History of the Great War
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The history of the Great War lasted from 1914 to 1918. It mobilized more than 70 million military personnel to fight in what was believed to be “the war to end all wars”. The war involved 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, and one of the deadliest. As a result, some 8.5 million combatants and 13 million civilians died in the fighting. Genocide and the Spanish flu pandemic killed millions more worldwide.
The assassination in October, 1914 of the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo precipitated the war. His culprit was a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist and member of the Serbian Black Hand secret society named Gavrilo Princip. In response, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, whose reply failed to satisfy the Austrians. Then, the two moved to a war footing that triggered a network of interlocking alliances to act. Finally, the crisis grew from a local issue in the Balkans to a war that consumed most of Europe.
World War I proved to be a significant turning point in the political, cultural, economic, and social topography of the world. As a result, numerous revolutions and uprisings worsened the postwar turmoil. The Big Four (Britain, France, the United States, and Italy) imposed victors’ justice at the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. Ultimately, it brought an end to the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires. Numerous new states sprang up from their remains. Following this, a second world war erupted just twenty years later. The same belligerents fought over the same territories all over again.
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The Great War