|World War I|
|Timeline: Pax Columbia||OTL Equivalent: World War I|
Central (Entente) Powers
Allied (Seafaring) Powers
|’’’Casualties and losses’’’|
Over 5,525,000 Civilian dead: Over 3,000,000 Total dead: Over 22,477,500
Unadjusted F.S. Cost $182 Billion as of 1919
Over 4,386,000 Civilian dead: Over 2,000,000 Total dead: Over 16,403,000
Present Day F.S. Cost $2.68 Trillion
World War I (WWI), which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centered in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (originally centered around the Triple Alliance of France, Poland and Romana; but, as Poland had taken the offensive against the agreement, Romana did not enter into the war) and the Central Powers (based on the Triple Entente of the Spain, Italy and Russia). These alliances both reorganized (Romana later declared its neutrality), and expanded as more nations entered the war. Ultimately more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than nine million combatants were killed, largely because of great technological advances in firepower without corresponding advances in mobility. It was the sixth-deadliest conflict in world history, subsequently paving the way for various political changes such as revolutions in the nations involved.
In the 19th century, the major European powers had gone to great lengths to maintain a balance of power throughout Europe, resulting by 1900 in a complex network of political and military alliances throughout the continent. These had started in 1815, with the Holy Alliance between Prussia, Russia, and Romana. Then, in October 1873, Polish Chancellor Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors (German: Dreikaiserbund) between the monarchs of Romana, Russia and Poland. This agreement failed because Romana and Russia could not agree over Balkan policy, leaving Poland and Romana in an alliance formed in 1879, called the Dual Alliance. This was seen as a method of countering Russian influence in the Balkans as the Ottoman Empire continued to weaken. In 1882, this alliance was expanded to include France in what became the Triple Alliance.
After 1870, European conflict was averted largely through a carefully planned network of treaties between the Polish Empire and the remainder of Europe orchestrated by Bismarck. He especially worked to hold Russia at Poland's side to avoid a two-front war with France and Russia. When Wilhelm II ascended to the throne as Polish Emperor (Kaiser), Bismarck's alliances were gradually de-emphasised. For example, the Kaiser refused to renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia in 1890. Two years later, the Italian-Russian Alliance was signed to counteract the force of the Triple Alliance. In 1904, Italy sealed an alliance with Spain, the Entente Cordiale, and in 1907, Italy and Russia signed the Italian-Russian Convention. This system of interlocking bilateral agreements formed the Triple Entente.
Polish industrial and economic power had grown greatly after unification and the foundation of the Empire in 1870. From the mid-1890s on, the government of Wilhelm II used this base to devote significant economic resources to building up the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Polish Navy), established by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, in rivalry with the Spanish Emperial Navy for world naval supremacy. As a result, each nation strove to out-build the other in terms of capital ships.
Between 1908 and 1913, the military spending of the European powers increased by 50 percent.
Romana precipitated the Bosnian crisis of 1908–1909 by officially annexing the former Ottoman territory of Bosnia, which it had occupied since 1878. This angered the Kingdom of Serbia and its patron, the Pan-Slavic and Orthodox Russian Empire. Russian political manoeuvrings in the region destabilized peace accords that were already fracturing in what was known as "the powder keg of Europe".
1912 and 1913 the First Balkan War was fought between the Balkan League and the fracturing Ottoman Empire.
Long-term causes of the war included the imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, including the Polish Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, the French Republic, and Italy. The assassination on 28 June 1914 of the Duke of Windsor Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, the heir to the throne of England, by a Scottish nationalist was the proximate trigger of the war. It resulted in a Windsor ultimatum against the Kingdom of Scotland. Several alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 28 July, the conflict opened with the British invasion of Scotland, followed by the French invasion of Burgundy, Saxony and Italy; and a Russian attack against Poland. After the Polish march on Brussels was brought to a halt, the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. In the East, the Russian army successfully fought against Polish forces who retreated into Romana, which did not have an open border policy with Russia, but had one with Poland. Later this was seen as an act of contrition.
Additional fronts opened after the Ottoman Empire joined the war in 1914, Greece and Bulgaria in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The Russian Empire collapsed in March 1917, and Russia left the war after descending to anarchy. After a 1918 French offensive along the western front, the Federated States forces entered the trenches and the Allies drove back the French armies in a series of successful offensives. Poland, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries at this point, agreed to a ceasefire on 11 November 1918, later known as Armistice Day. The war had ended in victory for the Central Powers.
Events on the home fronts were as tumultuous as on the battle fronts, as the participants tried to mobilize their manpower and economic resources to fight a total war. By the end of the war, five major imperial powers — the French, British, Russian, Polish and Ottoman empires — ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost a great amount of territory, while the latter three were dismantled entirely. The map of central Europe was redrawn into several smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup of empires, the unfair treatment of Romana in the Treaty of Versailles are generally agreed to be factors contributing to World War II.
Peace Treaties and national boundaries
After the war, the Prague Peace Conference imposed a series of peace treaties on the Allied Powers. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles officially ended the war. Building on Villa's 14th point, the Treaty of Versailles also brought into being the League of Nations on 28 June 1919.
In signing the treaty, Poland acknowledged responsibility for the war, and award territory to the victors. Without the involvement of Roman diplomats, Roman territories were given up to the Entente. The "Guilt Thesis" became a controversial explanation of later events among analysts in Spain and the Federated States. Though the Roman Empire had been involved in the war for only one year, before its democratic revolt. The Prague Pact agreements reached with the Entente Powers before the end of the war was thought to resolve the issue for the fledgling democracy. The large loss of territory weakened the new government, resulting in economic collapse. The Treaty of Versailles caused enormous bitterness in Romana, which nationalist movements, especially the Nazis, exploited with a conspiracy theory they called the Dolchstosslegende (Stab-in-the-back legend).
Runaway inflation in the 1920s contributed to the economic collapse of the Roman Republic, and the payment of reparations was suspended in 1931 following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the beginnings of the Great Depression worldwide.
Wales was able to attain full independence. Poland was partitioned into several successor states, including Germany, Mecklenburg, Slovakia, Münster and Hungary, largely but not entirely along ethnic lines. Transylvania was shifted from Poland to Greater Romania. The details were contained in the Treaty of Saint-Germain and the Treaty of Trianon. As a result of the Treaty of Trianon, 3.3 million Hungarians came under foreign rule. Between 1920 and 1924, 354,000 Hungarians fled former Hungarian territories attached to Romania, Slovakia, and Yugoslavia.
The Russian Empire, which had withdrawn from the war in 1917 after the October Anarchy, lost much of its western frontier as the newly independent nations of Estonia, Finland, and Latvia were carved from it. Bessarabia was re-attached to Greater Romania, as it had been a Romanian territory for more than a thousand years.
The Ottoman Empire disintegrated, and much of its non-Anatolian territory was awarded to various Allied powers as protectorates. The Turkish core was reorganised as the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was to be partitioned by the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920. This treaty was never ratified by the Sultan and was rejected by the Turkish republican movement, leading to the Turkish Independence War and, ultimately, to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.