World War 1 & 2 / United Nations

Topics: World War II, World War I, United Nations Pages: 5 (1708 words) Published: January 16, 2006
World War 1: The Great War
World War 1, better known as "The Great War" started because of the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand. On July 28, 1914 Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist, murdered the one appointed to the throne of Austria-Hungary to protest Habsburg rule of Bosnia. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia prepared to defend its Slavic neighbors, and Germany declared war on Russia. Hence World War I begins.

World War I, 1914-1918, was originally a European war. It eventually escalated to a global conflict involving 32 nations. It began when Germany and Russia went to war with Serbia. Mutual defense pacts drew in the allies of the warring nations including France, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire among others.

In May 17, 1915 a German submarine, or U-boat, sank the British passenger liner Lusitania without warning, killing 1198 people on board, including 128 American citizens. Germans asserted, correctly, that the ship carried war materials for the allies. Americans were outraged. Germany temporarily halted submarine warfare to avoid bringing the United States into World War I.

The year 1916 was the year of the Battle of the Somme. The battle of Somme started July 1st and ended on November 28th 1916. The Battle of the Somme was the largest of all offensive planned by the British against the German Army up to that point in the First World War. The mastermind of the offensive was Lt. Gen sir Douglas Haig. Haig's plan called for a massive artillery barrage that was to knock out all German resistance along an 18 mile long section of the front. He employed the use of 1,500 British guns backed by almost the same amount of French artillery. As the barrage commenced, British infantry would flood into the front line trenches in preparation to advance on the broken German front. The barrage was set to begin on the June 24, 1916. Following the taking of the German lines, the British would then sweep through to Cambrai and Douai, breaking the German line in two. The massive barrage began on schedule and pounded the German lines for seven days non stop. However, the British lacked high explosive shells in their arsenal at the time and the concussion shells used did little damage to the German trenches and barbed wire tangles which went unnoticed by the British high command. The Germans remained in their dug outs for the duration of the barrage, quite safe from the artillery. The British were confident that the barrage had all but wiped out the German defenders and that they would find only empty trenches across no man's land. The British units, most of them formed from Kitchner's Army, advanced in close order, bayonets fixed, towards the German lines. As the first units of the B.E.F. got into the middle of no man's land, German machine gun nests sprung up to meet them. The British idea of a quick victory faded quickly as regiment after regiment fell before the German machine guns. Soon the German artillery joined in the attack. Many British regiments were killed still at their starting points, never making it out of their trenches. The 1st Lancashire Fusiliers and several other regiments from the 29th Division, were pinned down in a sunken road halfway to the German lines and were subsequently shot to pieces by the German machine guns. Only a handful of British soldiers managed to actually make it to the barbed wire tangles and even fewer to the German front line itself. By the end of the first day, the British had lost 60,000 men on the assault. Gen. Haig was still confident that the battle would succeed as long as the British infantry kept pressure on the Germans despite the mounting losses.The battle rage on for weeks. The French gained small amounts of land on the southern section of the line but the gains overall were minimal. On September 25, the British again...
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