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The First World War and upheavals in Europe

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On 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo, a Bosnian Serb nationalist assassinated the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand. In Vienna, the bombing led the government to raise its voice against Serbia, and on July 28, the Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria declared war. Russia was asked to help by its ally Serbia. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1st and on 3rd on France. The violation of Belgian neutrality by Germany then pushed England into war on August 4 along with its allies of the Triple Entente. Both sides had very different strengths. The Entente countries could count on a larger population, the large colonial empires, the mastery of the seas and a favorable position to encircle the Central Powers, including Germany, have superior military capacity, best-equipped troops and trained in modern warfare, enhanced capacity for mobilization and transport of troops and weapons (including heavy artillery).

Away from the excitement, the mobilization of different populations to war without consent, the resolution and the feeling of delivering a fair fight were fairly prelavent. Despite their Pacifism, the Socialists rallied around to governments of national unity in France, after the assassination of Jean Jaures, July 31, 1914, the SFIO and CGT aligned themselves for war.

The illusion of a short war shattered the early battles of the summer of 1914. In August, the French had to retreat faced with the enemy firepower in Alsace-Lorraine. The German Chief of Staff von Moltke upset the French and British armies on the border, 40 km from Paris. However, taking advantage of a tactical mistake of the enemy, against the attack led by General Joffre during the Battle of the Marne (September 6-13), they gained an upper hand in the invasion and pushed the Germans towards the Aisne. In the East, the Russian offensive in East Prussia was broken, in the month of August, by German forces at the Battle of Tannenberg, which forced the Tsar's armies to retreat.

In France, from September to November 1914, the German and Allied armies tried to outflank each other from the west: this new phase of confrontation, dubbed the ''race to the sea'', led to the formation of a continuous front from Switzerland to the North Sea. Allied forces balancing each other, led to an end of the offensive in 1914; the armies were stabilizing and burrowing in trenches separated by a no man's land. The Central Powers as the Allies could then forget about a brilliant tactical warfare, and prompt the learning of positional warfare, war of attrition of the enemy that would mobilize all the resources of the nation. If the balance of power remains balanced, the situation now benefits the Allies: the Central Powers were surrounded by a double front (western and eastern) and blockaded the Allied naval attempts to asphyxiate. The search for new allies in both camps, led to a geographical extension of the conflict. In the Balkans, a new front appeared with the entry into the war of Bulgaria on the side of Germany in 1915 and Romania in the camp of the Allies in 1916.

Tags: First World War, Allied powers, Triple Entente

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