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Where Did World War I Take Place?

Military History

Where Did World War I Take Place?

Where did World War I take place? Because of its many fronts on the land, sea and air, some consider it the first truly global conflict.

Where did World War I take place? Because of its many fronts on the land, sea and air, some consider it the first truly global conflict.

by Mike Haskew

Ignited by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, World War I was global in nature and properly described as a “world war” for two primary reasons. The war was truly fought in locations around the world, from its focal point in Europe to the islands of the Pacific, the Asian continent, the waters of the South Atlantic, the Middle East, and the dark continent of Africa. More than nine million people lost their lives during World War I, and the conflict involved more than 50 nations of the Triple Entente, led by Great Britain and France, and the Central Powers, led by Germany and Austria-Hungary.

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So where did World War I take place? The fighting was conducted on land, sea, and air, and most of its major battles occurred in Western Europe. Critical actions took place during the battles of the Marne, Ypres, St. Quentin, Neuve Chapelle, Verdun, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, and many more. The conflict on the Western Front was characterized by the misery of trench warfare as the contending armies faced one another across a ravaged landscape that came to be known as No-Man’s Land. Modern weapons such as machine guns, heavy artillery, poison gas, and highly accurate rifles killed with great efficiency.

Germany at Tannenberg & the Turks at Gallipoli

In the East, Germany won a great victory at Tannenberg in 1914 and fought the vast Russian Army at the Vistula River, Bolimov, and other locations, while on the Italian front the bloody Battle of Caporetto, the most significant of a dozen separate engagements collectively referred to as the battles of Insonzo, and Vittorio Veneto were significant engagements. The Gallipoli Campaign, a disaster for the British, Australian, and New Zealand troops who fought the Ottoman Turks there, was waged in modern-day Turkey for control of the straits of the Bosporus and Dardanelles, two important waterways that connected the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea, and ultimately the Mediterranean.

In Palestine, the warring nations fought for control of Jerusalem and the Suez Canal, and at Beersheba. Troops of the British Commonwealth, France, Belgium, and Portugal fought Germans, South Africans, and others for control of Southwest Africa and East Africa, employing large numbers of native laborers, porters, and colonial troops. In the Pacific, Australian soldiers forced the surrender of German soldiers at Rabaul on the island of New Britain.

The Gallipoli Campaign, a disaster for the British, Australian, and New Zealand troops who fought the Ottoman Turks there, was waged in modern-day Turkey for control of the straits of the Bosporus and Dardanelles, two important waterways that connected the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea, and ultimately the Mediterranean.

 

Naval Battles Around the Globe

Significant naval battles occurred around the globe during World War I. The best known of these was at Jutland in the North Sea, as the British Royal Navy, despite grievous losses, succeeded in keeping the German High Seas Fleet from again venturing beyond the safety of its harbors. At Coronel off the Pacific coast of Chile, a German fleet defeated a Royal Navy flotilla; however, the same German warships were nearly annihilated later in the Battle of the Falkland Islands. During World War I Germany deployed a large number of submarines, or U-boats, to attack British shipping and inflicted heavy losses – at times threatening to strangle the seaborne lifeline of supplies and materiel to the British Isles.

Aerial warfare was in its infancy during World War I, and the conflict produced legendary fighter aces such as Germany’s Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron, and Ernst Udet, France’s Rene Fonck and Georges Guynemer, Britain’s Edward “Mickey” Mannock and James McCudden, Canada’s Billy Bishop, and Eddie Rickenbacker and Raoul Lufbery of the United States.

The League of Nations

The horrific loss of life and treasure experienced during World War I prompted the leaders of many countries, principally U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, to advocate the formation of a League of Nations to ensure the maintenance of peace. Although the League came into being, it was only marginally effective. The United States did not join the League, weakening its postwar influence. The Versailles Treaty itself was problematic and led directly to the outbreak of World War II nearly 20 years later.

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One Comment

  1. Uldis Zebergs
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I really appreciate your well written articles but PLEASE add captions to the accompanying photos/pictures.

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