8. The First World War, the “war to end all wars”, was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 10,000,000 soldiers and laid the groundwork for the resumption of hostilities just two decades later
World War I was a military conflict that engulfed much of the Earth from July 28, 1914, until November 11, 1918, involving more than 70 million soldiers from 32 separate countries. After a period of heightened tensions in Europe, the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, provided the spark to ignite the conflict. After Serbia failed to satisfy Austrian demands in response, war was declared. Two competing alliances of great powers – the Triple Entente consisting of France, Russia, and Great Britain and the Tripple Alliance of Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Italy – mobilized their armies in support of their respective factions and interests.
Although Germany made early advances into France via the Schlieffen Plan, by the end of 1914 the Western Front had stagnated into a stalemate that would continue until 1918. Whilst the Western Front persisted in a condition of perpetual trench warfare, the rest of the world underwent significant turmoil; in February 1917 the Russian Revolution took place, whilst in April 1917 the United States entered the conflict after fearing a German-Mexican alliance. Culminating in the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, the First World War was responsible for the deaths of millions, the disintegration of Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires, and laid the foundations for the rise of Nazism and the Second World War.