Information

World War I - History



History of Vietnam during World War I

At the outbreak of World War I, Vietnam, nominally under the Nguyễn dynasty, was under French protectorate and part of French Indochina. While seeking to maximize the use of Indochina's natural resources and manpower to fight the war, France drafted many Vietnamese to deploy and cracked down all patriotic movements in Vietnam. [1]


World War I on Land

After the swift German invasion of France was stopped at the Marne, 'the race to the sea' followed as each side tried to outflank each other ever closer to the English Channel. This left the entire Western Front divided by over 400 miles of trenches, around which the war stagnated. Despite massive battles like Ypres, little progress was made and a battle of attrition emerged, caused partly by German intentions to 'bleed the French dry' at Verdun and Britain's attempts on the Somme. There was more movement on the Eastern Front with some major victories, but there was nothing decisive and the war carried on with high casualties.

Attempts to find another route into their enemy’s territory led to the failed Allied invasion of Gallipoli, where Allied forces held a beachhead but were halted by fierce Turkish resistance. There was also conflict on the Italian front, the Balkans, the Middle East, and smaller struggles in colonial holdings where the warring powers bordered each other.


2. World War One: History in an Hour

Rupert Colley has published an abridged version of World War I title history in an hour. This condensed version details the war from the side of each great power including the triple entente and the central powers. With around 9 million people losing their lives during the conflict, this one-hour abridged version of the war details some of the technology and the horrors of war that were faced. With a clear overview of how the war got started as well as some of the largest turning points throughout the battles, this is an in-depth look that could be the perfect way you could dedicate an hour to learning more about this dark time in human history. This is an essential book for history lovers and for anyone interested in a quick and deep dive into World War I.

  • Authors: Rupert Colley (Author)
  • Publisher: HarperPress (March 29, 2012)
  • Pages: 102 pages

Famous Birthdays

Paul von Hindenburg

1847-10-02 Paul von Hindenburg, German WW1 general and President of Germany (1925-34), born in Posen, Duchy of Posen, Prussia (d. 1934)

    Helmuth J L von Moltke, German general/chief of staff (WWI) Alfred von Tirpitz, German architect of the Imperial Navy (Tirpitz Plan, Unrestricted U-boat Warfare) and World War I Grand Admiral, born in Küstrin, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1930)

Horatio Kitchener

1850-06-24 Horatio Kitchener, British General who commanded British forces during the Battle of Omdurman (Sudan) and the Second Boer War who became British Secretary of State for War during WWI (1914-16), born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland (d. 1916)

    John [Denton Pinkstone] French, 1st Earl of Ypres and British WWI field marshal, born in Ripple, Kent, England (d. 1925) Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, admiral (WWI), born in Graz, Austrian Empire (d. 1921) Otto Liman von Sanders, German general in Turkey (WWI) Louis Franchet d'Espèrey, French general during WWI, born in Mostaganem, French Algeria (d. 1942) Nicholas Nikolaevich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia and general in World War I (1914-18), born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire (d. 1929) Otto von Below, German commandant (WWI)

John Jellicoe

1859-12-05 John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, British Admiral of the Fleet in World War I (Battle of Jutland), born in Southampton, England (d. 1935)

John J. Pershing

1860-09-13 John J. Pershing [Blackjack], American general and WWI commander, born in Laclede, Missouri (d. 1948)

Douglas Haig

1861-06-19 Douglas Haig, British fieldmarshal (Sudan, WWI), nicknamed "Butcher Haig" due to mass casualties under his command during the Battle of the Somme, born in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (d. 1928)

    Maximilian von Spee, German admiral (Commander of the East Asia Squadron during WWI), born in Copenhagen, Denmark (d. 1914) Jane Delano, American nurse and educator (Red Cross Nursing Service during WWI), born in Montour Falls, New York (d. 1919) Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich, Russian WWI general, born in Moscow, Russian Empire (d. 1933)

Reinhard Scheer

1863-09-30 Reinhard Scheer, German admiral and commander of the High Seas Fleet in World War I (Battle of Jutland), born in Obernkirchen, Electorate of Hesse (d. 1928)

Franz Ferdinand

1863-12-18 Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria whose assassination in 1914 led to declarations of war in WWI, born in Graz, Austria (d. 1914)

    Juhan Liiv, Estonian poet (I Saw Estonia Yesterday), born in Allatzkiwwi, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (d. 1913)

Erich Ludendorff

1865-04-09 Erich Ludendorff, German general during World War I, born in Kruszewnia, Prussia (d. 1937)

Edith Cavell

1865-12-04 Edith Cavell, British nurse (WWI), born in Swardeston, Norfolk, England (d. 1915)

    Emanuele F, duke of Aosta, Italian general (WWI)/fascist Ruprecht, crown prince of Bavaria and WWI Commander of the 6th army, last heir to the Bavarian throne, born in Munich (d. 1955) Clara Noyes, American nurse (head of the American Red Cross WW1), born in Port Deposit, Maryland (d. 1936)

David Beatty

1871-01-17 David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty and British Admiral of the Fleet during World War I (Battle of Jutland), born in Nantwich, England (d. 1936)

    Lena Ashwell, British actress and theatrical manager who was the 1st to organize large-scale entertainment for WWI troops at the front, born on the ship Wellesley (d. 1957) Arthur Currie, Canadian soldier (fought in WWI), born in Napperton, Ontario (d. 1933)

Mata Hari

1876-08-07 Mata Hari [Margaretha Geertruida Zelle], Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan and convicted German WWI spy, born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands (d. 1917)

    Albert Thomas, French socialist politician (Minister of Armament WW1), born in Champigny-sur-Marne (d. 1932) Paul Poiret, French couturier, the most fashionable dress designer of pre-World War I, born in Paris (d. 1944) Colin Blythe, English cricketer (outstanding slow lefty pre-WWI), born in Deptford (d. 1917) Herbert Strudwick, cricketer (England wicket-keeper before & after WWI) Georg von Trapp, Austrian WWI submarine commander and inspiration for "The Sound of Music" character, born in Zara, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Austria-Hungary (d. 1947) James Reese Europe, American ragtime and early jazz arranger, composer, and bandleader in New York, and with the military in France during WWI, born in Mobile, Alabama (d. 1919) [1]

Harold Gillies

1882-06-17 Harold Gillies, New Zealand father of modern plastic surgery who pioneered skin graft techniques on injured soldiers in WWI, born in Dunedin, New Zealand (d. 1960) [1]

    Joe English, Flemish Irish painter (designed WWI gravestones), born in Bruges, Belgium (d. 1918) Gervais Raoul Lufbery, French-American World War I fighter pilot and flying ace, born in Chamalières, France (d. 1918) William Booth, England Test cricket batsman (WWI 2 Tests), born in Pudsey, England (d. 1916) Phil Mead, English cricketer (strong batsman for England pre- & post-WWI), born in Battersea, Surrey (d. 1958) Edward "Mick" Mannock, British WWI flying ace (Victoria Cross), born in British Isles (d. 1918) A C "Jack" Russell, cricketer (prolific England batsman post-WWI) Alvin York, American World War I soldier who led a famed attack on a German machine gun nest (Medal of Honor), born in Pall Mall, Tennessee (d. 1964)

T. E. Lawrence

1888-08-16 T. E. Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia], British author, soldier and diplomat famous for his liaison role in Arabia during WWI, born in Tremadog, Caernarfonshire, Wales (d. 1935)

    Herbie Taylor, South African cricket batsman and captain (42 Tests 2,936 runs @ 40.77 7 x 100s), born in Durban, South Africa (d. 1973) Eddie Rickenbacker, American aviator "Ace of Aces" (WWI), born in Columbus, Ohio (d. 1973) Oswald Boelcke, German World War I pilot (d. 1916)

The Red Baron

1892-05-02 Manfred von Richthofen [The Red Baron], German World War I fighter ace, born in Wrocław, Poland (d. 1918)

    Henry Johnson, American soldier of 369th regiment (aka Harlem Hell Fighters), 1st US WWI soldier to receive the Croix de guerre after fighting a German raid in hand-to-hand combat to rescue a fellow soldier (posthumous Medal of Honour, 2015), born in Tallahassee, Florida, (d. 1929) Alfred Edwin McKay, Canadian World War One flying ace (d. 1917) Albert Jacka, Australian soldier, first Australian World War I Victoria Cross winner (d. 1932)

Hermann Goering

1893-01-12 Hermann Goering, Nazi Party leader, Vice-Chancellor of Germany (1941-45) and World War I fighter pilot ace, born in Rosenheim, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire (d. 1946)

Billy Bishop

1894-02-08 Billy Bishop, Canadian First World War flying ace, born in Owen Sound, Ontario (d. 1956)

    Gerald F. Bogan, U.S. Navy aviator and vice admiral who served in World War I & II, born in Mackinac Island, Michigan (d. 1973) Hunter "Stork" Hendry, Australian cricketer (Australian all-rounder post-WWI), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 1988) Jack Gregory, Australian cricketer (Australian all-rounder of post-WWI years), born in North Sydney, New South Wales (d. 1973) Eugene Bullard, 1st African-American military pilot, flew for France in World War I as part of the French Foreign Legion, born in Columbus, Georgia (d. 1961) Wop May, Canadian aviator, flying ace in the WWI, born in Carberry, Manitoba (d. 1952) Ernst Udet, German WWI pilot and notable flying ace who helped develop the Luftwaffe under the Nazi Party, born in Frankfurt am Main, German Empire (d. 1941) Karl Allmenröder, German World War I flying Ace, born in Wald, Rhine Province, Germany (d. 1917) Henry Allingham, British supercentenarian and World War I veteran, born in Clapton, London (d. 2009) Douglas Campbell, American aviator and World War I flying ace, born in San Francisco, California (d. 1990) Charles Kuentz, WW1 veteran, changed nationality 4 times (d.2005) Erich Loewenhardt, German flying ace of World War I, born in Province of Silesia, Poland (d. 1918) Werner Voss, German World War I flying ace, born in Krefeld, Germany (d. 1917) Frank Luke, American World War I pilot (d. 1918) Justin Tuveri, Italian veteran of the First World War (d. 2007) Maurice Martenot, French cellist, WWI radio telegrapher, and instrument inventor (ondes Martenot), born in Paris, France (d. 1980) Indra Lal Roy, Indian World War I flying ace, born in Calcutta, British India (d. 1918) Fritz Bayerlein, German general (WWI, Poland, Libya, St-Lo), born in German Empire (d. 1970) Robert Meier, German WW1 veteran, formerly Germany's oldest man. (d. 2007) Bill Stone, British serviceman one of the last surviving veterans of World War I John Piper, British writer (US Churches in WWI) and official war painter, born in Epsom, Surrey, England (d. 1992) Michael Stedman, British World War I Historian and Author

Aero Squadron Formed

The 1st Aero Squadron, also known as the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, was formed on March 5, 1913, and it remains as America’s oldest flying unit. President William Taft ordered the unit organized due to increasing tensions between the U.S. and Mexico. At its’ origin, the 1st Squadron had 9 airplanes with 6 pilots and approximately 50 enlisted men.

On March 19, 1916, General John J. Pershing ordered the 1st Aero Squadron to report to Mexico and therefore the first U.S. aviation unit to participate in military action. On April 7, 1916, Lt. Foulois became the very first American pilot to be captured even though he was only held for a day.

Their experience in Mexico taught both the Army and the U.S. Government a very valuable lesson. The Squadron’s main weakness was that it had too few airplanes to properly conduct a military operation. World War I was teaching the importance of each squadron having 36 total airplanes: 12 operational, 12 for replacements, and 12 more in reserve of 12. The 1st Aero Squadron consisted of only 8 airplanes with minimal spare parts.

In April 1916 with only 2 airplanes in the flyable condition in the 1st Aero Squadron, the Army requested a $500,000 appropriation from Congress to purchase 12 new airplanes – the Curtiss R-2’s that were equipped with Lewis guns, automatic cameras, bombs, and radios


World War I - History

Who fought in World War I?

World War I was fought between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers. The main members of the Allied Powers were France, Russia, and Britain. The United States also fought on the side of the Allies after 1917. The main members of the Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.

Where was most of the fighting?

The majority of the fighting took place in Europe along two fronts: the western front and the eastern front. The western front was a long line of trenches that ran from the coast of Belgium to Switzerland. A lot of the fighting along this front took place in France and Belgium. The eastern front was between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria on one side and Russia and Romania on the other.

Although there were a number of causes for the war, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the main catalyst for starting the war. After the assassination, Austria declared war on Serbia. Then Russia prepared to defend its ally Serbia. Next, Germany declared war on Russia to protect Austria. This caused France to declare war on Germany to protect its ally Russia. Germany invaded Belgium to get to France which caused Britain to declare war on Germany. This all happened in just a few days.

A lot of the war was fought using trench warfare along the western front. The armies hardly moved at all. They just bombed and shot at each other from across the trenches. Some of the major battles during the war included the First Battle of the Marne, Battle of the Somme, Battle of Tannenberg, Battle of Gallipoli, and the Battle of Verdun.

The fighting ended on November 11, 1918 when a general armistice was agreed to by both sides. The war officially ended between Germany and the Allies with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

  • More than 65 million men fought in the war.
  • Dogs were used in the trenches to carry messages. A well-trained messenger dog was considered a very fast and reliable way to carry messages.
  • It was the first major war where airplanes and tanks were used.
  • Ninety percent of the 7.8 million soldiers from Austria-Hungary who fought in the war were either injured or killed.
  • When the British first invented tanks they called them "landships."
  • The terrorist group responsible for assassinating Archduke Ferdinand was called the Black Hand.
  • Famed scientist Marie Curie helped to equip vans with x-ray machines that enabled French doctors to see bullets in wounded men. These vans were called "petites Curies", meaning "little Curies."

For reference and further reading:

Causes of World War I by John Ziff. 2006.
DK Eyewitness Books: World War I by Simon Adams. 2007.
Leaders of World War I by Stewart Ross. 2003.
Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum. 2010.
World War I: An Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain. 2012.


World War I - History

The German Army Marches Through Brussels, 1914
"This was a machine, endless, tireless, with the delicate organization of a watch and the brute power of a steam roller."

The Beginning of Air Warfare, 1914
"Have you got a revolver, old boy? My ammunition's all gone." The beginning of air-to-air combat.

Christmas in the Trenches, 1914
"We and the Germans met in the middle of no-man's-land." A spontaneous truce takes over the front lines during the first Christmas of World War I on the Western Front.

Battle At Gallipoli, 1915
". . . Had a good supper and nearly finished our water. The last meal poor Jack ever had." The futile attempt to open a new front and relieve the stalemate in France.

The Birth of the Fighter Plane, 1915
"I thought of what a deadly accurate stream of lead I could send into the plane." The Dutch inventor of the modern fighter plane takes it on its first trial run in combat.

The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1915
"Many people must have lost their heads. " View the destruction of the Lusitania through the periscope of the submarine that sank her.

The Battle of Jutland, 1916
". then came the big explosion." On board the battle cruiser Queen Mary as she is sunk during World War I's largest naval battle.

A Death at the Battle of the Somme, 1916
He was young, an American, and a poet and he joined the French Foreign Legion to defend the country he loved.

In the American Ambulance Field Service, 1916
"Just overhead as the car passes comes a blasting, shattering crash which is like sudden death." Ride with the volunteer crew of an American ambulance as it heads for the French front lines before America's entrance into WWI.

The Battlefield Debut of the Tank, 1916
". lumbering slowly towards us came three huge mechanical monsters such as we had never seen before."

U-boat Attack, 1916
"I saw that the bubble-track of the torpedo had been discovered on the bridge of the steamer." Aboard a German submarine as it attacks and sinks a cargo vessel in World War I.

Gas Attack, 1916
"He sank to the ground, clutching at his throat, and after a few spasmodic twistings, went West." In the trenches as the Germans launch the newest innovation in weapons of mass destruction - gas

Death of a Zeppelin, 1916
"I saw high in the sky a concentrated blaze of searchlights, and in its centre a ruddy glow which rapidly spread into the outline of a blazing airship." The terror of the night skies is shot down over London.

The "Red Baron" Scores Two Victories, 1917
"He paid for his stupidity with his life." Manfred von Richthofen, World War I's highest scoring air ace, describes a day in combat.

America Declares War on Germany, 1917
"What else can I do?" The dilemma over how to maintain a balance between individual liberty and national security in a time of war is nothing new in American history. President Wilson faced the same problem as he prepared to ask Congress to declare war with Germany.

Torpedoed! 1917
"When the torpedo struck, there was no mistaking it for anything else." A passenger describes the attack and sinking of his ship by a German submarine.

The Execution of Mata Hari, 1917
"Must I wear that?" she asked as the blindfold was shown to her. World War One's most famous spy meets her end.

Death Of An Air Ace, 1918
Major Raoul Lufbery, one of America's greatest aces, meets a fiery death in air combat.

The Beginning of the End of World War I, 1918
"These thirteen Americans performed a feat never to be forgotten." Four years of stagnation on the Western Front ends as the Germans gamble on a massive offensive on the Western Front and American doughboys enter the fray.

Lawrence of Arabia, 1918
Attack on a Turkish column - "Take no prisoners!"

Armistice - The End of World War I, 1918
". at the front there was no celebration." At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent and the Great War came to an end.

Signing the Treaty of Versailles, 1919
"Through the few open windows comes the sound of distant crowds cheering hoarsely." The curtain falls on the "War to End all Wars."

The Unknown Soldier Comes Home, 1921
[Sergeant Younger] "circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left." America's Unknown Soldier is selected in France.


Key Facts & Information

Before we start

Below are guide points for teaching WWI. They are:

  • (1) Avoid glorifying war. Though nationalism and the ‘glory of war’ was an important factor in WWI, it was still violent conflict. Many people rose to the call for king and country, there were heroic figures, strong leaders, epic battles, and new technology and weapons, but try keep focused on the issues of war, such as its causes, effects and lessons.
  • (2) Provide the right context. WWI didn’t happen spontaneously – it built up over years. It’s important to properly set the stage by examining ideas of imperialism and alliances. Major powers in Europe sought to expand their territories and relied on alliances to back each other up. Thus, when Austria-Hungary declared war, a domino effect of alliances were called into effect. The essential question that needs to be answered is, “Why, after one man was assassinated, did the whole world go to war?”
  • (3) Avoid Good guys vs Bad Guys comparisons. While Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian extremist, think about the circumstances: How was Austria-Hungary affecting Serbia? Similarly, Germany was the first nation to use poison gas in WWI, but they weren’t the only ones. Britain’s Winston Churchill was an advocate of poison gas! The US was also refusing to get involved until the sinking of the Lusitania.
  • (4) Highlight the scale and destructiveness of the war. Let’s face it, the war ended in 1918, which is a long time ago for young students. In fact, the last WWI veteran died in 2012. It also occurred in a world with no TV or Internet (radio was still in its infancy, as were airplanes, machine guns, and tanks). Nevertheless, it is considered the first industrialized war, with mass troops, highly destructive weapons, new technologies, and increased mobility. It was also a time of ingenuity: aircraft became militarised, blood transfusions were developed, as was plastic surgery. Nevertheless, it sat on the cusp of an old and new world. And tactics such as attrition warfare and the scale and impact of trench warfare are important topics to discuss. Similarly, while technology was being deployed, 8 million horses were a major feature of WWI.
  • (5) Remember and respect the victims. Millions of people all over the world were impacted by WWI. If it wasn’t directly, it was indirectly in the form of humanitarian crises, such as starvation and illness.
  • (6) Draw attention to the values that started and ended the war. Toxic ideas of nationalism, secret and public alliances, attitudes of superiority and domination sparked WWI. While values of community, teamwork and international cooperation, courage, optimism and sacrifice showcase the best of humanity in dark times.
  • (7) Where possible, personalise the history of WWI. If you have a family history of people affected by WWI, include that in your lessons. For example, a grandparent may have been born at the end of WWI, or perhaps family members immigrated to the US after the war. Failing that, there are many war memorial organizations and online resources that have rich archives of the war and stories told by veterans, “lest we forget”.
  • (8) Lastly, explore how WWI affected the world after its conclusion. Women played a crucial role in the war effort and US and UK women were granted the vote. The Roaring 20s was a decade of exuberance following the destructiveness of the war. Communication such as radio reached most people’s households. And, more sinisterly, the blame was laid squarely at the feet of Germany, which fell into economic ruin over the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. This created fertile ground for the emergence and popularity of the far right Nazi party and the rise of Adolf Hitler. In just a few decades, people who experienced WWI (Hitler, Churchill and Stalin) would become leaders in WWII. Another major political event of WWI was the Russian Revolution that saw Tsar Nicholas abdicate and Lenin and the Bolsheviks take power to create the foundations of Communist Russia and later the Soviet Union.

World War I Curriculum Worksheets

This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the World War I Curriculum across 10 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use World War I Curriculum worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the World War One which is a tragic chapter in history. It lasted four years, three months, and two weeks, mobilized 70 million military personnel, affected 13 million civilians, and involved more than 100 countries. That is why it is also called the Great War, and War to End All Wars. Consequently, it’s a mega topic and a highly complex war. But don’t be intimidated: we offer you tips and guidance for teaching this broad topic to your students.

Complete List Of Included Worksheets

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The spread of war

Soon, the conflict had expanded to the world, affecting colonies and ally countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. In 1917, the United States entered the war after a long period of non-intervention. By then, the main theater of the war—the Western Front in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France—was the site of a deadly stalemate.

Despite advances like the use of poison gas and armored tanks, both sides were trapped in trench warfare that claimed enormous numbers of casualties. Battles like the Battle of Verdun and the First Battle of the Somme are among the deadliest in the history of human conflict.

Aided by the United States, the Allies finally broke through with the Hundred Days Offensive, leading to the military defeat of Germany. The war officially ended at 11:11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.

By then, the world was in the grips of an influenza pandemic that would infect a third of the global population. Revolution had broken out in Germany, Russia, and other countries. Much of Europe was in ruins. “Shell shock” and the aftereffects of gas poisoning would claim thousands more lives.


Reconnaissance aircraft

At the outbreak of World War I, heavier-than-air craft were used only for visual reconnaissance, since their feeble engines could carry little more than a pilot and, in some cases, an observer aloft. They soon proved their worth in this mission, however, and RFC aviators provided reconnaissance that enabled the British and French armies to counterattack in the decisive Battle of the Marne on September 6–12, 1914, turning back the invading Germans just short of Paris.

More powerful engines and better aircraft designs soon made possible specialized reconnaissance aircraft that could fly at high altitudes to avoid interception. The Germans, for example, had Rumpler two-seaters in service by 1917 that could operate as high as 24,000 feet (7,300 metres). Radios were carried aloft to permit aerial observers to spot and adjust artillery fire, at first with transmitters only and then, as radios became lighter, with receivers for two-way communication.


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