World War 1

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Before World War I, many European nations grew their military powers and produced new military technology dramatically as a result of direct competition over potential colonies. Countries such as Germany and Britain engaged in a race to produce the most powerful armies through invention and mass production of weapons. This arms race is often cited as a leading cause for World War I.

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  • Who won World War I?

    Q: Who won World War I?

    A: The Allies won World War I. The primary members of the Allies were the British Empire, France, Italy (after 1915) and the Russian Empire, although Russia pulled out before the end of the war. Japan, Greece, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and several other nations contributed to the Allied cause. The United States fought alongside Allied troops but never formally entered the alliance.
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  • What was the Arms Race during WW1?

    Q: What was the Arms Race during WW1?

    A: Before World War I, many European nations grew their military powers and produced new military technology dramatically as a result of direct competition over potential colonies. Countries such as Germany and Britain engaged in a race to produce the most powerful armies through invention and mass production of weapons. This arms race is often cited as a leading cause for World War I.
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  • What was the convoy system in World War I?

    Q: What was the convoy system in World War I?

    A: The convoy system in World War I involved organizing ships into large groups under the protection of armed naval vessels to provide better defense and countermeasures against German U-boat attacks. The ships protected were usually civilian merchant vessels, military supply ships and troop transports. Warships, such as destroyers, cruisers and torpedo boats, were used for convoy protection. They also sometimes deployed aerial reconnaissance to spot potential underwater U-boat movement.
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  • Why were the Balkans considered a powder keg?

    Q: Why were the Balkans considered a powder keg?

    A: The Western Balkans were a source of ethnic tensions primarily due to the fact that Yugoslavia was formed as a federation of distinct ethnic groups. Once the Soviet central leadership failed in Yugoslavia, many of the individual groups within the country saw no reason to remain federated.
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  • Why did Great Britain get involved in World War I?

    Q: Why did Great Britain get involved in World War I?

    A: When Britain entered World War I, it was primarily in reaction to Germany invading Belgium. Britain promised to defend Belgium in perpetuity under the Treaty of London, which it entered into in 1839. A secondary reason the country joined the war was too ensure that no European country became significantly larger or more powerful than the others.
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  • How did the Treaty of Versailles change the world map?

    Q: How did the Treaty of Versailles change the world map?

    A: The Treaty of Versailles radically reorganized the map of Europe, to the detriment of the German Empire, and restructured many of Germany's former overseas colonies. In every case, Central Power nations lost territory, and Allied nations gained territory, although some colonies were transferred to international control, and a number of European countries became independent.
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  • How did World War I lead to World War II?

    Q: How did World War I lead to World War II?

    A: The terms on which World War I ended set the stage for World War II, which began just 20 years later, by negatively impacting the belligerent countries politically, economically and socially. The Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended World War I in 1919, was an instrument of vengeance against the Central Powers, and dissatisfaction over its terms left the defeated nations vulnerable to extremist movements promising revenge.
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  • Why did the United States reject the Treaty of Versailles?

    Q: Why did the United States reject the Treaty of Versailles?

    A: The United States rejected the Treaty of Versailles due to the opposition of a group of senators called the Irreconcilables, who believed that under the terms of the treaty, the United States would lose too much of its autonomy to the League of Nations. All of the Irreconcilables were enemies of President Woodrow Wilson, who originally advocated for the League of Nations and helped compose the details of the treaty.
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  • Who were the Allied Powers in World War I?

    Q: Who were the Allied Powers in World War I?

    A: The Allied powers in World War I included Great Britain, France, the United States and Italy. The Allies included 25 nations in all.
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  • How many people died in World War I?

    Q: How many people died in World War I?

    A: Although there is some debate about the true number of World War I casualties, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that a total of 5,142,631 souls perished during the war. Russia lost the highest number of people, with 1.7 million people or 76.3 percent of its armed forces killed, while 116,516 American lives were lost.
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  • How was poison gas used in World War I?

    Q: How was poison gas used in World War I?

    A: During WWI, poison gas was used as a type of chemical warfare to attack large armies. The gas was delivered either by using the wind to carry the poisonous gas to the enemy's front line or by placing the gas into artillery and aerial bombs and firing them at the enemy's front lines.
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  • Why was WWI called the "war to end all wars"?

    Q: Why was WWI called the "war to end all wars"?

    A: After it was over, World War I was called "the war to end all wars" because it was so destructive that the nations of the world wanted to prevent such slaughter from ever happening again. This prompted prolonged negotiations over proposed solutions like the League of Nations. Unfortunately, rather than end war, the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 set the stage for World War II.
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  • Why did the United States want to remain neutral in WWI?

    Q: Why did the United States want to remain neutral in WWI?

    A: The majority of Americans felt that the United States should stay out of World War I because it was not a signatory to any of the agreements that had lured the European powers into conflict across the continent, so President Woodrow Wilson declared a neutrality policy, attempting instead to broker a peace agreement. Even when a German sub sank the British ocean liner Lusitania in 1915, with 128 Americans on board, the United States demanded a stop to the destruction of passenger ships, and Germany agreed, leading to continued American neutrality.
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  • What is the definition of the alliance system?

    Q: What is the definition of the alliance system?

    A: The definition of an alliance system is a formal agreement or treaty between two or more nations to cooperate for specific purposes. An alliance system can also be defined as an agreement between individuals, families or corporations. However, the term alliance system is most often used in reference to a historical event when an agreement was reached to prevent the outbreak of war or to define territorial borders.
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  • Q: Why did Neville Chamberlain sign the Munich Pact?

    A: Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact in September 1938 to appease Adolf Hitler, prevent war with Germany and maintain peace in Europe. Although Chamberlain returned to England proclaiming he had achieved "peace in our time," Germany soon reneged on the agreement, and on Sept. 3, 1939, Chamberlain formally announced that England was at war with Germany.
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  • Q: Why did Russia drop out of World War I?

    A: According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Russia dropped out of World War I as a direct result of the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, in which the provisional government was overthrown and Lenin became leader. Years of defeat on the battlefield had weakened the Czarist regime and strengthened the Bolshevik cause, and Lenin wanted to divert resources from the war to consolidate the Bolshevik victory at home.
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  • Q: What were Zeppelins used for in World War I?

    A: Zeppelins were primarily used for bombing runs during World War I. Though they had mixed results at this task, they were also effective in intimidating enemy forces and in transporting men and munitions.
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  • What was life like for soldiers in World War I?

    Q: What was life like for soldiers in World War I?

    A: Life for soldiers in World War I followed a specific routine that involved waking up at around 5 a.m., performing military drills when not engaged in direct combat, eating breakfast, having an early dinner, sleeping briefly, performing more military exercises and then doing physical labor before retiring for the evening. Soldiers in World War I spent most of the time in trenches on the front line. They rarely moved from the trenches except to move from one battle ground to the next, and shared close living and sleeping quarters with other men.
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  • Q: Why was the Gallipoli Campaign a failure?

    A: The 1915 Gallipoli Campaign failed because British forces were unable to establish control of the Dardanelle Straits. The primary reasons for the defeat were the failed sea and land attacks as the result of faulty intelligence and fierce Turkish resistance.
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  • Q: How was discipline maintained in the trenches in World War I?

    A: Military training and the constant threat of death helped to maintain discipline in the trenches during World War I. The trenches held many different dangers for soldiers, and the best way to avoid harm was to follow orders and wait for nightfall or a change in duties.
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  • Q: What are some short-term causes of WWI?

    A: The immediate cause of World War I was the assassination, in Sarajevo, of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne. The assassination, which was carried out by a Serbian nationalist, led to an Austrian military response that triggered a declaration of war by Russia. Germany, Austria's ally, then declared war on Russia and found itself at war with Russia's allies, France and Britain.
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