World War I

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World War I (WWI) or First World War (called at the time the Great War) was a major war centered on Europe that began in the summer of 1914. The fighting ended in November 1918. This conflict involved all of the world's great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers.


The Holy Alliance and the Concert of Europe

The Holy Alliance was a coalition created by the monarchist great powers of Europe and was created after the Napoleonic Wars during the Congress of Vienna. The intention of the alliance was to restrain democratic revolutionaries in Europe in the wake of the devastating French Revolutionary Wars. The Prince of Bismarck managed to reunite the Holy Alliance by the time of the unification of Germany, but the alliance again faltered by the 1880s over Austrian and Russian conflicts of interest with regard to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.

This conservative order thereby constructed a institutional framework over the whole of Europe that ensured long-run time preferences and remarkable (relative) stability in Europe. Overall taxation in most European countries, even with Bismarck's welfare state. Nations had a powerufl incentive to keep their public finances and general government interference relatively in check.

As a further result of the interests of the monarchist powers, a congressional system was implemented known as The Concert of Europe (also known as the Congress System after the Congress of Vienna, was the balance of power that existed in Europe from the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815) to the outbreak of World War I (1914). By extension, the Alliance can be considered the most potent prevention against any other general wars on the continent of Europe between 1815 and 1914.

However, despite these measures the Congress of Berlin set the stage for Austria-Hungary's occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its inevitable blowback, and remained a regretable hindsight of Otto Von Bismarck. As he is later remembered as saying:[citation needed]

If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans.

Bosnia-Herzegovina Blowback

Since the official annexation of the Bosnia-Herzegovina province, the Austro-Hungarian government precipitated what is known as The Bosnian Crisis. The move followed after an extensive guerilla war campaign fought by the Austro-Hungarian government in 1878, after which followed a long and drawn-out occupation by the Empire. [1]

The campaign to subdue and occupy the land was brutal, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was forced to use five corps with a collective strength of 153,300 soldiers. It is estimated there were 79,000 armed insurgents assisted by 13,800 soldiers of the Ottoman Empire. Total Austro-Hungarian losses were about 5,000: 946 dead and 3,980 wounded. There is no reliable estimate of Bosnian or Ottoman losses. [2]

According to the occupying General Josip Filipović's own account:

"There ensued one of the most terrible battles conceivable. The troops were fired upon from every house, from every window, from each split door; and even women took part. Located at the western entrance to the city, the military hospital was full of sick and wounded insurgents. . ."{{efn|Es entspann sich einer der denkbar gräßlichsten Kämpfe. Aus jedem Hause, aus jedem Fenster, aus jeder Tür spalte wurden die Truppen beschossen; ja selbst Weiber beteiligten sich daran. Das fast ganz am westlichen Stadteingange gelegene Militärspital, voll von kranken und verwundeten Insurgenten. . .

The occupation bolstered the apparent legitimacy of Yugoslavian nationalist groups, including the Mlada Bosna.


Heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, visited the Sarajevo on 28 June, 1914. A group of six assassins all of nationalist group Mlada Bosna, had gathered on the street along the Archduke's motorcade. Čabrinović threw a grenade and missed. An hour later, the motorcade took a wrong turn into where, by coincidence, Princip stood. With a pistol, Princip shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. [4]

Serbian Riots

As a reaction, Austrian authorities encouraged violence against native Serbs. Violence against Serbs also extended to many other Austro-Hungarian cities in modern-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bureaucrats in Bosnia and Herzegovina imprisoned and extradited approximately many prominent Serbs, of which many died in prison. A special militia known as the Schutzkorps was established and carried out the persecution of Serbs.[5] special militia known as the Schutzkorps was established and carried out the persecution of Serbs.[6]

July Crisis and Outbreak of War

Pressures came to a head as the tensions with Serbian nationals led to a month of diplomatic manoeuvring between the major Congressional power of Europe called the July Crisis. Believing correctly that Serbian officials were involved in the plot to murder the Archduke, and wanting to end Serbian support of rebels in Bosnia, Austria-Hungary delivered the July Ultimatum. The next day, Russia ordered general mobilization and asked for other regions to accelerate preparations for general mobilization. Serbia decreed general mobilization on the 25th and at night, declared that they accept all the terms of the ultimatum, except the one claiming that Austrian investigators visit the country. Following this, Austria broke off diplomatic relations with Serbia, and the next day ordered a partial mobilization against Serbia. Finally, on July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

Russia, declared partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary. On the 30th, Russia ordered general mobilization against Germany. In response, the following day, Germany declared a "state of danger of war." This also led to the general mobilization in Austria-Hungary on August 4. Kaiser Wilhelm II asked his cousin, Tsar Nicolas II, to suspend the Russian general mobilization. When he refused, Germany issued an ultimatum demanding the arrest of its mobilization and commitment not to support Serbia. Another was sent to France, asking her not to support Russia if it were to come to the defense of Serbia. On August 1, after the Russian response, Germany mobilized and declared war on Russia.

The German government issued demands that France remain neutral as they had to decide which deployment plan to implement. The French did not respond but ordered their troops to withdraw from the border while ordering the mobilisation of reserves. Germany responded by mobilising its own reserves. Germany attacked Luxembourg on 2 August and on 3 August declared war on France. On 4 August, after Belgium refused to permit German troops to cross its borders into France, Germany declared war on Belgium as well. Britain declared war on Germany at 7 pm UTC on 4 August 1914 (effective from 11 pm), following the British ultimatum that Belgium must be kept neutral.[7]


  1. Bencze 2005
  2. Albertini 2005
  3. Plaschka 2000, p. 45
  4. "European powers maintain focus despite killings in Sarajevo — This Day in History — 6/30/1914". Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  5. Template:Harvnb
  6. Herbert Kröll (28 February 2008). Austrian-Greek encounters over the centuries: history, diplomacy, politics, arts, economics. Studienverlag. p. 55. ISBN 978-3-7065-4526-6. Retrieved 1 September 2013. "... arrested and interned some 5.500 prominent Serbs and sentenced to death some 460 persons, a new Schutzkorps, an auxiliary militia, widened the anti-Serb repression." 
  7. Dell, Pamela (2013). A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone. pp. 10–12. ISBN 978-1-4765-4159-4.