WORLD WAR 1

( 1914 - 1918)

"Lügen können Kriege in Bewegung setzen, Wahrheiten

hingegen können ganze Armeen aufhalten"

-Otto von Bismarck-

World War 1 was unnecessary, caused by vexing alliances more than one hundred years ago. Germany did not want to walk out on its ally to prove virtue. However, the Entente Powers' victory was used to lay the blame on the doorstep of the German Empire, setting the course for a dark age to come. In 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson argued that the great war (as it was called back then) was everyone's fault. France, however, perhaps still had the third War of German Unification (1870) in mind, including the arrest of Napoleon III and the proclamation of the German Emperor Franz Willhelm II in the Hall of Mirrors (Versailles). The outcome was the harsh and humiliating Treaty of Versailles.

W o r l d   W a r  1

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, successor to the Throne of Austro-Hungary, and his wife were shot by a Serbian Nationalist. Franz Ferdinand wanted to grant Slavic people their independence once he was in power. Serbia, however, wanted to reunite the Slavic people within a bigger Serbia country. Austro-Hungary wanted to take action against Serbia to call the instigators into account and asked German Emperor Wilhelm II if Germany was willing to fulfill its treaty obligations with Austro-Hungary. Wilhelm II confirmed the alliance and expected a short war. Austro-Hungary demanded a full investigation, but Serbia refused to let investigators on their soil and started its military mobilization. Russia had an alliance with Serbia and expressed their treaty obligations, and also started a mobilization. Austro-Hungary now declared war on Serbia.

 

Leagues:

Entente Dual Alliance (since 1879)

Great Britain

France

Russia

German Empire

Austro-Hungary

Germany issued an ultimatum, demanding that Russia should withdraw its forces by July 31. After the deadline had elapsed, war was declared on Russia. Germany preemptively declared war on France and asked Belgium to open their borders to march through in return for compensation. Belgium refused the offer, and the German Empire deployed its troops in Luxembourg. The sea power Great Britain simultaneously mobilized its fleet and warned Germany not to enter Belgium. World War 1 started on August 4, 1914, when German troops marched into Belgium to defend their alliance. It ended on November 18, 1918, with the Treaty of Versailles. World War 1 was the first war in which also civilians highly suffered. For Germany, it was a war on two fronts, the Western and Eastern front. The Russians were able to deploy their troops, faster than expected, to the Eastern front. Germany's armies were primarily engaged on the Western Front. Thus, the Russians invaded East Prussia. 

 

Verdun's and Somme's fallen soldiers are still a testimony to the first World War's senselessness. No one had expected a long war when the conflict broke out in 1914. An (illegal) British naval blockade cut free trade and caused supply problems. More than 800000 Germans died of starvation. On the other hand, Germany's fulsome submarine warfare triggered the United States' entry into World War 1 on April, 6 1917. Anti-war demonstrations were held all across Germany by 1918 due to the famines.

 

The inhumane horrors of World War 1 resulted in devastating numbers:

 

Almost 2 Million German soldiers died

More than 750.000 German civilians lost their lives

 

Even more than 100 years later, the question of guilt is not entirely solved. There is widespread consent that it was not Germany's fault alone due to the knotty alliances.