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World War I

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World War I

See also Weapons (particularly for the use of tanks and poisonous gases).

Timeline

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Click to show or hide the answer
Austro–Hungary declares war on Serbia (after the latter declined to accept the former's demands in full) Click to show or hide the answer
Russia declares "partial mobilisation" against Austro–Hungary, in support of Serbia Click to show or hide the answer
Russia declares "general mobilisation" against Germany, after failing to receive an "appropriate" response over its partial mobilisation against Austro–Hungary Click to show or hide the answer
Germany declares war on Russia Click to show or hide the answer
Germany attacks Luxembourg Click to show or hide the answer
Germany declares war on France, after failing to receive an "appropriate" response to its request that France remain neutral Click to show or hide the answer
Germany declares war on Belgium, after Belgium refuses to permit German troops to cross its borders into France; Britain declares war on Germany, in support of Belgium (under the terms of the Treaty of London, 1839), and because of concern over German control of Belgium's channel ports Click to show or hide the answer
Austro-Hungary invades Serbia Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Tannenberg: a decisive German victory over Russia Click to show or hide the answer
First Battle of the Marne: a decisive Allied victory over Germany Click to show or hide the answer
Gallipoli (a failed Allied attempt to invade the Ottoman Empire) begins Click to show or hide the answer
Allied forces evacuate Gallipoli Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Jutland: WWI's only major naval battle, with no decisive conclusion Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Verdun (Germany's attempt to drive French troops out of their entrenched position on the eastern front) begins Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of the Somme – launched in part to relieve the French under siege in Verdun – begins; 17,000 British troops are killed, and 34,000 injured, on the first day Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of the Somme ends with an Allied victory, but at the cost of 600,000 casualties; the British Empire suffers the greatest number of casualties in its history Click to show or hide the answer
Germany calls off the siege of Verdun, after what proved to be the deadliest battle of the war Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Arras: British troops attack German defences on the Western Front, making major gains on the first day, but the battle ends in stalemate after 5 weeks, with almost 160,000 British and about 125,000 German casualties Click to show or hide the answer
Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres – an Allied attempt to force a German retreat from Flanders) begins Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Caporetto – Germany's effort to support ailing Austro–Hungary by making an example out of Italy – begins; Italian defenders flee for their lives in the face of a surprise poison gas attack Click to show or hide the answer
Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres – an Allied attempt to force a German retreat from Flanders) begins Click to show or hide the answer
Germany calls off its advance into Italy (following the victory at Caporetto) as its supply lines become stretched Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Cambrai begins: British troops achieve early successes as they surprise German defensive positions by deploying 476 tanks across a 6–mile front Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Cambrai ends as German forces regain all the lost ground, by using the Stormtrooper assault tactics recently adopted successfully against Russia and Italy – despite the involvment of American forces for the first time Click to show or hide the answer
Second Battle of the Marne: Germany's last major offensive on the Western Front is overwhelmed by a counterattack by French and American forces, including several hundred tanks, suffering severe casualties Click to show or hide the answer
Battle of Amiens: the Allies counter-attack; 31 combined divisions of British, French and American troops advance 7 miles on the first day alone; the battle ends four days later as German forces surrender en masse. This begins the Hundred Days Offensive that would lead to the end of hostilities, but at the cost of nearly 2 million casualties: 785,733 German and over 1 million Allied, including 127,000 Americans Click to show or hide the answer
The war ends with an armistice signed on behalf of the Allies and Germany, in a carriage of Marshal Foch's private train in the Forest of Compiègne, in Picardy (signed between 05:12 and 05:20, to take effect at 11:00) Click to show or hide the answer
Treaty of Versailles: ends WWI and establishes the League of Nations (exactly 5 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand) Click to show or hide the answer

People

British field marshal, leader of the Expeditionary Force that captured Palestine from the Turks in 1918 Click to show or hide the answer
Vice–Admiral who caught the German fleet by surprise (after signals had been intercepted) and drew it towards the main British fleet under Jellicoe, at Jutland Click to show or hide the answer
British nurse executed in Brussels by German troops in 1915 for helping British prisoners to escape Click to show or hide the answer
Austrian prince – heir presumptive to the throne of Austro–Hungary – whose assassination in Sarajevo in June 1914 led the Central Powers (Germany, Austro–Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria) to declare war on the Entente Powers (Russia, France and Great Britain) – the latter supporting Serbia – thus starting the First World War Click to show or hide the answer
French general chosen as supreme commander of the Allied armies, 1918; accepted Germany's request for an armistice 11 November 1918 Click to show or hide the answer
Took command of Manfred von Richthofen's Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) squadron April 1918, after the death in a flying accident of Wilhelm Reinhard who had taken command following Richthofen's death three months earlier Click to show or hide the answer
Replaced John French as Commander–in–Chief of British forces, Dec 1915 Click to show or hide the answer
Dutch "exotic dancer" and courtesan, real name Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, found guilty of spying for Germany and executed by the French 1917 Click to show or hide the answer
Commander of the British fleet at Jutland Click to show or hide the answer
British Secretary of State for War, from 1914 until his death in June 1916 when HMS Hampshire was torpedoed off Orkney Click to show or hide the answer
German Quartermaster General, and effectively deputy to Hindenburg, 1916–18; his memoirs promulgated the "stab–in–the–back myth" – claiming that German forces in WWI had been betrayed by the German public (others blamed the Socialists) – often cited as an important factor in Hitler's rise to power Click to show or hide the answer
Commander of US Expeditionary Forces Click to show or hide the answer
Became a national hero in France for his role in the successful defence of Verdun, Feb to Dec 1918 Click to show or hide the answer
Commander of Germany's 11th Chasing Squadron – known as his 'Flying Circus' – from January 1917 until his death in April 1918; officially credited with 80 air combat victories Click to show or hide the answer
Commander of the German High Sea fleet at Jutland Click to show or hide the answer
Founded the modern German navy; planned the U–boat campaign of WWI Click to show or hide the answer
The War that will End War was the title of a book, based on a series of newspaper articles (published in 1914) by Click to show or hide the answer

Other

Germany's allies Click to show or hide the answer
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City (now in Belarus) that gave its name to the treaty signed there in March 1918, between Russia and Germany, that ended Russia's involvement in World War I Click to show or hide the answer
Nov–Dec 1917: British offensive that featured the first successful use of tanks Click to show or hide the answer
Forest in Picardy, northern France, where the Armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed on 11 November 1918, in a carriage of Marshal Foch's private train Click to show or hide the answer
Colloquial name given to the memorial plaque issued to the next of kin of all service personnel killed in the war, or who died as a result of it Click to show or hide the answer
Central target of a German naval bombardment on 6 December 1914, aimed at its shipyards; hit by 1150 shells, 117 killed (Whitby and Scarborough were also affected) Click to show or hide the answer
Extensive line of defences in North–Eastern France, built winter 1916–17 (the original Siegfried Line was a part of it) Click to show or hide the answer
The only major sea battle of WWI, and arguably the largest in history (31 May – 1 June, 1916; involved 250 ships – 151 British, 99 German); known to the Germans as the Battle of the Skaggerak Click to show or hide the answer
September 1915: British forces under Douglas Haig broke through German lines but were forced to retreat; described by Robert Graves in his autobiography Click to show or hide the answer
Memorial to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the vicinity of Ypres in World War I, and whose graves are unknown – unveiled in 1927, on the site of a historical fortification, and named after the town to which the road that passes through it leads Click to show or hide the answer
First battle fought by British troops in WWI, during which they were (allegedly) protected by an angel Click to show or hide the answer
Third Battle of Ypres (31 July to 10 Nov 1917): better known as (after the village near Ypres around which it was centred; the battle ended when the Canadian Corps captured the village) Click to show or hide the answer
English name for the strip of land separating East Prussia from the rest of Germany, granted to Poland after WWI Click to show or hide the answer
Country that suffered most deaths, as a percentage of population (around 1 million, from a population of 4.5 million) Click to show or hide the answer
Started 1 July 1916 with the bloodiest day in British military history (19,000 dead, 38,000 injured); continued to November and featured the first use of tanks Click to show or hide the answer
The longest battle of WWI, fought in north–east France, February to December 1916; approximately 750,000 casualties. Symbolises the horrors of war in Germany and France, as the Somme does in Britain; the phrase "Ils ne passeront pas" (They shall not pass – commonly but wrongly attributed to Marshal Petain) was said about Click to show or hide the answer
Treaty signed on 28 June 1919 (exactly 5 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand) to end WWI and establish the League of Nations Click to show or hide the answer
Ridge captured from the Germans by Canadian troops at the start of the Battle of Arras (9–12 April 1917) Click to show or hide the answer
Original title of the newspaper produced by British soldiers in the trenches (specifically the 12th Battalion Sherwood Foresters), 1916–18 (other titles were used as the battalion moved to other parts of the Line) Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017