Updated December 20, 2022
One of the bloodiest War in human history, the first World War (WW-I) has credit of engaging a huge population of soldiers. Military and civilian casualties, put together, in World War I was around 40 million. Roughly, 40% of death was from military side while 60% was from Civilian.
The great war fought between the Triple Entente (also known as the Allies) and the Central Powers. And, each combatant had suffered huge loss. Estimates are that the Allies lost 6 million of its military personnel while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. To add, around 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing.
the first World War is marked as innovative in using war technologies. Several things like Chemical warfare, tanks, machine guns, aerial warfare, submarines, etc. were used for the first time. On account of innovations, killing and dying both were unprecedented.
World War I/ First World War ( Aug. 4, 1914 – Nov. 11, 1918)
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, World War I began and lasted until 1918. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, and the United States (the Allied Powers), during the conflict.
After four long years of combat and the deaths of some 8.5 million soldiers as a result of battle wounds or disease, the Allies were victorious. The Central Powers were defeated completely by the Allied Powers and an Armistice was signed on Nov.11, 1918 that ended World War I and set the stage for World War II in many ways.
Causes, Course, Peace Settlement etc. of the First World War
Here are Some Important Details about World War I on Different aspects like Causes, Immediate cause, Course of War, Peace Settlement, Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points for Lasting Peace in the World etc.
There were different causes of the First World war, some of them are as under:
1. Militarism: This means the dangerous and burdensome mechanism of great standing armies and large navies along with an espionage system.
2. Narrow Nationalism or Competitive Patriotism: The love of one’s country demanded the hatred of the other. Love of Germany demanded the hatred of France and vice-versa.
3. Economic Imperialism: It led to international rivalries. Every country tried to capture markets in every nook and corner of the world. This led to bitterness and heart-burning.
4. Anglo-German Rivalry & The Chartered of William II: Anglo-German rivalry proved to be the main cause of World War I. Germany had become a great industrial country and wanted to have more markets for trade. Germany was jealous of the colonial and naval greatness of England.
Wilhelm II, the emperor of Germany was very ambitious and wanted to gain influence in Turkey by linking Berlin with Baghdad by a railway line. This gave rise to a great rivalry between England and Germany. Wilhelm II was arrogant, haughty and ambitious. He wanted Germany to be the strongest power in the world. He believed in the policy of ‘world power or downfall’.
5. Lack of International Organization: There was a lack of International organizations to control international relations.
6. The immediate cause of the war was the murder of Archduke Ferdinand who was the heir of the Austrian throne. He and his wife Sophie were killed at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, an annexed territory of Austria, by a Serbian. The Austrians held the Government of Serbia responsible for the murder and ultimately attacked Serbia. There was a strong rivalry already between Austria-Hungry and Serbia in the Balkans.
Course of War
7. To begin with, Austria was in favor of local war but as time passed, the situation became more grave. Other countries jumped into the fray. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey & Bulgaria (they were called Central Powers) were on one side. On the other side were England, France, Serbia, Belgium, Japan, and Russia (they were called Allied Powers). The Allied Powers joined by Italy in 1915 and the USA in 1917. The War started on Aug. 4, 1914, and ended on Nov. 11, 1918.
Peace Settlement (1919-20)
8. The Central Powers were defeated completely by the Allied Powers and an Armistice was signed on Nov.11, 1918, followed by a peace conference in Paris.
9. After prolonged discussion, The Treaty of Versailles (Versailles – a city of France) was signed between the Allies and Allies & Germany on June 28, 1919. This Treaty rearranged the boundaries of Europe and many new states like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Estonia, Lithuania, etc. were formed.
11. William II, the German Emperor, abdicated and took asylum in the Netherland (Holland). The Treaty of Versailles was followed by the Treaty of St. Germaine (1919), the Treaty of Neuilly (1919), the treaty of Trianon (1920), and the Treaty of Severes (1920).
12. The peace settlement of 1919-1920 has been severely criticized. The terms of the treaty of Versailles were harsh and humiliating for Germany.
13. The peace settlement was based on the principle of ‘to the Victors belong the spoils and Allies are the Victors’. The many suggestions were made from time to time for the creations of international organizations that could check wars in the future. At the instance of Woodrow Wilson, the President of America, the League of Nations officially came into existence of Jan. 10, 1920. Its headquarter was fixed at Geneva in Switzerland.
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points
14. In an address to the Congress in Jan. 1998, American President Woodrow Wilson outlined the basis of a peace settlement. His famous fourteen points for lasting peace in the world were: (i). There was to be no more secret diplomacy, (ii). freedom of the seas, (iii). removal of economic barriers of international trade, (iv). reduction of armaments, (v). impartial adjustment of all colonial claims on the basis of the interests of the subject population, (vi). national self-determination, (vii). establishment of the League of Nations for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity of great and small states alike.
15. The remaining points dealt with the formation of new boundaries and new states on the basis of nationality and demanded that Germany must evacuate all lands she had forcibly occupied.
Beyond 1st World War Under General Studies Reads
- What can France Learn from the Indian Secularism ?
- The Outbreak of the French Revolution and the Aftermath World
- How does Modern World Foundations rest on American & French Revolution?
- ‘Emergence of ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’
- The Challenges to our Cultural practices in the name of Secularism
- Causes of the American Civil War & How Did Lincoln Change History?