The Great War

1254 WordsMay 9, 20166 Pages
The Great War The Great War, which is more commonly called World War I began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. It was a global war centered in Europe and involved more than 70 million military personnel. There were over 9 million combatants, and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war (Keegan, 1998). It was one of the deadliest recorded military conflicts in history, and was the reason for numerous major political changes. The main event that led to the spark of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Who was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne (Willmott, 2003). Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a friend to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, the two met in mid-June 1914 to discuss…show more content…
The United States later declared war on German ally Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917 (Keegan, 1998). Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917 became the primary motivation behind Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into World War I. Following the sinking of an unarmed French boat, the Sussex, in the English Channel in March 1916, Wilson threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Germany unless the German Government refrained from attacking all passenger ships and allowed the crews of enemy merchant vessels to abandon their ships prior to any attack. On May 4, 1916, the German Government accepted these terms and conditions (Keegan, 1998). This has come to be known as the Sussex Pledge. The situation in Germany had changed during January 1917. During a conference with representatives from the German Navy helped convince the military leadership and Kaiser Wilhelm that a resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare could help defeat Great Britain within a matter of months (History.com). German policymakers argued that they could violate the Sussex pledge since the United States could no longer be considered a neutral party after supplying ammunition and financial assistance to the Allies. German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg disagreed and believed that resuming submarine warfare would draw the United States into the war on behalf of the Allies (Willmott,

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