Re: WWI, is the term “Allies” a retronym?

Re: WWI, is the term “Allies” a retronym?

Were Allies of WWI called "Allies" at the time (in English), or is that a term we started applying later? Did they just refer to themselves as the (Triple) Entente?

Yes, at the start of the war. No, by the end.

It's an interesting question because the "Allies" were the "Entente Cordiale" of the UK and France and later the "Triple Entente" when Russia joined. They were formed to counter the "Triple Alliance" of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.

At the start of the war, yes, using the term "Allies" would be an anachronism. They were "the Entente". But by the end of the war, the coalition fighting the Central Powers were referred to as "the Allied Powers" in part because the Triple Alliance collapsed (Italy remained neutral and then declared war on Austria-Hungary) and there were just so many nations fighting the Central Powers most of whom were not members of the Entente.

The Great War YouTube channel, which I highly recommend, covers this a bit in an Out of the Trenches episode The Trench Coat - Entente or Allies?

The term "alliance" was very deeply embedded into the 19th century. Nowadays it's been replaced by the word "collation". There was the Dual Alliance, the Franco-Russian Alliance, there was even an Austro-Serbian Alliance.

At the time of The Great War allies fought allies, you're right, but in hindsight, mostly from a popular standpoint, it was easier to distinguish the two sides. Since the Triple Alliance broke up and the Triple Entente drew in more and more and more countries to their cause it was easier to simplify the term.

One example is that the United States was not technically an "ally" but rather an "associated power" who declared war on Germany for violating their neutrality. They wished to avoid "foreign entanglements" and so did not want to get involved in a European alliance.

The countries fighting the Central Powers are referred to in treaties as "The Allied Powers" or "The Allied and Associated Powers". For example there are…

  • "Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany" (aka the Treaty of Versailles)
  • "Treaty of Peace between the Allied Powers and Austria"
  • "The Treaty of Peace Between the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire" of 1920.
  • "Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Bulgaria and Protocol"
  • "Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary"

I would say that it was a retronym. Before the war, it was Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy against the Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia. Italy deserted the Triple Alliance at the beginning of the war, and later joined the Entente, which made it four against two. It would have been four against four if you only count two more later joiners, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire on the German side, which became the "Central Powers."

But a bunch of smaller nations, Belgium, Luxembourg, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece, Japan, and ultimately the United States, aligned with the Entente, when they were attacked by, or went to war with one or more of the Central Powers.

Because it was a case of four against "everyone else," the "everyone else" became known as the "Allies." (The U.S. became an "Associated Power" rather than a full Ally, because it declared war on only Germany and Austria-Hungary, remaining technically neutral against Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.)


Gunpowder, also known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur (S), carbon (C), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter, KNO3). The sulfur and charcoal act as fuels while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. [1] [2] Gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms, artillery, rocketry, and pyrotechnics, including use as a blasting agent for explosives in quarrying, mining, and road building.

Gunpowder is classified as a low explosive because of its relatively slow decomposition rate and consequently low brisance. Low explosives deflagrate (i.e., burn) at subsonic speeds, whereas high explosives detonate producing a supersonic shockwave. Ignition of gunpowder packed behind a projectile generates enough pressure to force the shot from the muzzle at high speed, but usually not enough force to rupture the gun barrel. Gunpowder thus makes a good propellant, but is less suitable for shattering rock or fortifications with its low-yield explosive power. Nonetheless it was widely used to fill fused artillery shells (and used in mining and civil engineering projects) until the second half of the 19th century, when the first high explosives were put into use.

Gunpowder is one of the Four Great Inventions of China. [3] Originally developed by the Taoists for medicinal purposes, gunpowder was first used for warfare around 904 AD. [4] It spread throughout most parts of Eurasia by the end of the 13th century. [5] Gunpowder's use in weapons has declined due to smokeless powder replacing it, and it is no longer used for industrial purposes, due to its relative inefficiency compared to newer alternatives such as dynamite and ammonium nitrate/fuel oil. [6] [7] Today gunpowder firearms are limited primarily to hunting, target shooting, and bulletless historical reenactments.

What Would Orwell Say: How War in Libya Makes Language Suffer

British author George Orwell (Photo: Popperfoto / Getty Images)

In the aftermath of World War II, George Orwell reflected on politics, power and language: “When the general atmosphere is bad,” he wrote, “language must suffer.” To wage war, to justify empire, the politicians of his time mashed words, turning English to euphemistic mush, he said. In turn, the “sheer cloudy vagueness” of political speech corrupted thought, anesthetizing our impulses. “When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims,” he wrote, “one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

I thought of Orwell this week when I read Robert Gates’ remarks on Libya. “The way I like to put it is, from our standpoint at the Pentagon, we’re involved in a limited kinetic operation,” he told Fox. “If I’m in Gadhafi’s palace, I suspect I think I’m at war.” Right. Read it again. It’s not a war, it’s a limited kinetic operation. Unless you’re in the palace. Then, it’s war. I suspect. Hello, cuttlefish.

Let’s swim through the murk. To start: Where did ‘kinetic’ come from? In ordinary usage, ‘kinetic’ is an adjective used to describe motion. When ‘kinetic’ went to Washington, its secondary meaning — ‘active, as opposed to latent’ — came to the fore, explains Timothy Noah in a 2002 piece for Slate. The retronym ‘kinetic warfare’ started popping up a lot in the aftermath of 9/11, as Bob Woodward observed in Bush at War:

For many days the war cabinet had been dancing around the basic question: how long could they wait after September 11 before the U.S. started going “kinetic,” as they often termed it, against al Qaeda in a visible way? The public was patient, at least it seemed patient, but everyone wanted action. A full military action—air and boots—would be the essential demonstration of seriousness—to bin Laden, America, and the world.

Air and Boots. That’s the key. “The 21 st -century military is exploring less violent and more high-tech means of warfare, such as messing electronically with the enemy’s communications equipment or wiping out its bank accounts,” Noah writes. But, “dropping bombs and shooting bullets—you know, killing people—is kinetic.” Appropriate, then, that the Obama administration is using it now.

Of course, it’s not just ‘kinetic,’ or Libya. Last year, Robert Fisk called attention to the way Pentagon-speak was seeping into the mainstream. Sending reinforcements is a “surge,” an increase in violence a “spike.” A surge, like a tsunami, or a tidal wave, erases what it hits. A spike, meanwhile, is temporary, measurable. Both are perfect examples of something Orwell abhorred: “strayed scientific words.”

By combining “limited,” “kinetic” and “operation,” Gates may have built the ultimate Orwellian euphemism. “Kinetic” connotes action, but the rest of it sounds vaguely, lullingly, scientific. It knocks you out then whisperssoftly—sleep, sleep, forget about the war.

Summer Weather Upon Us? Bring On the Retronyms!

While many consider summer their favorite season, I am not those people. Summer is an unbearable time for writers: editors and agents seem to disappear to some island for two months (probably because their therapists are AWOL as well) there’s no colorful foliage or crisp air to inspire us, and the FOMO is awful while we’re at our desks writing and beach photos slide through our social media feeds.

This summer, I suppose I’ll give in and order a few iced coffees…’ Illustration by Josh Quick

I much prefer the electricity of fall and winter air (there’s a reason that cold “snaps” while heat merely waves), the possibility of a sparkling blanket of snow to cover the mistakes of the day before, and any excuse to slide under mounds of covers. Then there are the admittedly minor annoyances of summer, such as the fact that when I head into a java joint to order coffee, they often serve it iced without my asking.

I was griping about this last one recently to friends. They asked why I don’t simply specify that I want “hot coffee.” I must be a grumpy curmudgeon because I said I resent even having to use the retronym.

Not everyone knew the term, so at least I had hit on an unexpected delight of summer — the chance to talk about language, and about all the retronyms we use during the summer months.

The term “retronym,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, was coined by Frank Mankiewicz, a journalist, former president of NPR, and former press aide to Sen. Robert Kennedy. He was first quoted as collecting retronyms in William Safire’s “On Language” newspaper column in 1980, then appeared in several subsequent Safire columns to discuss phrases such as “analog watch” and “hardcover book.” (Before that, watches were assumed to be analog, and decades earlier, books hardcover.)

Merriam-Webster officially defines retronym as “a term (such as an analog watch or snail mail) that is newly created and adopted to distinguish the original or older version of something from other, more recent versions, forms, or examples.”

I first learned of the term from a Safire column myself in the 1980s when I, a young hopeful writer, would spread my parents’ “print newspaper” (a retronym if ever there was one) on the living room rug to learn something new. I avidly read another language-studying columnist as well, James J. Kilpatrick (for some reason, both language mavens also happened to be conservative columnists perhaps the GOP was the party of grammar back then). Kilpatrick passed away in 2010, a year after Safire. Now there are fewer print newspapers and fewer columnists to write about the peculiarities of the written word — but I’m still intrigued by retronyms.

This summer, many of us are using our phones to take vacation photos. But if you’re more serious and prefer separate equipment, you can shop online at BestBuy for what they refer to on their website as a “digital camera,” “instant film camera,” or “CLASSIC instant film camera.”

Yet we’ve recently started dropping all modifiers when we talk about our “phones,” no longer needing to say “cell phone,” “portable phone,” “cordless phone,” or even “smartphone.” The retronym “landline” is still in use even though most landlines are not. (The word “phone” itself, during the middle of the last century, was sometimes written with an apostrophe to indicate an abbreviation for “telephone.”)

Last summer I employed the retronym “snail mail” when I told friends I wanted to bring it back by sending them handwritten postcards over July 4. At the post office, I only had to request a stamp rather than specify a “sticker stamp” or “lick-and-stick” variety — the latter officially discontinued after a 2015 USPS announcement. (The century-old lickable stamps are apparently so forgettable that someone posted the question on Quora in 2017, “Did people really used to lick stamps?”)

An internet search for retronyms turns up a host of terms I didn’t realize fit the bill. Corn on the cob, that favorite summer treat, was apparently just “corn” until the advent of canned corn. Then there are terms I forgot were retronyms since I grew up more aware of their successors: “black and white television,” “cloth diaper,” and “World War I.”

I believe it’s useful to understand the origins of terms and language so we don’t forget the history of technology and art. Devices from a slower time, or their specific designs, may someday prove useful again.

Someday soon, kids won’t understand why we say we “dial” a phone or “ship” a package by truck or plane. There must be a term for verbs that hark back to mechanisms no longer in use, but I can’t recall it: if only Safire and Kilpatrick were around to ask.

This summer, I suppose I’ll give in and order a few iced coffees, while I sit in a café with a print newspaper. Print media is a better conversation piece than one’s phone. Or maybe I’ll partake of that favorite summer pastime, the one Safire wrote about in his last column on retronyms in 2007, two years before he passed away: “The same cultural shift happened in baseball: few fans say night game any more, because most games are played at night, and it’s the former time of play that needs a modifier, which gave rise to the phrase day game.”

I’m glad I don’t have to lick a stamp or lug a bulky camera around on vacation, but I don’t want to forget what came before. Perhaps we need a word for an introvert who delights in retronyms. Does that make me a retrovert?

Advice to Non-Infantry Member

A word of advice to the non-infantry members getting worked up over being called POGs. Some of you take it in stride, and some of you even adopt it and make it your own, and for that, good for you. Those who go straight to their CO and complain of being called a POG are doing something that should have gone out of style in grade school: tattling. And not for something major, either. For a word. A retronym that’s been around for generations. One your military fathers and father’s fathers used. Your CO’s time, and the military’s time, would be far better spent on planning tactics and deciding how best to defend our nation’s borders, not writing up new regulations about what’s a 70-year-old term.

Some time back a Grunt affectionately nicknamed me Gruntette, and although it made me smile – still does to this day – I know I’m a POG. And I’m okay with that. Everyone signed up for their particular MOS, and even though recruiters accurately state there are only a certain number of infantry positions open each month and they often need to convince someone to sign up for a different MOS, well, you still signed up for it, didn’t you. No one held a gun to your head. Anyone who risks their life in combat deserves respect, whether infantry or not. And anyone who enlists in the military and serves this country deserves respect, regardless of MOS. The reason Grunts have something extra is simple, it’s because they walked through that door knowing they’d be risking their lives as a way of life. So while every job is important, it seems pretty safe to say that risking death and dismemberment gives a soldier or a Marine and extra edge. A little trash-talking shouldn’t make headlines, and shouldn’t cause such a fuss. At the end of the day, respect is earned, no matter who you are.

But hey, what would I know. I’m just a POG.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

October 26, 1918 Talking in Code

In 1917, Colonel Bloor heard two of his Choctaw soldiers talking to each other, and realized he didn’t have the foggiest notion of what they were saying. If he didn’t understand their conversation, the Germans wouldn’t have a clue.

During the twentieth century, the United States and others specially recruited bilingual speakers of obscure languages, then applying those skills in secret communications based on those languages. Among these, the story of the Navajo “Code Talkers” are probably best known. Theirs was a language with no alphabet or symbols, a language with such complex syntax and tonal qualities as to be unintelligible to the non-speaker. The military code based on such a language proved unbreakable in WWII. Japanese code breakers never got close.

The United States Marine Corps recruited some 4-500 Navajo speakers, who served in all six Marine divisions in the Pacific theater. Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima: Navajo code talkers took part in every assault conducted by the United States Marine Corps, from 1942 to ‘45.

The history of the Navajo code talkers of WWII is relatively well known, but by no means, unique. Indigenous Americans of other nations served as code talkers in WW2, including Assiniboine, Lakota and Meskwaki soldiers, who did service in the Pacific, North African, and European theaters of the war.

Fourteen Comanche soldiers took part in the Normandy landings. As with the Navajo, these substituted phrases when their own language lacked a proper term. Thus, “tank” became “turtle”. “Bombers” became “pregnant airplanes”. Adolf Hitler was “Crazy White Man”.

The information is contradictory, but Basque may also have been put to use, in areas where no native speakers were believed to be present. Native Cree speakers served with Canadian Armed Services, though oaths of secrecy have all but blotted their contributions, from the pages of history.

The first documented use of military codes based on native American languages took place during the Second Battle of the Somme in September of 1918, employing on the language skills of a number of Cherokee troops.

The government of Choctaw nation will tell you otherwise, contending that Theirs was the first native language, used in this way. Late in 1917, Colonel Alfred Wainwright Bloor was serving in France with the 142nd Infantry Regiment. They were a Texas outfit, constituted in May of that year and including a number of Oklahoma Choctaws.

The Allies had already learned the hard way that their German adversaries spoke excellent English, and had already intercepted and broken several English-based codes. Colonel Bloor heard two of his Choctaw soldiers talking to each other, and realized he didn’t have the foggiest notion of what they were saying. If he didn’t understand their conversation, the Germans wouldn’t have a clue.

Choctaw soldiers in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions

The first test under combat conditions took place on October 26, 1918, as two companies of the 2nd Battalion performed a “delicate” withdrawal from Chufilly to Chardeny, in the Champagne sector. A captured German officer later confirmed the Choctaw code to have been a complete success. We were “completely confused by the Indian language”, he said, “and gained no benefit whatsoever” from wiretaps.

Choctaw soldiers were placed in multiple companies of infantry. Messages were transmitted via telephone, radio and by runner, many of whom were themselves native Americans.

As in the next war, Choctaw would improvise when their language lacked the proper word or phrase. When describing artillery, they used the words for “big gun”. Machine guns were “little gun shoot fast”.

The Choctaw themselves didn’t use the term “Code Talker”, that wouldn’t come along until WWII. At least one member of the group, Tobias W. Frazier, simply described what they did as, “talking on the radio”. Of the 19 who served in WWI, 18 were native Choctaw from southeast Oklahoma. The last was a native Chickasaw. The youngest was Benjamin Franklin Colbert, Jr., the son of Benjamin Colbert Sr., one of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders” of the Spanish American War. Born September 15, 1900 in the Durant Indian Territory, he was all of sixteen, the day he enlisted.

Another was Choctaw Joseph Oklahombi, whose name means “man killer” in the Choctaw language. Six days before Sergeant York’s famous capture of 132 Germans in the Argonne Forest, Joseph Oklahombi charged a strongly held German position, single-handed. Oklahombi‘s Croix de Guerre citation, personally awarded him by Marshall Petain, tells the story:

“Under a violent barrage, [Pvt. Oklahombi] dashed to the attack of an enemy position, covering about 210 yards through barbed-wire entanglements. He rushed on machine-gun nests, capturing 171 prisoners. He stormed a strongly held position containing more than 50 machine guns, and a number of trench mortars. Turned the captured guns on the enemy, and held the position for four days, in spite of a constant barrage of large projectiles and of gas shells. Crossed no man’s land many times to get information concerning the enemy, and to assist his wounded comrades”.

Unconfirmed eyewitness accounts report that 250 Germans occupied the position, and that Oklahombi killed 79 of them before their comrades decided it was wiser to surrender. Some guys are not to be trifled with.

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April 8, 1942 In the Zone

Rodman was no stranger to the brutal twists and the horrors of war. Nearly half his comrades were killed, fighting in the Philippines. The survivor’s guilt. What the man saw during WW2 changed his life, forever.

Military forces of Imperial Japan appeared unstoppable during the years leading to World War 2, attacking first Thailand, then the British possessions of Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The US military bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines all fell, in quick succession.

On January 7, 1942 Japanese forces attacked the Bataan peninsula in the central Luzon region, of the Philippines. The prize was nothing short of the finest natural harbor in the Asian Pacific, Manila Bay, the Bataan Peninsula forming the lee shore and the heavily fortified island of Corregidor, the “Gibraltar of the East”, standing at the mouth. Before the Japanese invasion was to succeed, Bataan and Corregidor must be destroyed.

In early December, the Far East Air Force (FEAF) outside Luzon possessed more aircraft than the Hawaiian Department, defending Pearl Harbor. In the event of hostilities with Japan, “War Plan Orange” (WPO-3) called for superior air power, covering the strategic retreat across Manila Bay to the Bataan peninsula, buying time for US Naval assets to sail for the Philippines.

In reality, the flower of American naval power in the pacific, lay at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Eight hours after the attack on Oahu, a devastating raid on Clark Field outside of Luzon left 102 aircraft damaged, or destroyed. Army chief of staff general George C. Marshall later remarked to a reporter: “I just don’t know how MacArthur happened to let his planes get caught on the ground.”

General Douglas MacArthur abandoned Corregidor on March 12, departing the “Alamo of the Pacific” with trademark dramatic flair: “I shall return”. Some 90,000 American and Filipino troops were on their own, left without food, supplies or support with which to fight off the onslaught of the Japanese 14 th Army.

Starving, battered by wounds and decimated by all manner of tropical disease and parasite, the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” fought on until they could do no more.

War correspondent Frank Hewlett was the last reporter to leave Corregidor, before it all collapsed. It was he who coined the phrase “ Angels of Bataan “, to describe the women who stayed behind to be taken into captivity, to care for the sick and wounded. Hewlett wrote this tribute to the doomed defenders of that place:

Battling Bastards of Bataan

We’re the battling bastards of Bataan
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces
And nobody gives a damn
Nobody gives a damn.

Allied war planners turned their attention to defeating Adolf Hitler.

In the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the river gunboat USS Mindanao earned the distinction of taking prisoner the sole survivor of the midget submarine attacks carried out that day, Kazuo Sakamaki. Now short on fuel, Mindanao was reduced to harassing shore artillery and covering small boats evacuating soldiers, from the beaches. On April 8, 1942, Mindanao Executive Officer David Nash confided to his diary: “This has been a hectic day. It looks like the beginning of the end. The planes get nearer each day and this evening the word was received to get up steam and standby to get underway. Meanwhile Ft. Mills started shooting across our heads toward the Bataan lines. All night long our forces were obviously destroying equipment. It looks like evacuation from the Peninsula”.

Bataan fell the following day, some 75,000 American and Filipino fighters beginning a 65-mile, five-day trek into captivity known as the Bataan Death March . Lieutenant Nash was taken prisoner, surviving a captivity many did not to pass the remainder of the war at Bilibid, Davao, Dapecol and the infamous Cabanatuan prison camps.

With a commanding position over Pacific shipping routes, holding the Philippine archipelago was critical for Japanese war strategy. Capturing the islands was important to the US by the same logic with the added reason, this was a personal point of pride for General Douglas MacArthur. Two years almost to the day from that ignominious departure, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered MacArthur to come up with a plan to take the place back. Luzon would come first with the invasion of Leyte in the north, slated for early 1945.

That summer, US 3rd fleet operations revealed Japanese defenses were weaker than expected. The invasion was moved forward to October. Before it was over, the Battle of Leyte would trigger the greatest naval battle, of World War 2.

With deep-water approaches and sandy beaches, Leyte Island is tailor-made for amphibious assault. Preliminary operations for the invasion began on October 17. MacArthur made his grand entrance on the 20 th announcing to the 900,000 residents of the island: “People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”

The fighting for Leyte was long and bloody involving 323,000 American troops and Filipino guerrillas. Day and night through mountains, swamps and jungles, by the time it was over some 50,000 Japanese combat troops were destroyed. Organized resistance ended on Christmas day. By the New Year there was little left, but isolated stragglers.

Not many can find humor in such a place as that. Private Melvin Levy was one who could. A member of the 511 th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11 th Airborne Division, that November, Levy and his comrades were fighting as infantry. He was part of the 511 th ‘s demolition platoon, nicknamed the “Death Squad” for its high casualty rate.

The C-47 came in low that day, but this wasn’t your normal bombing run. The plane was armed with “biscuit bombs”, crates of food and provisions intended to resupply the 511 th regiment. With a comedian’s sense of timing, Levy was holding court before an enthralled group of soldiers, resting under a palm tree. Laughter filled the air as Private Levy delivered the punchline and asked his best friend Rodman, for a cigarette. Rodman took the one out of his mouth and handed it over before turning, for the pack. The biscuit bomb came in at 200 miles per hour, tearing Levy’s head from his shoulders, where he stood.

As the only other Jewish guy in the unit, Rodman presided over Levy’s funeral, the following day. He spoke a few words and placed a star of David, on Levy’s grave.

Nearly half his comrades were killed, fighting in the Philippines. Rodman himself was wounded twice and finished the war, in occupied Japan. He was no stranger to the brutal twists and the horrors of war. The survivor’s guilt. What the man saw during WW2 changed him, forever. The human wreckage wrought by the atomic bomb, the fire bombing, the results of the aerial mining of Japanese harbors literally code-named, “Operation Starvation”.

Rodman Edward Serling had opened a door, never to be closed. A door unlocked, with the key of imagination. Beyond that door is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into, the Twilight Zone.

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World War I

• Ten things you didn't know about Wikipedia •
World War I
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
“The Great War” redirects here. For other uses, see The Great War (disambiguation).
World War I

Clockwise from top: Trenches on the Western Front a British Mark IV tank crossing a trench Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and a Sopwith Camel biplane
Date 28 July 1914 - 11 November 1918
Location Europe, Africa and the Middle East (briefly in China and the Pacific Islands)
belli Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (28 June) followed by Austrian declaration of war on Serbia (28 July) and Russian mobilisation against Austria-Hungary (29 July).
Result Allied victory. End of the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Creation of many new countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Entente Powers:
Flag of Russia Russian Empire
Flag of France France
Flag of the United Kingdom British Empire
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of the United States United States

et al.
Central Powers:
Flag of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Flag of German Empire German Empire
Ottoman flag Ottoman Empire
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria
Flag of Russia Nicholas II
Flag of Russia Aleksei Brusilov
Flag of France Georges Clemenceau
Flag of France Joseph Joffre
Flag of France Ferdinand Foch
Flag of France Robert Nivelle
Flag of France Philippe Petain
Flag of the United Kingdom King George V
Flag of the United Kingdom Herbert H. Asquith
Flag of the United Kingdom D. Lloyd George
Flag of the United Kingdom Douglas Haig
Flag of the United Kingdom John Jellicoe
Flag of Italy Victor Emmanuel III
Flag of Italy Luigi Cadorna
Flag of Italy Armando Diaz
Flag of the United States Woodrow Wilson
Flag of the United States John Pershing
Flag of Austria-Hungary Franz Josef I
Flag of Austria-Hungary Conrad von Hötzendorf
Flag of German Empire Wilhelm II
Flag of German Empire Erich von Falkenhayn
Flag of German Empire Paul von Hindenburg
Flag of German Empire Reinhard Scheer
Flag of German Empire Erich Ludendorff
Ottoman flag Mehmed V
Ottoman flag İsmail Enver
Flag of Bulgaria Ferdinand I
Military dead:
Military wounded: 12,831,500
Military missing: 4,121,000[1]
Military dead:
Military wounded: 8,388,000
Military missing: 3,629,000[1]
Theatres of World War I
Balkans – Western Front – Eastern Front – Italian Front
Middle Eastern
Caucasus – Mesopotamia – Sinai and Palestine – Gallipoli – Persia
South-West Africa – West Africa – East Africa
Asian and Pacific
German Samoa and New Guinea – Tsingtao
Atlantic Ocean – Mediterranean – Naval – Aerial

World War I, also known as The First World War, The Great War and "The War To End All Wars," was a global military conflict which took place primarily in Europe between 1914 and 1918. More than nine million soldiers and civilians died. The conflict had a decisive impact on the history of the 20th century.

The Entente Powers, led by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and later Italy (from 1915) and the United States (from 1917), defeated the Central Powers, led by the Austro-Hungarian, German, Bulgarian and Ottoman Empires. Russia withdrew from the war after the revolution in 1917.

The fighting that took place along the Western Front occurred along a system of trenches, breastworks, and fortifications separated by an area known as no man's land.[2] These fortifications streched 475 miles (more than 600 kilometres)[2] and defined the war for many. On the Eastern Front, the vast eastern plains and limited rail network prevented a trench warfare stalemate, though the scale of the conflict was just as large as on the Western Front. The Middle Eastern Front and the Italian Front also saw heavy fighting, while hostilities also occurred at sea, and for the first time, in the air.

The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian. Germany lost its colonial empire and states such as Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Yugoslavia gained independence. The cost of waging the war set the stage for the breakup of the British Empire as well and left France devastated for more than a generation.

World War I marked the end of the world order which had existed after the Napoleonic Wars, and was an important factor in the outbreak of World War II.

* 1 Causes
o 1.1 Arms race
o 1.2 Plans, distrust and mobilization
o 1.3 Militarism and autocracy
o 1.4 Balance of Power
o 1.5 Economic imperialism
o 1.6 Trade barriers
o 1.7 Ethnic and political rivalries
* 2 July crisis and declarations of war
* 3 Chronology
o 3.1 Opening hostilities
+ 3.1.1 Confusion among the Central Powers
+ 3.1.2 African campaigns
+ 3.1.3 Serbian campaign
+ 3.1.4 German forces in Belgium and France
+ 3.1.5 Asia and the Pacific
o 3.2 Early stages
+ 3.2.1 Trench warfare begins
o 3.3 Naval war
o 3.4 Southern theatres
+ 3.4.1 Ottoman Empire
+ 3.4.2 Italian participation
+ 3.4.3 War in the Balkans
+ 3.4.4 Fighting in India
o 3.5 Eastern Front
+ 3.5.1 Initial actions
+ 3.5.2 Ukrainian oppression
+ 3.5.3 Russian Revolution
o 3.6 1917�
+ 3.6.1 Entry of the United States
+ 3.6.2 German Spring Offensive of 1918
+ 3.6.3 New states under war zone
+ 3.6.4 Allied victory: summer and autumn 1918
o 3.7 End of war
* 4 Soldiers' experiences
* 5 Prisoners of war
* 6 War crimes
o 6.1 Armenian Genocide
o 6.2 Rape of Belgium
* 7 Economics and manpower issues
* 8 Technology
* 9 Opposition to the war
* 10 Aftermath
o 10.1 Peace treaties
o 10.2 New national identities
o 10.3 Social trauma
* 11 Other names
* 12 Soldier's age records
o 12.1 Oldest
o 12.2 Youngest
* 13 Historical era
* 14 See also
o 14.1 Media
* 15 Notes
* 16 References
* 17 Maps
o 17.1 Western Front
+ 17.1.1 American Operations
* 18 Literature and movies
o 18.1 Poetry and songs (contemporary)
o 18.2 Poetry and songs (latter day)
o 18.3 Books
o 18.4 Films, plays, television series and mini-series
* 19 External links

Main article: Causes of World War I

A graphic depiction of the state of international relations in pre-WWI Europe.
A graphic depiction of the state of international relations in pre-WWI Europe.

On the 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo. Princip was a member of Young Bosnia, a group whose aims included the unification of the South Slavs and independence from Austria-Hungary. The assassination in Sarajevo set into motion a series of fast-moving events that eventually escalated into full-scale war. Austria-Hungary demanded action by Serbia to punish those responsible, and when Austria-Hungary deemed Serbia had not complied, declared war. Major European powers were at war within weeks because of overlapping agreements for collective defense and the complex nature of international alliances.

The naval race between Britain and Germany was intensified by the 1906 launch of HMS Dreadnought —a revolutionary craft whose size and power rendered previous battleships obsolete. Britain also maintained a large naval lead in other areas particularly over Germany and Italy. Paul Kennedy pointed out both nations believed Alfred Thayer Mahan's thesis of command of the sea as vital to great nation status experience with guerre de course would prove Mahan false.

David Stevenson described the arms race as "a self-reinforcing cycle of heightened military preparedness." David Herrmann viewed the shipbuilding rivalry as part of a general movement in the direction of war. Niall Ferguson, however, argued Britain's ability to maintain an overall lead signified this was not a factor in the oncoming conflict.

The cost of the arms race was felt in both Britain and Germany. The total arms spending by the six Great Powers (Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Italy) increased by 50% between 1908 and 1913.[3]

Plans, distrust and mobilization

Closely related is the thesis adopted by many political scientists that the mobilization plans of Germany, France and Russia automatically escalated the conflict. Fritz Fischer emphasized the inherently aggressive nature of the Schlieffen Plan, which outlined a two-front strategy. Fighting on two fronts meant Germany had to eliminate one opponent quickly, before taking on the other. It called for a strong right flank attack, to seize Belgium and cripple the French army by pre-empting its mobilization. After the attack, the German army would rush east by railroad and quickly destroy the slowly mobilizing Russian forces.

France's Plan XVII envisioned a quick thrust into the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial heartland, which would in theory cripple Germany's ability to wage a modern war.

Russia's Plan XIX foresaw a mobilization of its armies against both Austria-Hungary and Germany.

All three plans created an atmosphere in which speed was one of the determining factors for victory. Elaborate timetables were prepared once mobilization had begun, there was little possibility of turning back. Diplomatic delays and poor communications exacerbated the problems.

Also, the plans of France, Germany and Russia were all biased toward the offensive, in clear conflict with the improvements of defensive firepower and entrenchment.[4]

President Woodrow Wilson of the United States and others blamed the war on militarism.[5] Some argued that aristocrats and military élites had too much power in countries such as Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. War was thus a consequence of their desire for military power and disdain for democracy. This theme figured prominently in anti-German propaganda. Consequently, supporters of this theory called for the abdication of rulers such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, as well as an end to aristocracy and militarism in general. This platform provided some justification for the American entry into the war when the Russian Empire surrendered in 1917.

Wilson hoped the League of Nations and disarmament would secure a lasting peace. He also acknowledged that variations of militarism, in his opinion, existed within the British and French Empires.

There was some validity to this view, as the Allies consisted of Great Britain and France, both democracies, fighting the Central Powers, which included Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. Russia, one of the Allied Powers, was an empire until 1917, but it was opposed to the subjugation of Slavic peoples by Austro-Hungary. Against this backdrop, the view of the war as one of democracy versus dictatorship initially had some validity, but lost credibility as the conflict dragged on.

Balance of Power
Political cartoon depicting the tangled web of European alliances.
Political cartoon depicting the tangled web of European alliances.

One of the goals of the foreign policies of the Great Powers in the pre-war years was to maintain the 'Balance of Power' in Europe. This evolved into an elaborate network of secret and public alliances and agreements. For example, after the war of 1870-71, Britain seemed to favor a strong Germany, as it helped to balance its traditional enemy, France. After Germany began its naval construction plans to rival that of Britain, this stance shifted. France, looking for an ally to balance the threat created by Germany, found it in Russia. Austria-Hungary, facing a threat from Russia, sought support from Germany.

When the Great War broke out, these treaties only partially determined who entered the war on which side. Britain had no treaties with France or Russia, but entered the war on their side. Italy had a treaty with both Austria-Hungary and Germany, yet did not enter the war with them Italy later sided with the Allies. Perhaps the most significant treaty of all was the initially defensive pact between Germany and Austria-Hungary, which Germany in 1909 extended by declaring that Germany was bound to stand with Austria-Hungary even if it had started the war. [6]

Vladimir Lenin asserted that imperialism was responsible for the war. He drew upon the economic theories of Karl Marx and English economist John A. Hobson, who predicted that unlimited competition for expanding markets would lead to a global conflict.[7] This argument was popular in the wake of the war and assisted in the rise of Communism. Lenin argued that the banking interests of various capitalist-imperialist powers orchestrated the war.[8]

Cordell Hull, American Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt, believed that trade barriers were the root cause of both World War I and World War II. In 1944, he helped design the Bretton Woods Agreements to reduce trade barriers and eliminate what he saw as the cause of the conflicts.

Ethnic and political rivalries

A Balkan war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was considered inevitable, as Austria-Hungary’s influence waned and the Pan-Slavic movement grew. The rise of ethnic nationalism coincided with the growth of Serbia, where anti-Austrian sentiment was perhaps most fervent. Austria-Hungary had occupied the former Ottoman province of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had a large Serb population, in 1878. It was formally annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908. Increasing nationalist sentiment also coincided with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Russia supported the Pan-Slavic movement, motivated by ethnic and religious loyalties and a rivalry with Austria dating back to the Crimean War. Recent events such as the failed Russian-Austrian treaty and a century-old dream of a warm water port also motivated St. Petersburg.[9]

Myriad other geopolitical motivations existed elsewhere as well, for example France's loss of Alsace and Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War helped create a sentiment of irredentist revanchism in that country. France eventually allied itself with Russia, creating the likelihood of a two-front war for Germany.

See also: Powder keg of Europe

July crisis and declarations of war

The Austro-Hungarian government used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as a pretext to deal with the Serbian question, supported by Germany. On 23 July, an ultimatum was sent to Serbia with demands so extreme that it was rejected. The Serbians, relying on support from Russia, instead ordered mobilization. In response to this, Austria-Hungary issued a declaration of war on 28 July. Initially, Russia ordered partial mobilization, directed at the Austrian frontier. On 31 July, after the Russian General Staff informed the Czar that partial mobilization was logistically impossible, a full mobilization was ordered. The Schlieffen Plan, which relied on a quick strike against France, could not afford to allow the Russians to mobilize without launching an attack. Thus, the Germans declared war against Russia on 1 August and on France two days later. Next, Germany violated Belgium's neutrality by the German advance through it to Paris, and this brought the British Empire into the war. With this, five of the six European powers were now involved in the largest continental European conflict since the Napoleonic Wars.[10]

Opening hostilities
European military alliances in 1914 Central Powers purplish-red, Entente Powers grey and neutral countries yellow
European military alliances in 1914 Central Powers purplish-red, Entente Powers grey and neutral countries yellow

Confusion among the Central Powers

The strategy of the Central Powers suffered from miscommunication. Germany had promised to support Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia, but interpretations of what this meant differed. Austro-Hungarian leaders believed Germany would cover its northern flank against Russia. Germany, however, envisioned Austria-Hungary directing the majority of its troops against Russia, while Germany dealt with France. This confusion forced the Austro-Hungarian Army to divide its forces between the Russian and Serbian fronts.

Main article: African theatre of World War I

Some of the first clashes of the war involved British, French and German colonial forces in Africa. On 7 August, French and British troops invaded the German protectorate of Togoland. On 10 August German forces in South-West Africa attacked South Africa sporadic and fierce fighting continued for the remainder of the war.
Haut-Rhin, France, 1917
Haut-Rhin, France, 1917

Main article: Serbian Campaign (World War I)

The Serbian army fought the Battle of Cer against the invading Austrians, beginning on 12 August, occupying defensive positions on the south side of the Drina and Sava rivers. Over the next two weeks Austrian attacks were thrown back with heavy losses, which marked the first major Allied victory of the war and dashed Austrian hopes of a swift victory. As a result, Austria had to keep sizable forces on the Serbian front, weakening their efforts against Russia. Serbian troops then defeated Austro-Hungarian forces at the Battle of Kolubara, leading to 240,000 Austro-Hungarian casualties. The Serbian Army lost 170,000 troops.

German forces in Belgium and France

Main article: Western Front (World War I)

French postcard depicting the arrival of 15th Sikh Regiment in France during World War I. The post card reads, "Gentlemen of India marching to chasten German hooligans"
French postcard depicting the arrival of 15th Sikh Regiment in France during World War I. The post card reads, "Gentlemen of India marching to chasten German hooligans"

Initially, the Germans had great success in the Battle of the Frontiers (14 August – 24 August). Russia, however, attacked in East Prussia and diverted German forces intended for the Western Front. Germany defeated Russia in a series of battles collectively known as the First Battle of Tannenberg (17 August – 2 September), but this diversion exacerbated problems of insufficient speed of advance from rail-heads not foreseen by the German General Staff. Originally, the Schlieffen Plan called for the right flank of the German advance to pass to the west of Paris. However, the capacity and low speed of horse-drawn transport hampered the German supply train, allowing French and British forces to finally halt the German advance east of Paris at the First Battle of the Marne (5 September – 12 September), thereby denying the Central Powers a quick victory and forcing them to fight a war on two fronts. The German army had fought its way into a good defensive position inside France and had permanently incapacitated 230,000 more French and British troops than it had lost itself. Despite this, communications problems and questionable command decisions cost Germany the chance for an early victory.

Main article: Asian and Pacific theatre of World War I

New Zealand occupied German Samoa (later Western Samoa) on 30 August. On 11 September the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force landed on the island of Neu Pommern (later New Britain), which formed part of German New Guinea. Japan seized Germany’s Micronesian colonies and after Battle of Tsingtao, the German coaling port of Qingdao, in the Chinese Shandong peninsula. Within a few months, the Allied forces had seized all the German territories in the Pacific.

Early stages
In the trenches: Infantry with gas masks, Ypres, 1917
In the trenches: Infantry with gas masks, Ypres, 1917

Main article: Western Front (World War I)

Military tactics in the early part of World War I failed to keep pace with advances in technology. New technology allowed the building of impressive defence systems, which out-of-date tactics could not break through. Barbed wire was a significant hindrance to massed infantry advances artillery, vastly more lethal than in the 1870s, coupled with machine guns, made crossing open ground very difficult. The Germans introduced poison gas it soon became used by both sides, though it never proved decisive in winning a battle. Its effects were brutal, however, causing slow and painful death, becoming one of the most-feared and best-remembered horrors of the war. Commanders on both sides failed to develop tactics for breaking through entrenched positions without large numbers of casualties. In time, however, technology began also to yield new offensive weapons, such as the tank, a wartime invention of the British to break the trench warfare stalemate. Both Britain and France were its primary users the Germans employed captured Allied tanks and some of their own design.

After the First Battle of the Marne, both Entente and German forces began a series of outflanking maneuvers, in the so-called 'Race to the Sea'. Britain and France soon found themselves facing entrenched German forces from Lorraine to Belgium's Flemish coast. Britain and France sought to take the offensive, while Germany defended the occupied territories consequentially, German trenches were generally much better constructed than those of their enemy. Anglo-French trenches were only intended to be 'temporary' before their forces broke through German defenses. Both sides attempted to break the stalemate using scientific and technological advances. In April 1915, the Germans used chlorine gas, for the first time (in violation of the Hague Convention), opening a 6 kilometer (4 mile) hole in the Allied lines when British and French colonial troops retreated. Canadian soldiers closed the breach at the Second Battle of Ypres. At the Third Battle of Ypres, Canadian forces took the village of Passchendaele.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the British Army endured the bloodiest day in its history, suffering 57,470 casualties and 19,240 dead. Most of the casualties occurred in the first hour of the attack. The entire offensive cost the British Army almost half a million dead.
A French assault on German positions. Champagne, France, 1917 .
A French assault on German positions. Champagne, France, 1917 .

Neither side proved able to deliver a decisive blow for the next two years, though protracted German action at Verdun throughout 1916 combined the Entente’s failure at the Somme (summer 1916), brought the exhausted French army to the brink of collapse. Futile attempts at frontal assault—with a rigid adherence to unimaginative maneuver—came at a high price for both the British and the French poilu (infantry) and led to widespread mutinies, especially during the time of the Nivelle Offensive in the spring of 1917.
Canadian troops advancing behind a British Mark II tank at the Battle of Vimy Ridge
Canadian troops advancing behind a British Mark II tank at the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Throughout 1915󈝽, the British Empire and France suffered more casualties than Germany, due both to the strategic and tactical stances chosen by the sides. At the strategic level, while the Germans only mounted a single main offensive at Verdun, the Allies made several attempts to break through German lines. At the tactical level, the German defensive doctrine was well suited for trench warfare, with a relatively lightly defended "sacrificial" forward position, and a more powerful main position from which an immediate and powerful counter-offensive could be launched. This combination usually was effective in pushing out attackers at a relatively low cost to the Germans. In absolute terms, of course, the cost in lives of men for both attack and defense was astounding then and remains so now.

Around 800,000 soldiers from the British Empire were on the Western Front at any one time. 1,000 battalions, occupying sectors of the line from the North Sea to the Orne River, operated on a month-long four-stage rotation system, unless an offensive was underway. The front contained over 9,600 kilometers (6,000 miles) of trenches. Each battalion held its sector for about a week before moving back to support lines and then further back to the reserve lines before a week out-of-line, often in the Poperinge or Amiens areas.

In the British-led Battle of Arras during the 1917 campaign, the only military success was the capture of Vimy Ridge by Canadian forces under Sir Arthur Currie and Julian Byng. It provided the allies with a great military advantage and had a lasting impact on the war. The Battle of Vimy Ridge is considered by many historians to be one of the founding myths of Canada.

Main article: Naval Warfare of World War I

A battleship squadron of the Hochseeflotte at sea.
A battleship squadron of the Hochseeflotte at sea.

At the start of the war, the German Empire had cruisers scattered across the globe, some of which were subsequently used to attack Allied merchant shipping. The British Royal Navy systematically hunted them down, though not without some embarrassment from its inability to protect allied shipping. For example, the German detached light cruiser Emden, part of the East-Asia squadron stationed at Tsingtao, seized or destroyed 15 merchantmen, as well as sinking a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer. However, the bulk of the German East-Asia squadron—consisting of the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, light cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig and two transport ships—did not have orders to raid shipping and was instead underway to Germany when it encountered elements of the British fleet. The German flotilla, along with Dresden, sank two armoured cruisers at the Battle of Coronel, but was almost completely destroyed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914, with only Dresden escaping.[11]

Soon after the outbreak of hostilities, Britain initiated a naval blockade of Germany. The strategy proved effective, cutting off vital military and civilian supplies, although this blockade violated generally accepted international law codified by several international agreements of the past two centuries.[citation needed] A blockade of stationed ships within a three mile (5 km) radius was considered legitimate,[citation needed] however Britain mined international waters to prevent any ships from entering entire sections of ocean, causing danger to even neutral ships.[citation needed] Since there was limited response to this tactic, Germany expected a similar response to its unrestricted submarine warfare.[citation needed]

The 1916 Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht, or "Battle of the Skagerrak") developed into the largest naval battle of the war, the only full-scale clash of battleships during the war. It took place on 31 May𔂿 June 1916, in the North Sea off Jutland. The Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, squared off against the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, led by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The engagement was a standoff, as the Germans, outmaneuvered by the larger British fleet, managed to escape and inflicted more damage to the British fleet than they received. Strategically, however, the British asserted their control of the sea, and the bulk of the German surface fleet remained confined to port for the duration of the war.

German U-boats attempted to cut the supply lines between North America and Britain.[citation needed] The nature of submarine warfare meant that attacks often came without warning, giving the crews of the merchant ships little hope of survival.[citation needed] The United States launched a protest, and Germany modified its rules of engagement. After the infamous sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania in 1915, Germany promised not to target passenger liners, while Britain armed its merchant ships. Finally, in early 1917 Germany adopted a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, realizing the Americans would eventually enter the war. Germany sought to strangle Allied sea lanes before the U.S. could transport a large army overseas.

The U-boat threat lessened in 1917, when merchant ships entered convoys escorted by destroyers.[citation needed] This tactic made it difficult for U-boats to find targets, and the accompanying destroyers might sink a submerged submarine with depth charges. The losses to submarine attacks were reduced significantly, but the convoy system slowed the flow of supplies, as convoys were limited to the speed of the slowest ship. The solution to the delays was a massive program to build new freighters. Troop ships were too fast for the submarines and did not travel the North Atlantic in convoys.[citation needed]

The First World War also saw the first use of aircraft carriers in combat, with HMS Furious launching Sopwith Camels in a successful raid against the Zeppelin hangars at Tondern in July 1918.[citation needed]

Main article: Middle Eastern theatre of World War I

The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the war, the secret Ottoman-German Alliance having been signed in August 1914. It threatened Russia’s Caucasian territories and Britain’s communications with India via the Suez Canal. The British and French opened overseas fronts with the Gallipoli (1915) and Mesopotamian campaigns. In Gallipoli, the Turks successfully repelled the British, French and Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs). In Mesopotamia, by contrast, after the disastrous Siege of Kut (1915󈝼), British Imperial forces reorganised and captured Baghdad in March 1917. Further to the west, in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, initial British setbacks were overcome when Jerusalem was captured in December 1917. The Egyptian Expeditionary Force, under Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, broke the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918.

Russian armies generally had the best of it in the Caucasus. Vice-Generalissimo Enver Pasha, supreme commander of the Turkish armed forces, was ambitious and dreamed of conquering central Asia. He was, however, a poor commander.[citation needed] He launched an offensive against the Russians in the Caucasus in December 1914 with 100,000 troops insisting on a frontal attack against mountainous Russian positions in winter, he lost 86% of his force at the Battle of Sarikamis.[citation needed]

The Russian commander from 1915 to 1916, General Yudenich, drove the Turks out of most of the southern Caucasus with a string of victories.[citation needed]

In 1917, Russian Grand Duke Nicholas assumed command of the Caucasus front. Nicholas planned a railway from Russian Georgia to the conquered territories, so that fresh supplies could be brought up for a new offensive in 1917. However, in March 1917, (February in the pre-revolutionary Russian calendar), the Czar was overthrown in the February Revolution and the Russian Caucasus Army began to fall apart. In this situation, the army corps of Armenian volunteer units realigned themselves under the command of General Tovmas Nazarbekian, with Dro as a civilian commissioner of the Administration for Western Armenia. The frontline had three main divisions: Movses Silikyan, Andranik and Mikhail Areshian. Another regular unit was under Colonel Korganian. There were Armenian partisian guerrilla detachments (more than 40,000[12]) accompanying these main units.

Along the border of Italian Libya and British Egypt, the Senussi tribe, incited and armed by the Turks, waged a small-scale guerilla war against Allied troops. According to Martin Gilbert's The First World War, the British were forced to dispatch 12,000 troops to deal with the Senussi. Their rebellion was finally crushed in mid-1916.

Main article: Italian Campaign (World War I)

Italy had been allied with the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires since 1882 as part of the Triple Alliance. However, the nation had its own designs on Austrian territory in Trentino, Istria and Dalmatia. Rome had a secret 1902 pact with France, effectively nullifying its alliance.[13] At the start of hostilities, Italy refused to commit troops, arguing that the Triple Alliance was defensive in nature, and that Austria-Hungary was an aggressor. The Austro-Hungarian government began negotiations to secure Italian neutrality, offering the French colony of Tunisia in return. However, Italy then joined the Entente in April 1915 and declared war on Austria-Hungary in May. Fifteen months later, it declared war on Germany.

Militarily, the Italians had numerical superiority. This advantage, however, was lost, not only because of the difficult terrain in which fighting took place, but also because of the strategies and tactics employed. Generalissimo Luigi Cadorna insisted on attacking the Isonzo front. Cadorna, a staunch proponent of the frontal assault, had dreams of breaking into the Slovenian plateau, taking Ljubljana and threatening Vienna. It was a Napoleonic plan, which had no realistic chance of success in an age of barbed wire, machine guns, and indirect artillery fire, combined with hilly and mountainous terrain. Cadorna unleashed eleven offensives (Battles of the Isonzo) with total disregard for his men's lives. The Italians also went on the offensive to relieve pressure on other Allied fronts. On the Trentino front, the Austro-Hungarians took advantage of the mountainous terrain, which favoured the defender. After an initial strategic retreat, the front remained largely unchanged, while Austrian Kaiserschützen and Standschützen and Italian Alpini engaged in bitter hand-to-hand combat throughout the summer. The Austro-Hungarians counter-attacked in the Altopiano of Asiago, towards Verona and Padua, in the spring of 1916 (Strafexpedition), but made little progress.

Beginning in 1915, the Italians mounted eleven offensives along the Soča River, north of Trieste. These became known collectively as the Battle of the Isonzo (Soška fronta). All eleven offensives were repelled by the Austro-Hungarians, who held the higher ground. In the summer of 1916, the Italians captured the town of Gorizia. After this minor victory, the front remained static for over a year, despite several Italian offensives. In the autumn of 1917, thanks to the improving situation on the Eastern front, the Austrians received large numbers of reinforcements, including German Stormtroopers and the elite Alpenkorps. The Central Powers launched a crushing offensive on 1917-10-26, spearheaded by the Germans. They achieved a victory at Caporetto. The Italian army was routed and retreated more than 100 km (60 miles). They were able to reorganise and stabilize the front at the Piave River. In 1918, the Austro-Hungarians repeatedly failed to break through, in a series of battles on the Asiago Plateau, finally being decisively defeated in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in October of that year. Austria-Hungary surrendered in early November 1918.

Main articles: Balkans Campaign (World War I), Serbian Campaign (World War I), and Macedonian front (World War I)

Faced with Russia, Austria-Hungary could spare only one third of its army to attack Serbia. After suffering heavy losses, the Austrians briefly occupied the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Serbian counterattacks, however, succeeded in driving them from the country by the end of 1914. For the first ten months of 1915, Austria-Hungary used most of its military reserves to fight Italy. German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats, however, scored a coup by convincing Bulgaria to join in attacking Serbia. The Austro-Hungarian provinces of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia provided troops for Austria-Hungary, invading Serbia as well as fighting Russia and Italy. Montenegro allied itself with Serbia.

Serbia was conquered in a little more than a month. The attack began in October, when the Central Powers launched an offensive from the north four days later the Bulgarians joined the attack from the east. The Serbian army, fighting on two fronts and facing certain defeat, retreated into Albania, halting only once, to make a stand against the Bulgarians. The Serbs suffered defeat near modern day Gnjilane in Kosovo, forces being evacuated by ship to Greece.

In late 1915, a Franco-British force landed at Salonica in Greece, to offer assistance and to pressure the government to declare war against the Central Powers. Unfortunately for the Allies, the pro-German King Constantine I dismissed the pro-Allied government of Eleftherios Venizelos, before the allied expeditionary force could arrive.

The Salonica Front proved static it was joked that Salonica was the largest German prisoner of war camp of the war.[citation needed] Only at the end of the conflict were the Entente powers able to break through, which was after most of the German and Austro-Hungarian troops had been withdrawn. The Bulgarians suffered their only defeat of the war, at the battle of Dobro Pole, but days later, they decisively defeated British and Greek forces at the battle of Doiran, avoiding occupation. Bulgaria signed an armistice on 29 September 1918.

Although the conflict in India cannot be explicitly said to have been a part of the First World War, it can certainly be said to have been significant in terms of the wider strategic context. The British attempt to subjugate the tribal leaders who had rebelled against their British overlords drew away much needed troops from other theaters, in particular, of course, the Western Front, where the real decisive victory would be made.

The reason why some Indian and Afghani tribes rose up simply came down to years of discontent which erupted, probably not coincidentally, during the First World War. It is likely that the tribal leaders were aware that Britain would not be able to field the required men, in terms of either number or quality. They underestimated, however, the strategic importance placed on India by the British despite being located far away from the epicenter of the conflict, it provided a bounty of men for the fronts. Its produce was also needed for the British war effort and many trade routes running to other profitable areas of the Empire ran through India. Therefore, although the British were not able to send the men that they wanted, they were able to send enough to resist the revolt of the tribesmen through a gradual but effective counter-guerilla war. The fighting continued into 1919 and in some areas lasted even longer. See also Third Anglo-Afghan War.

Main article: Eastern Front (World War I)

While the Western Front had reached stalemate, the war continued in the East. Initial Russian plans called for simultaneous invasions of Austrian Galicia and German East Prussia. Although Russia's initial advance into Galicia was largely successful, they were driven back from East Prussia by Hindenburg and Ludendorff at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes in August and September 1914. Russia's less developed industrial base and ineffective military leadership was instrumental in the events that unfolded. By the spring of 1915, the Russians had retreated into Galicia, and in May the Central Powers achieved a remarkable breakthrough on Poland's southern frontiers. On 5 August they captured Warsaw and forced the Russians to withdraw from Poland. This became known as the "Great Retreat" in Russia and the "Great Advance" in Germany.

During World War I the western Ukrainian people were situated between Austria-Hungary and Russia. Ukrainian villages were regularly destroyed in the crossfire. Ukrainians could be found participating on both sides of the conflict (though most sided with Austria-Hungary with the intention of ending the war on the Eastern Front and creating an independent Ukrainian state). However, Ukrainians in Galicia who were suspected of being sympathetic to Russian interests were repressed by Austro-Hungarian authorities. Over twenty thousand supporters of Russia were arrested and placed in Austrian concentration camps in Talerhof, Styria and in Terezín fortress (now in the Czech Republic).

Main articles: Ukraine after the Russian Revolution and Soviet Union

Map of the West Ukrainian People's Republic
Map of the West Ukrainian People's Republic

With the collapse of the Russian and Austrian empires following World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917, Ukrainian national movement for self-determination emerged again. During 1917󈞀 several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Central Rada, the Hetmanate, the Directorate, the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic. However, with the defeat of the latter in the Polish-Ukrainian War and the failure of the Polish Kiev Offensive (1920) of the Polish-Soviet War, the Peace of Riga concluded in March 1921 between Poland and Bolsheviks left Ukraine divided again. The western part of Galicia had been incorporated into newly organized Second Polish Republic, incorporating territory claimed or controlled by the ephemeral Komancza Republic and the Lemko-Rusyn Republic. The larger, central and eastern part, established as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919, later became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, when it was formed in December 1922.

Main article: Russian Revolution of 1917

Dissatisfaction with the Russian government's conduct of the war grew, despite the success of the June 1916 Brusilov offensive in eastern Galicia. The success was undermined by the reluctance of other generals to commit their forces to support the victory. Allied and Russian forces revived only temporarily with Romania's entry into the war on 27 August. German forces came to the aid of embattled Austrian units in Transylvania and Bucharest fell to the Central Powers on 6 December. Meanwhile, unrest grew in Russia, as the Tsar remained at the front. Empress Alexandra's increasingly incompetent rule drew protests and resulted in the murder of her favourite, Rasputin, at the end of 1916.
Vladimir Illyich Lenin
Vladimir Illyich Lenin

In March 1917, demonstrations in St Petersburg culminated in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the appointment of a weak Provisional Government. It shared power with the socialists of the Petrograd Soviet. This arrangement led to confusion and chaos both at the front and at home. The army became increasingly ineffective.

The war and the government became more and more unpopular. Discontent led to a rise in popularity of the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin. He promised to pull Russia out of the war and was able to gain power. The triumph of the Bolsheviks in November was followed in December by an armistice and negotiations with Germany. At first, the Bolsheviks refused to agree to the harsh German terms. But when Germany resumed the war and marched with impunity across Ukraine, the new government acceded to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918. It took Russia out of the war and ceded vast territories, including Finland, the Baltic provinces, parts of Poland and Ukraine to the Central Powers.

The publication by the new Bolshevik government of the secret treaties signed by the Tsar was hailed across the world, either as a great step forward for the respect of the will of the people, or as a dreadful catastrophe which could destabilise the world. The existence of a new type of government in Russia led to the reinforcement in many countries of Communist parties.

After the Russians dropped out of the war, the Entente no longer existed. The Allied powers led a small-scale invasion of Russia. The intent was primarily to stop Germany from exploiting Russian resources and, to a lesser extent, to support the Whites in the Russian Civil War. Troops landed in Archangel (see North Russia Campaign) and in Vladivostok.

In the trenches: Royal Irish Rifles in a communications trench on the first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916
In the trenches: Royal Irish Rifles in a communications trench on the first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916

Events of 1917 proved decisive in ending the war, although their effects were not fully felt until 1918. The British naval blockade began to have a serious impact on Germany. In response, in February 1917, the German General Staff convinced Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg to declare unrestricted submarine warfare, with the goal of starving Britain out of the war. Tonnage sunk rose above 500,000 tons per month from February to July. It peaked at 860,000 tons in April. After July, the reintroduced convoy system became extremely effective in neutralizing the U-boat threat. Britain was safe from starvation and German industrial output fell.

The victory of Austria-Hungary and Germany at the Battle of Caporetto led the Allied at the Rapallo Conference to form the Supreme Allied Council to coordinate planning. Previously, British and French armies had operated under separate commands.

In December, the Central Powers signed an armistice with Russia. This released troops for use in the west. Ironically, German troop transfers could have been greater if their territorial acquisitions had not been so dramatic. With German reinforcements and new American troops pouring in, the final outcome was to be decided on the Western front. The Central Powers knew that they could not win a protracted war. But they held high hopes for a quick offensive. Furthermore, the leaders of the Central Powers and the Allies became increasingly fearful of social unrest and revolution in Europe. Thus, both sides urgently sought a decisive victory.[citation needed]

Entry of the United States
An American doughboy, circa: 1918.
An American doughboy, circa: 1918.
President Wilson before Congress, announcing the break in official relations with Germany on 3 February 1917
President Wilson before Congress, announcing the break in official relations with Germany on 3 February 1917

The United States originally pursued a policy of isolationism, avoiding conflict whilst trying to broker a peace. This resulted in increased tensions with Berlin and London. When a German U-boat sank the British liner Lusitania in 1915, with 128 Americans aboard, the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson vowed that "America was too proud to fight" and demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships. Germany complied. Wilson unsuccessfully tried to mediate a settlement. He repeatedly warned that America would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, in violation of international law and American ideas of human rights. Wilson was under pressure from former president Theodore Roosevelt, who denounced German acts as "piracy."[14] Other factors contributing to the U.S. entry into the war include German sabotage of both Black Tom in Jersey City, NJ, and the Kingsland Explosion in what is now Lyndhurst, NJ.

In January 1917, after the Navy pressured the Kaiser, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain's secret "Room 40" cryptography group had decrypted the German diplomatic code, and discovered a proposal from Berlin (the famed Zimmermann Telegram) to Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States. The proposal suggested that Mexico should declare war against the United States and enlist Japan as an ally this would prevent America from joining the Allies and deploying troops to Europe, which would give the Germans more time for their unrestricted submarine warfare program to strangle Britain's vital war supplies. In return, the Germans would promise Mexico support in reclaiming Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.[15]

After the British revealed the telegram to the Americans, Woodrow Wilson was still attached to neutrality but released the captured telegram as a way of supporting his proposed plan to arm American merchant ships. After submarines sank seven American merchant ships and the publication of the Zimmerman telegram, Wilson called for war on Germany, which the U.S. Congress declared on 6 April 1917.[16]

The United States was never formally a member of the Allies but became a self-styled "Associated Power". America had a small army, but it drafted four million men and by summer 1918 was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers to France every day. Germany had miscalculated that it would be many more months before they would arrive or that the arrival could be stopped by U-boats.[17]

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U.S. Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted American units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. The Americans rejected the first proposition and accepted the second. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, refused to break up American units to be used as reinforcements for British Empire and French units (though he did allow African American combat units to be used by the French). AEF doctrine called for the use of frontal assaults, which had been discarded by that time by British Empire and French commanders because of the large loss of life sustained throughout the war. [18]

German Spring Offensive of 1918

Main article: Spring Offensive

For most of World War I, Allied forces were stalled at trenches on the Western Front
For most of World War I, Allied forces were stalled at trenches on the Western Front

German General Erich Ludendorff drew up plans (codenamed Operation Michael) for the 1918 offensive on the Western Front. The Spring Offensive sought to divide the British and French forces with a series of feints and advances. The German leadership hoped to strike a decisive blow before significant U.S. forces arrived. Before the offensive began, Ludendorff left the elite Eighth Army in Russia and sending over only a small portion of the German forces to the west.

Operation Michael opened on 21 March 1918. British forces were attacked near Amiens. Ludendorff wanted to split the British and French armies. German forces achieved an unprecedented advance of 60 kilometers (40 miles). For the first time since 1914, the maneuver was successful on the battlefield. [citation needed]

British and French trenches were penetrated using novel infiltration tactics, also named Hutier tactics, after General Oskar von Hutier. Attacks had been characterised by long artillery bombardments and massed assaults. However, in the Spring Offensive, the German Army used artillery only briefly and infiltrated small groups of infantry at weak points. They attacked command and logistics areas and bypassed points of serious resistance. More heavily armed infantry then destroyed these isolated positions. German success relied greatly on the element of surprise.

The front moved to within 120 kilometers (75 mi) of Paris. Three heavy Krupp railway guns fired 183 shells on the capital, causing many Parisians to flee. The initial offensive was so successful that Kaiser Wilhelm II declared 24 March a national holiday. Many Germans thought victory was near. After heavy fighting, however, the offensive was halted. Lacking tanks or motorised artillery, the Germans were unable to consolidate their gains. The sudden stop was also a result of the four AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) divisions that were "rushed" down, thus doing what no other army had done and stopping the German advance in its tracks. While during that time the first Australian division was hurridly sent north again to stop the second German break through.

American divisions, which Pershing had sought to field as an independent force, were assigned to the depleted French and British Empire commands on 28 March. A supreme command of Allied forces was created at the Doullens Conference. General Foch was appointed as supreme commander of the allied forces. Haig, Petain and Pershing retained tactical control of their respective armies.

Following Operation Michael, Germany launched Operation Georgette against the northern English channel ports. The Allies halted the drive with limited territorial gains for Germany. The German Army to the south then conducted Operations Blücher and Yorck, broadly towards Paris. Operation Marne was launched on 15 July, attempting to encircle Reims and beginning the Second Battle of the Marne. The resulting Allied counterattack marked their first successful offensive of the war. By 20 July, the Germans were back at their Kaiserschlacht starting lines, having achieved nothing. Following this last phase of the war in the West, the German Army never again regained the initiative. German casualties between March and April 1918 were 270,000, including many highly trained stormtroopers.

Meanwhile, Germany was falling apart at home. Anti-war marches become frequent and morale in the army fell. Industrial output was 53% of 1913 levels.

New states under war zone

In 1918, the internationally recognized Democratic Republic of Armenia and Democratic Republic of Georgia bordering the Ottoman Empire, and the not recognized Centrocaspian Dictatorship and South West Caucasian Republic were established.

In 1918, the Dashnaks of Armenian national liberation movement declared the Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) through the Armenian Congress of Eastern Armenians (unified form of Armenian National Councils) after the dissolution of Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. Tovmas Nazarbekian become the first Commander-in-chief of DRA. Enver Pasha ordered the creation of a new army to be named the Army of Islam. He ordered the Army of Islam into DRA, with the goal of taking Baku on the Caspian Sea. This new offensive was strongly opposed by the Germans. In early May, 1918, the Ottoman army attacked the newly declared DRA. Although the Armenians managed to inflict one defeat on the Ottomans at the Battle of Sardarapat, the Ottoman army won a later battle and scattered the Armenian army. The Republic of Armenia was forced to sign the Treaty of Batum in June, 1918.

Allied victory: summer and autumn 1918

Main articles: Hundred Days Offensive and Weimar Republic

American engineers returning from the front during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in September 1918
American engineers returning from the front during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in September 1918

The Allied counteroffensive, known as the Hundred Days Offensive, began on 8 August 1918. The Battle of Amiens developed with III Corps Fourth British Army on the left, the First French Army on the right, and the Australian and Canadian Corps spearheading the offensive in the centre. It involved 414 tanks of the Mark IV and Mark V type, and 120,000 men. They advanced 12 kilometers (7 miles) into German-held territory in just seven hours. Erich Ludendorff referred to this day as the "Black Day of the German army".

Supply problems caused the offensive to lose momentum. British units had encountered problems when all but seven tanks and trucks ran out of fuel. On 15 August General Haig called a halt and began planning a new offensive in Albert. The Second Battle of the Somme began on 21 August. Some 130,000 U.S. troops were involved, along with soldiers from Third and Fourth British Armies. It was an overwhelming success. The Second German Army was pushed back over a 55 kilometer (34 mile) front. By 2 September, the Germans were back to the Hindenburg Line, their starting point in 1914.

The Allied attack on the Hindenburg Line began on 26 September. 260,000 American soldiers went "over the top". All initial objectives were captured the U.S. 79th Infantry Division, which met stiff resistance at Montfaucon, took an extra day to capture its objective. The U.S. Army stalled because of supply problems because its inexperienced headquarters had to cope with large units and a difficult landscape.[citation needed]

At the same time, French units broke through in Champagne and closed on the Belgian frontier. The most significant advance came from Commonwealth units, as they entered Belgium (liberation of Ghent). The German army had to shorten its front and use the Dutch frontier as an anchor to fight rear-guard actions. This probably saved the army from disintegration but was devastating for morale.[citation needed]

By October, it was evident that Germany could no longer mount a successful defence. They were increasingly outnumbered, with few new recruits. Rations were cut. Ludendorff decided, on 1 October, that Germany had two ways out — total annihilation or an armistice. He recommended the latter at a summit of senior German officials. Allied pressure did not let up.

Meanwhile, news of Germany’s impending military defeat spread throughout the German armed forces. The threat of mutiny was rife. Admiral Reinhard Scheer and Ludendorff decided to launch a last attempt to restore the "valor" of the German Navy. Knowing the government of Max von Baden would veto any such action, Ludendorff decided not to inform him. Nonetheless, word of the impending assault reached sailors at Kiel. Many rebelled and were arrested, refusing to be part of a naval offensive which they believed to be suicidal. Ludendorff took the blame—the Kaiser dismissed him on 26 October. The collapse of the Balkans meant that Germany was about to lose its main supplies of oil and food. The reserves had been used up, but the Americans kept arriving at the rate of 10,000 per day.[19]

With power coming into the hands of new men in Berlin, further fighting became impossible.[citation needed] With 6 million German casualties, Germany moved toward peace. Prince Max von Baden took charge of a new government. Negotiations with President Wilson began immediately, in the vain hope that better terms would be offered than with the British and French. Instead Wilson demanded the abdication of the Kaiser. There was no resistance when the social democrat Philipp Scheidemann on 9 November declared Germany to be a republic. Imperial Germany was dead a new Germany had been born: the Weimar Republic.[20]

End of war
This photograph was taken after reaching an agreement for the armistice that ended World War I. The location is in the forest of Compiègne. Foch is second from the right. The train carriage seen in the background, where the armistice was signed, would prove to be the setting of France's own armistice in June 1940. When the WWII armistice was signed, Hitler had the rail car taken back to Berlin where it was destroyed when allied aircraft bombed the city.
This photograph was taken after reaching an agreement for the armistice that ended World War I. The location is in the forest of Compiègne. Foch is second from the right. The train carriage seen in the background, where the armistice was signed, would prove to be the setting of France's own armistice in June 1940. When the WWII armistice was signed, Hitler had the rail car taken back to Berlin where it was destroyed when allied aircraft bombed the city.

The collapse of the Central Powers came swiftly. Bulgaria was the first to sign an armistice on September 29, 1918 at Saloniki.[21]On October 30, the Ottoman Empire capitulated at Mudros.[22]

On October 24 the Italians began a push which rapidly recovered territory lost after the Battle of Caporetto. This culminated in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force. The offensive also triggered the disintegration of Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the last week of October declarations of independence were made in Budapest, Prague and Zagreb. On October 29, the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice. But the Italians continued advancing, reaching Trento, Udine and Trieste. On November 3 Austria-Hungary sent a flag of truce to ask for an Armistice. The terms, arranged by telegraph with the Allied Authorities in Paris, were communicated to the Austrian Commander and accepted. The Armistice with Austria was signed in the Villa Giusti, near Padua, on November 3. Austria and Hungary signed separate armistices following the overthrow of the Habsburg monarchy.

Following the outbreak of the German Revolution, a republic was proclaimed on 9 November. The Kaiser fled to the Netherlands. On November 11 an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne. At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — a ceasefire came into effect. Opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions. Canadian George Lawrence Price is traditionally regarded as the last soldier killed in the Great War: he was shot by a German sniper and died at 10:58.[23]

A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for another seven months, until signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on June 28, 1919. Later treaties with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire were signed. However, the latter treaty with the Ottoman Empire was followed by strife (the Turkish Independence War) and a final peace treaty was signed between the Allied Powers and the country that would shortly become the Republic of Turkey, at Lausanne on July 24, 1923.

Some war memorials date the end of the war as being when the Versailles treaty was signed in 1919 by contrast, most commemorations of the wars end concentrate on the armistice of November 11, 1918. Legally the last formal peace treaties were not signed until the Treaty of Lausanne. Under its terms, the Allied forces abandoned Constantinople on the 23rd of August, 1923.

Further information: World War I casualties

The soldiers of the war were initially volunteers but increasingly were conscripted into service. Books such as All Quiet on the Western Front detail the mundane time and intense horror of soldiers that fought the war but had no control of the experience they existed in. William Henry Lamin's experience as a front line soldier is detailed in his letters posted in real time plus 90 years in a blog [1], as if it were a technology available at the time.

The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.
This photograph shows an emaciated Indian army soldier who survived the Siege of Kut.
This photograph shows an emaciated Indian army soldier who survived the Siege of Kut.

About 8 million men surrendered and were held in POW camps during the war. All nations pledged to follow the Hague Convention on fair treatment of prisoners of war. In general, a POW's rate of survival was much higher than their peers at the front.[24] Individual surrenders were uncommon. Large units usually surrendered en mass. At the Battle of Tannenberg 92,000 Russians surrendered. When the besieged garrison of Kaunas surrendered in 1915, 20,000 Russians became prisoners. Over half of Russian losses were prisoners (as a proportion of those captured, wounded or killed) for Austria 32%, for Italy 26%, for France 12%, for Germany 9% for Britain 7%. Prisoners from the Allied armies totalled about 1.4 million (not including Russia, which lost between 2.5 and 3.5 million men as prisoners.) From the Central Powers about 3.3 million men became prisoners.[25]

Germany held 2.5 million prisoners Russia held 2.9 million and Britain and France held about 720,000. Most were captured just prior to the Armistice. The U.S. held 48,000. The most dangerous moment was the act of surrender, when helpless soldiers were sometimes gunned down. Once prisoners reached a camp, in general, conditions were satisfactory (and much better than in World War II), thanks in part to the efforts of the International Red Cross and inspections by neutral nations. Conditions were terrible in Russia, starvation was common for prisoners and civilians alike about 15-20% of the prisoners in Russia died. In Germany food was in short supply, but only 5% died.[26].

The Ottoman Empire often treated POWs poorly. Some 11,800 British Empire soldiers, most of them Indians, became prisoners after the Siege of Kut, in Mesopotamia, in April 1916 4,250 died in captivity.[27] Although many were in very bad condition when captured, Ottoman officers forced them to march 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) to Anatolia. A survivor said: "we were driven along like beasts, to drop out was to die."[28] The survivors were then forced to build a railway through the Taurus Mountains.

The most curious case occurred in Russia, where the prisoners from the Czech Legion of the Austro-Hungarian army, were released in 1917. They re-armed themselves and briefly became a military and diplomatic force during the Russian Civil War.

Main article: Armenian Genocide

The ethnic cleansing of Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire is widely considered genocide. The Turks accused the (Christian) Armenians of preparing to ally themselves with Russia and saw the entire Armenian population as an enemy. The exact number of deaths is unknown. Most estimates are between 800,000 and 1.5 million[29]. Turkish governments have consistently rejected charges of genocide, often arguing that those who died were simply caught up in the fighting or that killings of Armenians were justified by their individual or collective treason. These claims have often been labeled as historical revisionism by western scholars.

Main article: Rape of Belgium

In Belgium, German troops, in fear of French and Belgian guerrilla fighters, or francs-tireurs, massacred townspeople in Andenne (211 dead), Tamines (384 dead), and Dinant (612 dead). The victims included women and children. On 25 August 1914, the Germans set fire to the town of Leuven, burned the library containing about 230,000 books, killed 209 civilians and forced 42,000 to evacuate. These actions brought worldwide condemnation.[30].

Economics and manpower issues

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased for three Allies (Britain, Italy, and U.S.), but decreased in France and Russia, in neutral Netherlands and in the main three Central Powers. The shrinkage in GDP in Austria, Russia, France, and the Ottoman Empire reached 30 to 40%. In Austria, for example, most of the pigs were slaughtered and, at war's end, there was no meat.

All nations had increases in the government’s share of GDP, surpassing fifty percent in both Germany and France and nearly reaching fifty percent in Britain. To pay for purchases in the United States, Britain cashed in its massive investments in American railroads and then began borrowing heavily on Wall Street. President Wilson was on the verge of cutting off the loans in late 1916, but with war imminent with Germany, he allowed a massive increase in U.S. government lending to the Allies. After 1919, the U.S. demanded repayment of these loans, which, in part, were funded by German reparations, which, in turn, were supported by American loans to Germany. This circular system collapsed in 1931 and the loans were never repaid.

One of the most dramatic effects was the expansion of governmental powers and responsibilities in Britain, France, the United States, and the Dominions of the British Empire. In order to harness all the power of their societies, new government ministries and powers were created. New taxes were levied and laws enacted, all designed to bolster the war effort many of which have lasted to this day.

At the same time, the war strained the abilities of the formerly large and bureaucratised governments such as in Austria-Hungary and Germany. Here, however, the long-term effects were clouded by the defeat of these governments.

Families were altered by the departure of many men. With the death or absence of the primary wage earner, women were forced into the workforce in unprecedented numbers. At the same time, industry needed to replace the lost laborers sent to war. This aided the struggle for voting rights for women.

As the war slowly turned into a war of attrition, conscription was implemented in some countries. This issue was particularly explosive in Canada and Australia. In the former it opened a political gap between French-Canadians — who claimed their true loyalty was to Canada and not the British Empire — and the English-speaking majority who saw the war as a duty to both Britain and Canada. Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden pushed through a Military Service Act that caused the Conscription Crisis of 1917. In Australia, a sustained pro-conscription campaign by Prime Minister Billy Hughes, caused a split in the Australian Labor Party and Hughes formed the Nationalist Party of Australia in 1917 to pursue the matter. Nevertheless, the labour movement, the Catholic Church and Irish nationalist expatriates successfully opposed Hughes' push to introduce conscription, which was rejected in two plebiscites.

In Britain, rationing was finally imposed in early 1918 and was limited to meat, sugar and fats (butter and oleo) but not bread. The new system worked smoothly. From 1914 to 1918 trade union membership doubled, from a little over four million to a little over eight million. Work stoppages and strikes became frequent in 1917-18 as the unions expressed grievances regarding prices, alcohol control, pay disputes, fatigue from overtime and working on Sundays and inadequate housing. Conscription put into uniform nearly every physically fit man, six million out of ten million eligible in Britain. Of these, about 750,000 lost their lives and 1,700,000 were wounded. Most deaths were to young unmarried men however, 160,000 wives lost husbands and 300,000 children lost fathers. [Havighurst p 134𔃃]

Britain turned to her colonies for help in obtaining essential war materials whose supply had become difficult from traditional sources. Geologists, such as Albert Ernest Kitson, were called upon to find new resources of precious minerals in the African colonies. Kitson discovered important new deposits of Manganese, used in munitions production, in the Gold Coast.[31].

See also: Technology during World War I

French Nieuport 17 C.1 fighter, 1917
French Nieuport 17 C.1 fighter, 1917

The First World War began as a clash of 20th century technology and 19th century tactics, with inevitably large casualties. By the end of 1917, however, the major armies, now numbering millions of men, had modernised and were making use of wireless communication, armoured cars, tanks and strategical aircraft. Infantry formations were reorganised, so that 100-man companies were no longer the main unit of maneuver. Instead, squads of 10 or so men, under the command of a junior NCO, were favoured. Artillery also under went a revolution.

In 1914, cannons were positioned in the front line and fired directly at their targets. By 1917, indirect fire with guns (as well as mortars and even machine guns) was responsible for the majority of casualties. Counter-battery artillery missions became commonplace, using new techniques for spotting and ranging enemy artillery.[citation needed]

Germany was far ahead of the Allies in utilizing heavy indirect fire. It employed 150 and 210 mm howitzers in 1914 when the typical French and British guns were only 75 and 105 mm. The British had a 6 inch (152 mm) howitzer, but it was so heavy that it had to be assembled for firing. Germans also fielded Austrian 305 mm and 420 mm guns, and already by the beginning of the war had inventories of various calibers of Minenwerfer that were ideally suited for trench warfare.[32]
Russian Ilya Muromets worlds first strategic bomber, 1913
Russian Ilya Muromets worlds first strategic bomber, 1913

Much of the combat involved trench warfare, where hundreds often died for each yard gained. Many of the deadliest battles in history occurred during the First World War. Such battles include Ypres, Marne, Cambrai, Somme, Verdun, and Gallipoli. The Haber process of nitrogen fixation was employed to provide the German forces with a constant supply of gunpowder, in the face of British naval blockade. Artillery was responsible for the largest number of casualties and consumed vast quantities of explosives. The large number of head-wounds caused by exploding shells and shrapnel forced the combatant nations to develop the modern steel helmet. The French, who introduced the Adrian helmet in 1915, led this effort. It was quickly followed by the Brodie helmet, worn by British Imperial and U.S. troops, and in 1916 by the German Stahlhelm, the distinctive steel helmet, which the design, with improvements, is still in use today.

There was chemical warfare and aerial bombardment, both of which were outlawed by the 1907 Hague Convention. Both were of limited tactical effectiveness.

The widespread use of chemical warfare, was a distinguishing feature of the conflict. Gases used included chlorine, mustard gas and phosgene. Only a small proportion of total war casualties were caused by gas. Effective countermeasures to gas attacks were quickly created, such as gas masks.

The most powerful land based weapons were railway guns weighing hundreds of tons apiece. These were nicknamed Big Berthas, even though the namesake was not a railway gun. Germany developed the Paris Gun that was able to bombard Paris from a distance of over 100 km, though shells were relatively light at 94 kilograms (210 lb). While the Allies had railway guns, German models severely out-ranged and out-classed them.

Fixed-wing aircraft were first used militarily during the First World War. They were initially used for reconnaissance and ground attack. To shoot down enemy planes, anti-aircraft guns and fighter aircraft were developed. Strategic bombers were created, principally by the Germans and British, though the former used Zeppelins as well.

Towards the end of the conflict, aircraft carriers were used for the first time, with HMS Furious launching Sopwith Camels in a raid against the Zepplin hangars at Tondern in 1918.

German U-boats or (submarines), were deployed after the war began. Alternating between restricted and unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic, they were employed by the Kaiserliche Marine in a strategy to deprive the British Isles of vital supplies. The deaths of British merchantmen and the seeming invulnerability of U-boats led to the development of depth charges (1916), hydrophones (passive sonar, 1917), blimps, hunter-killer submarines (HMS R 1, 1917), ahead-throwing weapons, and dipping hydrophones (both abandoned in 1918). To extend their operations, the Germans proposed supply submarines (1916). Most of these would be forgotten in the interwar period until World War II revived the need.

Trenches, the machine gun, air reconnaissance, barbed wire and modern artillery with fragmentation shells helped bring the battle lines of World War I to a stalemate. The infantry was armed mostly with magazine fed bolt-action rifles, but the machine gun, with the ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, blunted most infantry attacks. The British sought a solution with the creation of the tank and mechanised warfare. The first tanks were used during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. Mechanical reliability became an issue, but the experiment proved its worth. Within a year, the British were fielding tanks by the hundreds and showed their potential during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, by breaking the Hindenburg Line, while combined arms teams captured 8000 enemy soldiers and 100 guns. Light automatic weapons also were introduced, such as the Lewis Gun and Browning automatic rifle.

Manned observation balloons, floating high above the trenches, were used as stationary reconnaissance platforms, reporting enemy movements and directing artillery. Balloons commonly had a crew of two, equipped with parachutes.[citation needed] In the event of an enemy air attack, the crew could parachute to safety. At the time, parachutes were too bulky to be used by pilots of aircraft and smaller versions would not be developed until the end of the war. Recognised for their value as observation platforms, balloons were important targets of enemy aircraft. To defend against air attack, they were heavily protected by antiaircraft guns and patrolled by friendly aircraft. Blimps and balloons contributed to air-to-air combat among aircraft because of their reconnaissance value. The Germans conducted air raids on England during 1915 and 1916 with airships, hoping to damage British morale and cause aircraft to be diverted from the front lines.

Another new weapon sprayed jets of burning fuel: flamethrowers. First used by the German army and later adopted by other forces. Although not of high tactical value, they were a powerful, demoralizing weapon and caused terror on the battlefield. It was a dangerous weapon to wield, as its heavy weight made operators vulnerable targets.

Main article: Opposition to World War I

The trade union and socialist movements had long voiced their opposition to a war, which they argued, meant only that workers would kill other workers in the interest of capitalism. Once war was declared, however, the vast majority of socialists and trade unions backed their governments. The exceptions were the Bolsheviks and the Italian Socialist Party, and individuals such as Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and their followers in Germany. There were also small anti-war groups in Britain and France. Other opposition came from conscientious objectors - some socialist, some religious - who refused to fight. In Britain 16,000 [citation needed] people asked for conscientious objector status. Many suffered years of prison, including solitary confinement and bread and water diets. Even after the war, in Britain many job advertisements were marked "No conscientious objectors need apply". Many countries jailed those who spoke out against the conflict. These included Eugene Debs in the United States and Bertrand Russell in Britain.

Main article: Aftermath of World War I

The Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel
The Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel

No other war had changed the map of Europe so dramatically — four empires disappeared: the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and the Russian. Four defunct dynasties, the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburg, Romanovs and the Ottomans together with all their ancillary aristocracies, all fell after the war. Belgium was badly damaged, as was France with 1.4 million soldiers dead, not counting other casualties. Germany and Russia were similarly affected. The war had profound economic consequences. In addition, a major influenza epidemic that started in Western Europe in the latter months of the war, killed millions in Europe and then spread around the world. Overall, the Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people.[33][34]

After the war, the Allies imposed a series of peace treaties on the Central Powers. The 1919 Versailles Treaty ended the war with Germany. Germany was kept under blockade until it signed the treaty, which declared that Germany was responsible for the war. The treaty required Germany to pay enormous war reparations, which it did by borrowing from the United States, until the reparations were suspended in 1931. The "Guilt Thesis" became a controversial explanation of events in Britain and the United States. The Treaty of Versailles caused enormous bitterness in Germany, which nationalist movements, especially the Nazis, exploited. (See Dolchstosslegende). The treaty contributed to one of the worst economic collapses in history of Germany, sparking runaway inflation.

The Ottoman Empire was to be partitioned by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. The treaty, however, was never ratified by the Sultan and was rejected by the Turkish republican movement. This led to the Turkish Independence War and, ultimately, to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

Austria-Hungary was also partitioned, largely along ethnic lines. The details were contained in the Treaty of Saint-Germain and the Treaty of Trianon.

Poland reemerged as an independent country, after more than a century. Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were entirely new nations. Russia became the Soviet Union and lost Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which became independent countries. The Ottoman Empire was soon replaced by Turkey and several other countries in the Middle East.

Some people think that the Allies opened the way to more colonization with their policy, because with it the Allies could colonise territories owned by the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire, by making them independent.

Postwar colonization in the Ottoman Empire led to many future problems still unresolved today. Conflict between mostly Jewish colonists and the indigenous, mostly Muslim, population intensified, probably exacerbated by the Holocaust, which stimulated Jewish migration and encouraged the new immigrants to fight for survival, a homeland, or both. However, any new homeland for immigrants would cause hardships for the indigenous population, especially if the former displaced the latter. The United Nations partitioned Palestine in 1947 with Jewish approval but without Arab and Muslim approval. After the creation of the state of Israel a series of wars broke out between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, in addition to unrest from the indigenous Palestinian population and terrorist activity by Palestinians and others reaching to Iran and beyond. Lasting peace in the Near East is an elusive goal even almost a century later.

In the British Empire, the war unleashed new forms of nationalism. In Australia and New Zealand the Battle of Gallipoli became known as those nations' "Baptism of Fire". It was the first major war in which the newly established countries fought and it was one of the first times that Australian troops fought as Australians, not just subjects of the British Crown. Anzac Day, commemorating the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, celebrates this defining moment.

This effect was even greater in Canada. Canadians proved they were a nation and not merely subjects of a distant empire. Indeed, following the Battle of Vimy Ridge, many Canadians began to refer to Canada as a nation "forged from fire". Canadians had proved themselves on the same battlefield where the British and French had previously faltered, and were respected internationally for their accomplishments. Canada entered the war as a Dominion of the British Empire, but when the war came to a close, Canada emerged as a fully independent nation. Canadian diplomats played a significant role in negotiating the Versailles Treaty. Canada was an independent signatory of the treaty, whereas other Dominions were represented by Britain. Canadians commemorate the war dead on Remembrance Day. In French Canada, however, the conscription crisis of 1917 left bitterness in its wake.

The experiences of the war led to a collective trauma for all participating countries. The optimism of the 1900s was gone and those who fought in the war became known as the Lost Generation. For the next few years, much of Europe mourned. Memorials were erected in thousands of villages and towns. The soldiers returning home from World War I suffered greatly from the horrors they had witnessed. Although it was called shell shock at the time, many returning veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The social trauma caused by years of fighting manifested itself in different ways. Some people were revolted by nationalism and its results. They began to work toward a more internationalist world, supporting organisations such as the League of Nations. Pacifism became increasingly popular. Others had the opposite reaction, feeling that only strength and military-might could be relied upon in a chaotic and inhumane world. Anti-modernist views were an outgrowth of the many changes taking place in society. The rise of Nazism and fascism included a revival of the nationalist spirit and a rejection of many post-war changes. Similarly, the popularity of the Dolchstosslegende was a testament to the psychological state of defeated Germany and was a rejection of responsibility for the conflict. The myth of betrayal became common and the aggressors came to see themselves as victims. The popularity of the Dolchstosslegende myth played a significant role in the outbreak of World War II and the Holocaust. A sense of disillusionment and cynicism became pronounced, with nihilism growing in popularity. This disillusionment for humanity found a cultural climax with the Dadaist artistic movement. Many believed that the war heralded the end of the world as they had known it, including the collapse of capitalism and imperialism. Communist and socialist movements around the world drew strength from this theory and enjoyed a level of popularity they had never known before. These feelings were most pronounced in areas directly or harshly affected by the war.
Lt. Col. John McCrae of Canada, who wrote the poem In Flanders Fields, died in 1918 of pneumonia
Lt. Col. John McCrae of Canada, who wrote the poem In Flanders Fields, died in 1918 of pneumonia

In 1915, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae M.D. of Canada wrote the memorable poem In Flanders Fields as a salute to those who perished in the Great War. It is still recited today, especially on Remembrance Day and Memorial Day.

World War I is a retronym for "The Great War" (a title previously used to refer to the Napoleonic Wars). It was also known as the 1914-18 War or 14-18 War, or sometimes "the war to end all wars" until World War II. "The Kaiser (or Kaiser's) War", "War of the Nations" and "War in Europe" were commonly employed as descriptions during the war itself and in the 1920s. In France and Belgium it was also sometimes referred to as La Guerre du Droit ('the War for Justice') or La Guerre Pour la Civilisation / de Oorlog tot de Beschaving ("the War to Preserve Civilization"), especially on medals and commemorative monuments. The term used by official histories of the war in Britain and Canada is First World War, while American histories generally use the term World War I. In Italy it is often referred to as "La Guerra del '15 - '18" ("The 1915 - 1918 War"), and more seldom as "The Fourth War of Independence", following the other three conflicts waged against the Austrian Empire in the 19th century. The term World War I was first used in 1939. An alteration of this form, First World War was first used in 1947. [35]

In many European countries, it appears that the current usage is tending back to calling it "the Great War" / la Grande Guerre / de Grote Oorlog / der Große Krieg, because of the growing historical awareness that, of the two 20th century world wars, the 1914-1918 conflict caused more social, economic and political upheaval. It was also one of the prime factors in the outbreak of Second World War.

Soldier's age records
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* The oldest French soldier was 78 years old (unknown if died in action).
* Italy's oldest soldier was 74 (unknown if died in action).
* Lieutenant Henry Webber was, at 67, the oldest British soldier killed in action at the Somme in July 1916.
* In December 1915, James White of Sowerby Bridge was sent home from the trenches when it was discovered that he had fought in the Zulu War of 1879, and was 70 years old.
* In June 1918, the Yorkshire Evening Press told the story of a merchant sailor, William Jessop of Hull. He was 72 years old and had been torpedoed seven times.
* In 1915, Chief Gunner Israel Harding had his left leg broken when his ship was blown up in the Dardanelles, near Turkey. He was 84 years old. He had once been a trawlerman but had run away to join the Royal Navy and and first saw active service in the Crimean War of 1853-56.

* The youngest British soldier to die in action was 14. He died on the Western Front on 24 May 1915. He was Private John Condon

Historical era
Preceded by
Colonisation World History
1914-1918 Succeeded by
Interwar Period

* List of World War I veterans
* Surviving veterans of World War I
* War memorials
* World War I casualties
* World War One - Medal Abbreviations
* List of people associated with World War I
* List of wars by death toll
* Technology during World War I
* Russian Civil War
* World War II
* Room 40

* Bombers of WWI (file info) — [Play media] Watch in browser
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* Tanks of WWI (file info) — [Play media] Watch in browser
o Primitive WWI tanks help the Allies with an advance in Langres, France (1918).
* Problems seeing the videos? See media help.

1. ^ a b Evans, David. Teach yourself, the First World War, Hodder Arnold, 2004.p.188
2. ^ a b Ashworth, Tony. Trench warfare 1914-1918, pp3-4. 2000: Macmillan Press, London.
3. ^ Fromkin, David (2004). "Chapter 15: Europe Goes to the Brink", Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 94. ISBN 0-375-72575-X.
4. ^ Snyder, Jack. Ideology of the Offensive. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984 Dupuy, Trevor N., Colonel, USA (rtd). Numbers Predictions, and War. Philadelphia: Bobbs-Merrill, 1979.
5. ^ 30 October 1918 in Herbert Hoover, Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson p. 47
6. ^ Fromkin, David (2004). "Chapter 45: What Did Not Happen", Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 266-267. ISBN 0-375-72575-X.
7. ^ “Imperialism" (1902) website
8. ^ 1917 pamphlet “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”
9. ^ Web reference
10. ^ Joll, James. The Origins of the First World War, 2nd ed. (Harlow, 1992), pp. 10-38
11. ^ John M. Taylor, "Audacious Cruise of the Emden", The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Volume 19, Number 4, Summer 2007, pp. 39-47
12. ^ Boghos Nubar the president of the "Armenian National Assembly" declared to Paris Peace Conference, 1919 through a letter to French Foreign Office - December 3, 1918
13. ^ Triple Alliance
14. ^ H. W. Brands, T. R. (1997) p. 756.
15. ^ Barbara Tuchman, The Zimmerman Telegram
16. ^ (see: Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany on Wikisource).
17. ^ William John Wilgus, Transporting the A. E. F. in Western Europe, 1917-1919 p. 52
18. ^ Allan Reed Millett and Williamson Murray, Military Effectiveness, Routledge, p.143
19. ^ Stevenson, Cataclysm (2004) p 383.
20. ^ Stevenson, Cataclysm (2004) ch 17.
21. ^ 1918 Timeline
22. ^ 1918 Timeline
23. ^ | The 28th (North-west) Battalion Canadian Corps
24. ^ Geo G. Phillimore and Hugh H. L. Bellot, "Treatment of Prisoners of War", Transactions of the Grotius Society Vol. 5, (1919), pp. 47-64.
25. ^ Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War (1999) p 368-9 for data.
26. ^ Richard B. Speed, III. Prisoners, Diplomats and the Great War: A Study in the Diplomacy of Captivity (1990) Ferguson, The Pity of War (1999) ch 13 Desmond Morton, Silent Battle: Canadian Prisoners of War in Germany, 1914-1919 1992
27. ^ The Mesopotamia campaign. British National Archives. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
28. ^ Stolen Years: Australian Prisoners of War. Men of Kut Driven along like beasts. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
29. ^ 1.5 estimate retrieved from here. Data collected by the International Center for Transitional Justice
30. ^ Keegan, John. The First World War. 1998. pp82-83
31. ^ John Frederick Norman Green, 'Obituary: Albert Ernest Kitson', Geological Society, Quarterly Journal no 94, 1938, p. CXXVI
32. ^ Mosier, John (2001). "Germany and the Development of Combined Arms Tactics", Myth of the Great War: How the Germans Won the Battles and How the Americans Saved the Allies. New York: Harper Collins, 42-48. ISBN 0-06-019676-9.
33. ^ NAP
34. ^ Influenza Report
35. ^ John Ayto, "20th Century Words" (1999) Oxford Univerity Press, pg. 251.

See also: List of World War I books

* American Battle Monuments Commission (1938). American armies and battlefields in Europe : a history, guide, and reference book. U.S.G.P.O.. Selected photos available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection
* American Battle Monuments Commission (1938). American armies and battlefields in Europe : a history, guide, and reference book. U.S.G.P.O.. Maps available online through the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State's Washington History collection
* (1993) Army art of World War I. U.S. Army Center of Military History : Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. Prints available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection
* Coffman, Edward M. The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I (1998)
* Cruttwell, C. R. M. F. A History of the Great War, 1914-1918 (1934), general military history
* Ellis, John and Mike Cox. The World War I Databook: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants (2002)
* Esposito, Vincent J. The West Point Atlas of American Wars: 1900-1918 (1997), despite the title covers entire war online maps from this atlas
* Falls, Cyril. The Great War (1960), general military history
* Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory (1975), on literature
* Gray, Edwyn A. The U-Boat War, 1914-1918 (1994)
* Haber, L. F. The Poisonous Cloud: Chemical Warfare in the First World War (1986)
* Halpern, Paul G. A Naval History of World War I (1995)
* Hardach, Gerd. The First World War 1914-1918 (1977), economics
* Henig, Ruth The Origins of the First World War (2002)
* Herrmann, David G. The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War(1996)
* Herwig, Holger H. The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 (1996)
* Higham, Robin and Dennis E. Showalter, eds. Researching World War I: A Handbook (2003), historiography, stressing military themes
* Howard, Michael. The First World War (2002), short (175 pp) general military history
* Hubatsch, Walther. Germany and the Central Powers in the World War, 1914-1918 (1963)
* Joll, James. The Origins of the First World War (1984)
* Keegan, John. The First World War (1999), general military history
* Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1982), covers politics & economics & society
* Kennett, Lee B. The First Air War, 1914-1918 (1992)
* Lee, Dwight E. ed. The Outbreak of the First World War: Who Was Responsible? (1958), readings from multiple points of view
* Lyons, Michael J. World War I: A Short History (2nd Edition), Prentice Hall, (1999)
* Morton, Desmond, and J. L. Granatstein Marching to Armageddon: Canadians and the Great War 1914-1919 (1989)
* Pope, Stephen and Wheal, Elizabeth-Anne, eds. The Macmillan Dictionary of the First World War (1995)
* Robbins, Keith. The First World War (1993), short overview
* Silkin, Jon. ed. The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (2nd ed. 1997)
* Stevenson, David. Cataclysm: The First World War As Political Tragedy (2004), major reinterpretation, 560pp
* Stevenson, David. The First World War and International Politics (2005)
* Stokesbury, James. A Short History of World War I (1981)
* Strachan, Hew. The First World War: Volume I: To Arms (2004): the major scholarly synthesis. Thorough coverage of 1914 Also: The First World War (2004): a 385pp version of his multivolume history
* Taylor, A. J. P. The First World War: An Illustrated History, Hamish Hamilton, 1963
* Tuchman, Barbara. The Guns of August, tells of the opening diplomatic and military manoeuvres
* Tucker, Spencer, ed. The Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social, and Military History (5 vol 2005), online at
* Tucker, Spencer, ed. European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1999)
* Venzon, Anne ed. The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1995)
* Winter, J. M. The Experience of World War I (2nd ed 2005), topical essays well illustrated
* van der Vat, Dan. The Atlantic Campaign. (1988). Connects submarine and antisubmarine operations between wars, and suggests a continuous war
* Price, Alfred, Dr. Aircraft versus the Submarine. Deals with technical developments, including the first dipping hydrophones

* American Battle Monuments Commission American operations in the Aisne-Marne region : May 31-October 12, 1918 Available online through the Washington State Library's Washington History collection
* American Battle Monuments Commission American operations in the St. Mihiel region : September 12-November 11, 1918 Available online through the Washington State Library's Washington History collection
* American Battle Monuments Commission The Meuse-Argonne offensive of the American First Army : September 26-November 11, 1918 Available online through the Washington State Library's Washington History collection

Main articles: Literature of World War I and Media of World War I

Poetry and songs (contemporary)

* They (1918), poem by Siegfried Sassoon
* Base details (1918), poem by Siegfried Sassoon
* Anthem for Doomed Youth (1917), poem by Wilfred Owen
* Dulce et Decorum Est (1917), poem by Wilfred Owen
* Disabled (1917), poem by Wilfred Owen
* Over There (1917), song by George M. Cohan
* In Flanders Fields (1915), poem by John McCrae [2]
* On Receiving News of the War (1914), poem by Isaac Rosenberg
* The Rose of No Man's Land (1918), song by Jack Caddigan and James A. Brennan - sheet music
* It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary (1914), song by Jack Judge (1878-1938) - sheet music
* Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag (1916), song by Felix Powell (1878-1942) and George Asaf (1880-1951) - RealAudio
* Keep the Home Fires Burning (1916), song by Ivor Novello and Lena Guilbert Ford
* Hello Boys! (1919), poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox Available online from the Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society

Poetry and songs (latter day)

* Children's Crusade (2000), Song by Sting
* All Together Now (1990), Song by The Farm
* No Man's Land (also known as The Green Fields of France and Willie McBride) (1976), song by Eric Bogle
* And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1972), song by Eric Bogle

* Infanterie greift an (Infantry Attacks) (1937), a highly regarded military textbook by Erwin Rommel
* Le Feu (Under Fire) (1916), novel by Henri Barbusse
* Storm of Steel, autobiography of Ernst Jünger. First published 1920 and revised several times through 1961
* Rilla of Ingleside (1920), novel by L.M. Montgomery, an account of the war as experienced by Canadian women of the time.
* Three Soldiers (1921), novel by John Dos Passos
* One of Ours (1922), novel by Willa Cather
* Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922), by T. E. Lawrence
* The Good Soldier Švejk (1923), satirical novel by Jaroslav Hašek
* All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), novel written by Erich Maria Remarque
* Death of a Hero (1929), novel by Richard Aldington
* A Farewell to Arms (1929), novel by Ernest Hemingway
* Goodbye to All That (1929), autobiography of Robert Graves
* The Memoirs of George Sherston semi-autobiographical series of three novels by Siegfried Sassoon
* Testament of Youth (1933), memoir by Vera Brittain
* Paths of Glory (1935), novel by Humphrey Cobb
* Hussar's Picture Book (1972), memoir by Pál Kelemen
* Joe's War: Memoirs of a Doughboy (1983), autobiography by Joseph N. Rizzi
* Regeneration (1991), The Eye in the Door, (1993) The Ghost Road, (1995) novels by Pat Barker
* Birdsong (1993), novel by Sebastian Faulks
* No Graves As Yet (2003), first volume of a trilogy of novels by Anne Perry
* Deafening (2003), book written by Frances Itani
* A Long, Long Way (2005), novel by Sebastian Barry
* To the Last Man (2005), novel by Jeff Shaara
* Turn Right at Istanbul novel by Tony Wright
* A World Undone (2006), novel by G. J. Meyer
* Johnny Got His Gun (1939), novel by Dalton Trumbo later turned into a film directed by the author.
* La Main Coupee (1946) by Blaise Cendrars.

Films, plays, television series and mini-series

* The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), movie directed by Rex Ingram, based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
* Mare Nostrum (1926), movie directed by Rex Ingram, based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
* Wings (1927), directed by William A. Wellman, tells the story about two fighter pilots only silent movie to win the Academy Oscar
* Journey's End (1928), play written by R. C. Sherriff
* All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), movie directed by Lewis Milestone, based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)
* Hell's Angels (1930), movie directed by Howard Hughes
* Grand Illusion (1937), directed by Jean Renoir
* Sergeant York (1941), movie directed by Howard Hawks
* Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz
* Paths of Glory (1957), movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb (1935)
* Marš na Drinu (1961), Serbian war film about a Serbian artillery battalion in the Battle of Cer
* Lawrence of Arabia (1962), movie covering events surrounding T. E. Lawrence in the pan-Arabian Theater, starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif and directed by David Lean
* World War I (1964), CBS News documentary narrated by Robert Ryan
* The Great War (1964), TV series by Correlli Barnett and others of BBC
* Doctor Zhivago (1965), movie by David Lean, based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, deals with Russia's involvement in the war and how it led to that country's Revolution.
* The Blue Max (1966), movie directed by John Guillermin, titled after the Prussian military award, or Pour le Mérite
* Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), movie directed by Richard Attenborough, from the 1963 musical play by Joan Littlewood
* Johnny Got His Gun (1971), movie of the book directed by the book's author Dalton Trumbo
* Gallipoli (1981), movie directed by Peter Weir
* Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, (1985), play by Frank McGuinness
* The Lighthorsemen (1987), movie directed by Simon Wincer
* Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), TV series by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
* The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (1996), PBS documentary narrated by Judi Dench
* Regeneration (1997), movie directed by Gillies MacKinnon, based on the novel by Pat Barker (1991)
* The Lost Battalion (2001), movie and screenplay directed by Russell Mulcahy
* A Very Long Engagement (2004), movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, based on the novel by Sebastien Japrisot (1991)
* Joyeux Noël (2005), Based on the 1914 Christmas truce.
* Passchendaele (2006), movie directed by and starring Paul Gross
* Flyboys (2006), Movie directed by Tony Bill, tells the story of American pilots who volunteered for the French military before America entered World War I.

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* A Guide to World War I Materials at the Library of Congress
* A multimedia history of World War I
* The Heritage of the Great War, Netherlands
* The War to End All Wars on BBC
* The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
* WW1 at the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia
* The Virtual Gramophone at Archives Canada
* World War I : Soldiers Remembered Presented by the Washington State Library and Washington State Archives

[show] v • d • e World War I
General Main events Specific articles Participants See also

* Causes
* Sarajevo assassination
* July Ultimatum

* Western Front
* Eastern Front
* Italian Front
* Middle Eastern Theatre
* Balkan Theatre
* Atlantic Theatre
* African Theatre
* Pacific Theatre

* Female roles
* Literature
* Total war
* Veterans

* Battle of Liège
* Battle of Tannenberg
* Invasion of Serbia
* First Battle of the Marne
* First Battle of Arras
* Battle of Sarikamis

* Mesopotamian Campaign
* Battle of Gallipoli
* Italian Campaign
* Conquest of Serbia

* Battle of Verdun
* Battle of the Somme
* Battle of Jutland
* Brusilov Offensive
* Conquest of Romania
* Great Arab Revolt

* Second Battle of Arras (Vimy Ridge)
* Battle of Passchendaele
* Capture of Baghdad
* Conquest of Palestine

* Spring Offensive
* Hundred Days Offensive
* Meuse-Argonne Offensive
* Armistice with Germany
* Armistice with Ottoman Empire

* Military engagements
* Naval warfare
* Air warfare
* Cryptography
* People
* Poison gas
* Railways
* Technology
* Trench warfare

Civilian impact and atrocities:

* Armenian Genocide
* Assyrian Genocide

* Aftermath
* Casualties
* League of Nations
* Paris Peace Conference
* Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
* Spanish flu
* Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
* Treaty of Lausanne
* Treaty of Neuilly
* Treaty of St. Germain
* Treaty of Sèvres
* Treaty of Trianon
* Treaty of Versailles

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* more…

* Flag of German Empire German Empire
* Flag of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
* Ottoman flag Ottoman Empire
* Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria

* First Balkan War (1912-13)
* Second Balkan War (1913)
* Maritz Rebellion (1914-15)
* Easter Rising (1916)
* Russian Revolution (1917)
* Russian Civil War (1917-21)
* Finnish Civil War (1918)
* North Russia Campaign (1918-19)
* Wielkopolska Uprising (1918-19)
* Polish-Soviet War (1919-21)
* Irish War of Independence also known as the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21)
* Turkish War of Independence including the Greco-Turkish War (1919-23)
* Irish Civil War (1922-23)

More information on World War I:

World War I from Wiktionary
WWI Textbooks from Wikibooks
WWI Quotations from Wikiquote
WWI Source texts from Wikisource
WWI Images & media from Commons
WWI News stories from Wikinews

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November 3, 1954 King of Monsters

The atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a short nine years in the past in 1954 when a ferocious, anti-nuclear sentiment began to build in Japan. In this context there arose a metaphor for the titanic destruction wrought by the atomic bombs. A Great Beast, literally rising from the sea, the product of the Japanese entertainment industry.

It was 6:45am local time on March 1, 1954, when a flash lit up the sky over the Pacific, like the sun itself. Then came the sound. An explosion outside the experience of all but the tiniest fraction among us, followed by the mushroom cloud, towering into the atmosphere. It was a test, the detonation of a TX-21 thermonuclear weapon with a predicted yield of 6 megatons with the unlikely codename, of “Shrimp”.

The 23 men of the fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru (“Lucky Dragon No.5”) were working the grounds near the Marshall Islands that day, in the equatorial Pacific. For a full eight minutes, these twenty-three men watched the characteristic mushroom cloud rise above them. An hour and a half later came the fallout, the fine white dust, calcinated coral of the Bikini atoll, falling from the sky, like snow.

None among the twenty-three recognized the material as hazardous, and made no effort to avoid exposure. Some men even tasted the stuff.

Over the next three days, several fishermen developed acute radiation sickness. By the time they returned to Yaizu two weeks later, all 23 were suffering from nausea, headaches, bleeding from the gums and other symptoms. One was destined to die six months later from a liver disorder, brought on by radiation sickness. They had entered the ranks of that most exclusive of clubs that no one, Ever, wanted to join. They were “hibakusha”. The “explosion-affected people”.

The atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a short nine years in the past in 1954 when a ferocious, anti-nuclear sentiment began to build in Japan. In this context there arose a metaphor for the titanic destruction wrought by the atomic bombs. A Great Beast, literally rising from the sea, the product of the Japanese entertainment industry. A monster, “Godzilla”, Ishirō Honda’s first film released by Toho Studios on this day, in 1954.

The name is a portmanteau, two words combined to form a third, of the Japanese word “gorira”, (gorilla), and “kujira”, meaning whale. Godzilla was the Gorilla Whale with the head of a Tyrannosaur, Stegasaur-like plates on his back and skin modeled after the hideous keloid scarring, of the hibakusha.

The original Godzilla (“ɡodʑiɽa”) was awakened by atomic testing and impervious to any but a nuclear weapon. Emerging from the depths with his atomic breath, havoc and destruction was always accompanied by the distinctive roar, a sound effect made by rubbing a resin glove down the strings of a bass violin and then changing the speed, at playback.

The actor who played Godzilla in the original films, Haruo Nakajima, was a black belt in Judo. His expertise was used to choreograph the monster’s movements, defining the standard for most of the Godzilla films, to follow.

Originally an “it”, Godzilla was usually depicted as a “he”, although that became a little complicated with the 1998 American remake when “Zilla” started laying eggs.

He was a Kaiju, a Japanese word meaning “strange creature”, more specifically a “daikaiju”, meaning a really, really big one. Godzilla is the best known but certainly not the only such creature of the Japanese entertainment industry. You may remember other kaiju including Gamera, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla and Rodan.

Godzilla has appeared in 28 original films, with more in the works. Over the course of his existence he has been a hero, a villain, and a destructive but values-neutral force of nature.

Godzilla got his own star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” in 2004, timed to coincide with the release of the 29th film of the genre, “Godzilla: Final Wars.” Instead of nuclear weapons testing, this version was spawned by “environmental pollution”. It takes the superheroes of the “Earth Defense Organization” (but, of course) to freeze him back into the ice of the South Pole.

The film was a flop, grossing less than $12 million after a production budget over half again, as large.

The franchise came roaring back ten years later, when Godzilla was released in 2014, grossing $200 million domestically with $529.1 million in worldwide sales.

To this day, the man who played those original 12 films is considered the best “suit actor”, in franchise history. In 2018, asteroid 110408 Nakajima was named in his memory.

A film franchise 66 years in the making is still going strong and will continue to do so, for the foreseeable future. Godzilla: King of the Monsters released in 2019 with a Box Office of $386.6 million and a production budget, of less than $200 million. Godzilla vs. Kong, originally scheduled for release this year, went the way of so many things in 2020 and fell victim, to the Chinese Coronavirus. The 36th film in the series is complete and currently scheduled for release in May, 2021.

Tip of the hat to, for most of the images used in this story.

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Re: Postactive? page 2

Think big. After the Prussians had manipulated France into war (1870-71) they imposed a huge and entirely punitive indemnity as the price of withdrawal. Hence France's enthusiasm to return the favour in
1918. OTOH, the Prussian king in 1871 was old enough to rememberNapoleon's troops marching into Berlin. Any advance on The Hundred and Fifty Years War?

Typically, retronyms have been used to adapt an existing term in order to distinguish a thing from later developments. In this case we're doing the opposite making a thing seem more similar to later developments. There's nothing in the term "retronym" which prevents it covering both purposes, but perhaps we need to adapt it somehow in order to distinguish between them?
Cross-posting to alt.usage.english to see if they have any ideas.

Not necessarily! Revisionists go back and present different accounts from the traditonal view. It can be said admiringly. Revisionists look for different evidence than was earlier used, such as going through the records of merchants to see what goods really changed hands, to challenge unquestioned assumptions.
Has it picked up that much of a negative connotation? . Uh-oh, I see that the first twenty or so hits for "revisionism" and "revisionist" are about "holocaust deniers," so you can hardly get a more controversial topic.
Godwin godwin godwin godwin. Deleting references to Jews, Germany, and Holocaust reduces the hits to one-third the original number.

And there's one about Israel/Palestine, which isn't much better. Then a branch of Marxist theory. Oh, dear.
Wikipedia to the rescue. The "good" kind of revisionism is "historical revisionism." They give examples of work that has been done in the field of the New World discovery (re the Native American population), slavery in the US (discrediting KKK sympathizers), and European feudalism ("rejecting the label as an anachronistic construct which imparted a false sense of uniformity").
Back to Iain's question: I can't think of an answer. The work of anyone who is known to invent stuff and pass it off as fact shouldn't be called history. My guess is you're looking for a fancy scholarly-sounding insult, like "sophistry."

I have a few. One of them is to suggest to the governing bodies of the EU, the individual countries of Europe, Canada, and the US that they dissolve their mutual borders for two years, starting the first day of next year. If all works well enough during that period of time, they could make it a permanent arrangement: for those countries and their residents, no passports, border controls, or trade restrictions either, but that'd take an amendment.
The day for all this is coming. Why wait?