The First World War 1914 to 1918

first world war

britain at war Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Bosnia. Within weeks the whole of Europe was at war. The Austrians blamed the Serbs and declared war on Serbia. Russia was allied to the Serbs, Germany to Austria, France top Russia and Britain to France. 750,000 Britons died in the next 4 years of trench warfare. This was the first war Britain had fought on European soil since Waterloo closer on a century before.

German hopes of a quick victory by a rapid advance on Paris were dashed at the battle of the Marne in September 1914. The Germans dug in, the French & British dug in and the stalemate on the Western Front was about to begin.

mobilisation Tens of thousands of men died as they were ordered vainly to attack well dug in enemy troops. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, 19,000 British troops were killed in a day. And 400,000 Allies were killed or wounded at the Somme.

Stalemate continued at sea as well as on land. The battle of Jutland, the only major sea battle of the war, took place in the North Sea in 1916. The result was inconclusive

trench warfare It was only in 1918 that the Allies, with the Americans now in the war, began to make advances. A better battle plan and the use of the new tanks gave the Allies the breakthrough that they had been seeking for years. Within three months the war was over

Altogether over 8 million soldiers on both sides had died. New weapons like the tank, poison gas, and the aircraft had entered wars. Cavalry were no longer used. Air raids and U-boat attacks on merchant ships brought war to the civilian population as well as to the combatants

  However the war did not create a " land fit for heroes to live in" as the war time prime minister had promised. Britain was to enter an era of social change, economic recession and large scale unemployment
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