History of World War I

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History of World War I

The Great War, otherwise known as World War I centers upon European nations that simply could not get along. You have the Allies on one side, which includes the French, Great Britain, and the Russians, otherwise known as the Triple Entente; and on the other, you have the Central Powers, composed of Austro-Hungary, Germany, and Italy.

One of the reasons WWI is described as the Great War is because of the number of military personnel involved from all sides, a total of 70 million, not to forget the total number of casualties, which was over 38 million, including 9 million deaths. Because we designate this as the first world war, it stands to reason that a second world war followed shortly.

History of World War I

World War I Timeline (1914-1919)

1914 Jun 28. Heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand along with his wife, the Duchess Sophie, is assassinated by rebel factions from Sarajevo in Serbia. 

Jul 5. Germany pledges its support for Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia.

Jul 28. Serbia, supported by Russia, prepares to enter into the next phase as the Austria-Hungary declares war. Russia mobilizes its troops. WWI technically starts.

Jul 31. Russia does not heed Germany’s warning to stop mobilizing. Russia expresses that their advancement is only against Austria-Hungary.

Aug 1. Germany does several things at this point. They form a clandestine alliance with the Ottoman Empire, and declare war against Russia.

Aug 2-4. Germany invades Luxembourg, declares war against Belgium and France, consequently invading Belgium.

Aug 4. The United Kingdom declares war against Germany.

Aug 12. The UK declares war against Austria-Hungary.

Aug 14. A series of battles are fought in what is known as the Battle of Frontiers, these include the Battle of Mullhouse, Plan 17 & the Battle of the Ardennes by the French; Schieffen Plan by the Germans, and the very quiet Battle at Mons by the British expeditionary forces.

Aug 17. As Russia enters the fray, they enter East Prussia in the Battle of Stalluponen.

Aug 23. Japanese Empire declares war on Germany.

Aug 26. Germany defeats Russia badly at the Battle of Tannenberg.

Aug 27. German controlled port in China, Tsingtao, is captured by British and Japanese forces in the Siege of Tsingtao.

Aug 30. German Samoa (becoming Western Samoa later) is occupied by New Zealand forces.

Sep 11. German New Guinea is over-run by and occupied by Australian forces.

Sep 13. South African troops commence the invasion of German South-West Africa.

Sep 29. A short lived victory by Russian forces against the Germans is known as the Battle of Warsaw, otherwise known as the Battle of the Vistula River.

Nov 1. The Ottoman Empire finds itself at war against the Russians.

Nov 11. Sultan Mehmed V of the Ottoman Empire declares a Jihad against the Allies.

1915 Jan 24. The British Grand Fleet and German Hochseeflotte squadrons engage in the Battle of Dogger Bank

Feb 4. German’s use submarine warfare in attacking merchant vessels.

Feb 19. British and French naval forces begin the Dardanelles (one of the Turkish straits) campaign. This was also known as the Gallipoli Campaign.

Apr 22. Germans use poison gas for the first time at the second Battle of Ypres.

Apr 28. Allied forces land in Gallipoli in what is known as the First Battle of Krithia.

May 7. A German U-boat (submarine) attacks and sinks the British liner RMS Lusitania.

Aug 6. Sometimes known as the August Offensive, the Battle of Sari Bair highlights the British attempt to gain an advantage to control the Gallipoli peninsula away from the Ottoman Empire.

Sep 25. One of the failed British offensives in WWI’s Western Front, the Battle of Loos also marks the first time poison gas is used by the British.

Oct 6. Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany invade Serbia.

Nov 22. The British Empire along with British India fight the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Ctesiphon, part of the middle eastern theatre in what is present day Iraq.

1916 Feb 21. In what is considered the longest and bloodiest of battles of World War I, the Battle of Verdun takes place. This battle pitted the French against the German’s, nearly 700,000 were killed from both sides combined. 

May 31. In one of the major naval battles of the war, the Battle of Jutland commences. The Australians, British, and Canadians (more than 6,000 are killed) battle the Germans (more than 2,500 are killed).

Jul 5. Commisioned in 1905, the Devonshire-class armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire is sunk by one of the mines laid by a German mine-laying submarine U-75.

Jul 1. The Somme offensive or better known as the Battle of the Somme takes place between the allied forces, led by the British, against a resistant Germany. The allies lose nearly 780 aircrafts during the battle.

Aug 27. Germany finds itself at war against Italy. Romania joins in the war between the Allies and Italy.

Sep 6. In an attempt to exhibit a unity, the Central Powers create a united command.

1917 Jan 19. A telegram from Arthur Zimmermann, German Foreign Secretary, to Mexico is intercepted by the British intelligence. The Zimmermann Telegram proposes Mexico to ally with Germany against the United States. 

Mar 26. The British fail to capture the city of Gaza in the First Battle of Gaza.

Apr 2. President Woodrow Wilson speaks to Congress giving his reasons in favor of going to war.

Apr 6. One of the results of the telegram by Zimmermann, the United States finally declares war against Germany as approved by the US Congress.

May 18. President Wilson and Congress pass the Selective Service Act into law. This authorizes the government to draft men for the war.

Jun 25. First sign of American involvement, troops land in France.

Jul 6. The much maligned Lawrence of Arabia lead Arab rebels and capture Aqaba, a Jordanian port.

Nov 9. The Balfour Declaration is a document expressing the United Kingdom’s intent in helping gain a national home for the Jewish people in “Palestine”.

Jul 20. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia is made possible by the Corfu Declaration.

Dec 7. Austria-Hungary finds itself being declared war upon by the United States.

Dec 8. The British find themselves in the Battle of Jerusalem.

Dec 23. Russia comes to a ceasefire agreement with Germany.

1918 Jan 8. Before a joint session of congress, US President Woodrow Wilson gives his Fourteen Points summarizing the purpose and objective of the Great War. 

Mar 3. Germany and the new Bolshevik Russia sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Mar 21. Germany’s Spring Offensive is launched without trepidation.

Apr 21. Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, a German pilot considered an ace, is shot down.

May 28. The first American offensive of the Great War takes place in the Battle of Cantigny.

Jun 6. Following the skirmish at Chateau-Thierry, US Marines engage the Germans further in the Battle of Belleau Wood.

Sep 12. General Pershing of the United States lead more than 300,000 American soldiers in the Battle of St. Mihiel.

Sep 19. The British finally capture Palestine in the Battle of Meggido.

Nov 3. Austria-Hungary and Italy sign an armistice, made effective on November 4.

Nov 9. Kaiser Wilhelm flees Germany and abdicates his position.

Nov 11. Armistice Day, Germany signs the armistice in Compiegne in France. All fighting ends on the 11th day, of the 11th Month, at the 11th hour.

Nov 12. Austria becomes a republic.

Nov 14. Czechoslovakia becomes a republic.

Dec 4. Yugoslavian independence is proclaimed.

1919 Jan. 18. A Peace Conference begins in Paris in what is known as the Treaty of Versailles. 

Jan 25. League of Nations proposal is received and accepted by attendees.

Jun 28. Signing of the Treaty of Versailles is completed. The Germans ratify it on July 8th, then the UK on July 21st.

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