World war 1 recruiting poster

World War I

  • Archduke Assination

    Archduke Assination
    Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo. His death was the event that sparked WWI.
  • Russia Mobilizes

    Russia mobilizes its vast army to intervene against Austria-Hungary in favor of its ally, Serbia. This move started a chain reaction that lead to the mobilization of the rest of the European Great Powers, and inevitably to the outbreak of hostilities.
  • World War I Begins

    World War I Begins
    Germany invaded Belgium, beginning World War I.
  • Germans Fire

    The Germans fired shells filled with chlorine gas at allied lines. This was the first time that large amounts of gas were used in battle and the result was the near collapse of the French lines. However, the Germans were unable to take advantage of the breach.
  • Lusitania Sinks

    Lusitania Sinks
    A German submarine sunk the passenger liner Lusitania. This ship carried 1,198 people, 128 of the were Americans.
  • First Tanks

    The British employed the first tanks ever used in battle, at Delville Wood. Although they were useful at breaking through barbed wire and clearing a path for the infintry, tanks were still primitive and they fail to be the decisive weapon, as their designers thought they would be.
  • Germany Limits Submarines

    Reacting to international outrage at the sinking of the Lusitania and other neutral passenger lines, Kaiser Wilhelm suspends unrestricted submarine warfare. This is an attempt to keep the United States out of the war, but it severely hampers German efforts to prevent American supplies from reaching France and Britain.
  • Submarines Back

    Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare in European waterways. This act, more than any other, draws the United States into the war and causes the eventual defeat of Germany.
  • Zimmerman Telegram

    Zimmerman Telegram
    British intelligence gives Wilson the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann proposing that Mexico side with Germany in case of war between Germany and the United States. In return, Germany promises to return to Mexico the "lost provinces" of Texas and much of the rest of the American Southwest. Mexico declines the offer, but the outrage at this interference in the Western Hemisphere pushes American public opinion to support entering the war.
  • Wilson for War

    Wilson for War
    President Wilson outlines his case for war to Congress.
  • U.S. Enters War

    Congress authorizes a declaration of war against Germany. The United States enters World War I on the side of France and Britain.
  • Selective Service Act

    Selective Service Act
    Congress passes the Selective Service Act authorizing the draft. Although criticized for destroying democracy at home while fighting for it abroad, President Wilson claims he sees no other option and signs the bill into law.
  • Germany and Russia Peace

    The Germans sign a peace treaty with the new Bolshevik government of Russia. The terms of the treaty give Germany huge tracts of land that had been the Ukraine and Poland, and peace on the Eastern Front allows Germany to shift soldiers to the Western Front, causing serious problems for the French, British, and Americans.
  • Battle of Cantigny

    Battle of Cantigny
    The Battle of Cantigny is the first major American offensive of the war. Though small in scale, the Americans fight bravely and soon go on to larger attacks against German positions.
  • Chateau-Thierry

    The Americans attack the Germans at Chateau-Thierry. This battle would morph into the larger Battle of Belleau Wood.
  • Battle of Belleau Wood

    Battle of Belleau Wood
    The Battle of Belleau Wood begins as the U.S. Marine Corps attacks the Germans across an open field of wheat, suffering huge casualties.
  • Battle of St. Mihiel

    Battle of St. Mihiel
    The Battle of St. Mihiel begins when 300,000 American troops under the direct command of General Pershing fling themselves into the German lines.
  • Wilhelm Abdicates

    Wilhelm Abdicates
    Kaiser Wilhelm abdicates, ending all German hope for a victory. He and his retinue quietly slip over the border into the Netherlands where he lives out the remainder of his life in relative peace and writes a self-promoting memoir defending his actions in the war.
  • Armistice Day

    Armistice Day
    An Armistice is signed ending fighting on the Western Front.