World War I

  • Crowning of Wilhelm I

    Crowning of Wilhelm I
    Kaiser Wilhelm I is crowned the Emperor of a united Germany following a decade of conflict waged to unite the individual German states under a unified government. Under Wilhelm I's and Minister Otto von Bismarck's leadership, Germany becomes one of the leading powers in Europe, matched only by Great Britain.
  • End of the Franco-Prussian War

    End of the Franco-Prussian War
    The Franco-Prussian War comes to a close. The war resulted in the creation of a German Empire, as well as the replacement of the Second French Empire with the Third French Republic. France as a nation was forced to pay a large war indemnity and was forced to surrender Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. It led to a strong anti-German sentiment in France, and saw the Germans adopt a foreign policy dedicated to isolating France.
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    Bismarck's alliances

    Foreign Minister Otto von Bismarck put an alliance system into place in Europe with intentions to keep the peace on the mainland. The main ideas behind his alliance system were to isolate a hostile France and to create alliances with Russia and Austria-Hungary to prevent a war in the Balkans region.
  • Three Emperors' League

    An agreement negotiated by Bismarck between Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary was signed in 1873. It pledged that the individual powers would unite against radical movements, and was the first of many alliances put into place after the formation of a unified Germany. It was later disbanded in 1875, after territorial disputes in the Balkans.
  • Dual Alliance

    Germany signs an agreement with Austria-Hungary, pledging military aid in case of Russian aggression. They also pledged benevolent neutrality were one power to be attacked by a third party (most likely France).
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    Triple Alliance

    The Triple Alliance signed between Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary in 1882. This treaty guaranteed military support between the three nations should they be attacked by two Great Powers, or France. It stood until Italy joined the Allied Powers against Germany and Austria-Hungary on May 23, 1915
  • Russian-German Reinsurance Treaty

    A secret agreement was signed between Russia and Germany in 1887. The treaty said that Russia and Germany would both delcare neutrality should the other power get involved in a war with a third party, unless Germany was to attack France or Russia was to attack Austria-Hungary. Wilhelm II refused to renew the treaty in 1890, leading to alliances between Britain and Russia and France and Russia.
  • Death of Wilhelm I

    Death of Wilhelm I
    Kasier Wilhelm I, the emperor of Germany after it's unification, dies in Berlin. He is briefly replaced by Frederick III. It was under Wilhelm I that German unification was achieved and that Bismarck's alliance system was created.
  • Wilhelm II crowned

    Wilhelm II crowned
    Wilhelm II is crowned Emperor of Germany after the death of Frederick III. Wilhelm II is the German Emperor credited to breaking apart the alliances created by Bismarck, and pursuing policies that threatened the peace in Europe and eventually led to the First World War.
  • Resignation of Otto von Bismarck

    Resignation of Otto von Bismarck
    Bismarck, under pressure from Wilhelm II, is forced to resign from the seat of Foreign Minister, and then Prime Minister. His resignation signifies the end of an effective alliance system, as his alliances are broken and replaced with new alliances that eventually lead to World War I.
  • Franco-Russian Alliance

    Franco-Russian Alliance
    Drafted August 17, 1892, the Franco-Russian Alliance was finalized on January 4, 1894. It declared that Russia and France were official allies, and it signified the end of French isolation and the undermining of German diplomatic supremacy in European politics.
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    South African War (Second Boer War)

    British war of imperialism with the Dutch republics in South Africa. It brought up concerns that the British were overextended around the world. It also resulted in the creation of an anti-British sentiment that brought Britain a need to join the alliance system.
  • Second Naval Law

    Second Naval Law
    Coinciding with the South African War, Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz proposes a naval expansion bill to the Reichstag. Passed on June 20, 1900, it doubled the size of the German Navy in an attempt to challenge the British fleet.
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    Rise of Balkan Nationalism

    A rise in Balkan nationalism, culminating in several wars, leads to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. This resurgance of nationalism will also lead to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which ignites the First World War.
  • Entente cordiale

    Entente cordiale
    The Entente cordiale (Anglo-French Entente) is signed between the British and French. French Foreign Minister Theophile Delcasse accepts British rule in Egypt in exchange for French control of Morocco. Settled colonial disputes between the two powers.
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    Algeciras Conference

    Pushed by the German government, it was an attempt to "test" the Entente Cordiale. Germany gained no territory, while Britain, France, Russia, and the United States began to see Germany as a threat. Germany grew paranoid of its surrounding nations following the Algeciras Conference.
  • British Response to German Naval Expansion

    British Response to German Naval Expansion
    British leaders, such as David Lloyd George, view German naval expansion as a direct threat, and increase the size of the British Royal Navy at trhe expense of the "People's Budget." Britain also unnofficially joins sides with the French-Russian bloc.
  • Naval Expansion

    Naval Expansion
    Led by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz and a group of German nationalists, the German Navy goes about an expansion program meant to challenge British naval domination. The British are forced to respond with increased naval armament.
  • Anglo-Russian Entente

    Each nation identified their respective territorial borders in Asia, as their shaky diplomatic rivalry came to an end. Signaled British "taking sides" with French and Russians against German aggression, and successfully united the Triple Entente.
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    Triple Entente

    Formed with the Anglo-Russian Entente, the Triple Entente represented the alliance of Russia, Great Britain, and France against German or Austrian hostility. The Triple Entente remains in place until March 3, 1918, with Russian surrender, leaving the Triple Entente as a French-British alliance (though, by this time, Britain and France had found new allies in Italy, Belgium, and the United States, among other nations).
  • Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
    A political move to block Serbian expansion, Austria-Hungary formally announces the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Balkans. This both incites an anti-Austrian feeling in the Balkans and forces Serbia to look south for expansion. This will lead to both Balkan Wars and World War I.
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    First Balkan War

    Serbia joins Greece and Bulgaria as the Balkan League and go to war against the Ottoman Empire over the regions of Macedonia and Albania. The Balkan League emerges victorious, dividing up Macedonia and bringing Albania independence.
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    Second Balkan War

    Dissatisfied with the division of Macedonia, Bulgaria goes to war against Serbia and Greece. The war ends in a Bulgarian defeat and an armistice. Macedonia is divided up between Serbia and Greece.
  • Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    Following the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, travels to Sarajevo as a show of Austrian power. The Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist group, enacts a plot to kill Archduke Ferdinand. They successfully kill the Archduke, igniting the events that lead to World War I.
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    Central Powers

    The Central Powers (formerly the Triple Alliance) came to formation with the outbreak of global war. The Central Powers were later joined by the Ottomon Empire and Bulgaria. They also saw Italy leave their side for the Allies in 1915.
  • "Blank Check"

    In response to a rise of tensions in the Balkans, Germany pledges support to Austria-Hungary in upholding the Triple Alliance if war was to break out with Russia.
  • July Ultimatum

    July Ultimatum
    An ultimatum delivered by the Austrian-Hungarian government to the Serbian government in response to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Called for either the arrest and capture of the Serbian Black Hand, or Austrian soldiers will police Serbia until the Black Hand is in Austrian custody. The Serbians decline, resulting in Austrian invasion and the launching of hostilities that would evolve into World War I.
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    Allied Powers

    Formed out of the Triple Entente, the Allied Powers were originally composed of France, Britain, and Russia (the Triple Entente); Serbia; and Belgium. Engaged in war with the Central Powers, the Allies grow to eventually include Italy, Japan, and the United States. They are eventually victorious with the unconditional surrender of the Germans. On June 28, 1919, they finish writing the Treaty of Versailles, imposing harsh restrictions and punishment on the Germans and formally ending the war.
  • Russian mobilization

    Russian mobilization
    Having promised support to the Balkans region if Austria was to invade, Russia begins mobilizing its military as a response to the July Ultimatum.
  • Total war

    Instituted at the start of the war, both sides employed a use of total war, where they focused the entirety of their resources and man power into their respective war efforts.
  • Schlieffen Plan

    Schlieffen Plan
    In response to Russian mobilization, the Germans mobilize against the French and Russians, with the intentions of quickly defeating the French to reduce the war to a single front. When the French mobilize roughly the same day, war is declared. The German Army's battleplan, the Schlieffen Plan, is enacted and launched, resulting in an invasion of France through a neutral Belgium. The invasion of Belgium brings the United Kingdom into the war, and global war is declared.
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    Submarine warfare

    In response to a British blockade, the German Navy launches a submarine campaign using its revolutionary U-boats. The U-boats unleash havoc on the Allied supply lines from America, cutting munitions reaching the Allied frontlines. As effective as it was, the submarine warfare had reprocussions in that it brought anti-German feelings with it, and it helped to bring the United States into the war against Germany.
  • War Raw Materials Board

    War Raw Materials Board
    Created by Jewish industrialist Walter Rathenau, the War Raw Materials Board was established to ration and distribute raw materials for the German war effort.
  • Eastern Front

    Eastern Front
    The Eastern Front of the First World War began with the Russian invasion of Eastern Germany. This attack was repelled by German commanders General Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff.
  • Battle of Tannenberg

    Battle of Tannenberg
    The German military decisively defeats the Russian invasion at Tannenberg. The German victory resulted in the destruction of the Russian Second Army, as well as a drastically weakening the Russian First Army. This allowed the Germans to turn the tide in the Eastern Front.
  • First air-to-air kill

    First air-to-air kill
    The airplane, realized only eleven years ago, was first used in military roles for reconnaissance missions by all sides as the First World War broke out. On September 8, the first air to air kill was recorded when a Russian aircraft rammed an Austrian aircraft.
  • First Battle of the Marne

    First Battle of the Marne
    The Allies emerge victorious at the week-long Battle of the Marne. This victory, won at a high price, brought the German advance on Paris to an end, resulting in the creation of a stalemate in Western Europe, as well as defeating the German Schlieffen Plan.
  • Race to the Sea

    Race to the Sea
    Following the First Battle of the Marne, both sides begin digging into their respective front lines. Beginning after Marne, they spread the trenches from Italy to the North Sea, turning the Western Front into a stalemate.
  • Battle of the Masurian Lakes

    Battle of the Masurian Lakes
    The German military, under the command of General Paul von Hindenburg, launch a counter offensive and drive the Russian military out of Germany at the Battle of the Masurian Lakes.
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    Western Front

    The Race to the Sea brought about a form of warfare later to be described as "Trench warfare." This form of warfare is what later came to define the combat in World War I, where two opposing armies would fight it out in long trenches and making mad rushes at each other.
  • Poisonous gas

    Poisonous gas
    The first significant use of poison gas on the battlefield. Deployed north of Ypres, the attack scattered the French forces defending the region and left a seven kilometer hole in the Allied frontline.
  • Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

    Sinking of the RMS Lusitania
    The RMS Lusitania, a passenger liner, was sunk by a German U-Boat off of Great Britain. The Lusitania was carrying 1100 people, including roughly 120 Americans, as well as munitions for the British Army. Its sinking resulted in an anti-German sentiment in the United States, as well as a condemnation of German submarine warfare.
  • Arabic Pledge

    Arabic Pledge
    Following the sinking of the Lusitania, the Germans continued unrestricted submarine warfare. This continued until September, during which, as a response to the sinking of a passenger liner, Arabic, the Germans vowed to warn nonmilitary ships prior to attacking with submarines. This was later known as the Arabic pledge, and was issued in order to avoid the inclusion of the United States in the European war.
  • Battle of Gallipoli

    Battle of Gallipoli
    Attempts by the British military to gain control of the Helispont and the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, failed after almost a year of intense fighting.
  • Sussex pledge

    Sussex pledge
    Even with the Arabic pledge signed, German U-boat UB-29 torpedoed the French ferry boat SS Sussex without warning, breaking the Arabic pledge and instigating the Sussex pledge in order to continue to keep the United States out of war. It stated that German U-boats would not fire on passenger ships and would have to confirm that merchant ships were armed before firing on them.
  • Battle of Jutland

    Battle of Jutland
    Launched as an attempt to break the British blockade, the German Navy confronted the Royal Navy off of Denmark. Tactically indecisive, the Battle of Jutland was the only significant ship-to-ship battle of the war, as well as one of the most significant naval battles in history. Afterwards, British dominance in the North Sea was maintained.
  • Battle of Albert

    Battle of Albert
    The Battle of Albert (the first battle in what would later be called the Battle of the Somme), broke out. In the first day, 60,000 British soldiers were slaughtered. The violence at Albert was so extensive that members of the German Army developed stress disorders due to the sheer amount of soldiers they killed.
  • Introduction of the tank

    Introduction of the tank
    At the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the British military introduces one of the Great War's most significant innovations: the tank. They successfully take several objectives, but the tank is slow, and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette is strategically insignifcant to the overall Battle of the Somme.
  • Battle of the Somme

    Battle of the Somme
    The bloody Battle of the Somme comes to a close with the German Army withdrawing to a line 40 miles from where they were at the start of the battle. Over a million lives are lost at the close of the Somme.
  • Battle of Verdun

    Battle of Verdun
    The Battle of Verdun came to a close as the French managed to repel a German offensive at Verdun. Costing a total of 300,000 lives, the German military fails to achieve both goals: the taking of Verdun and the inflicting of more casualties on the French military than suffered by the German military.
  • Zimmerman Telegram

    Zimmerman Telegram
    Sent by the German government, the Zimmerman Telegram was an attempt to convince the government of Mexico to distract the United States by declaring war on them, hopefully keeping them out of the European conflict. When discovered by the United States, it eventually led to a declaration of war from Congress.
  • February Revolution

    February Revolution
    The Russian bourgeoisie launches the February Revolution against the standing Russian Tsar, Nikolas II. It results in a regime change with the Russian Provisional Government taking control as Nikolas and the Romanovs abdicate the throne.
  • U.S. Declaration of War

    Following years of unrestricted submarine warfare and the revelation of the Zimmerman Telegram, the United States formally declares war on the Central Powers.
  • Balfour Declaration

    Balfour Declaration
    A declaration made by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, claiming the British government backed a Jewish state in Palestine but without prejudicing the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities.
  • October Revolution

    October Revolution
    Following an attempted coup by the right, the revolutionary Bolshevik Party launched a second revolution in Russia to overthrow the Provisional Government. Calling for a redistribution of land, an end to Russian involvement in the war, and bread for the peasantry, the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin take control of the Soviets and overthrow the Provisional Government.
  • Georges Clemenceau

    Georges Clemenceau
    Georges Clemenceau is elected as the Prime Minister of France. Clemenceau will be one of the most vindictive forces at the Paris Peace Conference, radically calling for punishment to be placed on the Germans for the war.
  • Fourteen Points Speech

    Fourteen Points Speech
    Standing in front of the United States Congress, President Woodrow Wilson presents the Fourteen Points, which he hoped to use as a basis for the post-war world. It gave Woodrow Wilson an image as a savior of Europe, boosting the morale of those oppressed by the leading world empires fighting in Europe.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

    Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
    Following the Russian Revolution, the Bolshevik government agreed to an unconditional surrender to the Central Powers, ending the war for the Russians. Closing the two-front war, Germany was now free to focus on the Western Front. It also guaranteed Russia would not have a place at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
  • Death of Gavrilo Princip

    Death of Gavrilo Princip
    Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, dies of tuberculosis at Terezin.
  • Shootdown of the Red Baron

    Shootdown of the Red Baron
    Manfred von Richtofen, more commonly known as the infamous Red Baron, was shot down near Amiens, France. Famous for scoring more than 80 confirmed kills during the war, it is unclear how exactly the Red Baron died. He still remains one of the most famous fighter pilots of all time.
  • Second Battle of the Marne

    Second Battle of the Marne
    The German military launches one final offensive, reaching a point 20 miles from Paris. It is repelled by a joint United States, French, Italian, and British military force, and marks the last time Germany was on the offensive.
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    German Revolution

    Sparked by German failures in World War I, Germany revolted against the government in a way similar to the Russian Revolution. It resulted in the abdication of the throne by Wilhelm II, and ended with the adoption of the Weimar Constitution.
  • Armistice

    After years of fighting, Germany calls an armistice, bringing hostilities on the Western Front to a close. The Allies, accepting, emerge as the winners of the First World War. Total, it took the lives of roughly 10,000,000 people, as well as brought about the downfall of the Russian Empire, German Empire, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. The bloodshed of World War I would only be matched by its successor, World War II.
  • Paris Peace Conference

    Paris Peace Conference
    Following the Armistice in 1918, the leaders of the Allied Powers, notably Woodrow Wilson (US), David Lloyd George (UK), and Georges Clemenceau (Fr), met in Paris to shape the post-war world. Notably, Woodrow Wilson worked to promote his Fourteen Points, while France and Britain worked to punish Germany as the supposed instigator of war.
  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris. The treaty created the League of Nations as an international peace making organization to prevent another war such as the First World War from happening again. At the same time, the French and British managed to make the treaty punishing on the Germans, helping to eventually instigate the Second World War.
  • League of Nations

    League of Nations
    Originally mentioned as one of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the League of Nations was intended as an international peacekeeping organization meant to prevent another Great War.
  • War Guilt Clause

    The section of the Treaty of Versailles that declared Germany the instigators of the war and forced large reparations and punishments to be placed on them. Backed heavily by Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George.
  • Rejection of the Treaty of Versailles

    Unwilling to comprimise on the issue of collective action in the Treaty of Versailles, the United States Congress rejects the Treaty of Versailles, keeping the United States out of the League of Nations and, as such, greatly weakening it as an international force.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Written by a German veteran of the Great War, All Quiet on the Western Front was a novel that acurately described the trench warfare of World War I.