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Background World War I

Background World War I

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Due to rising nationalist sentiment, large conflicts of interest and an unrelenting struggle for hegemony at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe, two political blocs evolved. On one side was the Central Powers consisting of Germany and Austria-Hungary; on the other side the Entente: France, Great Britain and Russia.

In 1914, the murder of the Austrian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand (a friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II) and his wife by the nationalist Gavrilo Prinzip in Sarajevo triggered a global armed conflict - the First World War.

Austria-Hungary held Serbia responsible for the murder, ultimately declaring war on the country. Russia then intervened by initiating a general mobilisation, resulting in Germany (led by Emperor Wilhelm II) also taking the decision to mobilise. Within a few weeks, world war was inevitable.

The First World War ended on 11 November 1918, still known today as Remembrance Day, and resulted in more than six million casualties. The war was formally concluded with the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.