A Brief History of World War One

World War One began on June 28, 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated. A Serbian terrorist group called The Black Hand were behind the assassination, though that was simply the catalyst; tensions had been growing over differences over foreign policy. Eight million soldiers died in World War One and twenty one million were injured.

Following are some key points of historical significance of World War One:

  • Flamethrowers were first used by the Germans.
  • Men from thirty different countries fought, and died, in this war.
  • Two thirds of casualties occurred in battle whereas in previous wars, majority of deaths were due to disease.
  • The first prototype tank was build in 1915 for this war. It was named Little Willie and could carry a crew of three men and travel three miles per hour.
  • German fighter pilot Manfred Albrecht Freiherr, infamously known as the Red Baron, shot down eighty planes, more than any other World War One pilot.
  • In 1917, the British authorities withheld information they had deciphered from a telegram from German officials encouraging Mexico to invade the U.S. They held off on telling the U.S. to draw them into the war on their side.
  • Similar to the Islamophobic culture currently progressing in the United States, there was an anti-German sentiment in the U.S. Protests against Germans, including German-Americans, were violent and included book burning, killing German shepherd dogs and murder.
  • The Spanish flu caused one third of military deaths.
  • The total cost of World War One for the U.S. was over thirty billion dollars.
  • The four empires that collapsed after this war were Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian.
  • Submarines made a large military impact for the first time in World War One.
  • France was the first country to use poisonous gas against an enemy. Throughout the course of the war, thirty different poisonous gases were used by each side.
  • Carrier pigeons were used to transmit messages.
  • The establishment of the League of Nations, which led the groundwork for the United Nations and a worldwide arms race, was an outcome of this war.