Volume II of the KILLING FIELDS Trilogy World War I (often abbreviated as WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global conflict originating in Europe that lasted from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars," it led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It was also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic lead to another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian. Germany lost its overseas empire, and states such as Czechoslovakiaand Yugoslavia were created, or recreated, as in the cases of Lithuania and Poland. This contributed to a decisive break with the world order that had emerged after the Napoleonic Wars, which was modified by the mid-19th century's nationalistic revolutions. The results of World War I would also be important factors in the development of World War II just over two decades later. Much of the fighting in World War I took place along the Western Front, within a system of opposing manned trenches and fortifications (separated by a "no man's land") running from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. On the Eastern Front, the vast eastern plains and limited rail network prevented a trench warfare stalemate from developing, although the scale of the conflict was just as large. Hostilities also occurred on and under the sea and - for the first time - in the air. KILLING FIELDS OF WORLD WAR I, by Cotter Bass, is Volume 2 of the KILLING FIELDS TRILOGY and provides a brief but graphic overview of the battlefield horrors of World War I.
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KILLING FIELDS OF WORLD WAR I
Vol. 2 of the KILLING FIELDS Trilogy
by Cotter Bass
This publication is offered with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher is rendering legal, medical, accounting, or any other professional counseling. The information contained herein is not intended to replace instructions by trained professionals. For advice regarding legal, medical, accounting, or other issues, readers are advised to consult an attorney, physician, accountant, or other appropriate qualified professional.
The author has exercised due diligence in determining the copyright status (if any) of the photographs and illustrations used in this book. Since most the photographs were either taken before 1923 (U.S. copyright laws), or the designated period of 70 years following the death of the photographer has expired (copyright provisions of many European nations), most photographs are in the public domain.
The author and publisher disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information within this book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher and author.
Cover photograph courtesy of Progressisti Lombardi
Copyright © 2018 by Cotter Bass
World War One, also known as World War I, WWI, the First World War, and the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from July 28, 1914 until November 11, 1918. Contemporaneously described as “The War to End All Wars," more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. More than nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including the victims of a number of genocides), a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents’ technological and industrial sophistication and the tactical stalemate caused by grueling trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political change, including the Revolutions of 1917–1923, in many of the nations involved. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War twenty-one years later.
The war attracted all the world's great economic powers assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy was a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance.
These alliances were reorganized and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan, and the United States joined the Allies, while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.
Courtesy of À LA VIE, À LA GUERRE (To Life, To War)
A FRENCH ASSAULT AT THE BATTLE OF ARTOIS,
ca. SPRING OF 1915
The trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and, as a result, entangled international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
Russia was the first to order a partial mobilization of its armies on July 25. 1914, and when on July 28 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia declared general mobilization on July 30. Germany presented an ultimatum to Russia to demobilize and when this was refused, declared war on Russia on August 1. Being outnumbered on the Eastern Front, Russia urged its Triple Entente ally France to open a second front in the west.
Japan entered the war on the side of the Allies on August 23, 1914, seizing the opportunity of Germany's distraction with the European War to expand its sphere of influence in China and the Pacific.
More than forty years earlier in 1870, the Franco-Prussian War had ended the Second French Empire and France had ceded the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine to a unified Germany Bitterness over that defeat. The determination to retake Alsace-Loraine made the acceptance of Russia's plea for help an easy choice; France began full mobilization on August 1, 1914 and, on August 3, Germany declared war on France. The border between France and Germany was heavily fortified on both sides. According to the Schlieffen Plan, Germany then invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving toward France from the north, leading the United Kingdom to declare war on Germany on August 4, 1914 due to Germany’s violation of Belgian neutrality.
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