World War I

World War I was a military conflict from 1914 to 1918; that caused

millions of people their lives in battle. Causes of World War I were the spirt of

intense nationalism. The fundamental causes of the conflict, however, were rooted

deeply in the European History of the previous century in political and economic

policies that prevailed the Continent after 1871, the year that marked the emergence

of Germany as a great world power. Another source of tension in Europe was

imperialism. At the same time each nation built up its army and navy against the

military threat posed by its neighbors.

In June, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was

assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Serb nationalist. Then on July 28 Austria

declared war against Serbia, either because it felt Russia would not actually fight for

Serbia, or because it was prepared to risk a general European conflict in order to

put an end to the Greater Serbia movement. From there some 32 nations would

become involved in the global war.

By early 1915 both armies dug in along a front running some 400

miles. Holed up in trenches and separated by a thin strip of territory both sides

struggled to advance. But even the most hardened soldier had never encountered

anything like trench warfare. During fighting life in the trenches proved frightful.

Rats and lice plagued the soldiers. New weapons added to the horror. The most

feared new weapon introduced during World War I was poisonous gas.

In early 1915 the Germans established a war zone around Great Britain

Any ships entering this zone, Even neutral ships, were liable to U-boat attack. On

March 28, a U-boat sank a British liner, the Lusitania, killing more than 100 people.

British and German activities violated the rights of neutral nations and led to

American protests.

The sinking of the Lusitania brought conflict to many Americans.

Congress declared war on April 4. The Allies urgently needed fresh troops.

Congress responded by passing the Selective Service Act to bring the armed

services up to full force. As the weeks went by, American troops arrived in France

in Great numbers. They set up docks, railroads, and telegraphic lines. They also

constructed camps, ammunition dumps, storage sheds, and hospitals. Some 10,000

women worked in these hospitals.

The Americans\' entry into the war came none too soon for the Allies.

With the assistance of American troops, the Allies turned the tide against Germany.

Over the next three months, the Allies pushed deep into the German- held territory.

Mutinies broke out in both the German army and navy. German civilizations took to

the streets demanding food, not war. In November Germany\'s government agreed to

an armistice.

The war, killed over eight million people and left much of Europe
in ruins, resolved few prewar issues.