The Great War, 1914-1918.

By FJG
  • Assasination of Archduke Ferdinand.

  • Germany issues 'blank cheque' to Austria-Hungary.

    Germany offers unconditional support to Austria-Hungary against Serbia, despite the threat of a war with Russia and France.
  • Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

    Following the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary presents Serbia with 10 lofty demands. When Serbia only agrees to eight, Austria-Hungary submits a formal declaration of war.
  • Austro-Hungarian troops cross the Drina.

    Austro-Hungarian troops cross the Drina.
    Austro-Hungarian forces cross the Drina River on the border of Austria-Hungary and Serbia.
  • Russian army mobilizes.

    Russia, unwilling to surrender political influence in the Balkans, mobilizes its forces against Austria-Hungary.
  • German army mobilizes.

  • Germany declares war on Russia, French army mobilizes.

    Germany moves to assist Austria-Hungary, while the French army cements its alliance with the Russians.
  • Britain declares war on Germany.

    Germany ignores Britain's demand to keep Belgium neutral, so Britain piles in.
  • Siege of Liege begins.

    Siege of Liege begins.
    The Germans, hoping to make a clean breast of Belgium before rapidly striking France as recommended by Count Alfred von Schlieffen, first met resistance at the town of Liege. The Belgians held out for 12 days before being overcome by the Germans' superior military strength. However, this defence allowed the Allies more time to organize, and delayed von Schlieffen's aim of a short, sharp invasion of France, setting a tone for the years of trench warfare that were to follow.
  • Canada declares war on Germany.

    Canada declares war on Germany.
    On the fifth of August, 1914, the Governor General of Canada formerly declared war on Germany. Canada, being a territory of Great Britain, strictly had no choice in the matter, yet the war garnered vast public support amongst Canadians. Former Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier commented: "It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country."
  • France and Britain invade Togoland.

    French and British troops in west Africa invade the German protectorate of Togoland.
  • Germany invades South Africa.

  • Battle of Cer begins.

    The battle of Cer (August 16th, 1914 -- August 19th) was the first engagement in the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. Despite a slight numerical advantage, actical incompetence (surprise, surprise) and a lack of knowledge of the terrain decided the battle in favour of the Serbians.
  • Liege falls to the Germans.

    Liege falls to the Germans.
    The Germans, hoping to make a clean breast of Belgium before rapidly striking France as recommended by Count Alfred von Schlieffen, first met resistance at the town of Liege. The Belgians held out for 12 days before being overcome by the Germans' superior military strength. However, this defence allowed the Allies more time to organize, and delayed von Schlieffen's aim of a short, sharp invasion of France, setting a tone for the years of trench warfare that were to follow.
  • Brussels falls to the Germans.

    Brussels falls to the Germans.
    The Belgian capital of Brussels falls to the Germans, as the Belgian King Albert ordered an administrative and military withdrawal to the heavily defended city of Antwerp
  • Battle of Tannenberg

    Battle of Tannenberg
    The Germans defeat the Russians at Allenstein in Poland in the week long Battle of Tannenberg. Afterwards, German colonel Max Hofffmann suggests naming the engagement 'The Battle of Tannenberg', after the 1410 defeat of the Teutonic Knights by the union of Poland and Lithuania.
  • New Zealand occupies German Samoa

  • Battle of Drina.

    Battle of Drina.
    The Battle of Drina between the Serbs and the Austrian begins, lasting until October 4th of 1914. Following the Battle of Cer, the Austrians had retreated beyond the Drina. The Serbs, seeking to press their advantage, counterattack. The battle soon devolved into a fight for the peak of Jagodnja, which endured for four days, setting the stage for nearly a month of trench warfare.
  • First Battle of The Marne.

    First Battle of The Marne.
    The Allies halt the German advance on the Marne river, outside of Paris in the week-long Battle of the Marne (sept. 7 -- 12, 1914), causing the Germans to abandon the Schlieffen Plan.
  • Race to the Sea begins.

    Race to the Sea begins.
    On the sparse plains of Aisne, the British dig a trench to protect themselves from German artillery fire. The Germans reciprocate with their own trench. As it is nigh impossible to attack a trench head-on, both sides attempt a series of outflanking maneouvres on the right, known as the Race to the Sea, because of its course towards the coast.
  • Period: to

    Siege of Przemysil

    The Russians successfully besiege the vast Austrian fortress of Przemysil,
  • Siege of Antwerp begins.

    Siege of Antwerp begins.
    The Germans advance on the National Redoubt of Antwerp, the auxiliary capital of Belgium. Despite the greater strength of the German army, the Belgians held on for two weeks, before retreating on the 8th of October, severely weakened, surrendering Antwerp to the Germans.
  • Naval Operations in the Siege of Tsingtao begin.

    Naval Operations in the Siege of Tsingtao begin.
    Japan sends a small fleet to the German-occupied port of Tisngtao (now Qingdao) to cut off German naval defenses in preparation for a siege by land.
  • First Battle of Ypres begins.

  • Ottoman navy shells Odessa.

    Ottoman navy shells Odessa.
    Germany sends two cruisers to the Ottoman Empire, in order to shell the Russian port of Odessa.
  • Siege of Tsingtao begins.

    Siege of Tsingtao begins.
    The Japanese siege of the German-occupied port of Tsingtao, China begins, lasting for a week. Kaiser Wilhelm, a loudmouthed twat, comments beforehand that he would rather see Berlin fall to the Russians than Tsingtao to the Japanese. Britain, unnerved by Japan's military strength, sends along a mostly symbolic military delegation to assist the siege.
  • Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire.

    Following the shelling of Odessa by Ottoman ships, Russia declares war on the ailing Turkish empire.
  • Bergmann Offensive

    Bergmann Offensive
    The Bergmann Offensive, the first military engagement between the Russians and the Ottomans began, ending 23 days later and resulting in a comprehensive Ottoman victory.
  • Fao Landing.

    Britain, fearing for her oil fields in the southern Persian Gulf, moves to aid Russia by pressuring the Ottomans from the south. British troops successfully land at Fao, in southern Iraq, seizing the Ottoman fortress of Fao.
  • British troops occupy Basra

    Following ten days of strategic maneouvring, British troops occupy the port city of Basra in Iraq from the Ottomans.
  • First Battle of Ypres ends.

    First Battle of Ypres ends.
    Despite a far superior numerical advantage and greater coordination, he Germans fail to significantly advance at the First Battle of Ypres. The German Chief of the General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, suggests it is impossible for Germany to win the war and proposes a diplomatic solution, but generals Ludendorrf and Hindenburg disagree.
  • Battle of Qurna.

    The British defeat the remaining Ottoman forces in Basra province at the town of Qurna, securing the Persian gulf.
  • Battle of Kolubara.

    Battle of Kolubara.
    The Serbs comprehensively defeat Austria-Hungary at the battle of Kolubara, forcing a total Austrian withdrawal from Serbia.
  • Battle of Sarikamish

    Battle of Sarikamish
    The Russians decisively entrap and defeat the Turks in the disastrous month-long battle of Sarikamish, securing the Caucasus. The Turkish were defeated as a result of war minister Ismail Enver Pasha's overcomplicated strategy and a lack of adequate preparation for the frigid, montane winter. On his return to Turkey, Enver blamed Armenian troops in Ottoman service of siding with Russia, and consequently Enver Pasha ordered a massacre of the Armenian population.
  • First Suez Offensive

    First Suez Offensive
    The British decisively defeat Ottoman attempts to capture the Suez Canal.
  • Second Battle of Masurian Lakes

    The Germans defeat the Russians at the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes (Feb. 7th-22nd, 1915), evicting the Russians from Poland.
  • Second Battle of Ypres

    Second Battle of Ypres
    For the first time in the war, the Germans use poison gas, taking the Anglo-French by surprise and creating a 4km breach in their lines. The Germans, shocked by their own success, fail to react in time and Canadian troops repulse their advances.
  • Landing at Anzac Cove

    Landing at Anzac Cove
    The British assault on Gallipoli peninsula in the Dardanelles Campaign begins with the landing at Anzac Cove, so-named because it was conducted by the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Because of incorrect calculations by the German general Otto von Sanders, only the Turkish 57th regiment was left to defend the region, which they did valiantly, completely wiping out the regiment before reinforcements could arrive and secure a comprehensive Ottoman victory.
  • Second Battle of Artois.

    Second Battle of Artois.
    The Germans hold the British and the French to a stalemate at the Second Battle of Artois (May 8th- June 18th, 1915), the final offensive of the Spring of 1915.
  • First Battle of the Isonzo

    The Italians attacked Austrian defences on the Isonzo, achieving very minimal gains.
  • Third Battle of Artois.

    At the third battle of Artois, the British-French assault again fails to achieve any noteable gains.
  • Second Battle of Champagne

    The Second Battle of Champange between the Germans and the French begins, lasting until November 6th of the same year. Neither side can really get into the swing of things, and the battle ends in a stalemate.
  • Battle of Ctesiphon

    The Ottomans defeat the British under the command of the shockingly inept Charles Townshend at Ctesiphon, south of Baghdad.
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    Siege of Kut

    Charles Townshend's British 6th Division is besieged by the Ottomans at Kut, south of Ctesiphon. After a completely inept defence, Townshend surrenders the city and all his men to the Ottomans. 70% of them die in Ottoman captivity.
  • Battle of Koprukoy

    Battle of Koprukoy
    The Russians surprise the Turks at the Battle of Koprukoy, paving the way to a series of victories in the Caucasus.
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    Battle of Verdun

    The French resist German attempts to capture the fortresses around Verdun in one of the lengthiest and most vicious battles of the war. The battle takes a high toll on both sides, which each side losing almost half their men.
  • Battle of Mecca

    With British assistance, the Sharif of Mecca successfully revolts against the Ottoman Empire, creating the kingdom of Hejaz.
  • First Day on the Somme

    First Day on the Somme
    The Somme Offensive begins with a British attack on the German trenches at Albert, France. Although Britain won a tactical victory, 20% of her troops deployed at the Somme were either killed or wounded.
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    Battle of the Somme

    The Franco-British forces advance a whole six miles at the five month Battle of the Somme, losing shocking numbers in the process due to the disastrous tactics of their generals. Despite these vast losses, the battle is often seen as paving the way for eventual victory, with large amounts of the German regular army likewise being eliminated, while England's losses were mostly volunteers.
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    Battle of Transylvania

    The Romanians fail to take advantage of their superior numbers and are defeated by the central powers at the disastrous three month Battle of Transylvania.
  • Second Battle of Cobadin

    The Bulgarians comprehensively defeat Romania at Cobadin, capturing the port of Constanta and the railway to Cernadova.
  • Battle of the Argeş

    The Germans defeat the Romanians at the Argeş river. Despite early gains, Romania's victory is scuppered when (naturalized German) General Sosescu's reserve unit fails to arrive.
  • Battle of Bucharest.

    Battle of Bucharest.
    The Germans capture the Romanian capital of Bucharest, forcing the Romanian government to flee to Moldova.
  • Fall of Baghdad

    Fall of Baghdad
    After the disastrous Siege of Kut, Frederick Stanley Maude assumes charge of the British forces in Mesopotamia. After recapturing Kut, he proceeds to masterfully capture Baghdad.
  • United States declares war on Germany.

    The United States of America declares war on Germany.
  • Nivelle Offensive.

    Nivelle Offensive.
    French general Robert Nivelle launches an offensive on the German lines. Despite his promise that the engagement would last no more than 48 hours and cost at most 10,000 men, 200,000 French troops died over almost a month of battle, causing low morale and mutiny throughout the French army.
  • Battle of Arras

    Battle of Arras
    The British again make limited gains at the Battle of Arras, losing extraordinary numbers of men in the process.
  • Kerensky Offensive.

    Kerensky Offensive.
    Alexander Kerensky's provisional Russian government launches an ill-conceived attack on Galicia on the border of Poland and Ukraine. The Germans gain an easy victory against the disjointed Russian army, which soon revolts under the Communist banner.
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    Battle of Passchendaele

    Field Marshal Haig disobeys the orders of everyone and attacks the Germans at Ypres again. Despite sustaining tremendous casualties and failing dismally to achieve all objectives, Haig's offensive inflicts unsustainable casualties on the Germans, who cannot afford such vast losses.
  • Battle of Cambrai

    Battle of Cambrai
    The British attack the German trenches with tanks at the battle of Cambrai. Despite great success, the Germans soon mount a counterattack, retaking all the territory initially gained by the British.
  • Battle of Jerusalem

    Battle of Jerusalem
    The British gain control of Jerusalem, an important and particularly symbolic victory in the Sinai and Palestine campaign.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

    The Russians, the Germans, and the Ottomans sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ceding territory to the Germans and ending Russia's participation in the war.
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    Ludendorff's Offensive.

    Erich Ludendorff, recognizing Germany's inability to win a war of attrition and the danger posed by the Americans, decides to launch a final push to... do something. Ludendorff's unclear aims are often cited by historians as one of the principle reasons Germany failed to achieve anything in the Spring Offensive.
  • Second Battle of the Marne

    Second Battle of the Marne
    Ludendorff plans to attack the main British force in Belgium, and plans to divert attention from these aims by attacking the Marne, where the Germans are again comprehensively defeated by the French.
  • Battle of Amiens

    Battle of Amiens
    The Allies defeat the Germans at the Battle of Amiens, prompting a large surrender of German troops.
  • Period: to

    100 Days Offensive.

    The Allies gain a string of victories against the depleted German army in the 100 Days Offensive, forcing the eventual surrender of the German Empire.
  • Second Battle of the Somme

    The Germans are pushed back beyond the Hindenburg Line at the second battle of the Somme.
  • Armistice.

    Armistice.
    The Germans and the Allies sign an armistice ending the war on the Western Front.
  • Allies occupy Istanbul

    Allies occupy Istanbul
    Allied troops occupy Istanbul, beginning the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.