The The Great War documentary. The assassination of Austria-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June 1914 marked the beginning of World war 1 which was fought between Great Britain, Russia, Italy, France, Japan, Romania and The United States on the Allied side and Germany, Austria-Hungry, The Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria on the Central Powers side. It is was known as the war to end all wars as it resulted in the collapse of four great imperial dynasties in Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey. However, it only set actions in motion for the Beginning of World War Two.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was the heir to the Austro Hungarian Empire was shot by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip while in Bosnia. His motive was to bring an end to the Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The assassination outraged Austria-Hungary who said the Serbian government was involved in the attack and wanted to go to war with them. They did not declare war immediately however since they knew that Serbia was backed by Russia and would crush Austria-Hungary in a war. They needed the confirmation that Germany would also join the war on the Austria-Hungarian side.
This confirmation was given by German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II on July 5th, 1914; No matter what situation Austria-Hungary found themselves in they would have the full military backing of Germany. The result of this was Austria-Hungary giving a set of demands to Serbia for which they could not accept, convinced Austria-Hungary was mobilizing its army ready to invade, Serbia called Russia for backing, which in turn garnered the support of Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and that was the beginning of World War 1.
World War 1 ended on November 11th, 1918 and resulted in the death of 16 million military personnel and civilians. It’s was the worst war of all time not just because the sheer number of people who were killed but because of the way in which much of it was done.
Mustard Gas in World War 1
For the first time, people were able to kill each other on an industrial scale using new advances in science and technology. Some of these weapons included poison gas (mustard gas), machine guns (Vickers machine gun), tanks (British Mark V) and flamethrowers. It was also the first time aircraft had been widely and effectively used in battle. People were just not ready for the destruction they were to witness and as a result, a pandemic of posttraumatic stress disorders was seen, commonly known as “shell shock”.
At the end of The Great War, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by Germany as peace terms since they lost. They had to pay $5 billion to the league of nations, German property abroad was seized, their army could not surpass 100,000 men and East and West Prussia was given to Poland among many other things. Eventually, this led to a rise of Nationalism in Germany in the form of Hitler and the National Socialist Party who despised the Treaty of Versailles and pushed for “Lebensraum” (room to live) which meant taking back lands which they viewed to still be theirs resulting the outbreak of World War Two.