The Great War, also known as The World War, was a war occurring mostly in Central and Eastern Europe. Conflicts consisted of battles between nations on one of two sides; The Allies or the Axis, with most world powers siding with The Allies. Causing the second most combined civilian and military deaths of any conflict before, The Great War caused both sides to put in large amounts of money, time and resources in an attempt to defeat the opposing side.
The beginning of the war is commonly accepted to be on June 24th in the year of 1914, when Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Black Hand member and Serbian Army Commander Gavrilo Princip. In affect, the empire declared war on Serbia and, indirectly, Russia and the United Kingdom, along with its commonwealth. Austria-Hungary later invoked war with France by invading her land in Wurtemburg through the previously purchased Baden. What little land had been gained by Austria was maintained in occupation through the method of attrition.
By the end of the war, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were split into several new or preexisting nations, with borders largely based upon the nationalities and races or their inhabitants (ie. Yugoslavia and the Israeli State).
Prior to The Great War, several European powers had taken measures to ensure a balance of control and maintaining of peace throughout the continent. The first of these was an alliance between Austria and the Ottoman Empire, ensuring that if either power were to involve themselves in a war, the other would discreetly send aid in the form of supplies and commanders. In 1882, this treaty expanded to include Italy, effectively forming the Triple Alliance. Bulgaria had also formed a military alliance with the Ottoman Empire in 1902, bringing Turkey into the war when Bulgaria attacked Greece.
In 1904, Great Britain and the Russian Empire signed a series of agreements ensuring a military and diplomatic alliance between the two; entitled the Anglo-Russian Conventions. Two years later, France signed a military agreement with Russia and created the Triple Entente (UK-Russia-France).
In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed the territory of Bosnia from the Ottoman Empire, angering greatly the kingdom of Serbia and their ally;Russia. In 1912, several Balkan states declared independence in the 1st and 2nd Balkan Wars, creating the states of Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
Austria invaded Serbia over the Danube River at the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara. Over a short period of time, however, Austrian defenses were crippled and troops were forced to retreat back north of the Danube to safety. To maintain the front line with Serbia, Austria-Hungary had no choice but to leave a large number of soldiers and artillery at the border to prevent any allied advance. This greatly weakened their fighting force against Russia.
Assistance from Great Britain and France supplied to Serbia and Montenegro allowed for this front to be entirely won over by the allied powers.
The Russian offensive on Austria-Hungary lasted all three years of the war. Most fighting occurred in the region of Galicia, Austria, with Russian forces pushing deep into enemy territory. Despite Russia's lacking in industrial and military technology, as well as leadership in general, the Austrians were largely unable to stop the advance. The eastern front was a decisive Russian Victory.
The Ottoman Empire also joined in 1915 after attacking Russia through the Caucuses region. Russia struggled more in this area due to its inability to transfer troops from the front line with Austria after such a sudden attack.
Baden was an area of conflict between France and Austria-Hungary.Conflict was triggered when Austria invaded France through the Baden region, which it has purchased from France sixteen years prior. Movement was slow and neither side had managed to advance beyond the point of a couple miles until French combatants broke through Austrian defenses and took over 325 miles in a single week.
Redrawing of National Boundaries
After the war, the Allies decided the fate of Europe's land for ages to come. In October of 1917, the Paris Committee imposed several treaties on the Central Powers which later led to the creation of the League of Nations, and perpetuation of apology from Austria, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Confederacy for the damage caused by the Axis Powers during the war; "Pay for all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by their aggression" (Article 231).
Austria-Hungary was the most affected by these treaties, being dissolved completely and losing all of its territory. The state of Yugoslavia was the most predominant out of all others created in the empires' remains. Created as a "multi-national, single-ethnic" territory, Yugoslavia was instated after the merging of the State of United Croats and Slovenes and the Kingdom of Serbia in 1921. Another major nation to rise from the ruin of Austria-Hungary was Poland, created in 1919 in a treaty between Prussia and Russia. Poland was intended to be a nation for Slavs in eastern Prussia and Belarus, and expanded rapidly after its inception during the growth of Slavic nationalism.
Post War Nationalism
Once Europe had settled down from the effects of the Great War, several nationalist movements, especially throughout the area of former Austria-Hungary, grew in strength. Most notably was the Bewegung Nationalen Osterreichischen Arbeiter, or Austrian National Worker's Movement, led by Adolf Hitler. Hitler came close to ousting the president of Austria, before he was found in hiding by Austrian Police and expelled to asylum in Prussia, until he willingly moved to Mexico. Many experts agree that events that followed were the triggers of the devastating and bloody American War in both Europe and the Western Hemisphere.