History of War



World War I: Overview

World War I Statistics

Total World War I military deaths: 8,539,804 to 10,822,343

Total World War I civilian deaths due to military activity: 2,235,457

Total World War I civilian deaths due to war-related famine and disease:
4,661,000 to 5,350,000

Total Entente Power deaths:
11,599,706 to 12,805,841

Total Central Power deaths:
6,997,920 to 8,341,264

Total deaths:
15,436,261 to 18,407,800

Poltical Context

By 1914, the major superpowers in Europe had all become heavily industrialized, yet most of their governments were still monarchies.  The manufacturing of goods, machinery, and weapons had reached an all-time high in terms of efficiency and innovation. With all of these new inventions and stockpiles of military equipment, a large-scale war seemed inevitable.  Many backdoor deals and alliances had already been formed before the war began, so the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was merely the spark that ignited an already imminent war.

With these alliances already in place, and every country ready for war, the war itself became one of attrition with no sides gaining much ground once trench lines were established.  Armies on both sides suffered devastating losses.  Although Woodrow Wilson insisted on staying out of the war in his first term as President, by his second term, his government was looking for excuse to get involved for many of the same reasons that the war began in the first place – to forward its industrial economy.  WWI trenchesWhen the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, it completely changed the landscape of Europe, with new borders, new states sovereign states, and heavy reparation payments for the vanquished Central Powers.  The Communist Party in Russia was also in the process of taking over the country and was in the middle of a civil war, following the removal of Tsar Nicholas III.



Nations Involved


Primary Entente Powers:

UK flag French Flag Russian Flag US Flag
British Empire French Empire Russian Empire United States


Primary Central Powers:

German empire flag Austrian-Hungarian Flag Ottoman Flag
German Empire Austrian-Hungarian Empire Ottoman Empire


Key Players

Entente Leaders:

Herbert Henry Asquith Georges Clemenceau Tsar Nicholas II Woodrow Wilson
Herbert Henry-Asquith Georges Clemenceau Tsar Nicholas II Woodrow Wilson
English Prime-Minister (1908-1916) French Prime Minister
(1906-1909, 1917-1920)
Russian Tsar (1894-1917) American President


Central Leaders:

Kaiser Wilhelm Emperor Francis Joseph Emperor Mehmed V
Kaiser Wilhelm Emperor Francis Joseph Emperor Mehmed V
German Emperor (1888-1918) Austrian-Hungarian Emperor
Ottoman Emperor (1909-1918)