World War I Summary and Facts


World War 1, lasted from 1914 to 1918. World War 1 began as a local European conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia on July 28, 1914

It was transformed into a general European war by the declaration of war made by Germany against Russia, on August 1, 1914.

These intermingled conflicts eventually became a global war involving thirty two nations, twenty eight of which, known as the Allies and the Associated Powers, and including Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States, opposed the coalition known as the Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

The immediate cause of the war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was the assassination on June 28, 1914, at Sarajevo, capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia, of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir-presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Gavrilo Princip, a serb nationalist.

The fundamental causes of the conflict, however, were rooted deeply in the European history of the previous century, particularly in the political and economic policies of the nations of Europe after the year 1871, which marked the emergence of Germany as a great world power.

The unarmed British passenger ship Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. This outraged the American public opinion against Germany.

Hostillities between the Allied and Central Powers continued until the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, a period of four years, three months and fourteen days. The aggregate direct war costs of all the belligerents amounted to about 186 billion dollars.

Casualties in the land forces amounted to over 37 million; in addition deaths amoung civilian populations caused indirectly by war approximated 10 million.


  • World War 1 was officially started in 1914
  • More than 8.5 million people died as a direct result of World War 1
  • Today there is still anunexploded mine shaft from World War 1 at the New Zealand Memorial Park in Messines.
  • The German cruiser Emden23 sunk 23 Allied vessels
  • More than 2,600 Allied ships were sunk by the German U-Boats during World War 1
  • During World War 1, 24 total nations declared war on one or more of the Central Powers
  • The were 5,200 US Casualties per square mile during the Battle of Belleau Wood in June of 1918
  • Germany produced 123 Zeppelin and similar airships during World War 1
  • There were 56,000 mines laid by US Navy during the North Sea barrage
  • Britain produced 5,400 Sopwith Camel fighter planes during World War 1
  • There were an estimated 58,000 British casualties on the first day on the Battle of the Somme
  • An sstimated 32 million artillery shells were fired during the Battle of Verdun
  • There were approximately 275,000 Italian prisoners taken at Caporetto
  • The Japanese sent 75,000 troops to Siberia in 1918
  • Under The Versailles Treaty, the size of German Army was limited to 100,000 soldiers.
  • Over 19 million soldiers from all nations were wounded during World War 1