The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #405

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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Although the Ottoman high command in Damascus was expecting trouble and had even begun moving reinforcements into the region, the outbreak of the revolt seems to have taken the local commanders by surprise.
Despite the positive trend, there were also a series of internal problems. Intelligence showed that the Turks were attempting to buy the loyalties of Auda abu Tayi and although he did not defect, such overtures were made to other Arab leaders, including Feisal, later in the campaign.
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.
For the people of Arabia and the Syrian provinces, the implosion of Ottoman power following the war had profound effects. Few who became involved in the revolt could have imagined that the final dispensation would turn out as it did. The Middle Eastern region had been changed entirely.
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.

East Africa during World War I

Involved Nations WWI
When Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck stepped ashore in German East Africa in January 1914, nobody guessed that within five years he would not only be feted by his own countrymen for being the last German commander in the field to lie down his arms, but also admired and respected by his British opponents much as Rommel was to be d...
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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