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World War I

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World War I, also known as the First World War, and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice (cessation of hostilities) on November 11, 1918.

The Allied Powers (led by the British Empire and France, and, after 1917, the United States) defeated the Central Powers (led by the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire), and led to the collapse of four empires and a radical change in the map of Europe. In this report I am going to tell you about how it all started, participants of the war, advantages and disadvantages of the war, strategies, and political and military leaders.

On June 28, 1914, Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo in a conspiracy involving Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student. Gavrilo Princip was part of a group of fifteen assailants, acting with some support from parts of the Serbian government. Though World War I was triggered by the chain of events this assassination unleashed, the war's origins lie deeper, involving national politics, cultures, economics, and a web of alliances and counterbalances that were made between the European powers during the nineteenth century, following the final 1815 defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the ensuing Congress of Vienna.

Ok now onto who was fighting in the war. There were two main alliances, the Axis and Allies. Originally founded on the concept of the Rome-Berlin-axis (the Pact of Steel), later the Tripartite Pact, the Axis was not primarily a formal alliance. Each of the major countries went to war on their own way (Nazi Germany in 1939, Italy in 1940, and Japan in 1937 against China and 1941 against USA), and not to assist each other. There was little sharing of technology or resources, and also little with strategic planning between the major Axis Powers. With the demise of Italy, Germany and Japan each functioned as separate powers, each conducting the war in their own places (Germany in Europe and Japan in the Pacific). There were a number of smaller powers on the side of the Axis, although for the most part the war effort was directed and powered by Germany and Japan.

Like the Axis, the Allies were not a fully cohesive alliance. The original Allied countries, bound by their commitment to the security of Poland, were led by the United Kingdom and France. As other countries were invaded by Nazi Germany, they were added to the Allied ranks. The fall of France left the United Kingdom as the sole remaining major country of the Allies. Most of the time left consisted of the British Commonwealth and forces commanded by different governments-in-exile.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Great War (world war I). Some of the advantages for us were that we had so much steel. I mean so much that we didn't know what to do with it. We would even have to throw away some of the things that our factories produced. Another advantage was that we had a lot of support from the women that would work in the industries making bullets, stitching clothes, filling canteens, and screwing on bolts on the planes, jeeps, cars, tanks, and anything else that need to be done.Some of the disadvantages for the U.S. was a money problem we were already in debt from a lot of other wars and from buying products from other countries. Our troops were not always prepared and trained enough to fight in a war yet. When the draft came out we grabbed the men, put them in training camps for several weeks or months and shipped them oversea to fight. Many of these men were scared and did not want to fight or kill other human beings.

On to the technology of the war. Chemical warfare was a major distinguishing factor of the war. Gases used ranged from tear gas to disabling chemicals such as mustard gas and killing agents like phosgene. Only a small proportion of total war casualties were caused by gas, but it achieved harassment and psychological effects. Also Fixed-wing aircraft were first used militarily during the First World War. Initial uses consisted primarily of reconnaissance, though this developed into ground-attack and fighter duties as well. Strategic bombing aircraft were created principally by the Germans and British, though the former used Zeppelins to this end as well. Another was U-boats or submarines. U-boats were used shortly after the war began. Alternating between restricted and unrestricted submarine warfare during the First Battle of the Atlantic, they were employed by the Kaiserliche Marine in a strategy of defeating the British Empire through a tonnage war. Tanks were introduced in World War I by the British and created mechanized warfare that dominated the rest of the 20th century.

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