Skip to main content

Questions tagged [world-war-one]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
83 votes
7 answers
23k views

Why bother to attack in trench warfare?

At least on the western front, trenches were heavily defended. Any charge was just suicidal, with heavy losses for the attacker and much smaller losses for the defender. As there is a big strategic ...
Kepotx's user avatar
  • 997
77 votes
5 answers
13k views

Is there any evidence to support the claim that the United States was "suckered into WW1" by Zionists, made by Benjamin Freedman in his 1961 speech?

In the comments to another question another user of History:SE made a remarkable, if unbelievable, claim: Actually, Germany was shocked when the US declared war and entered on the side of Great ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
56 votes
7 answers
14k views

Was WW1 generally foreseen?

I am looking for information on the general perception of the educated population in the decade leading up to WW1. I would like to know to what extent a tragedy of the scale of WW1 was foreseen. Was ...
user26353's user avatar
  • 543
50 votes
5 answers
12k views

How did such a relatively minor event as the assassination of an archduke start World War I?

The assassination of the Austrian archduke was, considered in the context of all Europe's near-explosive politics, a relatively minor event. So how did it cause such a major war?
George A. Solodun's user avatar
50 votes
3 answers
14k views

Why was World War I ended on Nov 11 11:00, rather than immediately upon signing the armistice?

The First World War ended on 11th Nov at 11:00. But my question is why? If peace has been agreed (The armistice was signed at 5:00), why not stop the fighting with immediate effect rather than have ...
komodosp's user avatar
  • 920
49 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why did Germany officially acknowledge the contents of the Zimmerman telegram?

The Zimmerman telegram was a diplomatic message from officials in Germany to the Mexican president, sent in 1917. After being intercepted and decoded by Britain's intelligence community, its contents ...
Jules's user avatar
  • 593
48 votes
7 answers
12k views

How was Germany able to hold itself together, while Austria-Hungary could not?

After defeat in WWI, the monarchies of the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire rapidly crumbled, and their outlying provinces took the opportunity to declare independence and sovereignty. ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 11.2k
41 votes
2 answers
9k views

In the "Christmas truce" of 1914 were there any football (soccer) matches between British and German troops?

British and German troops meeting in no man's land during the unofficial truce. Source: Wikipedia As the holiday season is upon us again this year, I am reminded of the 1914 Christmas truce (German: ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,192
40 votes
6 answers
12k views

What were Germany's long-term aims in World War I?

In World War I, according to the Schlieffen Plan, Germany aimed to defeat France in several weeks, before freeing up soldiers to fight on the front against Russia. Suppose their plan would have ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 3,754
40 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why did the German army execute so few soldiers in World War I compared to most other armies?

According to Alexander Watson's Ring of Steel and other sources during the whole of the First World War the German army only executed 48 of its soldiers, compared to over 300 in the British and 600-...
Timothy's user avatar
  • 5,621
38 votes
3 answers
51k 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 ...
Bruce James's user avatar
  • 5,124
37 votes
1 answer
13k views

Why did Bayer lose aspirin and heroin trademarks under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles?

As read in the article Heroin by Wikipedia: Bayer lost some of its trademark rights to heroin (as well as aspirin) under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles following the German defeat in World War I. 83 ...
fedorqui's user avatar
  • 1,394
34 votes
6 answers
155k 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? ...
Louis Rhys's user avatar
  • 6,855
34 votes
6 answers
40k 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 ...
Nix's user avatar
  • 566
33 votes
6 answers
8k views

Was World War I a war of liberals against authoritarians?

An essay by Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, March 14, 2019, argues for rethinking the big theme of 20th-century history as a struggle between liberalism and authoritarianism, and for an ...
user avatar
33 votes
1 answer
5k views

Did Shackleton's crew all "miss out" on WW1?

They've just found Shackleton's Endurance. This has always been a fascinating story to me. 28 men lost for 2 years, Shackleton sails a rowboat to South Georgia in winter, crosses the mountains of ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
32 votes
2 answers
20k views

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 ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 439
31 votes
7 answers
6k views

Did Germany's role in WW2 affect the historical perception of its role in WW1?

In the recent Wonder Woman movie (which I know is not an historical essay) I understand that the Germans are treated as the bad guys, almost like nazis although I am pretty sure that Germans in WW1 ...
Jeff's user avatar
  • 3,783
29 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why are the French and Indian Wars / Seven Years' War not considered WW 1?

The French and Indian Wars, which began in 1754, led to the Seven Years War beginning two years later in 1756; both ended in 1763. Why is this not considered World War 1? It was a world conflict, was ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
28 votes
7 answers
12k views

Why did trench warfare accept deadlocks?

As someone who has never studied military history or strategy I find it very hard to understand how and why both sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with ...
Flexo's user avatar
  • 395
28 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

I'm watching the channel The Great War on YouTube, which documents the goings on of the First World War week by week (careful, it's addictive and there are literally hundreds of episodes). It is my ...
fgysin's user avatar
  • 1,300
28 votes
10 answers
17k views

Are tanks the only reason for the abandonment of trench warfare?

The First World War in the West was for 4 years restricted to trench warfare. Gaining enemy territory cost many human lives for both sides. The main (or maybe most spectacular) battles were Verdun and ...
Voitcus's user avatar
  • 7,151
28 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why were the Irish exempt from conscription during WWI?

During the first world war all of Ireland was within the United Kingdom. In C. S. Lewis's autobiographical book Surprised by Joy he says that as an Irishman (from Belfast) he was exempt from ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
21k 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 ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 3,784
26 votes
3 answers
7k views

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 ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 2,191
25 votes
5 answers
10k 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 ...
samthebrand's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
4k views

What was the strategy to protect the British Museum during the World Wars?

Today I was surprised with the claim by the CNN, that the Rosetta Stone was: on display in The British Museum since 1802 with only one two-year break during World War I I assumed at first that it ...
Quora Feans's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
11k views

How did ships acquire targets beyond the horizon in WWI?

From "The World Crisis, 1911-1928" (Winston Churchill): ... the 5th Battle Squadron had begun to fire, at the long range of 17,000 yards, upon Admiral von Hipper's last two ships. If the horizon ...
C Camerini's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

During World War 1, were any policies in place to handle large scale troop mutiny?

From what I understand, the rank and file didn't really want to be there after the fighting got started (this could be incorrect). During the Christmas Truce, both sides stopped fighting and ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
7k views

What was the "Favorable result" that the German admiralty was expecting from the naval attack on the Royal Navy in 1918?

The infamous order from 24th October 1918 was planning to slam the German High Seas Fleet against the British Royal Navy. If I recall correctly, this was the second time Germany tried to even the odds ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 3,420
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

The WWI Christmas truce of 1914 resulted in no consequences, in spite of clear warnings against such beforehand - why were there no courts-martial?

British and German Soldiers photographed together during 1914 Christmas Truce. Source: The Daily Mirror, Friday January 8, 1915. Question What factors led to no courts-martial charges being pursued ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,192
22 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
Harley Holcombe's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
clickonMe's user avatar
  • 1,063
22 votes
2 answers
2k 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. ...
George Mandis's user avatar
21 votes
7 answers
14k views

How come all the major WW1 rifles were bolt action?

The main disadvantage of bolt action is that one has to remove the right hand from the trigger which leads to slower rate of fire. Neither lever nor pump have this problem. Rate of fire was viewed as ...
sds's user avatar
  • 26.9k
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

Was there an increased interest in 'the spirit world' in the aftermath of the First World War?

In this excellent answer on Literature Stack Exchange, a quote from Alexander Leggatt's 'William Shakespeare's Macbeth' states: The sense that evil forces are at work in Macbeth may be a product of ...
Kayndarr's user avatar
  • 313
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did anyone face consequences (charges / court-martial) for the 1914 Christmas truce in WWI?

A copy of the Daily Mail from Dec. 31, 1914 reports on the Christmas truce. Source: The Star As a follow-up to this question about impromptu football / soccer games between troops from opposite ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,192
21 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
DVK's user avatar
  • 17.7k
20 votes
4 answers
8k views

WW1 tunneling - bypassing the front line?

During the first world war both sides engaged in tunnel warfare, the primary purpose of which (as far as I can tell) was to place large amounts of explosives under enemy lines and then detonate them ...
ConanTheGerbil's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why did the Schlieffen Plan prioritize invading France?

AFAIK, the consensus is that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, which led to Russia coming to Serbia's defense. The fact that this would lead ...
Will's user avatar
  • 327
20 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why did it take so long for the Germans to develop the first tank model in World War I?

World War I still featured a lot of trench warfare due do a lack of mobility that placed an advantage upon the defender. When the British managed to invent the first tank, that seemed like an ...
Alexei's user avatar
  • 1,087
20 votes
2 answers
45k 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 ...
Liath's user avatar
  • 669
19 votes
7 answers
5k 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 ...
Liath's user avatar
  • 669
19 votes
3 answers
12k views

In 1914 why didn't Germany simply mobilize its army without declaring war?

I can't understand why members of the the Triple Entente and also members of the Triple Alliance were so offended by the mere mobilization of their enemies' armies, so that they demanded a cessation ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
19 votes
6 answers
75k views

Why was Germany held accountable for WW1?

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept all responsibility for the war. If the war was initially due to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian assassins, why did the Treaty of ...
user4951's user avatar
  • 5,519
19 votes
7 answers
7k 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 ...
Voitcus's user avatar
  • 7,151
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is that armistice wagon photograph authentic?

The armistice on November 11th, 1918, was signed between 5:00 AM and 5:30 AM, french time (which was at this time UTC+0, one hour earlier than today). Wikipedia has a photo of the event, presumably ...
Bregalad's user avatar
  • 5,316
18 votes
7 answers
24k 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 ...
Alp's user avatar
  • 285
18 votes
3 answers
7k views

A German immigrant ancestor has a "Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy" on file. What does that mean exactly?

While researching genealogy, I discovered that one of my ancestors had a "Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy" document on file. It is dated 1 January 1918 and includes his fingerprints, immigration ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 3,037
18 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did Emanuel Lasker write a book declaring that Germany had to win World War I if civilization were to be saved?

Emanuel Lasker, the second chess world champion, was a very interesting person. I read here that During World War I, Lasker […] invested all of his money in German war bonds. At the end of ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar

1
2 3 4 5
10