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World War I (1904: The Great War)

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World War I
Date 8 February 1904 – 10 January 1909
Location Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America, Caribbean Sea
Result United Victory


  • Treaty of Versailles
  • End of the British, German, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires
  • Formation of new countries in Europe and the Middle East
  • Transfer of German and British colonies to other countries
  • Emergence of United States, Russia, and France as the three great powers
Belligerents

Allied Powers


  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Portugal
  • Bulgaria
  • Sweden
  • Siam
  • Jabal Shammar
  • Denmark

United Powers

  • Russia
  • France
  • China
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Greece
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Nejd and Hasa
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • United States

Causes of War

  • Russo-Japanese War as result of clashes in Manchuria
  • Alliance System in Europe
  • Imperial tensions
  • Dogger Bank Crisis (The immediate cause of World War)

Declarations of War

The declaration of war causes France to enter the war against Britain. Tensions in the Balkans between Montenegro and the Austro-Hungarian Empire cause Russia to declare war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which causes Germany to join on the British side. Italy joins on the French side as they had much stronger opposition to Austria-Hungary than to In order to fend off a growing Japan and Western influence, China joins Russia against Japan. The declaration of war against the United Kingdom brings Portugal into the war, but Portugal is eventually invaded by Spain. Germay's invasion of France goes through Belgium, prompting the Netherlands to help Belgium against Germany. Finally, disputes in the Caucusus and Balkans cause the Ottomans to enter on the side of the Allies. By March 1905, the world was engaged in a major war which would cause millions of deaths and change the history of the world.

Fronts of the War

  • Pacific Front (Japan and Australia vs. China and Russia)
  • Eastern Front (Russia and Romania vs. Germany and Austria-Hungary)
  • Western Front (Germany and United Kingdom vs. France, USA, Belgium, and Netherlands)
  • Italian Front (Italy vs. Austria-Hungary)
  • Iberian Front (Spain vs. Portugal)
  • Balkan Front (Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria vs. Russia, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece)
  • Middle Eastern Front (Ottoman Empire and Britain vs. Russia and the Emirate of Nejd and Hasa)
  • Scandinavian Front (Russia vs. Sweden and Denmark)
  • Southeast Asian Front (Siam and Australia vs. France and Netherlands)
  • North African Front (Germany and United Kingdom vs. France, Spain and Italy)
  • Caribbean Front (United Kingdom vs. France, USA and Netherlands)
  • South African Front (Netherlands, Belgium, and France vs. South Africa)
  • Invasion of Canada (United States vs. British Canada)

Course of the War

1905

Pacific Front

  • Japan defeats Russia in naval Battle of Tsushima
  • Japan defeats Russia in the Battle of Sakhalin Island
  • China takes over Germany's holding in Tsingtao, Britain's in Hong Kong, and Portugal's in Macau
  • Japan begins invasion of Manchuria, winning the major Battle of Port Arthur
  • In surprise attack, Dutch ships from Batavia defeat the British in the Battle of Singapore Harbor, and Singapore falls to the Dutch later in the year.

Eastern Front

  • Russia's invasion of East Prussia is stopped when Germany wins the Battle of Allenstein.
  • Germany invades Poland, but loses the Battle of Pulutsk restricting an invasion from the North.
  • Russia invades Eastern Austria-Hungary, easily taking control of part of Galicia.
  • Germany wins the Battle of Lodz.
  • German invasion towards Warsaw is stopped by the Russian use of Guerrilla tactics and by the oncoming winter.

Western Front

  • Germany invades Belgium and conquers it. British Troops arrive on the Western front mainly through Antwerp.
  • German and British lines move in. British reinforcements now arrive through Calais.
  • British and French invasion is stopped when the French build trenches at the Battle of the Oise. The Battle lasts for about ten months, and becomes the deadliest in history.

Italian Front

  • Austria-Hungary attempts an invasion of Italy, but at the Battle of Verona they suffer heavy losses and are forced to retreat
  • In the Alps, both sides see major casualties. 

Iberian Front

  • Spain invades and captures Gibraltar. With the United powers controlling the Strait of Gibraltar and the Allies controlling the Suez Canal, both are unable to pass between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans via the Mediterranean.
  • Spain's plans to have one quick bolt to Libson are stopped when Portugal wins the Battle of the Tagus, forcing Spain to find another way.
  • Spain heads South, and defeats Portugal at the Battle of Setubal.
  • Spain succeeds in blockading Porto and Lisbon, restricting the British from sending weaponry to Portugal.

Other Actions

  • The United States trades with both sides, in an attempt by Teddy Roosevelt to stay neutral. 
  • Germany and Britain invade Morocco with the hopes of conquering Tangier.
  • Sweden and Denmark block all supplies from reaching Russia through the Baltic. The Ottomans stop all supplies reaching Russia through the Black Sea.
  • France wins the Battle of Reunion in the Indian Ocean to stop a British invasion. This is important as the French keep a key naval base and location to refuel ships.
  • The Emirate of Nejd and Hasa, led by the House of Saud, begins a revolt against the Ottoman Empire, forcing the Ottoman Empire to focus some troops in Arabia.
  • Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro invade the holdings of the Ottoman Empire within the Balkans as well as Bulgaria.

1906

Pacific Front

  • An American merchant ship, the SS Tacoma, headed from San Francisco to Nanjing, is sunk by Japanese ships, claiming to mistake it for a Russian ship. The United States cuts all relations and trading with Japan, decreasing trading with the Allies. 
  • Japan loses the Battle of Changchung to a Russian force, and the Russians push the Japanese army away from Harbin.
  • A Russian spy in Japan notices Japanese plans for an invasion of Vladivostok, to be on June 14. The Russians prepare defensive forces in Vladivostok, while China prepares for a surprise invasion of Taiwan.
  • On June 14, China invades Taiwan, but Japan had not yet launched its invasion of Vladivostok, as the date was deciphered incorrectly, and it was actually June 24. Japan withdraws much of their force from Manchuria to fight in Formosa.
  • Russian forces push south in Manchuria. With winter's arrival, they no longer care about an invasion of Vladivostok, and have used momentum to regain all of Manchuria except for Port Arthur.
  • Natives in French Indochina, coupled with a few French colonists, manage to hold off a Siamese invasion.

Eastern Front

  • Russia embarks on a massive campaign against Germany, beginning with the successful Second Battle of Lodz, and regained all of Poland.
  • Austria-Hungary manages to stop the Russian invasions, and causes a standstill in Galicia following the Austro-Hungarian pushback at the Battle of Stanislau, and the Russian victory at the Battle of Ternopil. 
  • Germany wins the Battle of Pozen, causing a Russian retreat from their invasion of Germany.
  • Russia launches a surprise invasion of East Prussia by sending troops from the North to break enemy lines. Germany holds off the invasion at Labiau, but Russia stops the counterattack at Gumbinnen, causing a stalemate along the whole Eastern Front heading into winter.

Western Front

  • France wins the Battle of Oise, the deadliest battle ever up to that point, mainly due to the success of their grenades, grenades filled with slightly toxic gas or tear gas, and grenade cannons.
  • French chemists invent a grenade filled with a new, highly deadly poison, which revolutionizes the Western Front
  • The Battle of Cambrai begins as a major French offensive into German lines at Peronne, based on better technology. The French offensive makes large gains, but at Cambrai the Germans stop losing ground and a major trench battle ensues for two months, resulting in slight German victory.
  • "The Low Revolt", where Belgium and the Netherlands revolted against the German government begins. The two countries manage to regain independence, kill many German officers, and reform armies. This prompts Britain to launch a major invasion of both, diverting the British ground attention from France to Belgium and Netherlands. This is often considered the reason that the Allies could win the war.

Italian Front

  • Italy invades Austria-Hungary, hoping to capture Trieste. Austria-Hungary, now engaged by Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Italy, has trouble handling the several fronts, and does not have enough forces to defend both Trent and Trieste. Germany agrees to help defend Monfalcone, but does not send enough units, and Italy manages to win a costly victory.
  • Italy, after winning the Battle of Monfalcone, withdraws some troops from the North to fight in the East, defeating Austria-Hungary at the Battle of Trieste.
  • Austria-Hungary launches a major invasion of Italy, but suffers heavy losses. They win the Battle of Vicenza, but their attempt to reach the sea and cut off the Italian troops fails after losing the Battle of Padua.

Iberian Front

  • Spain invades Lisbon both from the Southern Port and from the North, and conquers the Portuguese capital.
  • Spain, in control of Southern Portugal, pushes North, and after defeating Portugal at Coimbra, Portugal surrenders, ending the Iberian Front.
  • Spain annexes all of Portugal's colonies

Other Actions

  • In March, 1906, Britain shuts off the Suez Canal to America, a neutral country, after the US stops trading with them. In October, Britain takes control of the Dutch colonies of Aruba and Curacao, which the US considers a breach of the Monroe Doctrine. In November, Teddy Roosevelt gets enough support to declare war on the Allies.
  • During the Low Rebellion, the Netherlands sought to give themselves a better worldwide standing by invading Cape Town to regain South Africa. The Netherlands saw success in conquering Cape town and some land surrounding it, allowing for a port to refuel en route to Asia. 
  • Once Spain defeats Portugal, they turn a large amount of their attention towards defeating Britain and Germany in the invasion of Morocco, which they succeed in doing.
  • The Ottoman Empire makes small gains against Russia in Caucasia, and larger gains, along with Britain, in Persia. Britain reaches Tehran in late 1906.
  • Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire see losses in the Balkans at the hands of Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, and now Macedonia.
  • Italy invades and conquers Albania from the Ottoman Empire. This causes the Austro-Hungarian Empire to have no effective port, crumpling their economy and leading to ration revolts.

1907

Pacific Front

  • With the US now in the war, they begin by helping China with the invasion of Formosa, and eventually drive the Japanese off the island at the Battle of Taihoku (Japanese Tiapei). 
  • Russia regains Port Arthur. The United States sends military supplies and food to Russia via Port Arthur.
  • The United States invades Okinawa from the South, and is met by a very small force. They easily take the island.
  • The British in Australia invade Java. However, they suffer losses at the Battle of Palembang, and decide to focus on sending troops to Europe.
  • Japan launches a major offensive over the Yalu River, in an attempt to regain some of Manchuria.

Eastern Front

  • Germany, feeling the further pressure from the Western Front, is forced to stop offensives on the eastern front and focus on a defensive strategy.
  • Russia invades Königsberg, but is met by a large force of guerrilla fighters. The battle continues with harsh urban warfare, including booby trapped streets, and Germany manages to cause extreme Russian losses.
  • Russia takes Königsberg, but the army is quickly declining in numbers.
  • Russia makes an offensive into Austria-Hungary at Mukacheve, taking the city and making further inroads.

Western Front

  • British crush the final revolts in Brussels, regaining Belgium. However, they continue to have issues in the Netherlands.
  • Invading from the Northeast, along with British troops, Germany launches a major offensive into French trenches at the large Battle of Reims. This would be the final major German offensive on the Western Front.
  • Germany advances as far as Chateau-Thierry before France finally manages to push back, four months after the beginning of the Battle of Reims. 
  • Once French forces push back the Germans, Americans arrive in large quantities, and cause a surge of manpower and technology for the United Powers.

Italian Front

  • Yet another Italian invasion northwards is stopped by Austria-Hungary at the Battle of Asiago.
  • In July, as losses against Russia and in the Balkans pick up for Austria-Hungary, Italy attempts another invasion of Austria-Hungary, reaching Trent in mid September.
  • In the Battle of Trento, Italy manages to capture the vital city in October. They keep it through the winter.

Other Actions

  • Russia makes some gains in Persia against the Ottomans.
  • The United States begins an invasion of Canada, crossing the St. Lawrence River and heading straight for Ottawa. The US also takes control of Bermuda, Belize, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
  • France, Italy, and Spain coordinate a joint effort to conquer the Suez Canal. They make amphibious landings at Port Said, and with the help of American ships, they take naval control of the Canal.
  • In the Balkans, the Ottomans are completely driven out by Italy, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia, except for Eastern Thrace.

1908

Pacific Front

  • The American Navy begins a blockade of Japan, especially on Osaka Bay, Tokyo Bay, and Busan.
  • Japanese invasion of Manchuria is stopped at the Battle of Mukden by a joint Chinese and Russian force.
  • American Forces capture German New Guinea and German Samoa. They also invade and capture Port Moresby in British New Guinea.
  • Russian and Chinese forces cross the Yalu River. In September, they capture Pyongyang, prompting Japan to sign an Armistice with Russia, China, US, France, and the Netherlands, in September.
  • The US naval forces switch focus to a major blockade of Bangkok, Sydney and Melbourne.

Eastern Front

  • Bad strategy and technology, in addition to miscommunication among generals causes Russia to be unable to further their invasions of Germany.
  • Russia launches a major campaign to capture the Austro-Hungarian city of Kassa. They intended to have an attacking army from the North and one from the West, but the Northern one was stopped at the Battle of Zakopane. The West group reaches Kassa, though, and takes the city.
  • Russia finally breaks through in the Battle of Zielona Gora. With Russia now just 110 miles away from Berlin, unrest occurs within Germany.
  • In November, with Austria-Hungary unable to reconquer much of its land from Russia or the Balkans, and ethnic clashing occurring, Austria-Hungary signs an armistice with Russia. 

Western Front

  • American Navy wins The Battle of Jersey, taking control of the Western part of the English Channel. 
  • Germany begins a genocide of some Dutch and Belgian people for the "Low Revolt".
  • American and French troops win the Battle of Metz, allowing France to take control of much of Lorraine for th first time in 40 years.
  • American and French ships win the Battle of Dungeness, giving the United Powers sole control of the English Channel.
  • Germany wins the Battle of Charleroi in Belgium, but loses the Battle of Strasbourg. Germany leaves Belgium in November 1908.

Other Actions

  • The US sends a small force to have an amphibious landing on Montreal Island. Within a month, the Dominion of Canada sues for peace with the US, asking for independence from Britain. Instead, a cease fire is signed in which the US continues to occupy Vancouver, and Canada backs out in Europe.
  • Italian forces win the Battle of Suez, taking control of the Canal. 
  • Romania launches a successful invasion of Bulgaria, while Italy, Montenegro, and Serbia continue to push back the Austro-Hungarian army.

Peace

Background

On Christmas Day, 1908, the British forces signed an armistice with France, and on January 10, 1909, Germany signs the Armistice with France and Russia. The parties all agreed to meet in Paris for a giant Peace Conference. The Conference did not begin until April, because they waited for the new American President, William Howard Taft, to take office. The United Powers agreed that each country would sign a different treaty concerning only their own issues. However, each treaty would be signed in a different place in Paris. 

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was the treaty between Britain and the United Powers. The five main deciders for the United Powers were Italy, Russia, Spain, France, and the United States. These were the only countries negotiating the Treaty, with no input from Britain and only minimal input from China, Belgium, Netherlands, and others.

The Treaty of Versailles was the most drastic of any of the treaties, along with the Treaty of Trianon. The Treaty began by forming Ireland as a separate, independent country from Britain, and granting Jersey and Guernsey to France. Gibraltar was given to Spain, the British colonies in the Caribbean were split between France and the US, and France received British Guyana and the Falklands. The Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India all became independent countries, though Canada lost part of Vancouver Island and some land in the Yukon to the USA. Britain also acknowledged Spain's annexation of Portugal and its colonies.

In Asia, Spain received British Papua New Guinea in addition to most British islands in the South Pacific. Hong Kong was transferred to China, while Port Edward went to Italy, Amoy went to Spain, and all other British concessions in China were split between Russia and France. British North Borneo was given to the Netherlands, though Italy received Brunei, its first Asian colony, and France received Malaya and Singapore. Burma was given to France as part of a newly expanded French Indochina. France also gained control of Siam, which had been captured, and now controlled all of Southeast Asia. Ceylon also became a French Colony. Russia gained control of the Northern half of Persia, ending a period of immeasurable influence.

In Africa, colony division was a major topic. France gave up some of their colonial aspirations in Africa in order to become dominant in Asia. France gained control of Egypt, Sudan, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Britain's islands in the Indian Ocean. Belgium gained control of Uganda and Northern Rhodesia. The Netherlands regained control of South Africa, in addition to Swaziland and Basutoland. Kenya, the Gold Coast, Zanzibar, and British Somaliland were all given to Italy. Spain received Southern Rhodesia and Bechuanaland. However, Britain was promised access to the Suez Canal despite no longer controlling Egypt.

In the Middle East, Italy gained control of the Protectorate of Aden, while France gained control of all other British Middle Eastern colonies until further notice.

In addition to the complete territorial losses, Britain was forced to pay $3 billion worth of reparations. They also were restricted in military, including being forbidden to produce chemical weapons, engage in the arms trade, except for selling away already existing ships for use by other navies, reduction of the size of the navy, especially the amount of destroyers and submarines, and the reduction in total number of troops to the size before the war.

Treaty of Trianon

The Treaty of Trianon was the Treaty between Germany and the United Powers after World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was the treaty between Britain and the United Powers. The five main deciders for the United Powers were Italy, Russia, Spain, France, and the United States. These were the only countries negotiating the Treaty.

Germany began by giving up all of its colonies. German Samoa and German New Guinea were ceded to Spain. All of Germany's treaty ports in China were ceded to France. Italy gained control of Tanganyika. Spain gained Namibia and Togo. 

Germany's borders also changed. Alsace, Loraine, the Rhineland, and the Saarland were ceded to France, the newly created country of Poland would gain part of eastern Germany, including Danzig, shrinking East Prussia and making it disconnected from the rest of Germany. Lithuania, also a new country, gained a small amount of the East Prussian Coast.

Germany also received similar limitations on their military to Britain's, but they only had to pay $2 billion worth of reparations, as opposed to Britain's $3 billion.

Treaty of Fontainebleau

Treaty with Japan. The treaty began by giving Taiwan and Korea to China, but giving Heilongjiang province of Manchuria to Russia. Russia also gained all of Sakhalin. The United States occupied much of the Ryukyu islands, including Okinawa. Japan was forced to demilitarize and pay China and Russia $500 million each in reparations. Japan was, however, guaranteed equal access to Asian ports and the right to navigate around Asian islands when not at war with them.

Treaty of Rombouillet

Treaty with Austria. Austria agreed to the division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. First, all holdings of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in China were ceded to Spain. Next, Austria would become an independent republic, separate from Hungary. They ceded land in th Alps and on the Adriatic (including Trieste and Slovenia) to Italy. Transylvania was transfered to Romania. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia became the Kingdom of Croats and Serbs. Galicia went to the newly formed Poland, while the remaining eastern part was ceded to Russia. Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia were united as Czechoslovakia. 

Treaty of Saint Germain en Laye

Treaty with Hungary. Hungary agreed to the division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

Treaty of Bondy

Treaty with the Ottoman Empire and its puppet state of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar. The Empire was abolished, and became Turkey, which encompassed Anatolia in addition to a small amount of land West of Istanbul (equivalent to modern Istanbul Province). Albania was granted to Italy, while the other Ottoman land in Europe was divided between Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia. The Ottomans gave up their land in Caucasia to Russia. Cyprus became an Italian colony. Libya was also ceded to Italy which was given Libya at the Conference of Berlin. The Ottoman Empire ceded France all of its land in Arabia, and the Emirate of Jabal Shammar gave up some of its northern claims. France gave some of this received land to Saudi Arabia, especially the Hejaz. France divided its colonies in the middle east into four sections: Palestine, which included the coast of the Mediterranean up until the Jordan River, with capital at Jerusalem; Kurdistan, which included the ethnically Kurdish and geographically northern section of French gains in the Middle East, with capital at Aleppo; Assyria, which included OTL Jordan, Southern Syria, and the part of Jabal Shammar ceded to France, with a capital at Damascus; and Mesopotamia, which included most of non-Kurdish Iraq, with capital at Baghdad.

Treaty of Neuilly sur Seine

Treaty with Bulgaria. Bulgaria gave up some land to Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Macedonia, though small amounts to each.

Treaty of Saint Cloud

Treaty with Sweden. Sweden's border with Russia changed slightly, and Sweden gave Russia control of the Aland Islands and Gotland. 

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