The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #258

World War I

World War I began with a minor assassination in the remote corner of a now forgotten European empire. Yet it was to become the first truly global war, embroiling over 36 countries across 5 continents. As the tide swelled and nation upon nation rallied its forces, much of the world still belonged in the nineteenth century: cavalry officers rode to war on horseback, wearing gaudy uniforms and carrying flashing sabers at their sides. Some even took their servants and households. Military convention had changed little since the days of Wellington and Napoleon. World War I changed all that.

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World War I was triggered by the assassination of Austria-Hungary’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Archduchess Sophie, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on June 28, 1914. Europe had been a boiling cauldron for a long time, but this event detonated a devastating chain of events.
The kings, emperors, czars, and sultans of Europe were, during the apocalyptic years from 1914 to 1918, like dinosaurs self- destructively lashing out against each other, hastening their own end, thrashing about in their own graveyard while new and more total tyrannies looked on, waiting to build upon the bones. As a result, the twentieth centur...
36 nations fought in World War I, and combat extended to the colonial possessions of the principal powers, although on a small scale compared with the titanic struggle in Europe. The great powers fought on the peripheral fronts, hoping to shorten the war and gain territory. In fact, the peripheral action probably served only to prolong the war, ...
World War I was foremost a conflict fought on land, but it occasioned the largest sea battle in history (Jutland), and the oceans were bitterly contested avenues of supply for the belligerents.
Two wars had destabilized the region (First and Second Balkan War), and although the Western powers intervened to restore peace, neither of the Balkan Wars resolved the tensions that had been mounting in this part of Europe.
Although the western front of World War I has received the most attention from historians, the war on the eastern front was a tremendously costly, large-scale conflict, which did much to precipitate the Russian revolutions of 1917 and bring an end to czarist rule.
Despite its alliance with the Central Powers, Italy maintained neutrality at the outbreak of war while the Allies applied adroit diplomacy, promising Italy territorial gains at the expense of Austria-Hungary in exchange for an alliance.
As the British initially saw it, the strategic importance of Mesopotamia lay in its oil fields. Although most of the Royal Navy ran on coal in 1914–18, oil was still essential as a lubricant and as fuel for land vehicles.
Enver Pasha (1881–1922), a “Young Turk,” was one of the cadre of determined Turkish military officers who engineered the transformation of the archaic and ailing Ottoman Empire into modern Turkey.
Germany’s strategy, decided long before the war, was to contain Russia on the Eastern Front and make a lightning attack on France; and having defeated that nation, transport the bulk of the German forces to mount an offensive against Russia, a plan made practical by the swift movement possible on the extensive railway system.
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The Captive Heart 1946

The Captive Heart 1946

The 1946 British war drama is about a Czechoslovak Army officer who is captured in the Fall of France and spends five years as a prisoner of war, during which time he forms a long-distance relationship with the widow of a British Army officer.
Submitted by: Tim Kirsten
20 September 2023

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