The First World War was the conflict begun in July 28th, 1914, with the assassination of Archduke Francesco Ferdinando, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, occurred ​​in Sarajevo (Bosnia), by the Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, and ended on 11th November 1918.                                                                      The conflict saw the two sides clash of nations, on the one hand the Central Powers, German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire and on the other The Triple Entente (Russian Empire, United Kingdom and France). The war ended with the victory of the Entente.

The First World War started with the clash of the Triple Alliance: Germany and Austria-Hungary against the Entente countries: France, Britain and Russia. After the conflict, following several other alliances, other nations took part in it. These include: Italy, Ottoman Empire (allied with the Central Powers), Belgium, Canada, Australia, USA, Serbia, Romania, South Africa and New Zealand. The number of continents involved was such as to define the war as “the world”, the first in the history of mankind. At the beginning of the war (1914), Italy was an ally of the Central Powers, but since the alliance had defensive character and the war was declared by Austria, the Italian government chose to be neutral.  Following diplomatic pressure by Britain and France Italy signed in the 1915 a secret pact, known as the Pact of London, in which Italy had to go to war within a month in exchange for some territorial gains that would have got after the war.         So the Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and the Italian Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino had secretly signed the pact because of the prevalence of Parliament neutrality, which prevented the entry of Italy into the war. During the month the Italian internal situation in the streets saw a contrast between interventionists and neutralists.  While the former wanted the intervention, the latter believed that a policy of neutrality would be more advantageous for the interests of the State. On 24th May 1915 Italy declared war to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

First the war againstAustriawas designed as a “fast war” (or war of movement), but then turned into a ruinous “war of position, or of attrition in the trenches” with heavy artillery, machine guns, tanks, and other poisonous gases”.                                                                                                                                                The war ended on 11th November 1918, whenGermanysigned an armistice with the Entente. The number of deaths was estimated to be over 15 million, among which were the deaths from famine and disease caused by the war, particularly inGermany. The war was the first major conflict in which was made full use of all modern means, such as airplanes, tanks, submarines and chemical weapons, including mustard gas.

Written by: Alejandro Villar

Posted by: Ángel Getán


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