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12 Intresting Facts About the First World War



12 Intresting Facts About the First World War

H.G. Wells, who wrote the classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, also wrote that World War I would be the war that will end war. In a series of London newspaper articles in 1914, Wells reasoned that the defeat of Germany and its allies could somehow bring about an end to war. Wells’s reference today is mostly a historically sardonic observation of that conflict. Despite its costs in human misery and upheaval, World War I did not even have the benefit of a hard lesson learned. The victors demonstrated no vision and foresight, seeking vengeance instead. The vanquished never accepted defeat, but blamed their surrender and loss on leaders who stabbed them in the back. World War II was merely an even more deadly sequel. Here are 12 facts about World War I, which highlight the tragedy that engulfed much of the world 100 years ago: 1. World War I Began With the Assassination of a Noble and His Wife Riding in an Open Car in Bosnia. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. His rank and name was Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the soon-to-be-defunct empire of Austria-Hungary. One June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, the Archduke was on a military inspection tour with his beloved wife, Sophie. Demonstrating an astonishingly lax security, and despite a failed bombing attempt earlier in the day, the party decided to continue exposing themselves to danger. After their motorcade took a wrong turn, a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, approached the royal couple’s car and shot Franz and Sophie at point-blank range. Both died within the hour–along with world peace for the next four years. 2. World War I Spread When a System of Complicated European Alliances Sucked in Country After Country. courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org Germany’s Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the late nineteenth century remarked accurately that the next big war would stem from some “foolish thing in the Balkans.” He was correct, and the spark was lighted as: Austria-Hungary (with Germany’s backing) declared war on Serbia. Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary. Germany declared war on Russia and France. England declared war on Germany (who had subsequently invaded Belgium to attack France). 3. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm Was British Queen ********’s Grandson. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. When Britain went to war against Germany, it amounted to somewhat of a family affair trumped by nationalism. England’s King George V was the Kaiser’s first cousin. The Kaiser was the son of Queen ********’s daughter Vicky. Wilhelm put German imperialism and nationalism ahead of family ties, however. 4. In the Midst of World War I, Russian Czar Nicholas II, Another Relative of Queen ********, Lost His Throne and His Life. courtesy of: headlong.co.uk The end of World War I would see the demise of the German, Austria-Hungarian, and Ottoman royals. In 1917, the first casualties were the Russian Romanovs, who were swept from imperial rule after growing civil unrest, chronic food shortages, and open revolt. Nicholas abdicated and Vladimir Lenin eventually became leader of the new Communist Soviet Union. In one of history’s greatest ironies, Lenin returned from exile to Russia with the active help of the Germans. The Red Army would return the favor 28 years later with their World War II march to Berlin. 5. The United States’ Entry Into World War I Was the Result of Astonishing German Miscalculation and Arrogance. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson won reelection to his second term in 1916 on his isolationist slogan, “He kept us out of war.” By 1917, however, resumption of German submarine attacks on neutral commercial shipping and the notorious Zimmermann Telegram proved irresistible in breaking down American neutrality. The Zimmermann Telegram proved to be an intelligence and diplomatic coup of the first order for Great Britain. British cryptographers broke the code of a telegram from Germany’s Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Ambassador in Mexico. The telegram proposed ceding of United States territory to Mexico if the Mexican government would join the German cause. It made the U.S. newspapers, and the rest, as they say, is history. 6. World War I Was Essentially Global. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. As European overseas colonies and empires became involved, the war became global in nature. The war spread to the Middle East where the British fought Turkish Ottoman forces. In the German African colony of Namibia, over 12,000 German troops tied down about 60,000 British and South African troops. In the Far East, Japan, an ally of Great Britain attacked and occupied the German port in Tsingtao, China.

7. World War I Soldiers Suffered High Casualty Rates. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. Examining the numbers of casualties and deaths that occurred during the four years of World War I is one way to understand the violence and slaughter. Although exact figures are still disputed, most experts agree on the following: Total mobilized forces from all combatant countries were slightly over 65 million. Of that figure, about 13 percent, or 8.5 million soldiers died. The total number of wounded, slightly over 21 million, constituted a one in three chance for any soldier receiving a wound or combat injury. Prisoners and missing soldiers comprised another 7.8 million, further inflating the possible high death toll. Total casualties (over 37.5 million) meant a 57.6% chance that any soldier who fought in World War I would be wounded or killed. 8. Life and Death in the Trenches Characterized Much of World War I. courtesy of: globalnews.ca No one anticipated the stalemate that occurred in 1914 when the German attack in France stalled and both sides dug in. That digging resulted in thousands of miles of trenches from northern Belgium to the Swiss border. Neither side could advance in the face of withering machine gun fire and heavy artillery. Life and death in the trenches became the story of World War I. Terms like trench foot, no man’s land became part of everyone’s vocabulary as the war dragged on. 9. World War I Was the First Military Conflict Where the Airplane Played a Role courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. At first used for just reconnaissance, airplanes gradually progressed to where they could carry bombs and machine guns. Both sides used more than 70 different types of aircraft, and in 1917, Britain lost 245 plans in a single month of combat. So the average life expectancy of a World War I fighter pilot was about three weeks. 10. World War I Helped Spread the Pandemic Spanish Flu courtesy of: decodedpast.com The 1918-1920 Spanish flu eventually took more lives–about 50 million–than World War I. Its origins are disputed, but its worldwide spread was undoubtedly facilitated by the massive troop movements of World War I. 11. The Treaty of Versailles Was More of a Surrender Document Than a Treaty courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org America’s entry into the war tipped the balance against Germany, who had no choice but to sue for peace. The allies–France, Great Britain, and the United States– each had their post-war agenda. France wanted crippling reparations; Great Britain wanted a weakened Germany, and the United States wanted a lasting peace assured by a new League of Nations. Germany had no say, and the unenlightened revenge scenarios prevailed. The Treaty of Versailles stripped German territory, limited their armed forces, and imposed over $30 billion in reparations. Germans viewed the reparations as a national humiliation. The turmoil and unrest in Germany and rise of Hitler–and, indeed, World War II–were all a result of the Treaty of Versailles. Even the League of Nations failed to keep the peace and was a failure. 12. Wars Change History and Geography. World War I Was No Exception. courtesy of: You do not have permission to view the full content of this post. Log in or register now. As the war drew to a close, Kaiser Wilhelm moved to exile in Holland. The Austria-Hungary Empire collapsed and the map of Europe was redrawn. Russia, as previously mentioned, became the Soviet Union. The United States entered a period of isolation and prosperity, but could not escape the Great Depression or World War II–another great conflagration that was, unlike World War I, started by Germany. Finally, for trivia buffs, here are a half-dozen interesting facts about World War I: 1. World War I ended at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. 2. One by-product of chemical warfare–mustard gas, actually–was its eventual application as a chemotherapy agent. 3. Germany made its final reparations payment from World War I in 2010. 4. During the War, the U.S. government attempted to rename hamburgers as “liberty sandwiches” as both a slap in the face to Germany as well as promoting patriotism. 5. The last surviving WW1 veteran was a woman. She was a waitress at an air base. 6. World War I was the sixth deadliest conflict in world history. (World War II ranks number 1.)

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