World War 1 Summary
Comprehensive information World War 1 Summary: This
page provides a summary of World War 1, presented in five different
sections, each one focusing on the years 1914 to 1918. These sections
include the period of World War One from July 28th 1914 (Austria-Hungary
declares war on Serbia) through until November 11th, 1918 (the signing
of the Armistice Agreement), or the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
on June 28th 1919.
Additionally, this page acts as a quick overview of
the situation before and after World War 1.
The five sections are divided thus:
WW1 Summary - Prior to World War 1
WW1 Summary - Beginning
WW1 Summary - Timeline
WW1 Summary - Change in fortune, withdrawal
WW1 Summary - After World War 1
World War 1 Summary - Prior to World War 1
On May 20th 1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy
(the so-called “Central Powers”) formed a Triple Alliance in order to
isolate France. As a counterpoint to the Triple Alliance, Great Britain
and France formed an Entente Cordiale on April 8th 1904 which expanded
to a Triple Entente when Russia joined in 1907.
Germany felt threatened by this military co-operation
which arised from the Triple Entene. As part of this summary, it is
impossible not to note than in 1905, German General Staff Alfred Graf
von Schliefen had already concocted a secret invasion plan (known as the
Schlieffen Plan) to be used should a two-front war arise against France
This plan was an absolutely crucial part of German
military strategy at the beginning of World War 1 One. In response to this
plan, the French General Staff issued Plan XVII in 1913.
World War 1 Summary - Beginning
With the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz
Ferdinand on June 28th 1914, the tensions between the great powers
started to escalated. On July 23rd 1914, Austria-Hungary issued an
ultimatum to Serbia, an act which ultimately led to the beginning of
World War 1 One ("When was World War
1"). On July 28th, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
All countries in the first year of the conflict believe that the war
would be brief and end in glory.
Again, important in the context of a summary of World
War 1 is the decision by Germany on August 1st 1914 to declare war on
Russia. Two days later, on August 3rd, 1914, Germany declared war on
France. Germany also formed an Alliance with the Ottoman Empire in
August. When German troops marched across the Belgian border on August
4th 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany.
It should be noted that in August, Britain asked Japan
for assistance in destroying German boats around Chinese waters. It only
took 19 days for the Japanese to agree. Thus, on September 5th, 1914,
the Triple Entente was now a quartet, opening the way for other
countries to join against the Central Powers.
World War 1 Summary - Timeline
The first Battle of the Marne (September 5th-12th
1914) was a hard battle for Germany, and revealed the Schlieffen Plan to
be little more than a failure. Thus tactics changed with Germany in a
“Race to the Sea”, with the goal of capturing important ports and
encircling any Allied troops in the north. The Allies were following a
similiar plan. These plans mostly did not succeed, turning the war from
one of movement into one of position.
It's important to note that the Ottoman Empire
declared war on Russia on October 20th 1914. In December, French troops
were reinforced by fresh Canadian troops. In the spring of 1915,
President Woodrow Wilson sent US negotiators to London, Paris and Berlin
in order to explore the possibility of peace talks. These were to little
avail, however, with Germany sending their first Zeppelin over the
English channel on May 31st 1915. On February 21st, 1916, the ten-month
battle for Verdun began.
One can also not omit the large naval battle of
Skagerak (May 31st – June 1st 1916). On April 4th 1917, the US declared
war on Germany, and the next day on Austria-Hungary.
World War 1 Summary – Change in fortune, withdrawal
The first major operation carried out by British
tanks took place on November 20th 1917 in Cambrai. German positions were
being breached. Ottoman Troops left Jerusalem in the winter of 1917 and
were replaced by British troops. Important date for the World War 1
summary: Soviet Russia and the
Central Powers signed a cease-fire on December 15th 1917.
In January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson of the
United States introduced Congress to his 14 Point Plan which included,
among other things, the creation of a League of Nations. On March 21st
1918 the Second Battle of the Marne began. The counter-offensive on July
18th 1918 pushed German forces all the way back o the Aisne – a position
similar to that which Germany had held in 1914.
There was a last major offensive on the part of
Austria-Hungary in Italy in Asiagio and Piave – both of which failed.
Allied attacks broke down troops at Vittorio Veneto (the Austrian
front). In France at Amiens (August 8th 1918) Allied forces broke German
defences. To this day in Germany, it is called the Black Day of the Army
(“Schwarzer Tag des Heeres”).
In September, Ludendorff and Hindenburg asked the
national government to accept a ceasefire and enter into peace
negotiations. This summary ends therefore with the ceasefire agreement
of November 11th 1918 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June
28th 1919. In September of the same year, Austria-Hungary signed the
Treaty of St. Germain. In August 1920 the Ottoman Empire signed the
Treaty of Sevres (When did World
War 1 end?).
World War 1 Summary – After World War 1
After World War 1 One had finished, the Statute of the
League of Nations was adopted by the victors in April 1919. In January
of the following year, the League of Nations opened its doors to start
work on its mission. In Germany, Preident Friedrich Ebert signed the
new Weimar Constitution on August 11th 1919. In the Republic of Austria,
the constitution was signed and entered into force on October 11th 1920,
an important date in the summary of World War 1.