Questions on World War I, events that caused it, strategy and tactics employed by the battling sides and the consequences of this war.

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22
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Last death caused by World War I

Today, I heard about seven deaths attributed to an explosion of a bomb from World War 2: Seven dead as war bomb explodes in Bangkok scrap yard Hopefully, the last death or deaths that can be ...
21
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5answers
20k views

Why did Italy abandon its alliance with Germany in WW1 and join the Allied side?

Before WW1 Italy was part of an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, yet it didn't join them when the war started and it even joined the Allied side later during the war. Why did Italy do this? ...
19
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3answers
3k views

How unfavorable were the terms of Germany's “surrender” in WW1?

The First World War ended when an armistice was signed between the Germans and the Allies. At that point, while Germany had no realistic hopes of winning the war, they had no enemies within their ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Did the Germans purposefully arrange to send Lenin to Russia to start a revolution?

A recent documentary, The World Wars, on the History Channel suggested, strongly, that the Imperial German government secretly arranged safe-passage for Vladimir Lenin to return to Moscow from ...
16
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2answers
321 views

Was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 captured on film?

I have a memory of reading about how Franz Ferdinand's assassination in 1914 was captured on film and watching it, but for the life of me I cannot find this and am beginning to think I fabricated it. ...
15
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3answers
983 views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
15
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5answers
3k views

Why was the Treaty of Versailles so harsh?

When Germany signed the armistice in the first world war, they were still (technically) in a decent bargaining position. Germany still had troops in France and Belgium There were no enemy forces in ...
15
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1answer
33k views

What was the economic impact of WW1 on USA's economy?

It's well known that WW2 had a greatly positive impact on American economy. Up to the point of certain historians being sure that, if not for WW2, FDR would have had a major economic problems on his ...
13
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2answers
989 views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Did WW1 produce a “Baby Boom” like demographic effect in USA or elsewhere?

When WW2 American veterans returned home in 1945, one of the well known effects was the demographic one known as "Baby Boom" - a sharp spike in birth rate from 1946 till 1957 or 1964, depending on ...
12
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1answer
662 views

How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially breeded pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
11
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6answers
3k views

Was there ever any doubt which side the USA would join?

From a British perspective in both WW1 and WW2 the USA have entered the war at a later stage and supported the allies. The decision for the US to enter the war has often been portrayed to be based on ...
11
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3answers
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Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?

Why in WW1 or WW2 or ever nobody invaded Switzerland? All other countries was in some wars. How Switzerland do it and should we learn from them? I hear that many people with power have money in swiss ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Why did World War I victors let Germany pay reparations in German Marks and gave it the option to default via inflation?

Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to make heavy war reparations to the victors of World War I. What puzzles me was that the reparations were denominated in Marks (German Currency at ...
11
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2answers
368 views

Amount of time an aeroplane could stay in the air during the last stages of WW1

I know for a fact that aeroplanes were used at the last stages of the first world war to capture images of the enemy trench system and supply lines. They were also used to alert the artillery how far ...
11
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3answers
695 views

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1?

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1? The Eastern Crisis pertains to problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. Primary among these problems ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why did the United States enter World War I?

The topic of World War I came up last night with a few strangers, at a bar, of course. One seemingly knowledgeable gentleman, who happened to have Howard Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States ...
11
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1answer
792 views

What was the first successful mass tank battle of WW1?

What was the first big scale (over 50 tanks used) battle with the use of tanks in WW1? Please note that the typical examples don't constitute good answer: Battle of Flers-Courcelette (Somme) was ...
10
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5answers
1k views

What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
10
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3answers
762 views

Bow shape of WW1 warships

As ship's bow is designed to break the waves, the physics (something like hydrokinetics) makes it should look like a wedge. And it really is, if we look from above. This should be also kept if look ...
9
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2answers
1k views

WWI trench tactics using shields?

Are there any records of WWI trench tactics involving shield formations similar to the example below of the ancient Testudo formation? . I imagine that it could have been successful if used to get ...
9
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1answer
434 views

What do “zones of influence” mean, according to the Treaty of Sevres after WWI?

After its defeat in World War I, European powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire, annexing some of its territories, and setting up other territories as their "zones of influence". What do the zones of ...
8
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4answers
6k views

Is Germany responsible for World War I? [closed]

Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept all responsibility for the war. What's their "moral" justification? Is it just, you lose so just agree with this or did Germany do something to start ...
8
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2answers
4k views

Why did Spain not participate in World War I?

Spain was losing influence in America for the previous 100 years, and there was a recent Spanish-American war. So how could have Spain remained neutral? Why could Spain not find a place in the ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Has this newspaper printed the wrong picture (as well as a baffling caption)?

Yesterday's Daily Express decorated its WW1 piece with a picture and caption. Link to the story here. It was picked up on Twitter by @philipoltermann: Missed this at the time: Express invents ...
8
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3answers
192 views

What was unreasonable about Austria's ultimatum to Serbia?

There are actually three questions. First Question: It is often stated, especially in English-speaking media, that the terms of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia 1914 were unreasonable. Sometimes the ...
8
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3answers
238 views

What were the individual soldiers motivated by during World War 1?

A history book will tell you that the First World War was started due to the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and a tangled mess of alliances and defensive treaties criss-crossing ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Why in the world war 1 the church bell stopped until the war is over?

I was watching a movie yesterday called War Horse. In this movie they mentioned that when England joined World War I, the church bells stopped tolling until the war ended. Then, the bells started ...
8
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1answer
451 views

Conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI

Was there a special treatment for conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI? I know that Britain had a process of exemptions, which was however rather harshly and sparingly administered (see ...
8
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2answers
414 views

What are the scholarly opinions on the idea of the “European Civil War”?

On Wikipedia, I ran into an article talking about World War I to World War II and some of the adjacent wars before WWI as being a "European Civil War" or a "Second Thirty Years War". What is the ...
8
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1answer
237 views

1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic - Experience

From the spring of 1918 to the early months of 1919, the Spanish flu pandemic ravaged the world, killing an estimated 50 million to 100 million people. It came in three waves, with the last ...
8
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3answers
124 views

Clauses against unifications in peace treaties

I have learned in school that the Treaty of Versailles (after World War I in 1919) contained a clause that forbade unification of Germany and Austria. Presumably it is Article 80: Germany ...
7
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4answers
583 views

Why didn’t Britain use its vast navy to get past trench warfare?

Before the start of World War I there was a large arms race between Britain and Germany and although Britain didn’t come out with the largest army – they had by far the largest navy in the world. This ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Was the Zimmerman Telegram a ruse on the US or a way of Germany to incite Mexico to declare war on the US?

Prior to America's entry into WWI the Zimmerman Telegram was one incident that helped push America to declare war against Germany and join the Allies, while Mexico never fought against the US was this ...
7
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1answer
162 views

Was there a serious proposal to offer India territory in East Africa?

In the recent World Service series The War That Changed The World the episode dealing with India contains a rather extraordinary claim. A panel member, an Indian, says there was a notion during WW1 ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America?

Were any South or Central American nations besides Brazil involved (not necessarily officially) in either of the World Wars? If any were, I'd appreciate information on their degree of involvement.
7
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1answer
4k views

What specific changes were made to political ideologies around during and before World War I?

I'm studying the influence of democracy and the United States' advocacy of it during the early 20th century, and the effect that the Allied Powers' victory in World War I had in the shifting of ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Were soldiers in the World Wars paid?

There have always been professional soldiers however during the world wards there were vast conscription to encourage young men to join up for "King and Country". Presumably there was some sort of ...
6
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3answers
4k views

(War Guilt Methodology) Was Germany solely to blame for WWI?

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles places the blame of the war solely on Germany and her allies. This is the quote: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the ...
6
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1answer
377 views

Who is the person sitting to the left of corporal Hitler?

My son, in my opinion, looks like the person sitting next to corporal Hitler in this photograph. Does anyone know who this is or any information about where the photo was taken?
6
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1answer
265 views

Did the Weimar governments publish revelatory WWI documents?

Consider this statement from a speech by Yegor Gaidar: Historically, such myths have a dangerous precedent--namely, Germany between World War I and World War II. Then, the legend went that ...
6
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1answer
258 views

What is the origin of these WW1 “official history” maps?

I'm looking for a source, preferably the original atlas or set of documents in facsimile, for the following WW1 maps (and their siblings): I've only found these fragments, reproduced on the Web ...
6
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2answers
367 views

Was Nicholas II Romanov the last king of Poland?

Nicholas II Romanov, the last Emperor of All-Russia, used also (among many others) titles: Grand Prince of Lithuania, and King of Poland. The Wikipedia states he was "a titular" King of Poland. In ...
6
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1answer
2k views

How were dogs used in WW1

I know that dogs were used in WW1. I know that they weren’t vital, but didn’t play a reasonable role in helping the soldiers in the trenches. However, there is one thing that confuses me: How were ...
5
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5answers
1k views

Were cavalry used in first World War?

Due to the nature of trench warfare, a cavalry or a horse-back squad would’ve been rather useless in the war. But, I also know that countries had not anticipated trench warfare – they didn’t know that ...
5
votes
1answer
534 views

Why was the massive Human Wave attack used in WWI? [closed]

If the Human Wave Attack wave tactic is in all the lights, a invitation to a carnage, why was it so largely used in battles in WWI? Weren't other tactical options available at the time that could have ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

What was the currency in use in Palestine shortly before and during WWI?

Wikipedia lists the following Ottoman currencies: Akçe, Para, Kuruş, Lira, Sultanî, but I would like to now which were prevalent in actual use (or, rather, uses). Also, such a variety suggests that ...
5
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2answers
119 views

Where can I find financial data for the first world war? [closed]

I want to analyse the first world war on the financial aspect. Here are some of my questions. Which countries borrowed money to win the war? Where were weapons manufactured? Where can I get ...
5
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1answer
164 views

Is there support for the theory that the 1918 influenza resulted from churning up microbe-laden French soil?

Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 contains the following: In the first years of the peace, fresh afflictions fell on European society: the influenza epidemic ...
4
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3answers
3k views

Why did Germany attack Neutral Belgium in the first world war?

I have a basic idea about the Schieffen plan and I know that Germany attacked Belgium in the First world war. But I am slightly confused about this topic, as despite the fact that the schieffen plan ...