WORLD WAR I began July 1914 - what was the cause?
The topic of the causes of World War I is one of the most studied in all of world history.
Scholars have differed significantly in their interpretations of the event.
The Causes of WWI or the Great War as it has come to be known, began in central Europe in July 1914
It included many intertwined factors, such as the conflicts and hostility of the four decades leading up to the war. Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well.
However, the immediate origins of the war lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914, casus belli for which was the assassination of Archduke Franz FERDINAND of Austria and his wife by Gavrilo PRINCIP, an irredentist Serb.
The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic crashes between the Great Powers (Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria-Hungarian Empire and Russia) over European and colonial issues in the decade before 1914 that had left tensions high. In turn these diplomatic clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.
The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary competed with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties ... (much more at the above link)
The murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife produced widespread shock across Europe, and there was initially much sympathy for the Austrian position. Within two days of the assassination, Austria-Hungary and Germany advised Serbia that it should open an investigation, but Secretary General to the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Slavko Gruic, replied "Nothing had been done so far and the matter did not concern the Serbian Government."
An angry exchange followed between the Austrian Chargé d'Affaires at Belgrade and Gruic. After conducting a criminal investigation, verifying that Germany would honor its military alliance and persuading the skeptical Hungarian Count Tisza, Austria-Hungary issued a formal letter to the government of Serbia. The letter reminded Serbia of its commitment to respect the Great Powers' decision regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina and to maintain good neighborly relations with Austria-Hungary. The letter contained specific demands aimed at preventing the publication of propaganda advocating the violent destruction of Austria-Hungary, removing the people behind this propaganda from the Serbian Military, arresting the people on Serbian soil who were involved in the assassination plot and preventing the clandestine shipment of arms and explosives from Serbia to Austria-Hungary.
This letter became known as the July Ultimatum and Austria-Hungary stated that if Serbia did not accept all of the demands in total within 48 hours, it would recall its ambassador from Serbia. After receiving a telegram of support from Russia, Serbia mobilized its army and responded to the letter by completely accepting point #8 demanding an end to the smuggling of weapons and punishment of the frontier officers who had assisted the assassins and completely accepting point #10 which demanded Serbia report the execution of the required measures as they were completed. Serbia partially accepted, finessed, disingenuously answered or politely rejected elements of the preamble and enumerated demands #17 and #9. The shortcomings of Serbia's response were published by Austria-Hungary and can be seen beginning on page 364 of Origins of the War, Vol. II by Albertini, with the Austrian complaints placed side-by-side against Serbia's response. Austria-Hungary responded by breaking diplomatic relations.
The next day, Serbian reservists being transported on tramp steamers on the Danube crossed onto the Austro-Hungarian side of the river at Temes-Kubin and Austro-Hungarian soldiers fired into the air to warn them off. The report of this incident was initially sketchy and reported to Emperor Franz-Joseph as a considerable skirmish. Austria-Hungary then declared war and mobilized the portion of its army that would face the (already mobilized) Serbian Army on 28 July 1914. Under the Secret Treaty of 1892 Russia and France were obliged to mobilize their armies if any of the Triple Alliance mobilized. Russia's mobilization set-off full Austro-Hungarian and German mobilizations.
Soon all the Great Powers except Italy had chosen sides and gone to war
TIMELNE of WWI
Francis Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo
Kaiser William II promised German support for Austria against Serbia
Austria declared war on Serbia
Germany declared war on Russia
Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. Germany had to implement the Schlieffen Plan.
Britain declared war on Germany
The BEF started its retreat from Mons. Germany invaded France.
Russian army defeated at Tannenburg and Masurian Lakes.
Battle of the Marne started
First Battle of Ypres
Turkey entered the war on Germanys side. Trench warfare started to dominate the Western Front.
The first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place
Britain bombarded Turkish forts in the Dardanelles
Allied troops landed in Gallipoli
The Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat
Italy declared war on Germany and Austria
The Germans captured Warsaw from the Russians
Start of the Battle of Loos
The Allies started the evacuation of Gallipoli
Conscription introduced in Britain
Start of the Battle of Verdun
British forces surrendered to Turkish forces at Kut in Mesopotamia
Battle of Jutland
Start of the Brusilov Offensive
Start of the Battle of the Somme
End of the Brusilov Offensive
First use en masse of tanks at the Somme
Lloyd George becomes British Prime Minister
Germanys unrestricted submarine warfare campaign started
USA declared war on Germany
France launched an unsuccessful offensive on the Western Front
Start of the Third Battle at Ypres
Battle of Caporetto the Italian Army was heavily defeated
Britain launched a major offensive on the Western Front
British tanks won a victory at Cambrai
Armistice between Germany and Russia signed
Britain captured Jerusalem from the Turks
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between Russia and Germany.
Germany broke through on the Somme
Marshall Foch was appointed Allied Commander on the Western Front
Germany started an offensive in Flanders
Second Battle of the Marne started. The start of the collapse of the German army
The advance of the Allies was successful
Turkish forces collapsed at Megiddo
Germany asked the Allies for an armistice
Germanys navy mutinied
Turkey made peace
Austria made peace
Kaiser William II abdicated
Germany signed an armistice with the Allies the official date of the end of World War One.
Peace conference met at Paris
The surrendered German naval fleet at Scapa Flow was scuttled.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed by the Germans
The Chronology of First World War
World War I casualties
The total number of casualties in World War I, both military and civilian, was about 37 million: 16 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 6.8 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 5.7 million soldiers while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.
Unlike most (if not all) conflicts that took place in the 19th century and before, the majority of military deaths in World War I were caused by combat as opposed to disease. Improvements in medicine as well as the increased lethality of military weaponry were both factors in this development. Nevertheless, disease (including the Spanish flu) still caused a significant proportion of military deaths for all belligerents
ALLIES of WWI - TOTAL DEATHS - DEATH % of POPULATION
BRITISH IMPERIAL FORCES
Australia - 61,928 - 1.38%
Canada - 66,944 - 0.92%
Indian Empire - 74,187 - 0.02%
New Zealand - 18,050 - 1.64%
Newfoundland - 1,204 - 0.6%
South Africa - 9,463 - 0.16%
United Kingdom - 994,138 - 2.19%
East Africaa - see footnote at above casualties link
Belgium - 120,637 - 1.63%
France - 1,697,800 - 4.29%
Greece - 176,000 - 3.67%
Italy - 1,240,000 - 3.48%
Empire of Japan - 415 - 0% 907
Luxembourg - see footnote at above casualties link
Montenegro - 3,000 - 0.6%
Portugal - 89,222 - 1.49%
Romania - 680,000 - 9.07%
Russian Empire - 3,311,000 - 1.89%
Serbia - 725,000 - 16.11%
United States - 117,465 - 0.13%
Austria-Hungary - 1,567,000 - 3.05%
Bulgaria -187,500 - 3.41%
German Empire - 2,476,897 - 3.82%
Ottoman Empire - 2,921,844 - 13.72%
Denmark - 722 - 0.03%
Norway - 1,892 - 0.08%
Sweden - 877 - 0.02%
Grand total 16,543,185 - 1.75%
the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people.
It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.
Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster.
In the fall of 1918 the Great War in Europe was winding down and peace was on the horizon. The Americans had joined in the fight, bringing the Allies closer to victory against the Germans. Deep within the trenches these men lived through some of the most brutal conditions of life, which it seemed could not be any worse. Then, in pockets across the globe, something erupted that seemed as benign as the common cold.
The influenza of that season, however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children.
It infected 28% of all Americans (Tice). An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war.
Of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, half of them fell to the influenza virus and not to the enemy (Deseret News). An estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilized for WWI died of influenza (Crosby). 1918 would go down as unforgettable year of suffering and death and yet of peace.
As noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association final edition of 1918: "The 1918 has gone: a year momentous as the termination of the most cruel war in the annals of the human race; a year which marked, the end at least for a time, of man's destruction of man; unfortunately a year in which developed a most fatal infectious disease causing the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings. Medical science for four and one-half years devoted itself to putting men on the firing line and keeping them there. Now it must turn with its whole might to combating the greatest enemy of all--infectious disease," (12/28/1918).