WWI, explained for dummies (1914-1918). World War I
Context: everyone knew a big war was coming. Why?
- France wanted some stuff back that Germany had taken from it years before: the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. for dummies
- Germany was gaining power, and wanted more of everyone’s stuff.
- Germany was building a big navy that was making the British uncomfortable.
- Germany engaged in making alliances with Austria-Hungary and Italy. This alliance was called the Triple Alliance.
- In response, Great Britain, France, and Russia, worried about Germany’s growing power, entered into an alliance (the Triple Entente). Reminder. Eventually, Italy changed sides and joined the Entente (a reason for such a switch includes Italy’s ambiguous feelings towards the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had conquered territories that previously belonged to Italy).
What triggered the war? Serbia vs Austria-Hungary.
Relation. Serbia and Austria-Hungary didn’t like each other and in Serbia, many believed their nation’s interests, were being threatened by Austria-Hungary, an expansionist, imperialist power. Also, Serbia was enraged by Austria’s control over Bosnia region neighboring to Serbia.
Main reason of war: assassination of Franz Ferdinand. The heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was visiting Bosnia, when he was assassinated by a member of the Serbian National terrorist group. This group was fighting against Austria’s rule over Bosnia. This triggered the anger of Austria, who blamed the Serbian government for the attack and used the incident as justification for war.
Many countries declaring war on each other.
As Germany was friends with Austria, they entered the war. Russia, France and later, Great Britain, also entered the war to fight Germany and Austria.
The US joins.
In 1915, the British passenger liner the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine, killing 128 Americans.
The end of WWI.
Germany was fighting a lot of countries and had no choice than to surrender and sign the Treaty of Versailles by which Germany had to pay approximately $31.5 billion in reparations. They also had to take responsibility for the war.
Part of the treaty said the countries of the world should come together to make an international organization to stop wars from happening. This organization was called the League of Nations.
- World War I took the lives of more than 9 million soldiers; 21 million more were wounded.
- The two nations most affected were Germany and France, each of which sent some 80% of their male populations between the ages of 15 and 49 into battle. summary WWI
World War I for dummies
Written by Aroona Banerjie. World War I for dummies.
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