A complete chronicle on the First World War

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An essay highlighting all major events of World War I

It is queer that sometimes the path to peace crosses through wars that bring heavy devastation. While the world should make efforts to foster peace, sometimes because of greed and other reasons, human beings end up manufacturing wars. Besides, the history of the world is stained by two global wars that claimed millions of lives and catapulted massive economic downfalls. World War I and World War II claimed around 16 million and 75 million lives respectively hence creating a manmade slugfest of death and destruction. In fact, this count of casualties that World War I inflicted is much larger than the current population of numerous countries like Sweden, Belarus, Hungary, and Israel. The populations of Sweden and Belarus are well under 10 million according to the latest statistics. ("Countries by population 2020 - StatisticsTimes.com", 2020) This showcases how grave the magnitude of annihilation brought by this war was as it wiped out a considerable part of the human population then. This essay sheds light on the background of the First World War followed by its timeline, impacts, and trivial facts. Also, this essay includes a sample essay on some imperative aspects of the Great War.

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First World War Countries

The Participating Power in World War 1

Probing further, the First World War continued from 1914 to 1918 and it led to unprecedented bloodshed and carnage over its course. The ‘Great War’ as it is called was a global war between the Allied and the Central Powers that ended in a victory for the Allies. Furthermore, it witnessed participation from more than 30 nations that clashed with each other incessantly for years to script horrifying tales of terror, massacres, and the human quest for power and control. The Central Powers comprised Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, the Allied Powers were inclusive of Russia, Romania, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Serbia, the UK, and the United States of America. Among the nations that featured in the First World War, the United States of America only joined the war in 1917 after remaining away from it in the initial years. Today, with the sustained idea of peace and owing to the effects of globalization, the world seems like a global village. But it is evident in history that the picture was not always this bright and nations believed more in the idea of waging war on each other rather than flourishing together.

Causes of World War I

Political tensions and tussles existed in the Balkan region of Southeast Europe for a long period of time even prior to the outbreak of the war. Furthermore, this tense air started brewing out to all parts of Europe with the growing political instability of the Balkan region that included Bosnia, Serbia, and Herzegovina. This political chaos posed a threat to the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and European Alliances that thrived in Europe for very long. So, with such a grim environment growing in twentieth-century Europe, a warlike scenario seemed just around the corner. While all this was going on in Europe, Archduke Frank Ferdinand, the heir of the Austro-Hungarian empire was brutally murdered on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo. To add, this assassination ignited the sparks of war in the entire continent and the conflict was wide open. The elimination of Archduke Frank Ferdinand unleashed a chain reaction of events that were unfortunate and unprecedented. Austria and Hungary blamed the Serbian government for this act and saw in this incident an opportunity to uproot Serbian nationalism for once and all. However, Austria and Hungary could not declare war on Serbia immediately as Serbia enjoyed massive support from the Russians.

Thus, Austria and Hungary had to wait for Germany’s assurance for support to launch the offensive against Serbia. They feared that Russia’s involvement in the war is also going to drag its allies France and Britain in the war, making conditions hostile for the Austria-Hungary alliance. It is worth noting here that Russia had a mighty military might even then as it is seen in contemporary times and it’s ‘war machine’ reputation deterred other nations. Hence, Austria and Hungary awaited a word of support from Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of Germany at that time. Finally, Kaiser Wilhelm II pledged his clandestine support to the coalition of Austria and Hungary on July 5 hence inspiring the idea of the war. Following assurance from Berlin, the alliance sent an ultimatum to Serbia with almost unacceptable conditions. Subsequently, Serbia apprehended war and started mobilizing its troops while seeking assistance from Russia simultaneously. As feared, on 28 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian alliance waged war against Serbia and the pillars of peace in Europe collapsed one after the other. Besides, within a few days, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Serbia, and Russia took guard against Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The world war had begun and this is how a localized conflict in Southeast Europe translated into the outbreak of a global confrontation involving superpowers.

The Two Main Fronts of World War I

The Western War Front

Germany launched the war on two fronts to invade France and Russia at the same time. The German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen planned to invade France through Belgium which was a neutral nation and to engage Russia in the east. On 4 August 1914, German troops trespassed the borders of Belgium and launched an attack on the fortified city of Liege. As the Germans stomped through Belgium, they shot many civilians dead and unfurled terror and bloodshed on the streets of Belgium. For this attack, German soldiers used siege cannons that were among the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. Eventually, German troops were successful in capturing Liege by August 15.

After the German troops had won the city of Liege by launching an attack on Belgium, the troops were confronted by the French and the British Armies in Marne. The First Battle of Marne was fought between September 6 and September 9 after the German soldiers had penetrated deep into the French territory. Moreover, in this battle at Marne, the German troops faced a well-executed counterattack by the British and French troops and were pushed back to the north of the Aisne River. Besides, this defeat spoiled Germany’s plans for a brisk conquest over France. Subsequently, both sides took to trenches and the western front of the war became the launchpad for a demoniac war that lasted for more than three years.

The Eastern War Front

A simultaneous war was being fought on the eastern front where the German-held regions of Poland and East Prussia were invaded by Russian soldiers. This resulted in the Battle of Tannenberg where the Austrian and German forces defeated the Russian troops in late August. However, this war forced the German commanders to remove two contingents from the western front and move them to the eastern front. This mobilization of troops from the western front to the eastern front made it easy for France and Britain to have an upper hand in the battles going on at Marne. This facilitated the French and the British armies to defeat German troops in the Marne.

Germany hoped for a quick win on the basis of the aggressive Schlieffen Plan but there was an unexpected resistance from the war capabilities of Russia and France. Also, Russia’s ability to mobilize troops quickly in the east ensured that the battle was grueling and was fought for long enough.

Italy’s inclusion in the war

On the sidelines of the First World War that began in 1914, there was a strong nationalist sentiment in Italy to go at war against traditional rivals Austria and Hungary. Besides, Italy saw its own vested interests in joining the war against the Austro-Hungarian empire. Italy saw an opportunity to liberate the Italian-speaking regions of the Alps from the grab of the Austro-Hungarian empire. So, Italy started negotiations with France and Britain for military and economic support. This led to the stealthy Pact of London in which Italy pledged support to the Allied forces in lieu of support for annexing the Italian-speaking frontiers from the central powers.

Following these events, Italy initiated a war against Austria and Hungary at midnight on May 23, 1915. The size of the Italian army grew to 5 million by the end of the war while it only boasted an army of 300,000 at the onset of the war. Thus, there was a heavy mobilization in Italy to bolster its army in years through the war. The inclusion of Italy in the war added more men and strength to the Allies hence changing the course of the war. ("Italy Enters World War I | National WWI Museum and Memorial", 2020)

The entry of the US in World War I

In the initial phase of the war, the US remained largely neutral and continued to indulge in trade and commerce with both powers in Europe. The then President of the US, Woodrow Wilson favored the policy of neutrality and hence America stayed away from the war at the onset of it. However, it became hard to maintain neutrality given the growing submarine aggression of Germany even against the neutral vessels. Moreover, in the year 1915, the waters around the British Islands were pronounced a war zone by Germany. Hence, in this region, German U ships drowned many commercial and passenger vessels including a few belonging to the United States of America. This changed America’s stance against Germany and in February 1917, the US Congress passed an arms appropriation legislation worth 250 million USD to prepare the US for war. Eventually, on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson announced the declaration of war against Germany and the US was then a part of World War I. The war had then radiated out of Europe with the entry of the United States into the war and this is where a localized war transformed into a global war. Furthermore, the entry of the US into the war gave more momentum to the alliances battling against Germany. ("U.S. Entry into World War I", 2020)

The turning point in the war

The inclusion of the United States of America in the war put a lot of weight behind the Allied forces. Besides, the reinforcements by the US troops made a significant difference in helping the Allied forces in having prolonged confrontations against the German offensive acts. So, by all means, the US troops and reinforcements strengthened the response of the French and British troops to attacks from the German army. To add, on July 15, 1918 troops from Germany launched a massive attack on the French forces in Marne’s second battle. Because the French forces were joined by around 85000 troops of the US army, the Allied forces failed the German attack. Besides, three days later, the Allied forces initiated a counteroffensive on German forces inflicting heavy casualties on German troops. After suffering heavy losses of men, the German commanders called off another attack that was planned to take place in the Flanders region spanning between Belgium and France. It is worth noting here that this assault that Germany had to call off was considered to be their most promising prospect of winning.

So, the Second Battle of Marne proved to be instrumental in changing the tide of the war towards the Allied Forces that felt more confident with backing from the US. In the subsequent months, the Allies were successful in recapturing major parts of France and Belgium that were lost to the German intervention. Therefore, by 1918, the Central Forces felt distraught and weak after losing innumerable men to the resistance and counter-offensives of the Allies. This was a decisive turning point in the war which had inclined towards the Allied forces after they failed several plans and assaults of the German troops.

The end of the war by the armistice

Armistice is an agreement between nations at war to withdraw troops and put an end to the ongoing battle. In late October 1918, the Ottoman Empire’s economy was devastated due to invasions and revolts by the Arabs. Hence, the Turks signed a pact with the Allied forces to instigate a ceasefire. Furthermore, the outcry and growing nationalist movements in Austria and Hungary led to an armistice on November 4, 1918. Subsequently, even Germany was forced to seek an armistice owing to the growing resentment in the country and exhausted resources of sustaining the war for longer. Also, the surrender of Germany’s allies did not leave Germany with many choices but to enter into a truce with the Allied powers on November 11, 1918, hence marking the end of the war. In the next year, the treaty of Versailles signed between Germany and Allied Powers on June 28, 1919, put a formal ending to the war that had already come to closure in 1918. Thus, after four long years of costly confrontations, loss of men, bloodbaths, and devastation, the war finally came to an end. But even after the war had ended, the drastic ramifications of it could be felt for many years that followed. Besides, the loss of men and resources was suffered by both sides irrespective of who won and who lost out on the battle. Even winning a war comes at a price and sometimes this price can be too hefty as was the case in World War I. The following section talks about the most significant ramifications of World War I.

Consequences of the First World War

  • 1. The war unleashed carnage on mankind taking away the lives of as many as 9 million soldiers and an almost equal number of civilians. Besides, the highest price was paid by Russia and Germany since both nations lost more than 2 million men each.

  • 2. Landmasses in France and Belgium were completely devastated while buildings, roads, railways, and other establishments were left in ruins. To add to the misery, farmlands remained unproductive in many subsequent years because of chemicals and gun shells used for war.

  • 3. There were grave economic consequences as well for the participating nations. As per some estimates, Germany and Britain lost as much as 60 percent of their wealth to the expensive wars. Also, the inflation rates hiked after the war as countries had printed more currency notes to support the economic needs of the war. Consequently, governments had to levy new taxes and borrow money from their citizens as the national treasures were exhausted.

  • 4. The political ramifications of World War I are very significant as the war led to the elimination of four monarchies. These monarchies included the kingdoms of Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany, Emperor Charles of Austria, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Hence, the war completely overhauled the geopolitical scenario of Europe.

  • 5. Also, after the war, the Middle East countries were put under the reign of Britain and France while the Austria-Hungary empire was segregated to make way for new states. Besides, the end of the war led to Turkey being carved out of the leftover Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, Russia and Germany conceded land to Poland and the Soviet Union emerged as being more powerful.

  • 6. The end of the war also marked critical changes in the social order of Europe. To begin with, the times of the war brought largescale women empowerment as women replaced men in factories while men fought wars.

So, European societies started giving more rights and recognition to women and the cultural and social behavior began to undergo an overhaul. Besides, the upper class saw its power declining and the working class assumed more responsibility and power in rebuilding the nation after the war. To augment, the birth rates in Europe fell drastically as a lot of young men died in the war. ("Consequences of World War I", 2020)

Consequences of World War I in Statistics

Sample essay on World War I


The First World War that unfolded in the year 1914 is one of the largest wars in the history of the world in terms of casualties and participating nations. Hence, it is one of the most crucial occurrences in history making it a vital topic for academic assignments. This section contains a sample essay on World War I that highlights the important battles in the course of this war. This essay can serve as an idea to write an impressive essay pertaining to topics of wars. Also, for any other help that you may need with your academic writings and assignments, you can avail our Premium Assignment Writing Services. With assignments prepared by us, you can attain excellent grades in your academics and outshine others. Moreover, you can check out our list of Sample Essays on various topics that are of great significance for academic assignments.

Sample Essay - World War I : The Battles Fought Through the Sea and Sky


Introduction

Wars have always been very expensive for mankind as they incur heavy losses of lives and resources of human welfare on either side. Besides, no country wins without losing its men because, in war, even the price of victory is exorbitant. But at times, wars become indispensable in the pursuit of preserving peace. One such war broke out in Europe in the early twentieth century which turned into a global war within weeks of its inception. This was a war scenario like none before and it saw the mobilization of more than 65 million troops from both sides. Moreover, this war, World War I between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers took a heavy toll on humanity as more than 16 million people lost their lives including soldiers and civilians. The Allied Powers were led by Britain and France while Germany was the main driving force behind the offensives launched by the Central Powers. It is worth mentioning that while the war continued on land at the western and eastern fronts for years, some crucial battles were also fought in the sea and through the sky. Furthermore, these battles helmed by ships, submarines, and warplanes were decisive in ascertaining the victory of the Allies. This essay underlines the verticals of the First World War that were fought in the sea and by the airplane squadrons of the participating nations. Before that, the essay also throws some light on the developments that led to the outbreak of the war.

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Body

The skirmish began on July 28, 1914, with the Austro-Hungarian empire waging war against Serbia to avenge the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia. Ferdinand was the heir of the Austro-Hungarian and his death threw open a major political tussle in Southeast Europe. So, after seeking support from Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German leader, Austria, and Hungary went ahead with the declaration of war on Serbia. However, Serbia enjoyed emphatic support from the mighty Russian Federation, Great Britain, and France. Hence, a conflict restricted to Southeast Europe soon became a huge war with military superpowers throwing weight behind each other. To continue, as a part of a strategic plan, Germany engaged the Allies on two fronts that included an attack on France in the west and offensives against Russia in the east. So, on land, the war was majorly fought on these two frontiers that were characterized by trenches on both sides. In the course of the war, Italy joined the Allied forces in 1915 followed by the United States of America in 1917. Parallel to some decisive battles fought by the troops on land, there were battles that took place in the sea. The crucial battles fought on the land included the battles of Marne, Verdun, Tannenberg, and Mesopotamia. The next segment sheds light on the imperative skirmishes that occurred in the sea between the naval forces of the Allied and Central powers.

In the sea, the lethal U-boat submarines of the German Navy had started challenging the dominance of the Royal British Navy. For a very long time, Britain had enjoyed supremacy in the waters of Europe based on the firepower and efficiency of its navy. But in only a few years, Germany had gained strength on high seas given the capabilities of its submarines. In January 1915, Britain executed a stealthy attack on the German Ships in the North Sea. This goes down in history as the Battle of Dogger Bank and this attack by Britain resulted in the German Navy opting to not engage with the British Navy for a long time. After more than a year, the German Navy engaged with the British Navy in the Battle of Jutland that took place in May 1916 off Denmark’s north coast. Also, this was the biggest naval war in the events of World War I that involved 250 ships and more than 100,000 men. In this war, the British Navy’s supremacy superseded yet again and Germany could not break the blockade of the Allied forces. The German boats had to retreat and Britain retained control over the North Sea. Besides, after this confrontation, Germany did not try any other naval offensive against Great Britain. In addition, to these decisive battles in the sea, some combats also took place in the sky. The next paragraph talks about the impact of airplanes in deciding the course of the war.

When World War I started, aviation was a very new industry, and the first successful flight by Wright Brothers took off only in 1903. Hence, in the initial stages of the war, aircraft were used only for reconnaissance missions. In fact, when the first battle was fought in Marne, the information collected by pilots helped the Allied forces to identify fault lines in the German positions. In 1915, Dutch inventor Anthony Fokker produced around 40 types of airplanes for Germany. These majorly included the bomber aircraft that could drop bombs on cities. By this time, even the Allied Forces had developed the first two engine bomber aircraft. Over the years, aviation technology kept improving and long-range bombers were invented by both sides. It is interesting to note that by the end of the war, the Allied nations were manufacturing five hundred percent more planes than the Germans. Moreover, on April 1, 1918, Britain created the Royal Air Force which became the first-ever air force to be a branch of the military separate from the army and navy. Today, the Royal Air Force is among the most lethal aerial warfare forces in the world and is equipped with state of the art fighter jets and air defense systems.

To conclude, the First World War was fought on various fronts and terrains as countries deployed all their might in the scuffle. The war started in Southeast Europe and it did not take much time for the combat to become a global war. There were various standoffs and aggressive offensives between the two warring parties on land, in the sea, and via the sky. The war went on for four years after it began in 1914 and ended with the surrender of the Central Powers. Moreover, the inclusion of the United States in the Allied forces gave a hefty momentum to the power of the Allies. Although the war was majorly fought on land, there were some large naval engagements as well between the Allies and the Central Powers. Also, the First World War served as an opportunity for the countries to harness the powers of the aviation industry. The precedent set by World War I gave rise to the use of fighter aircraft to be used in war and invasions on other countries.

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Summary of World War I

To encapsulate, World War I is one of the most significant historic events given the magnitude of consequences it inflicted on the world. It started as a conflict between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia but soon turned into an international war. Moreover, the war led to major transformations in the geopolitical arrangements in Europe as many monarchies were wiped out by the war. Besides, the war claimed more than 16 million lives which is a staggering number for the loss of human lives. Not only this but also the economic ramifications of the war were felt for years and nations were impoverished after the long-fought battle. Talking about the course of the war, even though Germany fought with well-thought and aggressive strategies, it could not resist the abundant might of the Allied forces. Subsequently, the Ottoman Empire, Austria, Hungary, and Germany had to seek closure of the war by surrendering in front of the Allies. The war finally ended on November 11, 1918, leaving behind ample reasons for all humans to believe in the prowess of peace rather than the notion of war. It does not matter who won the war because, by all means, humanity suffered a terrible loss. Note, for premium assignments on such critical topics, you can reach out to our Assignment Help Expert for quick and useful assistance.

Suggested Further Readings

References

  • Countries by population 2020 - StatisticsTimes.com. (2020). Retrieved 10 December 2020, from http://statisticstimes.com/demographics/countries-by-population.php

  • U.S. Entry into World War I. (2020). Retrieved 10 December 2020, from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/u-s-entry-into-world-war-i-1#:~:text=Along%20with%20news%20of%20the,conflict%20on%20April%206%2C%201917.

  • Italy Enters World War I | National WWI Museum and Memorial. (2020). Retrieved 10 December 2020, from https://www.theworldwar.org/learn/wwi/italy

  • Consequences of World War I. (2020). Retrieved 10 December 2020, from https://www.english-online.at/history/world-war-1/consequences-of-the-war.htm#:~:text=Germany%20and%20Russia%20suffered%20most,unusable%20for%20years%20to%20come.

FAQ


Who Won World War I?


Q

The First World War was won by the Allied Forces that mainly included France, Britain, Russia, and the United States of America that joined the war in 1917. The Allies defeated the Central Powers that were headed by Germany, Austria, and Hungary.


How did the First World War start?


Q

The series of events that followed the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austro-Hungarian empire set off the war. He was assassinated in 1914 and the killing was linked to Serbian extremist groups that aimed to increase the Serbian influence in the Balkan Region. Backed by Germany, the Austro-Hungarian empire waged war on Serbia in July 1914.


How did World War I end?


Q

The war came to an end when Germany surrendered in front of the Allies on November 11, 1918. Following this development, all nations agreed to put an end to the aggression and the negotiations for peace began. Subsequently, in 1919, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles with the Allied Powers to foster peace.