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World War I (often abbreviated as WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as the "War to End All Wars", more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including the victims of a number of genocides), a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and the tactical stalemate caused by gruelling trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political change, including the Revolutions of 1917–1923 in many of the nations involved. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War twenty-one years later.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allied Powers (based on the Triple Entente of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy was a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allied Powers, while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.

The trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and, as a result, entangled international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks the major powers were at war, and the conflict soon spread around the world.

Russia was the first to order a partial mobilisation of its armies on 24–25 July, and when on 28 July Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia declared general mobilisation on 30 July. Germany presented an ultimatum to Russia to demobilise, and when this was refused, declared war on Russia on 1 August. Being outnumbered on the Eastern Front, Russia urged its Triple Entente ally France to open up a second front in the west.

Japan entered the war on the side of the Allied Powers on 23 August 1914, seizing the opportunity of Germany's distraction with the European War to expand its sphere of influence in China and the Pacific.

Over forty years earlier in 1870, the Franco-Prussian War had ended the Second French Empire and France had ceded the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine to a unified Germany. Bitterness over that defeat and the determination to retake Alsace-Lorraine made the acceptance of Russia's plea for help an easy choice, so France began full mobilisation on 1 August and, on 3 August, Germany declared war on France. The border between France and Germany was heavily fortified on both sides so, according to the Schlieffen Plan, Germany then invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France from the north, leading the United Kingdom to declare war on Germany on 4 August due to their violation of Belgian neutrality.

After the German march on Paris was halted in the Battle of the Marne, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army led a successful campaign against the Austro-Hungarians, but the Germans stopped its invasion of East Prussia in the battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Sinai Peninsula. In 1915, Italy joined the Allied Powers and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916. After the sinking of seven US merchant ships by German submarines, and the revelation that the Germans were trying to get Mexico to make war on the United States, the US declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917.

The Russian government collapsed in March 1917 with the February Revolution, and the October Revolution followed by a further military defeat brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers via the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which granted the Germans a significant victory. After the stunning German Spring Offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allied Powers rallied and drove back the Germans in the successful Hundred Days Offensive. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti, and Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allied Powers.

By the end of the war or soon after, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with nine independent nations restored or created, and Germany's colonies were parcelled out among the victors. During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four powers (Britain, France, the United States and Italy) imposed their terms in a series of treaties. The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This effort failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation (particularly in Germany) eventually contributed to the start of World War II.

Selected event

Human remains from the massacre of the Armenians at Erzingan.jpg

The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն, Turkish: Ermeni Soykırımı) — also known as the Armenian Holocaust, "Great Calamity" (Մեծ Եղեռն) or the Armenian Massacre — refers to the forced mass evacuation and related deaths of hundreds of thousands to over a million Armenians, during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917 in the Ottoman Empire.

Today, the Republic of Turkey rejects the notion that the event constituted a genocide and instead claims that the deaths among the Armenians were a result of inter-ethnic strife, disease and famine during the turmoil of World War I. However, most Armenian, Russian, Western, and an increasing number of Turkish scholars believe that it was indeed a genocide, or campaign of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and mass extermination. For example, some Western sources point to the sheer scale of the death toll as evidence for a systematic, organized plan to eliminate the Armenians. The event is also said to be the second-most studied case of genocide, and often draws comparison with here officially recognised it as genocide.


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Selected equipment

British Mark IV Tadpole tank.jpg

The Tank was one of the most significant innovations of the First World War. The fighting conditions on the Western Front during the war prompted the British Army to begin research into a self-propelled vehicle which could cross trenches, crush barbed wire, and would be impervious to fire from machine-guns. Having already seen a Rolls-Royce Armoured Car used by Royal Naval Air Service in 1914, and aware of schemes prompted by Major Ernest Swinton to create a tracked fighting vehicle, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill sponsored the Landships Committee to oversee development of this new weapon. The Landships Committee created the first successful prototype tank, nicknamed Little Willie, which was tested by the British Army in September 1915. Although initially termed landships by the Admiralty, the initial vehicles were colloquially referred to as water carriers, later shortened to tanks, to preserve secrecy. The word tank was used to give the workers the impression they were constructing tracked water containers for the British army in Mesopotamia, and the name became official in December 1915.

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Selected quote

"It is easier to make war than make peace."
Georges Clemenceau, 20 July 1919

Selected image

German photo with English Tank.jpg

German troops pose with a captured British Mark II tank, April 1917.

Photo credit: Personal photograph, source unknown.

Selected biography

Hunter Liggett.jpg

Hunter Liggett (March 21, 1857– December 30, 1935) was a general of the United States Army. His forty-two years of service spanned the period from the Indian campaigns to trench warfare. Liggett was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. After his graduation from West Point as an infantry lieutenant in 1879, field service in the American West, the Spanish–American War, and the Philippine–American War honed his skills as a troop leader. Success in brigade commands in Texas and in the Philippines led to his selection as commander of the 41st Infantry Division in France in 1917. When his division was disestablished, he took command of I Corps. Under Liggett's leadership, the corps participated in the Second Battle of the Marne and in the reduction of the Saint-Mihiel Salient. In October 1918, as commander of the U.S. First Army, he directed the final phases of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the pursuit of German forces until the armistice. After commanding the U.S. Third Army also known as the Army of Occupation on the Rhine bridgeheads, Hunter Liggett retired in 1921.

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Major topics

TheatresMain eventsSpecific articlesParticipantsSee also

Prelude:
Causes
Sarajevo assassination
July Ultimatum

Main theatres:
Western Front
Eastern Front
Italian Front
Middle Eastern Theatre
Balkan Theatre
Atlantic Theatre

Other theatres:
African Theatre
Pacific Theatre

General timeline:
WWI timeline

1914:
German invasion of Belgium
Battle of Liège
Battle of Tannenberg
Invasion of Serbia
First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of Arras
Battle of Sarikamish
Battle of the Vistula River
Battle of Łódź (1914)
1915:
Mesopotamian campaign
Gallipoli Campaign
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Defense of Van (1915)
Great Retreat (Russian)
Italian Campaign
Conquest of Serbia
1916:
Erzurum Offensive
Battle of Verdun
Lake Naroch Offensive
Trebizond Campaign
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Jutland
Brusilov Offensive
Conquest of Romania
Great Arab Revolt
1917:
Capture of Baghdad
Second Battle of Arras
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Caporetto
Conquest of Palestine
1918:
Spring Offensive
Battle of Sardarabad
Hundred Days Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Armistice with Germany
Armistice with Ottoman Empire

Military engagements
Naval warfare
Air warfare
Cryptography
Poison gas
Railways
Technology
Trench warfare
Partition of Ottoman Empire

Civilian impact and atrocities:
Armenian Genocide
Assyrian genocide
Greek genocide

Aftermath:
Aftermath
Casualties
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Paris Peace Conference
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of St. Germain
Treaty of Neuilly
Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Lausanne
League of Nations

Entente Powers
 Russian Empire
France French Third Republic
 British Empire
  » United Kingdom United Kingdom
  » Australia Australia
  » Canada Canada
  »  India
  » New Zealand New Zealand
  »  South Africa
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Kingdom of Romania Romania
 United States
Kingdom of Serbia Serbia
Portugal Portugal
Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China
Empire of Japan Japan
Belgium Belgium
 Montenegro
Greece Greece
Armenia Armenia
more…

Central Powers
German Empire German Empire
 Austria-Hungary
 Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria

A war to end all wars
Female roles
Literature
Total war
Spanish flu
Veterans

Contemporaneous conflicts:
Mexican Revolution (1910-20)
First Balkan War (1912-13)
Second Balkan War (1913)
Maritz Rebellion (1914-15)
Easter Rising (1916)
Pancho Villa Expedition (1916-17)
Russian Revolution (1917)
Russian Civil War (1917–21)
Finnish Civil War (1918)
North Russia Intervention (1918–19)
Greater Poland Uprising (1918–19)
Polish–Soviet War (1919-21)
Irish War of Independence also known as the Anglo-Irish War (1919–21)
Turkish War of Independence also known as the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)
Irish Civil War (1922–23)

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From the World War I task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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Full list
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Adriatic Campaign of World War IAtlantic U-boat campaign of World War IBalkans Campaign (World War I)Battle of Belleau WoodBattle of Gully RavineBattle of PozièresBattle of Sari BairEastern Front (World War I)Italian Front (World War I)Robert NivelleSerbian Campaign of World War ISouth-West Africa CampaignLanding at Suvla BayMax von Boehn (General)Johannes von EbenNaval operations in the Dardanelles CampaignNaval warfare in the Mediterranean during World War IScottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service
Requested articles 
Bombardment of Samogneux • Srem offensive (1914) • de • de • de • Black Sea Campaign (World War I) • Battle of Augustów (1914) • Battle of the Nete • Battle of Musalla • Battle of Qasr-i-Shirin • Battle of Qom • Battle of Hamadan • Occupation of Tabriz • Affair of Umm at Tubal • Battle of al-Samn • Battle of Namacurra • Makombe rebellion • Barue uprising • Ettore Mambretti • Philippe Henri Joseph d'Anselme • Paul Leblois • Auguste Clément Gérôme • Hristo Burmov •Panagiotis Gargalidis • Georgios Leonardopoulos • Konrad von Hippel • Hermann von Ziegesar • Paul von Kneussl
Expansion needed
Battle of BehobehoBattle of Cambrai (1918)Battle of CaporettoBattle of Courtrai (1918)Battle of DodomaBattle of DutumiBattle of KaheBattle of Kiawe BridgeBattle of Kibata (1916)Battle of Kibata (1917)Battle of KidodiBattle of KilosaBattle of KimbarambaBattle of Krithia VineyardBattle of LukiguraBattle of the Lys (1918)Battle of MpotonaBattle of NambanjeBattle of MahiwaBattle of MatamondoBattle of MlaliBattle of MorogoroBattle of MkalamoBattle of Mouquet FarmBattle of NarungombeBattle of the NekBattle of NjinjoOccupation of German SamoaBattle of RumboSamarrah OffensiveBattle of Scimitar HillBattle of SharqatBattle of St. Quentin CanalBattle of UteteBattle of WamiBattle of the WazzirDemilitarisationFirst Battle of Villers-BretonneuxSecond Battle of KrithiaSecond Battle of KutSecond Battle of the IsonzoSecond Battle of MorlancourtThird Battle of KrithiaThird Battle of the IsonzoFifth Battle of the IsonzoSeventh Battle of the IsonzoNinth Battle of the IsonzoTenth Battle of the IsonzoOperation Marne-RheimsJoseph B. Sanbornde
Images needed
Merging needed
Fiction based on World War I -> World War I in popular culture
Citations needed
Spring OffensiveHundred Days OffensiveAsian and Pacific theatre of World War I1st Canadian Tunnelling CompanyBattle of Chunuk Bair
Translation needed 
de:Schlacht in den Karpaten (Large battle in the Carpathians) • fr:Mémorial Interallié

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