Europe in 1914 was primed by treaties, rampant nationalism, and mistakes to be set ablaze by an assassination in Sarajevo. The rest...is history.

The steps that led to the Great War.

  • Tensions had been brewing throughout Europe—especially in the troubled Balkan region of southeast Europe—for years before World War I actually broke out.
  • A number of alliances involving European powers, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and other parties had existed for years, but political instability in the Balkans (particularly Bosnia, Serbia and Herzegovina) threatened to destroy these agreements.
  • The spark that ignited World War I was struck in Sarajevo, Bosnia, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand—heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire—was shot to death along with his wife, Sophie, by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. Princip and other nationalists were struggling to end Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The assassination of Franz Ferdinand set off a rapidly escalating chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Serbian nationalism once and for all.

Watch the video below about the incident in Sarajevo that led Europe into war.

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Consequences of World War I

  • Facing dwindling resources on the battlefield, discontent on the homefront and the surrender of its allies, Germany was finally forced to seek an armistice on November 11, 1918, ending World War I.
  • World War I took the lives of more than 9 million soldiers; 21 million more were wounded. The two nations most affected were Germany and France, each of which sent some 80 percent of their male populations between the ages of 15 and 49 into battle.
  • The Treaty of Versailles which brutally punished Germany for the war turn into a smoldering resentment that would, two decades later, be counted among the causes of World War II.
This is a documentary on the Treaty of Versailles in 1918 and its consequences

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Peter

Hatherley-Greene

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