The Great War
How the First World War started
On 28th June 1914 in Sarajevo, Gavrilo Princip (a Slav nationalist) assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the killing, and because Europe was linked by a series of diplomatic alliances, the affair escalated into full-scale war.
- Allied Troops (Britain, France and Russia) – 42,188,810M
- Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) – 22,850,000
How the First World War ended
After the 1917 October Revolution, Russian forces were no longer at war. Released from the Eastern Front, Germany launched a major offensive on the Western Front in the spring of 1918. Despite some minor successes, by July the Germans had failed to break the Allied lines signalling the war was reaching its conclusion.
Allied counter-offensives at the Marne and at Amiens were successful and in the early autumn, the Germans were forced back beyond the Hindenburg line freeing much of occupied France and Belgium. An armistice between the Allied forces and Germany was signed in the Forest of Compiegne and fighting stopped at 11am on 11th November.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire
King George V
King of the United Kingdom
British Prime Minister
Kaiser Wilhelm II
German Emperor King of Prussia
- 29th June 1914: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
- 4th August 1914: British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith declared war
- January 1915: The first Zeppelin raid on Britain
- 21st April – 25th May 1915: The Second Battle of Ypres
- 31st May & 1st June 1916: The Battle of Jutland
- 1st July – 18th November 1916: More than 1 million casualties at the Battle of the Somme
- Early November 1918: Hindenburg line collapsed
- 11th November 1918: Armistice signed bringing an end to hostilities