World War I
World War I began because of entangling
alliances. Both sides--Germany, Austria and
Italy; and the United States, France and Great
Britain--had agreed to come to the aid of any
of the others who were attacked.
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in
1914 led to war.
In November of 1918, the fighting finally
ended. By the formal end of the war with the
signing of the Treaty of Versailles with
Germany on June 28, 1919, the German,
Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian
Empires had disappeared.
More than nine million combatants and
seven million civilians died as a result of the
war--one of the deadliest conflicts in history.
It drew in all the world's great economic
An industrial and scientific war, World War I
utilized technology like improved guns and
tanks, trench warfare. Little ground was lost
or won as soldiers in trenches fired artillery
and lobbed grenades into the enemy's
position. The only way to attack was to cross
"No Man's Land" between the trenches on
foot, and most were mown down before they
Mustard and chlorine gas to enable people to
kill more effectively and more brutally than
Trench warfare led to a bunker mentality--us
against the world. Germany dug their
trenches to last longterm. The French and
British thought the war wouldn't last so long.
They built less permanently.
The war failed to deal with the issues that
divided people, and the things we failed to
address continued to haunt us, leading
directly to the second World War.
At first the United States avoided involvement,
but in 1915 a German U-boat sank the RMS
Lusitania. 159 of the passengers were
Then, in early 1917, Germany offered Mexico
parts of the U.S. in return for siding against
it. That was the last straw. In April 6, 1917,
the U.S. formally declared war against