World War I

World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war, a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

The World War I Memorial Project

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins (five Serbs and one Bosniak) coordinated by Danilo Ilić, a Bosnian Serb and a member of the Black Hand secret society. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's South Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. The assassination led directly to the First World War when Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war.

Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

Germany

Germany mobilizes her armed forces and declares war on Russia.

Germany declares war on France.

Germany declares war on neutral Belgium and invades in a right flanking move designed to defeat France quickly. As a result of this invasion, Britain declares war on Germany.

The invasion of Belgium was considered an essential element of the German war plan, a very speedy defeat of all resistance in the first days seemed to be imperative.

Unofficial Christmas Truce declared by soldiers in the trenches along the Western Front.

U-boat sinks the Lusitania. 1,198 civilians, including 128 Americans die.

The Lusitania is another example of the way in which the character of the war changed in 1915.

Allies begin withdrawal of troops from Gallipoli.

British use gas in battle near Loos, but shifting winds cause 60,000 British casualties.

US President Wilson publicly warns Germany not to continue unrestricted submarine warfare policies

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