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When did World War I start and end?

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Quick Answer

The first World War began on July 28,1914 with the Austrio-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia and ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. An armistice on November 11, 1918 effectively ended fighting, although a state of war existed until the treaty was ratified.

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Full Answer

The June 28, 1914 assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand at the hand of Bosnian extremists with links to a Serbian paramilitary organization is widely credited with being the pivotal event that sparked the war. The five years of war from this event until the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles saw widespread destruction throughout Europe, killing roughly 10 million soldiers and 5 million civilians.

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