WWI Timeline

  • Allies

    The Allies were first known as the Triple Entente, and they consisted of France, Britain, and Russia. They were one of two major defense alliances in Europe.
  • Central Powers

    Central Powers
    The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.
    Germany and Austria-Hungary, together with the Ottoman Empire—an empire of mostly Middle Eastern lands controlled by the Turks would later be known as the Central Powers.
  • Trench Warfare

    Trench Warfare
    Trench warfare was a war fought in trenches. In between them was was No Man's Land which was filled with shell craters and barbed wire.
  • 1914 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    1914 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was visiting the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. But then Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip shot the Archduke and his wife in support of Black Hand, a nationalist group. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia.
    The alliance system overcomplicated the conflict. On August 1-3, Germany, to support Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia and its ally, France. When Germany invaded Belgium, Britain declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary.
  • Schlieffen Plan

    Schlieffen Plan
    Germany invaded Belgium, with a strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan. This plan called for a holding action against Russia, combined with a quick drive through Belgium to Paris; after France had fallen, the two German armies would defeat Russia. As German troops swept across Belgium, thousands of civilians fled in terror.
  • Sinking of British liner Arabic

    Sinking of British liner Arabic
    After Lusitania, President Wilson ruled out a military response in favor of a sharp protest to Germany. Three months later, in August 1915, a U-boat sank another British liner, the Arabic, drowning two Americans. Again the United States protested, and this time Germany agreed not to sink any more passenger ships.
  • Sinking of French passenger liner Sussex

    Sinking of French passenger liner Sussex
    Germany broke its promise and torpedoed an unarmed French ship, the Sussex. It sank and passengers with Americans were killed or injured. Again the United States warned that it would break off diplomatic relations unless Germany changed its tactics. Again Germany agreed, but there was a condition: if the United States could not persuade Britain to lift its blockade against food and fertilizers, Germany would consider renewing unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • Battle of Somme

    Battle of Somme
    The Battle of the Somme was a battle between July 1 to November. Final casualties totaled about 1.2 million, yet only about seven miles of ground changed hands. It happened in trenches where armies moved for yards. It was bloody, devastating, and mostly inconclusive.
  • Germany blockades the North Sea

    Germany blockades the North Sea
    Germany counterblockades the North Sea with U-boats because of a British blockade there too. America could not import or export goods from the area so they saw it as threatening.
  • Selective Service Act

    Selective Service Act
    The act required men to register with the government in order to be randomly selected for military service.
  • Zimmerman Note

    Zimmerman Note
    The Zimmermann note was a telegram from Germany to Mexico that was intercepted by British agents. The telegram proposed an alliance between Mexico and Germany and promised that if war with the United States broke out, Germany would support Mexico in recovering “lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.”
  • Bolshevik Revolution

    Bolshevik Revolution
    Revolutionaries in Russia ousted the czar in March 1917 due to the bad effects of the war and made a provisional goverment. In November, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Trotsky, overthrew the provisional government. They set up a Communist state and sought peace with the Central Powers.
  • Convoy System

    Convoy System
    A system where a heavy guard of destroyers escorted merchant ships back and forth across the Atlantic in groups.
  • American Expeditionary Force and General John J. Pershing

    American Expeditionary Force and General John J. Pershing
    The American Expeditionary Force (AEF), led by General John J. Pershing, included men from widely separated parts of the country. American infantrymen were nicknamed doughboys, possibly because of the white belts they wore, which they cleaned with pipe clay, or “dough.” Most doughboys had never ventured far from the farms or small towns where they lived, and the sophisticated sights
    and sounds of Paris made a vivid impression.
  • Shell shock, trench foot, trench mouth

    Shell shock, trench foot, trench mouth
    Shell shock: a complete emotional collapse
    Trench foot, caused by standing in cold wet trenches for long periods of time without changing into dry socks or boots. First the toes would turn red or blue, then they would become numb, and finally they would start to rot. The only solution was to amputate the toes, and in some cases the entire foot. A painful infection of the gums and throat, called trench mouth, was also common among the soldiers.
  • Second battle of the Marne

    Second battle of the Marne
    By May 1917, Germans were within 50 miles of Paris. The Americans arrived just in time to help stop the German advance at Cantigny in France. In July and August, they helped win the Second Battle of the Marne. The tide had turned against the Central Powers. In September, U.S. soldiers began to mount offensives
    against the Germans at Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne area.
  • Conscientious Objector

    Conscientious Objector
    A conscientious objector, a person who opposes warfare on moral grounds, pointing out that the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
  • Committee on Public Information and "the four minute men"

    Committee on Public Information and "the four minute men"
    Committee on Public Information (CPI): propaganda agency with George Creel as the head. He hired "four minute men" to talk to about anything including things such as the draft, rationing, bond drives, victory gardens, and topics such as “Why We Are Fighting” and “The Meaning of America.”
  • Anti Germany sentiment in America

    Anti Germany sentiment in America
    Americans who had emigrated from other nations, especially those from Germany and Austria-Hungary were attacked. The most bitter attacks were directed against the nearly 2 million Americans who had been born in Germany, but other foreignborn persons and Americans of German descent suffered as well.
  • Raising money for the war

    Raising money for the war
    The US would use taxes, a progressive income tax (which taxed high incomes at a higher rate than low incomes), a war-profits tax, and higher excise taxes on tobacco, liquor, and luxury goods. It raised the rest through public borrowing by selling “Liberty Loan” and “Victory Loan” bonds.
  • Wilson's "Peace without Victory" speech

    Wilson's "Peace without Victory" speech
    After the election, Wilson tried to mediate between the warring alliances. The attempt failed. In a speech before the Senate in January 1917, the president called for “a peace without victory...a peace between equals,” in which neither side would impose harsh terms on the other. Wilson hoped that all nations would join in a “league for peace” that would work to extend democracy, maintain freedom of the seas, and reduce armaments.
  • Sinking of British Liner Lusitania

    Sinking of British Liner Lusitania
    A German u-boat sank a British liner that had Americans. Germany said that the liner had ammunition, but America would become outraged anyways because of the loss of American life. American opinion turned against Germany and the Central Powers.
  • 369th Infantry Regiment

    369th Infantry Regiment
    The all-black 369th Infantry Regiment saw more continuous duty on the front lines than any other American regiment.
  • National War Labor Board

    National War Labor Board
    To deal with disputes between management and labor, President Wilson made the National War Labor Board in 1918. The board worked to improve factory conditions. It pushed for an eight-hour workday, promoted safety inspections, and enforced the child labor ban.
  • Food Administration

    Food Administration
    To help produce and conserve food, Wilson set up the Food Administration under Herbert Hoover. Instead of rationing food, people would be encourage to watch what they eat, make gardens, etc.
  • Espionage and Sedition Acts

    Espionage and Sedition Acts
    Under the Espionage and Sedition Acts a person could be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for interfering with the war effort or for saying anything disloyal, profane, or abusive about the government or the war effort.
  • Eugene v Debs Arrest

    Eugene v Debs Arrest
    The Espionage and Sedition Acts targeted socialists and labor leaders. Eugene V. Debs was handed a ten-year prison sentence for speaking out against the war and the draft.
  • Emma Goldman

    Emma Goldman
    The anarchist Emma Goldman received a two-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for organizing the No Conscription League. When she left jail, the authorities deported her to Russia.
  • Big Bill Hollywood and the IWW

    Big Bill Hollywood and the IWW
    “Big Bill” Haywood and other leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) were accused of sabotaging the war effort because they urged workers to strike for better conditions and higher pay. Haywood was sentenced to a long prison term. (He later skipped bail and fled to Russia.) Under such federal pressure, the IWW faded away.
  • War Industries Board

    War Industries Board
    War Industries Board (WIB): established in 1917 and reorganized in 1918under the leadership of Baruch, a prosperous businessman. The board encouraged companies to use mass-production techniques to increase efficiency, and eliminating waste by standardizing products—for instance, by making only 5 colors of typewriter ribbons instead of 150. They set production quotas and allocated raw materials. Under the WIB, industrial production in the United States increased by about 20 percent
  • Victor Burger

    Victor Burger
    Finally, in a burst of anti-German fervor, Americans changed the name of German measles to “liberty measles.” Hamburger—named after the German city of Hamburg—became “Salisbury steak” or “liberty sandwich,” depending on whether you were buying it in a store or eating it in a restaurant. Sauerkraut was renamed “liberty cabbage,” and dachshunds turned into “liberty pups.”
  • Wilson's 14 points

    Wilson's 14 points
    1. There should be no secret treaties among nations.
    2. Freedom of the seas should be maintained for all.
    3. Tariffs and other economic barriers among nations should be lowered or abolished in order to foster free trade.
    4. Arms should be reduced “to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety, thus lessening the possibility of military responses” during diplomatic crises.
    5. Colonial policies should consider the interests of the colonial peoples .
  • Austria-Hungary surrenders to the Allies

    Austria-Hungary surrenders to the Allies
    On November 3, 1918, Austria-Hungary surrendered to the Allies.
  • Establishment of the German Republic

    Establishment of the German Republic
    On the same day Austria-Hungary surrenders, German sailors mutinied against government authority. It spread quickly. Everywhere in Germany, groups of soldiers and workers organized revolutionary councils. On November 9, socialist leaders in the capital, Berlin, established a German republic. The kaiser gave up the throne.
  • Cease fire and Armistice

    Cease fire and Armistice
    Although there were no Allied soldiers on German territory and no truly decisive battle had been fought, the Germans were too exhausted to continue fighting. So, Germany agreed to a cease-fire and signed the armistice, or truce, that ended the war.
  • Reparations and the War Guilt Clause

    Reparations and the War Guilt Clause
    The treaty humiliated Germany. It had a war-guilt clause forcing Germany to admit sole responsibility for starting World War I. Although their militarism had played a major role in igniting the war, other European nations had been guilty of provoking diplomatic crises before the war. Furthermore, there was no way Germany could pay the huge financial reparations. Germany was stripped of its colonial possessions in the Pacific, which might have helped it pay its reparations bill
  • Agreements made in the Treaty of Versailles

    Agreements made in the Treaty of Versailles
    The Treaty established Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia and shifted the boundaries of other nations. It cut five areas out of the Ottoman Empire and gave them to France and Great Britain as temporary colonies. Those two Allies were to rule until the areas were ready for self-rule and independence. Germany couldn't maintain army. And they had to return the region of Alsace-Lorraine to France and to pay reparations, or war damages, amounting to $33 billion to the Allies.