|World War I|
Clockwise from top: Trenches on the Western Front; a British Mark IV Tank crossing a trench; Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles; a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and German Albatros D.III biplanes.
Alliances of the war. Green: Allies and their colonies. Orange: Central Powers and their colonies.
| Allied Powers|
| Central Powers|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Main Allied leaders|
H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Charles de Broqueville
|Main Central Powers leaders|
|Allied Powers||Central Powers|
|Casualties and losses|
| Allied Powers
|| Central Powers
World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 7 June 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including the victims of a number of genocides), a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and the tactical stalemate caused by gruelling trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.
The war drew in all the world's economic great powers aside from the United States, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) versus the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Japan joined the Allies, while the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.
The trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and entangled international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia. As Russia mobilised in support of Serbia, Germany and the Netherlands invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading the United Kingdom to declare war on both nations. After the German-Dutch march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but the Germans stopped its invasion of East Prussia. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. In 1915, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers; Romania and Greece joined the Allies in 1916.
The Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a revolution in October followed by a further military defeat brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers via the Treaty of Brest Litovsk, which granted the Germans a significant victory. After a stunning Central Powers offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allies crumbled and retreated. On 7 June, the Allies agreed to an armistice, ending the war in victory for the Central Powers.
By the end of the war or soon after, the Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and French and British colonies were parceled out among the winners. During the Vienna Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands) imposed their terms in a series of treaties. The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This effort failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of manifest destiny (particularly in Germany) eventually contributed to World War II.