World War I

By BrianR
  • The Central Powers

    The Central Powers
    Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria
  • The Allies

    The Allies
    1914: Serbia, Russia, France, Belgium, Japan, Montenegro, Great Britain (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa); 1915: Italy; 1916: Portugal and Romania; 1917: USA, Cuba, Brazil, Panama, Thailand, Liberia, China; 1918: Greece, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Haiti.
  • Period: to

    World War I

  • Ferdinand assassinated

    Ferdinand assassinated
    While visiting Serbia, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife Sophie, are assassinated by a Bosnian. Gavrilo Princip was linked to the Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand, which resented the Austrio-Hungarian empire's treatment of Serbia. The A-H E was determined to keep Serbia from becoming more powerful than it already was.
  • War Declared

    War Declared
    Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and Russia.
  • Russia

    Russia begins to mobilize armed forces. Austria-Hungary invades Serbia.
  • Outbreak of War

    Outbreak of War
    After years of militarism, nationalism, imperialism, and a complicated & faulty alliance system, war breaks out in Europe. This is the start of the Great War. Germany declares war on Russia on the 1st, invades Luxembourg on the 2nd, and declares war on France on the 3rd. By early September the Germans are within 50 miles of Paris, forcing the French government to flee.
  • German Movement

    German Movement
    Germany declares war on neutral Belgium and invades in a right flanking move designed to defeat France quickly. This violates a treaty signed by Prussia respecting Belgian neutrality. As a result of this invasion, Britain declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Canada follows suit and joins the war.
  • Invasion of Russia

    Invasion of Russia
    Austria-Hungary invades Russia, opening fighting on the Eastern Front.
  • American Neutrality

    American Neutrality
    President Woodrow Wilson declares U.S. neutrality.
  • Brussels Captured

    Brussels Captured
    The German Army captures Brussels while the Belgian army retreats to Antwerp.
  • Airplane

    The British use reconnaissance planes to gain perspective on German troop locations and movements. Airplanes gradually would be used for bombing raids on the front and for "strafing", or firing on, troops from the air. "Dogfights" began because it is easier to shoot down planes from the sky than from the ground. New heroes will emerge, such as Baron Manfred von Richthofen and Eddie Rickenbacker.
  • Battle of Tannenberg

    Battle of Tannenberg
    Battle of Tannenberg begins. It ends on 8/30 in total Russian defeat. This becomes Germany's greatest victory of the war inflicting over 250,000 casualties on the Russians.
  • First Battle of the Marne

    First Battle of the Marne
    The combined efforts of the French and British armies manage to stop the German advance at this battle, as a million and a half soldiers clash. Suffering horrifying casualties, both armies realize they need protection from the ferocious machine-gun fire and heavy artillery. Both sides quickly develope an elaborate trench systems (25,000 miles), which creates a stale-mate and extends the duration of the war. This first major Allied victory saved the French capital.
  • Battle of Flanders

    Battle of Flanders
    First major trench offensive in Belgium near village of Ypres. Germans attack, and the British & French counterattack. After 7 days of fighting 250,000 soldiers are dead.
  • Ottoman Empire

    Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire enters the war on the side of the Central Powers.
  • German Blockade

    German Blockade
    Germany begins to blockade the United Kingdom.
  • Dardanelles Narrows

    Dardanelles Narrows
    Allied forces try to break through the Dardanelles Narrows and open a supply route to Russia. The attack's failure, due in part to an unsuspected drifting minefield that sank or disabled five warships, led to the sacking of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and 300,000 Allied casualties.
  • Poison Gas

    Poison Gas
    First use of poison gas by Germans during the Second Battle of Ypres (Belgium). 15,000 men are gassed. French soldiers are completely unprepared, many literally dying where they stand. Others are blinded permanently, while others have breathing difficulties for the rest of their lives.
  • Italy Switches Side

    Italy Switches Side
    In the secret Treaty of London, Italy agrees to switch side in exchange for Austro-Hungarian territory, German African territory, and a large sum of money.
  • Submarine Warfare

    Submarine Warfare
    A British blockade of North Sea leads to unlimited sub warfare by Germany. The Lusitania is sunk killing 1198, including 128 Americans. Wilson resists the call to war.
  • Bombing of London

    Bombing of London
    German zeppelins bomb London for the first time, causing extensive fires as WW I impacts urban civilian life.
  • British Gas

    British Gas
    As part of a major Allied offensive on the Western Front, British forces launch the Third Battle of Artois, during which they use poison gas for the first time.
  • Failure in Turkey

    Failure in Turkey
    Allies retreat from the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, ending a disastrous invasion of the Ottoman Empire that resulted in 252,000 Allied casualties and greatly discredited the Allied military command. 251,000 Turks lost their lives.
  • Battle of Verdun

    Battle of Verdun
    The Germans opened the Battle of Verdun. It lasts until December 18 and results in a French victory. There were 1 million French and German casualties.
  • Battle of Jutland

    Battle of Jutland
    The British fleet fights the German fleet in the Battle of Jutland. It lasts through June 1. The British did lose more ships (14 ships and over 6,000 lives) than the Germans (9 ships and over 2,500 casualties). But the German fleet was never again to be in a position to put to sea and challenge the British Navy in the North Sea.
  • Battle of the Somme

    Battle of the Somme
    The Allies launch the Battle of the Somme. 1.25 million casualties result. The battle lasts until November 18 with nothing won by either side.
  • Avoiding War

    Avoiding War
    "Big Navy Act" is passes in hopes of avoiding war through military strength. In May, an ultimatum from Wilson secures Germany's promise to stop attacks on merchant vessels without warning.
  • Tank Debut

    Tank Debut
    The tank first goes into battle at Somme.
  • Wilson reelected

    Wilson reelected
    President Wilson was reelected. His campaign's platform included the promise, "he kept us out of the war."
  • Zimmerman Note

    Zimmerman Note
    Reich Foreign Secretary Zimmermann's telegram to Mexico urging her entry into war against the United States is discovered and translated by the British. It said if the U.S. declared war, Germany would offer Mexico an alliance. Germany suggested that Mexico could win back lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
  • Submarine Warfare

    Submarine Warfare
    Germany announces renewal of unlimited submarine warfare in the Atlantic, warning that submarines will attack all ships, including civiliain passenger carriers, in war-zone waters.
  • U.S. Cuts Ties with Germany

    U.S. Cuts Ties with Germany
    A German sub torpedoes and sings the American liner Housatonic off the Sicilian coast. The U.S. then cuts diplomatic ties with Germany.
  • Russian Revolution Begins

    Russian Revolution Begins
    Czar Nicholas II is forced to give up his throne and a provisional government is formed, headed by Alexander Kerensky. Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, later this year overthrow Kerensky, and form a Communist state. Kerensky failed to deal with economic problems and was slow to enact political changes.
  • Occupation of Baghdad

    Occupation of Baghdad
    British forces occupy Baghdad, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Baghdad would become the capital of Iraq when the nation was created in 1920. British rule continued until 1932.
  • American Ships Sunk

    American Ships Sunk
    German U-boats torpedo two American ships, the Illinois and the City of Memphis. The U.S. declares war on Germany April 6 and cuts diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary April 8.
  • U.S. Enters War

    U.S. Enters War
    The United States declares war on Germany, a result of unlimited sub warfare and the Zimmerman telegram. General John Pershing is chosen to command the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe.
  • U.S. Draft

    U.S. Draft
    The U.S. draft board announces that 9.5 million American men have been registered to serve in the armed forces. Men between the ages of 21 and 31 are required to register. 72% of the American men who will fight in the war wil be draftees.
  • American Troops

    American Troops
    Nearly 200,000 American troops begin landing in France, led by General John J. Pershing.
  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Lawrence of Arabia
    Arab forces led by Englishman T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") capture the port of Aqaba from the Turks.
  • Yugoslavia Created

    Yugoslavia Created
    Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes agree to the Pact of Corfu, forming a union called Yugoslavia.
  • Lenin Sneaks In

    Lenin Sneaks In
    Disguised Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin sneaks into Petrograd to organize an armed takeover of the Russian government.
  • Germans Bomb France

    Germans Bomb France
    German planes bomb the French cities of Dunkirk, Calais, and Belfort.
  • Balfour Declaration

    Balfour Declaration
    Great Britain issues the Balfour Declaration, stating the British intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The declaration was included in the British mandate over Palestine, approved by the League of Nations in 1922 over the objection of Arabs.
  • Canadian Gains, Russian Change

    Canadian Gains, Russian Change
    After three months of horrific fighting, the Third Battle of Ypres ends when Canadian forces take the village of Passchendaele in Belgium. Nearly 250,000 casualties were suffered by both sides, and the Allies advance five miles. On the same day, behind Bolshevik Party leader Vladimir Lenin, revolutionaries launch the October Revolution, a nearly bloodless coup against Russia's ineffectual Provisional Government. Bolshevik Russia is later renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
  • Wilson & Railroads

    Wilson & Railroads
    President Woodrow Wilson places the nation's railroads under government control.
  • 14 Points

    14 Points
    President Woodrow Wilson announces his 14 Points as the basis for peace. It included the creation of the League of Nations.
  • Russian/German Armistice

    Russian/German Armistice
    Russia signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, ending the fighting on the Eastern Front. The treaty removed Finland, Poland, the Ukraine, and Baltic states from Russian control.
  • Russian Civil War

    Russian Civil War
    French and British troops land at Murmansk, along Russia's Arctic shore, in order to support anti-Bolshevik "White" forces in the Russian Civil War.
  • Germany's Final Offensive

    Germany's Final Offensive
    Germany launches its last major offensive, the Second Battle of Somme, an all-out drive to win the war before American troops land in Europe.
  • Second Battle of the Somme

    Second Battle of the Somme
    The Second Battle of the Somme ends. The Germans advanced almost 40 miles toward Paris, inflicted 200,000 casualties, and captured 70,000 prisoners but suffered nearly as many casualties and exhausted themselves in the process.
  • Belleau Wood

    Belleau Wood
    The AEF Second Division would clear the Germans from Belleau Wood by June 25. At this point the Germans coined a name for the Yankee troops -- the Hounds of Hell.
  • War Reaches America

    War Reaches America
    The port of New York is closed after nine ships off the Atlantic coast are sunk by German U-boats, and German mines are discovered in Delaware Bay.
  • Allies Counterattack

    Allies Counterattack
    A counterattack by the Allies on the Western Front marked the beginning of their final offensive.
  • Eastern Front

    Eastern Front
    Anarchy reigns in Petrograd, Russia, as Bolsheviks massacre the bourgeoisie and threaten to execute British officials.
  • The Meuse-Argonne

    The Meuse-Argonne
    More than 200,000 U.S. troops are aided by 48,000 French. The sky is filled with Allied planes as French, Italian, U.S., Belgian, Portuguese, and Brazilian pilots provide air support. The Germans couldn't match such an impressive lineup. The fighting ended with the Armistice on November 11 after 100,000 German casualties. 26,000 Americans had been killed and 100,000 wounded. It was the largest and costliest battle of the war for the Americans.
  • Jewish Brigades

    Jewish Brigades
    British forces supported by Jewish Brigades begin the last major offensive against the Turks in what would become the state of Israel.
  • Bad Day for Germans

    Bad Day for Germans
    A bad day for the German effort. Its ally Bulgaria drops out of the war, its Turkish allies sue for peace, and British troops break through the Hindenburg Line and take 22,000 prisoners. General Erich von Ludendorff urges his superiors to negotiate an armistice. Ludendorff resigns Oct. 26.
  • Germans Retreat

    Germans Retreat
    British troops break through on the Western Front and pursue swiftly withdrawing German forces.
  • Corporal York

    Corporal York
    During the final Allied offensive, U.S. Army corporal Alvin C. York kills 25 Germans in France's Argonne Forest, captures 132, and saves his small unit from annihilation by a German machine-gun nest.
  • End of Ottoman Empire

    End of Ottoman Empire
    The Armistice of Mudros, signed on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea, marks the surrender and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
  • War Ends

    War Ends
    Germany signs an armistice ending World War I. More than 100,000 American soldiers lost their lives in the war. It would eventually involve 32 nations, destroy four empires, and cost the lives of 17 million people.
  • Hungary

    Hungary declares independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is proclaimed a republic.
  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    From January through June. The treaty changed the map of Europe, making it look like a great jigsaw puzzle, dividing up the old empires, and establishing the League of Nations. Many Germans were opposed to the treaty provision, especially payment of reparations to the Allies for the cost of the war and loss of lands. It was a great source of bitterness in Germany and would later lead to World War II.
  • Prisoners Released

    Prisoners Released
    Germany releases all Allied prisoners of war.
  • New German Government

    New German Government
    Germany adopts a democratic federal constitution and becomes known as the Weimar Republic. The republic weathers the economic recovery of postwar Germany, but succumbed to Adolf Hitler during the worldwide depression of the early 1930s.
  • New Austria

    New Austria
    Austria signs the Treaty of Saint-Germain. It formally marks the end of the Hapsburg monarchy and forbids the union of Austria and Germany.
  • Treaty Failure

    Treaty Failure
    In a vote of 49-35, the U.S. Senate fails to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, and with that rejects the League of Nations and other initiatives pushed on Europe by Woodrow Wilson.
  • Conference of San Remo

    Conference of San Remo
    At the Conference of San Remo, called by the former Allies to divide up the former Ottoman Empire, Britain gets the mandate for Palestine. Palestinian Arabs called it the "year of catastrophe."
  • War Reparations

    War Reparations
    In Paris, the Allies set Germany's war reparation payments at 10 billion pounds over 42 years. The payments were reduced by two-thirds the following January.
  • Hitler and the Nazi Party

    Hitler and the Nazi Party
    Adolf Hitler becomes president of Germany's National Socialist (Nazi) Party.
  • Mussolini

    Fascist leader Benito Mussolini becomes premier of Italy.
  • Ruhr Occupation

    Ruhr Occupation
    French and Belgian troops occupy the German industrial region of the Ruhr in accordance with the treaty that ended the war.