World War I | General Knowledge for Young Learners - Class 1 PDF Download

World War I Facts

World War I | General Knowledge for Young Learners - Class 1

  • World War I began on the 28th July 1914 and lasted until the 11th November 1918
  • Over 8 million soldiers died in the First World War
  • World War I saw the first use of chemical warfare
  • As the men fought in the war, women were able to work in roles previously considered ‘masculine’ for the first time (this included farming, shop work and office work such as typewriters)
  • The First World War was largely fought in what is known as trench warfare
  • ‘No Mans Land’ is the term coined for the space of land between the trenches of the opposing sides 
  • Over 7 million civilians died during World War I
  • The longest battle in World War I was the Battle of Verdun
  • The trenches hosted awful conditions including large rats, lice infestations and wet mud floors that often caused a serious health condition known as trench foot
  • New technology for land and sea were used during World War I, such as submarines.

What Caused World War I?

  • Political tension had been rising throughout Europe in the years before the outbreak of the First World War, as some countries were gaining more power than others through Empires. Europe was divided into groups of Alliances, meaning that if a war broke out those alliances would come to their defense. 
  • On the 18th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, who was the heir to the throne for the Austria-Hungarian empire. He was shot by a Serbian man, who believed that Serbia should have control over Bosnia, not Austria. As a result, Austra-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
  • However, Serbia was in alliance with Russia, who then joined the war against Austria-Hungary. On the other side, Austria-Hungary had an alliance with Germany, and so Germany joined the war. 
  • France also had an alliance with Russia. Knowing that France would honour their alliance with Russia, Germany declared war on France on the 3rd August 1914. On the 4th August, the following day, Germany invaded Belgium to attack the French army from the north. 
  • Britain had an alliance with Belgium and France. Within hours of hearing the news that Belgium had been invaded, Britain declared war on Germany on the 4th of August.

Who Fought in World War I?

  • There were two opposing sides during World War I. These were the Central Powers and the Allies.
  • The Central Powers consisted of:
    • Austria-Hungary
    • Germany
    • Turkey
  • The Allies consisted of:
    • Britain (which included Ireland)
    • France
    • Belgium
    • Russia
    • The United States of America
  • Italy remained neutral until May 1915, where they declared war on Austria-Hungary but not on Germany. 
  • In 1917, following the October Revolution, Russia signed an armistice to withdraw from the conflict in World War I. 
  • Romania, who had remained neutral during the first 2 years of the First World War, sided with the Allied Powers from the 27th August 1916 until May 1918. However, Romania re-entered the war on the 10th November 1918, the day before it ended, which began the Romanian-Hungarian war.

What Happened During World War I? 

World War I | General Knowledge for Young Learners - Class 1

1914

  • 28th June - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia 
  • 1st August Germany joins the war in support of Austria-Hungary and declares war on Russia
  • 3rd August - Germany declares war on France and invades Belgium
  • 4th August - Britain declares war on Germany
  • 26th August - The battle of Tannenberg
  • 29th October - Turkey joins the war in alliance with Germany
  • December - the beginning of Zeppelin raids on Britain by Germany

1915

  • 21st April to 25th May - Second Battle of Ypres 
  • 25th April to 9th January 1916 - The Battle of Gallipoli
  • 7th May - The sinking of RMS Lusitania by Germany, a ship carrying 139 American passengers

1916

  • 21st February to 18th December - The Battle of Verdun
  • 31st May - The Battle of Jutland
  • 1st July to 18th November - The Battle of the Somme

1917

  • 6th April - USA declares war on Germany following the sinking of US ships by German U-boats
  • 9th April to the 16th May - Battle of Arras
  • 31st July to 6th November - Battle of Passchendale
  • 20th November to 7th December - Battle of Cambrai
  • 5th December 1917 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk meaning that Russia signed an armistice with Germany that ended their involvement in the war

1918

  • 1st April - Royal Air Force formed in Britain
  • 30th October - Turkey makes peace by asking for an armistice
  • 9th November - Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates the throne resigning as ruler of the German Empire and King of Prussia
  • 11th November - Armistice of Compiegne which put an end to the fighting in Europe (celebrated today as Armistice Day)

How Did World War I End?

  • Despite Russia leaving the war, making the German opposition side stronger during World War I, it was Germany that was defeated by the end of 1918. At the start of the year, the opposition appeared strong. 
  • However, the entry of the USA into WWI, alongside a fierce counterstrike from Britain and France, resulted in Germany’s defeat. To make matters worse, on the 9th November 1918, the German Kaiser abdicated the throne, meaning that Germany’s internal stability was in disarray. 
  • On the 11th November 1918, Germany signed an armistice which ended all fighting on the Western front. Known as Armistice Day, people in Britain, France and America celebrated the end of the war by hosting street parties and other celebrations. 
  • On the 28th June 1919, 5 years to the day after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. This meant that Germany had to accept full responsibility for starting the First World War, they couldn’t join the new League of Nations, former German land was seized from their control, and Germany faced strict armed forces restrictions. This included being banned from having an air force or navy and were only permitted to having an army of 100,000 soldiers. 
  • Germany was also required to pay over 123 billion Marks (their previous currency), which bankrupted the country and caused a great recession. According to the Treaty of Versailles, this was to pay for the cost of war and its damages.
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