Origins, outbreak and conclusions

In July-August 1914 a local war quickly escalated into one incorporating most of Europe and substantial parts of the world. After four years of fighting and millions dead, the conclusion of the conflict resulted in the dramatic restructuring of European and international boundaries. How did this conflict begin? Why did it escalate and what was the impact of both war and peace on the countries involved?

 

Europe before 1914

Article by:
David Stevenson

Considering factors such as globalization and military advancement, Professor David Stevenson examines the political and diplomatic landscape of Europe before the outbreak of World War One.

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Origins and outbreak

Article by:
David Stevenson

How did World War One break out? Professor David Stevenson closely examines the three stages that led to war being declared between Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain.

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Neutrality and intervention

Article by:
David Stevenson

In 1914 five European Great Powers went to war. How did this escalate into a 'world war' involving nearly all European countries and many internationally?

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How the First World War ended

Article by:
David Stevenson

Professor David Stevenson explains how the war came to an end, and why Germany accepted the harsh terms of the armistice.

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Making and breaking nations

Article by:
David Stevenson

World War One resulted in radical changes to national boundaries. Professor David Stevenson explains the changes that took place in Europe's political geography.

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World War One - French Refugees

Aftermath of World War One

Article by:
David Stevenson

Professor David Stevenson explains how the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon and the Treaties of Neuilly and Sèvres re-drew Europe's post-war boundaries.

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The debate on the origins of World War One

Article by:
Annika Mombauer

Beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Dr Annika Mombauer explores the opposing debates about the origins of World War One. Is it possible for historians to arrive at a consensus?

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Fighting the First World War: Stalemate and attrition

Article by:
Jonathan Boff

For much of the First World War, the Western Front remained almost static, with each side killing many of the other’s men but otherwise making little progress. Dr Jonathan Boff investigates why the war developed in this way and whether later depictions of wartime strategy were fair.

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Further themes

Origins, outbreak and conclusions

How did World War One begin? Why did it escalate and what was the impact of both war and peace on the countries involved?

The war machine

How were the 65 million men who fought in World War One recruited, armed and organised?

Life as a soldier

What was life like for the millions of professional, conscripted or recruited soldiers?

Race, empire and colonial troops

Over four million non-white men served in World War One. Explore more about their lives and responsibilities.

Civilians

What was life like for civilians, women, children and those displaced by the fighting?

Propaganda

How was propaganda used to inspire patriotism, dehumanise the enemy and change opinions?

Representation and memory

In addition to poetry, what were the other creative responses to the War? How have these affected our memory and understanding?

Wounding and medicine

How were soldiers injured in World War One and how did doctors, nurses and scientists treat them?

Historical debates

How have the views of historians and our understanding of World War One changed over time?