourse in Europe, and by the advance of industrialization and economic prosperity. Many Europeans counted on the deterrent of war's destructiveness to preserve the peace.

War's Outbreak

The Austrian annexation (1908) of Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
, Serbo-Croatian Bosna i Hercegovina, country (2013 pop. 3,791,622), 19,741 sq mi (51,129 sq km), on the Balkan peninsula, S Europe. It is bounded by Croatia on the west and north, Serbia on the northeast, and Montenegro on the southeast.
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 created an international crisis, but war was avoided. The Balkan WarsBalkan Wars,
1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish expense.
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 (1912–13) remained localized but increased Austria's concern for its territorial integrity, while the solidification of the Triple Alliance made Germany more yielding to the demands of Austria, now its one close ally. The assassination (June 28, 1914) of Archduke Francis FerdinandFrancis Ferdinand,
1863–1914, Austrian archduke, heir apparent (after 1889) of his uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph. In 1900 he married a Czech, Sophie Chotek. She was made duchess of Hohenberg, but because she was of minor nobility their children were barred from succession.
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 at Sarajevo set in motion the diplomatic maneuvers that ended in war.

The Austrian military party, headed by Count BerchtoldBerchtold, Leopold, Graf von
, 1863–1942, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (1912–15). During the Balkan Wars he successfully worked for the creation of an independent Albania to block Serbian access to the Adriatic Sea.
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, won over the government to a punitive policy toward Serbia. On July 23, Serbia was given a nearly unacceptable ultimatum. With Russian support assured by Sergei SazonovSazonov, Sergei Dmitreyevich
, 1861–1927, Russian statesman. As minister of foreign affairs (1910–16) he played a leading role in the crisis that led to World War I.
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, Serbia accepted some of the terms but hedged on others and rejected those infringing upon its sovereignty. Austria-Hungary, supported by Germany, rejected the British proposal of Sir Edward Grey (later Lord Grey of FallodonGrey of Fallodon, Edward Grey, 1st Viscount
, 1862–1933, British statesman. He entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1885 and became (1905) foreign secretary in the difficult period preceding World War I.
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) and declared war (July 28) on Serbia.

Russian mobilization precipitated a German ultimatum (July 31) that, when unanswered, was followed by a German declaration of war on Russia (Aug. 1). Convinced that France was about to attack its western frontier, Germany declared war (Aug. 3) on France and sent troops against France through Belgium and Luxembourg. Germany had hoped for British neutrality, but German violation of Belgian neutrality gave the British government the pretext and popular support necessary for entry into the war. In the following weeks Montenegro and Japan joined the Allies (Great Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, and Belgium) and the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The war had become general. Whether it might have been avoided or localized and which persons and nations were most responsible for its outbreak are questions still debated by historians.

From the Marne to Verdun

The German strategy, planned by Alfred von Schlieffen, called for an attack on the weak left flank of the French army by a massive German force approaching through Belgium, while maintaining a defensive stance toward Russia, whose army, Schlieffen assumed, would require six weeks to mobilize. By that time, Germany would have captured France and would be ready to meet the forces on the Eastern Front. The Schlieffen plan was weakened from the start when the German commander Helmuth von MoltkeMoltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig, Graf von
, 1848–1916, German army officer. He fought in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and became adjutant to his uncle, Field Marshal H. K. B. von Moltke, in 1882.
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 detached forces from the all-important German right wing, which was supposed to smash through Belgium, in order to reinforce the left wing in Alsace-Lorraine. Nevertheless, the Germans quickly occupied most of Belgium and advanced on Paris.

In Sept., 1914, the first battle of the Marne (see Marne, battle of theMarne, battle of the,
two important battles of World War I that are named for the Marne River. In the first battle (Sept. 6–9, 1914) the German advance on Paris was halted at the Marne by the Allies under Joffre, Gallieni, and Sir John French.
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) took place. For reasons still disputed, a general German retreat was ordered after the battle, and the Germans entrenched themselves behind the Aisne River. The Germans then advanced toward the Channel ports but were stopped in the first battle of Ypres (see Ypres, battles ofYpres, battles of,
three major engagements of World War I fought in and around the town of Ypres in SW Belgium. The first battle of Ypres (Oct.–Nov., 1914) was the last of the series of engagements referred to as "the race for the sea.
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); grueling trench warfaretrench warfare.
Although trenches were used in ancient and medieval warfare, in the American Civil War, and in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), they did not become important until World War I.
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 ensued along the entire Western Front. Over the next three years the battle line remained virtually stationary. It ran, approximately, from Ostend past Armentières, Douai, Saint-Quentin, Reims, Verdun, and Saint-Mihiel to Lunéville.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russians invaded East Prussia but were decisively defeated (Aug.–Sept., 1914) by the Germans under generals Hindenburg, Ludendorff, and Mackensen at TannenbergTannenberg
, Pol. Stębark, village, Warmińsko-Mazurskie prov., NE Poland, near Olsztyn. Formerly in East Prussia, it was transferred (1945) by the Potsdam Conference to Polish administration. Two important battles were fought there.
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 and the Masurian Lakes (see under MasuriaMasuria
, Ger. Masurenland, Pol. Mazury, region, N Poland. It is a low-lying area covered by large lakes and forests and drained by many small rivers. The original population of the region was expelled by the Teutonic Knights and replaced (14th cent.
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). The Germans advanced on Warsaw, but farther south a Russian offensive drove back the Austrians. However, by the autumn of 1915 combined Austro-German efforts had driven the Russians out of most of Poland and were holding a line extending from Riga to Chernovtsy (Chernivtsi). The Russians counterattacked in 1916 in a powerful drive directed by General BrusilovBrusilov, Aleksey Alekseyevich
, 1853–1926, Russian general. As a commander in World War I, he won victories in Galicia. In 1916 he organized the Russian offensive against Austria, which relieved the pressure on the Allies.
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, but by the year's end the offensive had collapsed, after costing Russia many thousands of lives. Soon afterward the Russian RevolutionRussian Revolution,
violent upheaval in Russia in 1917 that overthrew the czarist government. Causes

The revolution was the culmination of a long period of repression and unrest.
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 eliminated Russia as an effective participant in the war. Although the Austro-Hungarians were unsuccessful in their attacks on Serbia and Montenegro in the first year of the war, these two countries were overrun in 1915 by the Bulgarians (who had joined the Central Powers in Oct., 1915) and by Austro-German forces.

Another blow to the Allied cause was the failure in 1915 of the Gallipoli campaignGallipoli campaign,
1915, Allied expedition in World War I for the purpose of gaining control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, capturing Constantinople, and opening a Black Sea supply route to Russia.
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, an attempt to force Turkey out of the war and to open a supply route to S Russia. The Allies, however, won a diplomatic battle when Italy, after renouncing its partnership in the Triple Alliance and after being promised vast territorial gains, entered the war on the Allied side in May, 1915. Fighting between Austria and Italy along the Isonzo River was inconclusive until late 1917, when the rout of the Italians at Caporetto made Italy a liability rather than an asset to the Allies.

Except for the conquest of most of Germany's overseas colonies by the British and Japanese, the year 1916 opened with a dark outlook for the Allies. The stalemate on the Western Front had not been affected in 1915 by the second battle of Ypres, in which the Germans used poison gaspoison gas,
any of various gases sometimes used in warfare or riot control because of their poisonous or corrosive nature. These gases may be roughly grouped according to the portal of entry into the body and their physiological effects.
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 for the first time on the Western Front, nor by the French offensive in Artois—in which a slight advance of the French under Henri PétainPétain, Henri Philippe
, 1856–1951, French army officer, head of state of the Vichy government (see under Vichy). In World War I he halted the Germans at Verdun (1916), thus becoming the most beloved French military hero of that conflict.
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 was paid for with heavy losses—nor by the offensive of Marshal JoffreJoffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire
, 1852–1931, marshal of France. He began his career as a military engineer in the French colonies and was appointed French commander in chief in 1911.
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 in Champagne, nor by the British advance toward Lens and Loos.

In Feb., 1916, the Germans tried to break the deadlock by mounting a massive assault on Verdun (see Verdun, battle ofVerdun, battle of,
the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. Two million men were engaged. It began on Feb. 21, 1916, when the Germans, commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William, launched a massive offensive against Verdun, an awkward salient in the
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). The French, rallying with the cry, "They shall not pass!" held fast despite enormous losses, and in July the British and French took the offensive along the SommeSomme,
river, c.150 mi (240 km) long, rising near Saint-Quentin, N France, and flowing generally NW past Amiens into the English Channel; connected by canal with the Scheldt and Oise rivers.
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 River where tanks were used for the first time by the British. By November they had gained a few thousand yards and lost thousands of men. By December, a French counteroffensive at Verdun had restored the approximate positions of Jan., 1916.

Despite signs of exhaustion on both sides, the war went on, drawing ever more nations into the maelstrom. Portugal and Romania joined the Allies in 1916; Greece, involved in the war by the Allied Salonica campaignsSalonica campaigns.
In the summer of 1915, Bulgaria entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers; in September, Bulgaria attacked Serbia. An Allied expeditionary force that landed at Salonica in an effort to aid Serbia attempted to join forces with the Serbians but was
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 on its soil, declared war on the Central Powers in 1917.

From America's Entry to Allied Victory

The neutrality of the United States had been seriously imperiled after the sinking of the LusitaniaLusitania,
liner under British registration, sunk off the Irish coast by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. In the sinking, 1,198 persons lost their lives, 128 of whom were U.S. citizens.
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 (1915). At the end of 1916, Germany, whose surface fleet had been bottled up since the indecisive battle of Jutland (see Jutland, battle ofJutland, battle of,
only major engagement between the British and German fleets in World War I. They met c.60 mi (100 km) west of the coast of Jutland. On May 31, 1916, a British squadron under Admiral Beatty was scouting in advance of the British main fleet, in search of the
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), announced that it would begin unrestricted submarine warfare in an effort to break British control of the seas. In protest the United States broke off relations with Germany (Feb., 1917), and on Apr. 6 it entered the war. American participation meant that the Allies now had at their command almost unlimited industrial and manpower resources, which were to be decisive in winning the war. It also served from the start to lift Allied morale, and the insistence of President Woodrow Wilson on a "war to make the world safe for democracy" was to weaken the Central Powers by encouraging revolutionary groups at home.

The war on the Western Front continued to be bloody and stalemated. But in the Middle East the British, who had stopped a Turkish drive on the Suez Canal, proceeded to destroy the Ottoman Empire; T. E. LawrenceLawrence, T. E.
(Thomas Edward Lawrence), 1888–1935, British adventurer, soldier, and scholar, known as Lawrence of Arabia. While a student at Oxford he went on a walking tour of Syria and in 1911 joined a British Museum archaeological expedition in Mesopotamia.
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 stirred the Arabs to revolt, Baghdad fell (Mar., 1917), and Field Marshal AllenbyAllenby, Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount
, 1861–1936, British field marshal. Educated at Sandhurst, he saw active service in Bechuanaland (1884–85) and Zululand (1888) and in the South African War
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 took Jerusalem (Dec., 1917). The first troops of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), commanded by General PershingPershing, John Joseph
, 1860–1948, American army officer and commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, b. Linn co., Mo. After graduating (1886) from West Point he served as a cavalry officer in campaigns against the Native American chief
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, landed in France in June, 1917, and were rushed to the Château-ThierryChâteau-Thierry
, town (1990 pop. 15,830), Aisne dept., N France, on the Marne River. The town was the focal point of the second battle of the Marne (1918), which ended the last German offensive of World War I. An imposing monument to the U.S.
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 area to help stem a new German offensive.

A unified Allied command in the West was created in Apr., 1918. It was headed by Marshal FochFoch, Ferdinand
, 1851–1929, marshal of France. A professor at the École de Guerre, he later served (1908–11) as director of that institute. In World War I, he was responsible, with General Joffre and General Gallieni, for halting the German advance at the
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, but under him the national commanders (Sir Douglas HaigHaig, Douglas Haig, 1st Earl,
1861–1928, British field marshal. He saw active service in Sudan (1898) and in the South African War (1899–1902) and upon the outbreak of World War I (1914) was given command of
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 for Britain, King Albert IAlbert I,
1875–1934, king of the Belgians (1909–34), nephew and successor of Leopold II. He married (1900) Elizabeth, a Bavarian princess. In World War I his heroic resistance (1914) to the German invasion of Belgium greatly helped the Allied cause.
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 for Belgium, and General Pershing for the United States) retained considerable authority. The Central Powers, however, had gained new strength through the Treaty of Brest-LitovskBrest-Litovsk, Treaty of
, separate peace treaty in World War I, signed by Soviet Russia and the Central Powers, Mar. 3, 1918, at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus). After the separate armistice of Dec.
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 (Mar., 1918) with Russia. The resources of Ukraine seemed at their disposal, enabling them to balance to some extent the effects of the Allied blockade; most important, their forces could now be concentrated on the Western Front.

The critical German counteroffensive, known as the second battle of the Marne, was stopped just short of Paris (July–Aug., 1918). At this point Foch ordered a general counterattack that soon pushed the Germans back to their initial line (the so-called Hindenburg Line). The Allied push continued, with the British advancing in the north and the Americans attacking through the Argonne region of France. While the Germans were thus losing their forces on the Western Front, Bulgaria, invaded by the Allies under General Franchet d'EspereyFranchet d'Esperey, Louis Félix Marie François
, 1856–1942, marshal of France. He commanded the French 5th army in the battle of the Marne in 1914, the eastern army in 1916, and the northern army in 1917.
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, capitulated on Sept. 30, and Turkey concluded an armistice on Oct. 30. Austria-Hungary, in the process of disintegration, surrendered on Nov. 4 after the Italian victory at Vittorio VenetoVittorio Veneto
, town (1991 pop. 29,231), Venetia, NE Italy, in the Alpine foothills. It is a secondary industrial and commercial center and a spa. There, in Oct.–Nov.
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.

German resources were exhausted and German morale had collapsed. President Wilson's Fourteen PointsFourteen Points,
formulation of a peace program, presented at the end of World War I by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in an address before both houses of Congress on Jan. 8, 1918.
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 were accepted by the new German chancellor, Maximilian, prince of BadenMaximilian, prince of Baden
(Max of Baden), 1867–1929, German statesman, last chancellor of imperial Germany. A liberal, he was made imperial chancellor at the end of World War I as Germany neared defeat.
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, as the basis of peace negotiations, but it was only after revolution had broken out in Germany that the armistice was at last signed (Nov. 11) at Compiègne. Germany was to evacuate its troops immediately from all territory W of the Rhine, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was declared void. The war ended without a single truly decisive battle having been fought, and Germany lost the war while its troops were still occupying territory from France to Crimea. This paradox became important in subsequent German history, when nationalists and militarists sought to blame the defeat on traitors on the home front rather than on the utter exhaustion of the German war machine and war economy.

Aftermath and Reckoning

World War I and the resulting peace treaties (see Versailles, Treaty ofVersailles, Treaty of,
any of several treaties signed in the palace of Versailles, France. For the Treaty of Versailles of 1783, which ended the American Revolution, see Paris, Treaty of, 1783.
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; Saint-Germain, Treaty ofSaint-Germain, Treaty of
, any of several treaties signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, France. 1 The Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1570 terminated the first phase of the French religious wars (see Religion, Wars of).
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; Trianon, Treaty ofTrianon, Treaty of,
1920, agreement following World War I in which the Allies disposed of Hungarian territories. The internal chaos in Hungary that followed the dissolution (1918) of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy delayed the signing of a peace treaty with the Allies of World War
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; Neuilly, Treaty ofNeuilly, Treaty of
, 1919, peace treaty concluded between the Allies and Bulgaria after World War I. It was signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. Bulgaria ceded part of W Thrace to Greece and several border areas to Yugoslavia; S Dobruja was confirmed in Romanian possession.
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; Sèvres, Treaty ofSèvres, Treaty of,
1920, peace treaty concluded after World War I at Sèvres, France, between the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), on the one hand, and the Allies (excluding Russia and the United States) on the other.
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) radically changed the face of Europe and precipitated political, social, and economic changes. By the Treaty of Versailles Germany was forced to acknowledge guilt for the war. Later, prompted by the Bolshevik publication of the secret diplomacy of the czarist Russian government, the warring powers gradually released their own state papers, and the long historical debate on war guilt began. It has with some justice been claimed that the conditions of the peace treaties were partially responsible for World War IIWorld War II,
1939–45, worldwide conflict involving every major power in the world. The two sides were generally known as the Allies and the Axis. Causes and Outbreak
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. Yet when World War I ended, the immense suffering it had caused gave rise to a general revulsion to any kind of war, and a large part of mankind placed its hopes in the newly created League of NationsLeague of Nations,
former international organization, established by the peace treaties that ended World War I. Like its successor, the United Nations, its purpose was the promotion of international peace and security.
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.

To calculate the total losses caused by the war is impossible. About 10 million dead and 20 million wounded is a conservative estimate. Starvation and epidemics raised the total in the immediate postwar years. Warfare itself had been revolutionized by the conflict (see air forcesair forces,
those portions of a nation's military organization employing heavier-than-air aircraft for reconnaissance, support of ground troops, aerial combat, and bombing of enemy lines of communication and targets of industrial and military importance.
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; chemical warfarechemical warfare,
employment in war of incendiaries, poison gases, and other chemical substances. Ancient armies attacking or defending fortified cities threw burning oil and fireballs. A primitive type of flamethrower was employed as early as the 5th cent. B.C.
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; mechanized warfaremechanized warfare,
employment of modern mobile attack and defense tactics that depend upon machines, more particularly upon vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel engines.
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; tanktank, military,
armored vehicle having caterpillar traction and armed with machine guns, cannon, rockets, or flame throwers. The tank, together with the airplane, opened up modern warfare, which had been immobilized and stalemated by the use of rifled guns (see mechanized
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).

Bibliography

There is a tremendous amount of general and specialized literature on World War I. Classic accounts of the war are S. B. Fay, The Origins of the World War (rev. ed. 1930, repr. 1966) and B. E. Schmitt, The Coming of the War, 1914 (1930, repr. 1966). Two short guides to the military history are B. H. Liddell Hart, The Real War (1930, repr. 1963), and H. W. Baldwin, World War I (1962).

See also W. S. Churchill, The World Crisis (6 vol., 1923–31; repr. 1970); B. H. Liddell Hart, A History of the World War, 1914–1918 (1934); B. Tuchman, The Guns of August (1962); L. LaFore, The Long Fuse (1965); F. Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (tr. 1967); G. P. Hayes, World War I: A Compact History (1972); P. Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975); D. M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980); G. F. Kennan, The Fateful Alliance: France, Russia, and the Coming of the First World War (1984); M. Ferro, The Great War (1987); T. Travers, The Killing Ground (1987, repr. 2004); D. Stevenson, The First World War and International Politics (1988), Cataclysm (2004), and With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (2011); M. and S. Harries, The Last Days of Innocence (1997); H. Strachan, ed., World War I (1998) and, as author, The First World War (Vol. 1, 2001)) and The First World War (2004); N. Ferguson, The Pity of War (1999); J. Keegan, The First World War (1999); J. S. D. Eisenhower, Yanks (2001); E. D. Brose, The Kaiser's Army (2001); D. Fromkin, Europe's Last Summer (2004); N. Stone, World War One (2007); G. Martel, Origins of the First World War (rev. 3d ed., 2008); W. Mulligan, The Origins of the First World War (2010); P. Englund, The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War (2011); A. Hochschild, To End All Wars (2011); M. S. Neiberg, Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (2011); J. Beatty, The Lost History of 1914 (2012); S. McMeekin, July 1914: Countdown to War (2013); C. Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2013); P. Hart, The Great War (2013); M. Hastings, Catastrophe 1914 (2013); M. Holborn and H. Roberts, The Great War: A Photographic Narrative (2013); M. MacMillan, The War That Ended Peace (2013).

World War I

the war (1914--18), fought mainly in Europe and the Middle East, in which the Allies (principally France, Russia, Britain, Italy after 1915, and the US after 1917) defeated the Central Powers (principally Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey). The war was precipitated by the assassination of Austria's crown prince (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 and swiftly developed its major front in E France, where millions died in static trench warfare. After the October Revolution (1917) the Bolsheviks ended Russian participation in the war (Dec. 15, 1917). The exhausted Central Powers agreed to an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918 and quickly succumbed to internal revolution, before being forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919) and other treaties
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