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World War I

World War I
Clockwise from top: Trenches on the Western Front; a British Mark IV Tank crossing a trench; Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles; a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and German Albatros D.III biplanes
Military Conflict
ConflictWorld War I
Date28 July 1914 11 November 1918 (Armistice) Treaty of Versailles signed 28 June 1919
LocationEurope, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, China and off the coast of South and North America
ResultAllied victory * End of the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires * Formation of new countries in Europe and the Middle East * Transfer of German colonies and regions of the former Ottoman Empire to other powers * Establishment of the League of Nations. (more...)
Allied (Entente) Powers
Russian Empire (1914 17)
British Empire
France France
Kingdom of Italy (1915 18)
United States (1917 18)
Kingdom of Romania (1916 18)
Empire of Japan
Kingdom of Serbia
Belgium
Kingdom of Greece (1917 18)
Portugal Portugal (1916 18)
Kingdom of Montenegro (1914 16)
and others
Central Powers German Empire
Austria-Hungary
Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Bulgaria (1915 18)
Leaders and commanders
Russian Empire Nicholas II
Russian Empire Nicholas Nikolaevich
British Empire H. H. Asquith
British Empire David Lloyd George
British Empire Douglas Haig
France Raymond Poincaré
France Georges Clemenceau
France Ferdinand Foch
Kingdom of Italy Antonio Salandra
Kingdom of Italy Vittorio Orlando
Kingdom of Italy Luigi Cadorna
United States Woodrow Wilson
United States John J. Pershing
and others
Leaders and commanders
German Empire Wilhelm II
German Empire Paul von Hindenburg
German Empire Erich Ludendorff
Austria-Hungary Franz Joseph I
Austria-Hungary Karl I
Austria-Hungary Conrad von Hötzendorf
Ottoman Empire Mehmed V
Ottoman Empire Enver Pasha
Ottoman Empire Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Kingdom of Bulgaria Ferdinand I
Kingdom of Bulgaria Nikola Zhekov
and others
Allies Russian Empire 12,000,000 British Empire 8,841,541 France 8,660,000 Kingdom of Italy 5,093,140 United States 4,743,826 Kingdom of Romania 1,234,000 Empire of Japan 800,000 Kingdom of Serbia 707,343 Belgium 380,000 Kingdom of Greece 250,000 Portugal 200,000 Kingdom of Montenegro 50,000 Total: 42,959,850
Central Powers German Empire 13,250,000 Austria-Hungary 7,800,000 Ottoman Empire 2,998,321 Kingdom of Bulgaria 1,200,000 Total: 25,248,321
Military dead:
5,525,000
Military wounded:
12,831,500
Military missing:
4,121,000
Total:
22,477,500 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details.
Military dead:
4,386,000
Military wounded:
8,388,000
Military missing:
3,629,000
Total:
16,403,000 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details.

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World War I (WWI), which was called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (centred around the Triple Entente) and the Central Powers (originally centred around the Triple Alliance). More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of great technological advances in firepower without corresponding advances in mobility. It was the sixth deadliest conflict in world history.

The assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was the proximate trigger of the war. Long-term causes, such as imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, including the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, France, and Italy, played a major role. Ferdinand's assassination by a Yugoslav nationalist resulted in a Habsburg ultimatum against the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the past decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.

On 28 July, the conflict opened with the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, followed by the German invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and France; and a Russian attack against Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. In the East, the Russian army successfully fought against the Austro-Hungarian forces but was forced back by the German army. Additional fronts opened after the Ottoman Empire joined the war in 1914, Italy and Bulgaria in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The Russian Empire collapsed in 1917, and Russia left the war after the October Revolution later that year. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, United States forces entered the trenches and the Allies drove back the German armies in a series of successful offensives. Germany agreed to a cease-fire on 11 November 1918, later known as Armistice Day.

By the war's end, four major imperial powers-the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires-had been militarily and politically defeated and had ceased to exist. The former two states lost a great amount of territory, while the latter two were dismantled entirely. The map of central Europe was redrawn into several smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup of empires, the repercussions of Germany's defeat and problems with the Treaty of Versailles are generally agreed to be factors in the beginning of World War II.


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