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World War I: Initiation, Fighting, Casualties, Armistice

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  1. Introduction
  2. Release
  3. Antagonism between European powers
  4. War law, war propaganda
  5. Globalization of conflict
  6. Last moments and armistice
  7. Physical destruction
  8. Peace treaties

World War I was a military conflict that took place in practice in Europe from 1914 to 1918(although administratively continued until 1923 for the countries concerned by the Treaty of Lausanne, the last to be signed July 24, 1923).

Considered one of the key events of the twentieth century, this sometimes called total war has reached a scale and intensity hitherto unknown. It has involved more soldiers, caused more deaths and more physical destruction than any previous war. Over 60 million soldiers took part. During the war, about 9 million people died and about 20 million were injured. Other events that occurred during this period: the Armenian Genocide (1915-1916), the first Battle of the Atlantic (1917), the Russian Revolution (1917) and the 1918 flu increased the distress of the people. For all these reasons, the time has deeply influenced those who lived it.

This war has brought profound geopolitical changes which have profoundly altered the course of the twentieth century. It caused the collapse and fragmentation of the Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman. German Empire disappeared, and Germany saw its territory reduced. Consequently, maps of Europe and the Middle East were redrawn. Desmonarchies were replaced by communist states or democratic republics. For the first time, an international institution was created in order to prevent wars: the League of Nations.

The spark that led to the war came June 28, 1914, when a young Serbian nationalist Bosnian Gavrilo Princip, managed to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Requirements vengeance of Austria-Hungary (strongly encouraged by Germany) against the Kingdom of Serbia led to the activation of a series of alliances that forced several European powers to embark on the road of war. Many of these nations were at the head of empires spanning several continents, which explains the global conflict. For some historians, the war had been planned by the German leaders, see Fritz Fischer.

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