The First World War was a worldwide conflict which began with the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia on the 28th of July, 1914. The event leading to this was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the presumptive heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, by a Bosnian Serb. World War I pitted the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria against the Allies which was a coalition of many nations, most prominently the Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan and Italy. It was fought for a period of more than four years and ended with the surrender of Germany on November 11, 1918. Also known as the Great War, it was one of the deadliest conflicts in history resulting in the death of an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians. Here is a timeline of important events during the First World War.
The immediate events leading to World War I were the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the presumptive heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and the July Crisis. 1914, the first of four years of WW1, saw many important events. Germany had great success in its initial campaigns but was stopped in its planned invasion of Paris by the Allies; while Austria-Hungary was defeated in its Serbian campaign. Moreover, war began in Africa with the invasion of Togoland by Britain and France; and in Asia with the declaration of war by Japan on Germany. Here is a timeline of events of World War I in 1914.
In 1915, on the Western Front, there are several attempts by the Allies to break the deadlock. However, these prove futile as Germans are well entrenched in their defense. Both sides realize that it would be difficult to break the stalemate on the Western Front. On the Eastern Front, the Germans are successful against the Russians forcing them to retreat. As Italy joins World War I on May 23, 1915 on the side of the Allies, a new front is opened along the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy. The major events of the First World War in 1915 also include the Gallipoli Campaign; the first large scale use of poison gas; the beginning of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; and the sinking of Lusitania. Here is a timeline of events of World War I which took place in 1915.
Two of the bloodiest battles of the First World War are fought on the Western Front in 1916. These are the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Somme. They result in around 2 million casualties but still the stalemate on the Western Front continues. On the Eastern Front, General Aleksei Brusilov of Russia leads the highly successful Brusilov Offensive against the Central Powers. It achieves its goal of halting the German attack at Verdun on the Western Front as they have to send divisions to the Eastern Front. Other important events of WW1 in 1916 include end of the Gallipoli Campaign in favor of the Ottoman Empire; the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval conflict of the First World War; and the beginning of the Arab Revolt in the Ottoman Empire. Here is a timeline of events in World War I which took place in 1916.
In 1917, in World War I, Germany resumes its unrestricted submarine warfare in February and this leads to the United States entering the war on the side of the Allies in April. On the Western Front, the French try to break the stalemate through the Nivelle Offensive. However, it is a major failure as it achieves little in the way of territorial gain and there are heavy casualties on both sides. In Russia, Tsar Nicholas II is forced to abdicate due to the February Revolution. This ends 300 years of Romanov rule in Russia. The Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin assume power after the October Revolution and, on December 15, Russia signs an armistice with the Central Powers ending their participation in the First World War. Here is a timeline of events in World War I which took place in 1917.
In 1918, World War I, Russia sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March ending their participation in the war and allowing Germany to concentrate on the Western Front. The same month, Germany launch the Spring Offensive which ultimately breaks the stalemate on the Western Front. It is initially a major success. However, they are unable to move supplies and reinforcements fast enough to maintain their advance. The Allies then launch their 100 Days Offensive, which forces Germany to retreat through the territory they had gained. The 100 Days Offensive will ultimately end with the surrender of Germany and victory for the Allies on November 11, 1918. Elsewhere, the Vardar Offensive forces Bulgaria to sue for peace in September; the Ottoman Empire surrenders in October; and Austria-Hungary, after being handed a crushing defeat by the Italians at the Second Battle of the Piave, surrender in November. Here is a timeline of events in World War I which took place in 1918.