Brief Background of WW1

Definition:  World War 1 was a military conflict lasting from 1914 to 1918 which involved nearly all the biggest powers of the world.

Poppy Day remembrance of World War 1World War 1 involved two opposing alliances – the Allies and the Central Powers.

The countries of the Allies included Russia, France, British Empire, Italy, United States, Japan, Rumania, Serbia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Montenegro.

The countries of the Central Powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

World War 1 was triggered on 28 June 1914 by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his pregnant wife Sophie. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the throne of Austria and Hungary.

The assassination took place in in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was planned by a Serbian terrorist group called The Black Hand, and the man who shot Franz Ferdinand and his wife was a Bosnian revolutionary named Gavrilo Princip.

Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, was arrested immediately after he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, was arrested immediately after he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Causes of World War 1:

  • There was a tangle of alliances made between countries, to maintain a balance of power in Europe, which brought about the scale of the conflict
  • Bosnian Crisis – Austria-Hungary took over the former Turkish province of Bosnia in 1909 angering Serbia
  • Countries were building their military forces, arms and battleships
  • Countries wanted to regain lost territories from previous conflicts and build empires
  • Moroccan Crisis – Germans were protesting in 1911 against the French possession of Morocco

Major Leaders of World War 1 included

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II
  • Tsar Nicholas II
  • Prince Alexander of Serbia
  • Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary
  • President Wilson, U.S. President
  • H. H. Asquith
  • David Lloyd George
The French military cemetery with Douaumont ossuary, which contains the remains of more than 130,000 unknown soldiers
The French military cemetery with Douaumont ossuary, which contains the remains of more than 130,000 unknown soldiers