The Great War

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The Great War

The Great War, which is more commonly called World War I began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. It was a global war centered in Europe and involved more than 70 million military personnel. There were over 9 million combatants, and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war (Keegan, 1998). It was one of the deadliest recorded military conflicts in history, and was the reason for numerous major political changes. The main event that led to the spark of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Who was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne (Willmott, 2003). Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a friend to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, the two met in mid-June 1914 to discuss the situation in the Balkans. Two weeks later, on June 28, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were in Sarajevo to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Taylor, 1998). Gavrilo Princip along with members of the nationalist Young Bosnia movement learned of the archduke’s planned visit. They decided to take action and were supplied with weapons by a Serbian terrorist organization called the Black Hand, Princip and his fellow members traveled to Sarajevo to reach there in time for the archduke’s visit. The car Ferdinand and his wife were in took a wrong turn near where Princip happened to be standing. Seeing his chance, Princip fired into the car, shooting Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range. Ferdinand and his wife were rushed from the scene to seek medical attention, but both died within the hour (Keegan, 1998). In the wake of such a crime Austria-Hungary needed to enforce its authority. But with the threat of Russian intervention and its army unprepared for a large-scale war, it required Germany’s help to back up its words with force. Emperor Franz Josef wrote a personal letter to Kaiser Wilhelm…...

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