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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/la-premiere-guerre-mondiale_9852.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The War To End All Wars. [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Well...]]]]
->''"The lights are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime"''.\\
--'''Sir Edward Grey''', British Foreign Secretary, on the eve of the war.

->''"You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees"''.\\
--'''Kaiser Wilhelm II''', watching German troops marching off to war in 1914.

Once upon a time, in 1918, a war between two alliances - the French-led 'Entente Cordiale' and the German-led 'Central Powers'[[note]] Terms a lot of academic articles and books have been using lately, and which we kindly ask you to use when editing this page (and when geeking out with fellow history-buffs) since it helps avoid confusion with World War Two. Plus, the names are kinda cool. [[/note]]- and the richest and most powerful empires and nation-states on earth ended. It was the biggest, bloodiest, most expensive, most disruptive, most damaging and most traumatising war the world had ever seen. It left millions dead, maimed, shell-shocked, dispossessed, impoverished, starving and bitter. Victory brought relief more than it did elation or sorrow, and in the aftermath the victorious powers resolved to form a better world from the ashes of the old - albeit in more or less exactly the same image as that of the old, save the addition of more and worse economic and ethnic problems. This was a war that crushed attitudes, destroyed countless lives, brought down four great(-ish) empires and in its conclusion sowed the seeds of further conflict and suffering. The extent to which it did all these things made the First World War a war the likes of which the world had never seen... but the world was yet to see the last of this magnitude of conflict.

Formerly known as "The Great War", or as "The War to End All Wars" or even "The World War" until [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII "the sequel"]] broke out. Ironically, the NapoleonicWars had previously been known as The Great War until ''this'' one broke out. This was quite possibly the most unpopular widespread conflict in the history of civilization in hindsight[[note]] though for many in Eastern Europe, this war (which ended in their countries' independence) is more popular than World War II (which ended with the Soviets occupying their countries for 40 years)[[/note]], and even at the time it faced serious support issues. It perhaps comes a close second in the Anglosphere for UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, and by some measures manages to beat {{UsefulNotes/Algeria}} in the Francosphere (when the speaker knows, and can bear, to bring the latter up). [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII In hindsight,]] the final resolution of the war has come to be dubbed "the peace to end all peaces."

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:'''Overview''']]

* 1914 - in July Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia[[note]] as means of ending Serbian support for Austro-Hungarian revolutionaries[[/note]], Russia declares war on Austria-Hungary[[note]] to check Austro-Hungarian influence in the Balkans and hopefully make gains there for herself[[/note]], on 26 July Russia begins secret mobilisation of her reserve-troops[[note]] Mobilisation (of reserve-troops) is important, and basically the same thing as declaring war because reserve-troops make up so much of the troop totals (between a third to half) of each of the Great Powers involved. Although Russian mobilisation is closely modeled on and just as if not more efficient than French mobilisation (13 days, give or take a day), Russia is a much bigger country than France and so it takes a few days on top of that to move the last of those shiny new units to wherever you want them. German mobilisation is markedly slower, needing 17 days, and even with all its reserves the German army is only half the size of the Russian - ''without'' her reserves, the German army is only ''1/3'' the size. That doesn't even begin to cover the way that France has an army only a little bit smaller than Germany's (4/5 the size including reserves), mobilizes quicker than Germany can, and will support Russia (by attacking Germany) in any war between the two [[/note]]. Italy refuses to come to Austria-Hungary's aid [[note]] officially because Austria-Hungary had not consulted them before declaring war, but actually because they are sure Britain will support France in any Franco-German war and a British blockade will devastate the (sea-)trade-dependent Italian economy. Italy also wants Austro-Hungarian territories that contain Italian minorities, but the latter won't give them up even to preserve their alliance. [[/note]]. Germany declares war on Russia in support of Austria-Hungary because Kaiser Wilhelm had promised to support Austria-Hungary no matter what. On 1 August France and Germany mobilise their reserves simultaneously, Germany's mobilisation coming with a formal declaration of war (upon France, Belgium, and Luxembourg). Britain declares war upon Germany[[note]] because the Cabinet had agreed that they would go to war if Germany declared war on Belgium. There was a group of hardliners who wanted war with Germany no matter what, but the Cabinet as a whole felt that entering a war and formally joining the Entente Cordiale would be deeply unpopular unless it was done in response to an invasion of Belgium. Unspoken was the way the war was a marvelous opportunity to submerge internal dissent (chiefly Irish devolution, safe working conditions and livable pay, and womens' rights) and cripple the German economy [[/note]], British Commonwealth follows suit. Russia launches East Prussian offensive with 400k, France executes ''Plan XVII'' with c.600k - French offensive into Germany, Luxembourg, and southern Belgium to pre-empt Germany's ''Aufmarsch I''[[note]] ''Aufmarsch I'', Deployment Plan I, calls for deployment of c. 80% of German army against France and c.15% (c.200k) against Russia. Plan is flexible, so deployed troops can be used for offensive or counter-offensive. Under Chief-of-Staff Schlieffen (retired 1905) counter-offensive was preferred as it combined best features of defense (greater tactical effectiveness due to superior intelligence, cover, and machine-guns) and offense (ability to mass superior forces against inferior enemy ones and thereby defeat them with minimal losses). But his successor Chief of Staff Moltke advocated offensive instead on grounds that the tactical efficiency of the defense was only marginal and (thus) always being the attacker was crucial to victory in any battle (as 'proved', inverted commas, in Russo-Japanese War). Either way, 'Decisive Battle' only possible in west - maximum of 40% of Army can be deployed and kept supplied in East, so victory there would be neither as tactically nor strategically decisive (German force would be too small and Russian ability to replace losses very good). But decisive blow against ''French'' could even make subsequent invasion of France possible - defeat of France would end French raiding of German shipping and leave Germany to face two-plus year war with Russia, or maybe white peace [[/note]]. ''Aufmarsch I'' entails invasion of (northern) Belgium and Luxembourg with c.700k troops to seek 'decisive battle' with French Army. French armies, Russian armies, BEF of 50k defeated[[note]] German force of 200k moving north-west through southern Belgium meets French force of 200k attacking north-east. French force attacks during heavy downpours without scouting out the German positions or waiting for their artillery to catch up - takes heavy losses. German force disobeys orders to continue moving north-west and instead pursues fleeing French forces south-west. In Prussia dedicated German defence force of 200k makes use of railways (as per meticulous pre-war planning and training) to mass against Russian Army of 200k advancing north from Russian Poland and attack it at Tannenburg - Russian force takes heavy losses. German force then uses rail network to re-group and meet up with 20k troops transferred from France, mass, and launch counter-offensive against second Russian force of 200k advancing west from Lithuania at Masurian Lakes - German force too weak and exhausted to pursue them into Lithuania proper, where freshly-mobilised Russian Reserve Army of c.200k is on defensive. Note that under Schlieffen, plan had been to transfer 100k troops from France to enable proper pursuit and thus greater destruction of second Russian force - but Moltke prioritised second, follow-on offensive in France instead [[/note]]. German army opportunistically hounds southward retreat of French forces, pursuit grinds to halt east of Paris on river Marne [[note]] This second offensive most definitely premature, unwise - Belgian rail lines still not repaired at time, meaning the German right-wing armies are ''over 120km'' and the centre-armies ''more than 200 km'' from the nearest working railhead (meaning more than week-long round trips for supplies). The logistics-horses for these armies also ''have no food'' (in the short-term meaning weakness as well as exhaustion, which contributes to crippling rates of sickness among the poor creatures, and in the long-term meaning death). German logistics-horses in general exhausted and overworked and need rest+treatment to check exponentially increasing death-rate. German army not as well-equipped with non-rail transport as French Army, assumption of pre-war planning being that Germany would be on the defensive in at least the initial stage of a war with France and Russia. Conversely, French Army well-equipped with non-rail transport due to provision of pre-war planning (Plan XVII) for invasion of Belgian and German territory in support of Russia [[/note]]. Austro-Hungarian mobilisation botched - fewer than 100k assigned to Serbian offensive (Serbian Army 60k) and 800k-man offensive against Russia delayed so much that Russia manages to both invade Germany and execute successful defense with force of c. 1.5 million. Ottoman Empire brought into war by opportunistic false flag operation orchestrated by Germany[[note]] Two German commerce-raider warships in the Mediterranean make a break for The Dardanelles, chased by a British squadron. They ask for refuge in Ottoman waters, but are refused - however, Ottomans agree to buy both warships. ''However'', Ottomans lack specialised crew for them so pre-existing crews are allowed to remain on them while they train Ottoman Navy personnel in use of the ships. Then, when both ships have been allowed into the Black Sea and are officially under the Ottoman flag, the crews mutiny and sail off to shell Russian ports. Russia wants the greater influence over the Balkans that would come with the destruction of The Ottoman Empire and notes that Britain will be able to help out by attacking The Ottomans directly (and they might even end up doing most of the work), so this means war! [[/note]]. Royal Navy imposes 'distant blockade' of German sea-trade between Scotland and Norway, but German-Scandinavian trade continues[[note]] Cadbury revenues actually increase thanks to sales to Germany via Norway[[/note]]. Chaos on stock market and in general European economy as half continent stops trading with itself. German surface-raiders - many disguised as fast merchant ships[[note]] Merchant ships are (much) faster than (heavily-armoured, heavily-armed, and slow) 'battle-ships' and have much greater range than torpedo-boats (tiny boats everyone uses for riverine and coastal defense) and 'torpedo-boat-destroyers' (small ships with light, rapid-fire armament designed to destroy the unarmoured torpedo-boats in defense of battleships). Emptying the holds of a merchant ship and giving it some guns is child's play, and something pretty much everyone had thought of. Britain built a very large 'cruiser' (lightly-armoured, fast, and moderately-well-armed warships) force to hunt down other cruisers and these armed merchant ships. Britain also built a handful of 'battlecruisers' (ships with the armament of battleships and the armour and speed of cruisers) to serve as flagships for hunter-killer squadrons of British cruisers (when hunting other cruisers). This two-decade-old, ''very'' large cruiser-battlecruiser force was tailor-made to counter the French navy (which fielded an ominously large force of extra-fast merchant-ship-hunting cruisers)[[/note]] - wreak minor havoc among Entente shipping.
* 1915 - need for greater mobilization of economic resources recognized by all combatants as forces get hamstrung by extremely weak logistics and critical lack of ammunition, particularly for artillery. All attempts at offensive operations on Franco-German front fail. Germany co-ordinates with Austria to knock Russia out of war, but fails - poorer infrastructure of Russia and inferiority in horses means logistical advantage lies with Russian army, this offsetting Germans' greater combat-efficiency and poor state of Russian planning and communications. Russian forces fall back in good order from Poland, Russian resolve hardening with ground lost. Losses of artillery assets in particular by Russian forces causes Russian government to adopt dangerously over-extensive program of mobilization exacerbated by her total economic isolation as result of loss of virtually all international trade. Russian counter-offensive repels Ottomans' Georgian offensive with such heavy losses that the 'back' of Ottoman army believed broken - Franco-Commonwealth force organised by head of Britain's Royal Navy (Winston Churchill) launches amphibious offensive to force Dardanelles and re-open sea trade in April. Germans assist Ottoman defense, Entente forces withdraw in January 1916. Last of German surface raiders destroyed, but sporadic submarine (u-boot) attacks continue. German colonies occupied, but isolated resistance continues. Conscription used to build Commonwealth forces up to levels where they can relieve pressure on Franco-Russian manpower reserves. British blockade now 100% - Scandinavian ports mined and all Scandinavian shipping intercepted. Diplomatic coup for Entente as Italy is persuaded to join them with promises of large strips of Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman territory; Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary on 24/5/1915 but alpine terrain of the border is so bad and so narrow that Italian offensive operations impossible.
* 1916 - Germany recognises need to 'break' France before Russia and The Commonwealth can fully mobilise their resources, as Germany has reached limits of own manpower+industrial mobilisation and Austria-Hungarian society & government visibly disintegrating under strain of war. Strategy of simply exhausting France's manpower reserves and then using greater German combat-efficiency to bludgeon way through French lines decided upon, employed in battle at Verdun starting 21/2/1916 - sector of front where French rail-supply poor, and German good. Not as effective as hoped - French Army has world's largest pool of motor-transport, not as reliant on rail-supply as expected - but situation still precarious until offensive by Russian Army's Southern Front under Brusilov (4/6/1916-20/9/1916) and Commonwealth offensive at Somme (1/7/1916-18/11/1916) forces Germans to abort all operations at Verdun by 18/12/1916. 'Brusilov' offensive effectively exhausts Austro-Hungarian reserves for relatively little cost to Russian Army, but Russian Army logistics (despite greater resources) badly-managed and offensive cannot be sustained - success in that German reserves needed to stabilise front. Brusilov's Front also neglected in favour of Northern Front, which was expected to do the 'real' work of distracting German Army from Somme... but Northern Front offensive total failure due to same (and worse) problems as Commonwealth Somme Offensive, German reserves not needed to stabilise front. Somme offensive mixed success, also draws off some German reserves, but fails due to inadequate co-ordination of artillery and infantry and complete neglect of logistics. German counter-offensive stabilises front opposite Brusilov and Germany assumes command over all Austro-Hungarian forces in the east. German Fleet's[[note]] The brief pre-war Anglo-German arms race (ended 1913) concerned an abortive German attempt to build up a 'battleship' fleet that could challenge Britain's own, which ended when Kaiser Wilhelm realised that Britain would do whatever it took to stop that from happening - in 1914 the British still had more than twice as many battleships and were also building twice as many as Germany was.[[/note]] attempt to break blockade and/or destroy British Fleet in decisive battle fails - 31/5 to 1/6/1916 Battle Of Jutland indecisive, blockade continues. Russian war-production peaks, but results in urban famine in Moscow and Saint Petersburg as lack of consumer goods in economy means farmers are no longer selling their grain - Austria-Hungary beginning to suffer same problem.
* 1917 - In March, Urban famine in St Petersburg and Moscow causes coup against Tsar, self-governing communes rise up in Russian urban centres and middle class+elite establish unelected 'Provisional Government' - uneasy alliance between two, but both agree to mutually piss off when they elect a government by universal vote at a later date. Germany decides to use submarine fleet against 'all' shipping, USA uses this as ''casus belli'' and joins Entente. Commonwealth forces use their improved artillery-infantry cooperation to pioneer a new 'successive breakthrough' operational/campaign strategy [[note]] Multiple tactical breakthroughs/victorious battles in the same sector, each less than a week apart, along a line of advance completely 'covered' by artillery. Despite effective co-ordination of infantry and artillery, fails due to complete neglect of engineering and logistics - massive repair works required to render infrastructure of the captured territory useful... and the just-captured territory has to be used to capture ''more'' territory, not to mention the ammunition and food and reinforcement requirements of the infantry and artillery moving up into it. They ''do'' learn from this, however, and listen to the engineers' demands that they effectively double the number of engineers allocated to future offensive operations/campaigns[[/note]] that fails due to insufficient engineering+logistics. French Army and society also tires of demoralising 'attrition warfare' strategy and insists upon alternative - experimental 'breakthrough strategy' championed by junior commander Nivelle, which they are promised will end war quickly. Its dismal failure with ''even worse'' losses to no effect[[note]] It didn't help that the 'new' strategy was basically an attempt to apply successful battlefield tactics to the operational/campaign level by a commander with little grasp of the differences between the two - particularly in the way artillery, engineering, and logistics work rather differently[[/note]] is deeply demoralising, causes c.45% of French Army to mutiny - units collectively refuse to do anything but hold their current positions and defend themselves until a system of 'leave' is organised, they are given safe and decent rations, and Army Command 'gets its £&$@^&£*! act together'. Italian Army of 400k suffers devastating tactical defeat by Central Powers army of 350k at Caporetto - Commonwealth offensives aborted as forces rushed to help stabilise Italian front, defeat triggers re-structuring of Italian Army at tactical/battlefield level. Rumania brought into war on Entente side - but army easily defeated and country quickly occupied, its petroleum and grain resources aid the Central Powers' war effort. After failure of offensive against German-led forces by unreformed Russian Army, Russian Army also mutinies - not 100% clear what troops want, but general consensus is they want the elections ''now'', not later. In November elections held and won by rural-based Social-Democratic Party with 60% of vote, [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober but urban Russian Communist Party arrests all delegates when they attempt to meet and declares that The Russian Empire has been dissolved,]] orders all Russian troops to disperse and return home. The German-Habsburg armies take virtually no losses when they sweep them aside and occupy The Baltic States, Belorussia, and Ukraine - thereby securing enough grain to avert famine for another year.
* 1918 - Russian Communist Party scrambles to [[UsefulNotes/RedsWithRockets form the 'Red Army' - regular military force with ultra-modern structure]] built using core of old General Staff and cream of officer corps. But Red Army too small and too weak to prevent Central Powers from advancing further, Communist Party negotiates with Germany and cedes all occupied territory to Germany in 5/3/1918 Treaty Of Brest Litovsk; the Russian front of WWI segues seamlessly into the [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober Russian Civil War]]. 200k German and Habsburg troops remain to occupy territory, remaining 500k transferred to Western Front. c. 1.5 million German troops used in series of attacks on Entente lines starting 21/3/1918 - heavy German losses to no effect, total failure by 5/4/1918 though sporadic attacks continue for further two months. ''Michael'' Offensive only ever a campaign/operation in name only, demonstrates ultimate failure of German army to adapt to modern warfare[[note]] Any real intentions for the offensive have only been discerned after the fact - there was a nominal plan, but none of the details were fleshed out. For what it's worth the plan seems to have been for a solid, direct thrust to sea - thereby cutting off Entente forces in the north from their supply lines in the south, which would allow the Germans to advance on Paris with the assumption that it would break the back of the Entente on the Western Front. Assuming this, more operations/campaigns could be initiated (once all the rail-lines and roads had been repaired sufficient stockpiles of food and ammo had been built up) to mop up remaining Ententeforces and secure France, with the assumption that this would make them sue for peace and effectively win the war for the Central Powers[[/note]]. Urban famine in Austria-Hungary and Germany - anti-war demonstrations appear, increase despite repression. In August, Entente launches "Hundred Days' Offensive". Series of virtually non-stop attacks by partially-reformed Entente forces push Germans back - 'death of a thousand cuts' as German forces constantly eroded by Entente tactical/battlefield superiority, cumulative effect devastating. Still no strategic breakthroughs, no operational encirclements - but Entente winning anyway. Bulgaria sues for peace with Entente in late September; Ottoman Empire surrenders on 30 October when Commonwealth forces reach modern-day Turkey, having routed last remaining Ottoman resistance. Austro-Hungarian offensive at Venice thrown into disarray by counterattack, army then 'broken' by Italian offensive including 24/10/1918-3/11/1918 battle of Vittorio Veneto - only 40k Habsburg dead, but 400k troops flee and later surrender to Italian forces (of similar size). Austria-Hungary declares cease-fire on 4/11/1918. On 11/11/1918 Germany does same - effective at 11:00 Central European Time (CET). Fighting on Western Front ceases. Entente victorious, but have only a few thousand troops in Central and Eastern Europe - not one single functional government between Rhine and Don rivers. Shape of the peace - and Europe itself - to come unclear, but will formally be decided in conference at Versailles next year...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:'''The Western Front''']]

The war in Anglophone popular culture consists of precisely two settings:

British Tommies live in the hellish trenches, where it's always raining and the muddy ground is covered in craters. There's always an artillery bombardment going on. Mud, barbed wire, and rotting human flesh is everywhere. Periodically, the out-of-touch, over-optimistic upper-class twit generals decide to mount another attack and the poor Tommies go "over the top" into a hail of enemy machine-gun fire and everyone gets killed (often staged similarly to a BolivianArmyEnding except there's no doubt about the tragic outcome really). Usually, one of the working-class Tommies will admit not to know why the war even started, to incredulity on the part of the officers -- until they try and explain, when it all sounds simply too lame to be true.

The Tommies are a mixture of salt-of-the-earth working-class rankers (enlisted men) and [=NCOs=] and upper-class officers. Officers are either absurdly naive types, straight from the playing-fields of Eton, looking forward to Giving the Hun a Damn Good Licking, or decent, intellectual types who write poetry and ruminate on the meaning of sacrifice and duty, but provide a brave face for the men.

Only the [[BlackComedy darkest of comedies]] are set here, although there's plenty of scope for tragedy. A very few films substitute American "Doughboys" for the Tommies, though actually the Americans avoided trench warfare as a matter of policy (they already saw how bloody it was during [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar their own Civil War]]), and were fortunate to arrive ''en masse'' just as things had started moving again.

'''Knights of the Sky''':

The war on the ground is a depressing morass of mud, barbed wire and certain death -- but chivalry and bravery still count for something in the air. ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines take to the skies in flimsy biplanes to duel with the Germans. Most of these pilots are chivalrous, except for that [[Film/{{Flyboys}} one evil bastard in the black plane]] and that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Mannock Britisher]] who repeatedly guns down his already-defeated enemy on the ground. Their German counterpart is Bruno Stachel, a ruthless functioning alcoholic with equally little patience for chivalrous dueling, who takes to the skies in ''Film/TheBlueMax''.

The British fliers are all officers, and usually fit into one of the two Trench Warfare officer types above, though there's more room for a Biggles-style dashing hero here. Indeed, Literature/{{Biggles}} first appeared as a Royal Flying Corps pilot in France.

'''In fact...'''

[[quoteright:269:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/EnglandWWI_5504.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:269:A [[RuleOfFunny completely accurate representation]] [[http://angusmcleod.deviantart.com/art/World-War-One-Simple-Version-128505446 of Britain's role.]]]]

While both of these settings have a lot of truth behind them, they don't tell the whole story. In particular, watching any of the small number of American and British World War One movies out there could convince you that it was a solely Anglo-German affair, with the Americans turning up to lend a hand later on. In particular, many writers (and viewers/readers) in Anglospheric world confuse 1914 with 1940 and forget that the French kept fighting throughout, because the Western Front was situated in the northernmost regions of France from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier. French soldiers outnumbered the British substantially on the Western Front (70,000 British soldiers were initially mobilized in 1914, they were 800,000 in France) and even taught inexperienced American soldiers how to fight in the trenches and equipped them. By the end of the war and despite the heaviest death toll on the Western Front, the French army had become the most powerful army in the world, but it didn't last a decade as soon as pacifism became a major value in French society. In fact, more French people died during this war than during [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII its sequel]] (three times more), and the vast majority of them were soldiers.

Many works glamorize the first fighter pilots as the "Knights of the Sky", and there is some truth to this, but they also had such a high casualty rate that their airplanes were commonly nicknamed "flying coffins" - the average life expectancy of new pilots was about ''one week''. They had none of the safety systems or redundancies of later warplanes, and were very fragile. A handful of veteran pilots on each side gained enough experience to score dozens of kills, but these were exceptional. Ironically, many infantrymen stuck in the trenches ''still'' envied the pilots, because even though they had a high casualty rate, they at least got to sleep in a clean bed at night in their hangar, not stuck in the hellish mud of the trenches.

Even after the smarter generals -- and there were several -- realised they didn't have the technology to break through the other side's defences, the politicians insisted on more futile charges. Eventually, the tank was invented, and new strategies devised. The Entente battle plans for 1919 were apparently very close to blitzkrieg, but the war ended first. The Entente General Staffs then were wracked by infighting over claiming credit for which service arm actually won the war -- largely ignoring the fact that all of them working together is what in fact decided the conflict -- and as a result dropped much of what they'd learned about combined arms warfare, aircraft, and tanks down the back of the filing cabinet... not their best moment.

As the name suggests, it was a World War -- fighting on the Eastern Front between Germany/Austria and Russia/Serbia was far more fluid than in the west, with great swathes of land gained and lost with every offensive and cavalry galloping freely around. The Austro-Hungarians and Italians -- with some (respectively) German and Entente support -- slugged it out over the Alpine passes in some of the worst fighting in the history of warfare, and fought no fewer than eleven battles over the same river (the Soča/Isonzo) before the Austro-Hungarians finally broke through only to be stopped on the Piave river and forced back to the old battlelines on one MORE battle until the Austro-Hungarian lines were finally broken and Vienna was forced to come to terms. When certain mountain fortresses were recognized as invincible (a realization that usually took the lives of thousands), whole mountains were mined from the inside and blown skywards together with their strongholds and garrisons. With fighting in Africa, naval engagements off the Falklands and Chile, commerce raiding in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, an Anglo-Japanese (under Japanese command) siege and seizure of Germany's concessions in China and the Pacific, an Australian attack on Germany's colonies in New Guinea, a battle on the Mexico-Arizona border as well as sabotage in North America, the war took place on all continents except Antarctica and Australia -- and the [=ANZAC=]s (Aussies and Kiwis) showed up with the Canadians as part of UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire.

The short version of just what started the war is this: a centuries-long buildup of interlocking treaties (many of which required that Nation A automatically join in defense of Nation B, which required that Nation C join in, etc), betrayals, and long-simmering ethnic and national feuds (Germans and French hated one another, Austrians and Serbs hated one another, and on and on) put Europe in a position where the slightest spark would set off a global conflict that had become more or less inevitable.[[note]]Though [[http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/baliga/htm/hobbesiantrap.pdf at least one person]] has noted that the war might not have been as inevitable had everyone not ''thought'' it was inevitable -- in other words, that The War Is Coming anyway, so "we" might as well get The First Blow in.[[/note]] The long story involves a lot more Realpolitik, incompetence and the efforts of the powers' own military forces to steer their countries into a war. For a long time, we didn't have a proper picture of all the factors that led to the war as we know it - there was an awful lot of data to be collated and analysis to be translated, and some (classified) sources weren't made available until many decades afterwards - by which time many histories of the War had already been written. In particular, an over-reliance on diplomatic-service communiques and records - which were readily available and easy to access - and the need to keep it simple for school-childrens' sake led to an over-emphasis on the importance of the treaty system. In any case, it was expected that there would be a European war at some point in the next decade or so. Just who it would involve and how big it would be was largely a matter of conjecture, but it would almost certainly be a civilised affair - as one would expect of the most civilised nation-states on earth.

However, June of 1914 saw an international crisis instigated by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (yes, he later had a [[Music/FranzFerdinand band named after him]]), heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The assassins were Serbian nationalists who had received backing from the Serbian Yugoslavist terror group "Unification Or Death," better known as the "Black Hand." You see, Franz Ferdinand had big plans to make Austria-Hungary into a far less centralized state than it was before, based off a federation of all the different ethnic groups of the Empire, rather than a hegemony of Germans and Hungarians. He was even planning to give political power to Serbian leaders. The ascendency of Franz Ferdinand to the throne might have placated the Serbian population of his country. A placated Serbian population and a stable Austria-Hungary would have been detrimental to the Serbian unification movement, therefore, Franz Ferdinand had to be eliminated. Austria then decided to teach Serbia a harsh lesson. Russia supported their fellow Slavs in Serbia, and UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany supported Austria. [[note]] Austria made roughly a dozen separate post-assassination demands of Serbia as a precondition to avoiding war, any one of which it would be humiliating for Serbia to concede to. Serbia conceded to all but one - that one essentially meant handing their sovereignty/independence to Austria. Yet Serbia was one of the ''last'' countries to be invaded during the course of the war.[[/note]] Gavrilo Princip (the man who assassinated the Archduke and Archduchess) was too young for the death penalty. He was given a sentence of 20 years and died in prison of tuberculosis in 1918.

For the reasons outlined earlier, there exists a great misconception that after these events, the system of military alliances set WWI off immediately. This is silly; treaties are just ink on paper, all the powers had ignored such agreements when it suited them - albeit with lesser powers. The way the war actually started was rather messy and involved an awful lot of errors and misunderstandings, some of which had persisted for decades and only then came to bite the continent in its collective backside.

Austria-Hungary by all means at this point wanted to go to war, but feared retaliation by Serbia's Russian allies. They believed, however, that they could be secure against Russian attack if Germany had their back. Germany was and had been for some time the greatest military power on earth. It had the best discipline, the best weapons, the best officers, and the second best fleet in the world. All they lacked were powerful allies. Instead, Germany was surrounded by powerful enemies with only a few weak allies.

Thus, the Austrians sent word asking if the German Kaiser would back their plan of invading Serbia. The Kaiser, in a moment of monumental oversight that was dismally typical of him, did not take the letter seriously - believing the Austrians would never be stupid enough to provoke the Russians. He promised his full support for whatever the Austrians saw fit to do.

Unfortunately, thanks to an incredibly botched opening move by Chief of Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorff, the initial period of war was an unmitigated disaster for Austria-Hungary. As a paranoid second-rate power which saw itself as being surrounded by enemies, Austria-Hungary had the most mobilisation-plans of any European power. Germany had four (later three); Russia and France had two; Britain and Italy had one apiece. Austria-Hungary had ''seven'', ''including one for a war with Italy'' (yes, this was when Italy was still their ally). However, Austria-Hungary had three deployment plans suited to this exact situation (war with Serbia and maybe Russia as well). The first deployed as many troops as possible in forward positions for an offensive against Serbia, deploying troops far behind the border with Russia for a defensive operation there. The second deployed forces in defensive positions well-behind the borders with both Serbia and Russia, keeping the bulk of Austro-Hungarian troops in the center of the country to be deployed against either power as necessary. The third deployed the bulk of the troops in forward positions for an offensive against Russia, and a small defensive force against Serbia.

Germany wanted the third plan. Hoetzendorff implemented the first. When the emperor noticed the illogic of doing this in a war which was certain to involve Russia as well and asked him to change it, it was too late and it did far more harm than good. The Austro-Hungarian forces deployed against Serbia were already deployed too far forward and basically had to go on the offensive, and the forces deployed against Russia had already been deployed too far back and would have to march the remaining 100km on-foot. Meanwhile neither operation would start on-time or have the strength to succeed [[note]] The empire had one million regular and one million reserve troops. If the third plan was delivered on-time, the Russians would only be able to defend Poland with about a million troops at the most (with another half-million arriving later). Serbia had fewer than 300k troops. So together, 1.8 million troops attacking 1 million and 200k defending against 300k should both have had reasonable chances of success. They actually ended up sending 1.3 million against 1 million and 400k to attack 300k, with the remainder arriving later as reinforcements against the Russians. [[/note]] The Austrians' invasion of Russia was a total non-starter, with their forces actually being ''driven back'' by Russian counter-attacks. And their botched invasion of tiny, highly-militarised - from its recent experiences fighting the Ottomans, Albanians, and Bulgarians- hilly-to-mountainous Serbia saw their only-slightly-more-numerous force devastated by the Balkan state's artillery and routed.

War between Austria and Serbia, however, did not immediately equal World War One. What it did do was convince Russia that Germany had something planned. They figured rightly that Austria would not act without Germany's backing, but they mistook this as the possible first step in a larger plan for initiating a war of conquest. Just to be safe, Russia began to mobilize its reserves. It would be three weeks before they would be ready for war.

This is the point at which the Great War becomes inevitable. Germany has long anticipated a war against Russia and France. It had feared and readied itself for this moment. They could mobilize their reserves in just two weeks. As stated, they had the best army in the world, but they could not fight a war on two fronts. If it came to that, they would be doomed. Their only chance at victory was to quickly eliminate France before the Russians could mobilize, then turn their army against Russia. For this to work, Germany had to act quickly, at the first sign of trouble. If the Russians mobilized their reserves, Germany couldn't afford to wait and see. The orders went out as soon as they received the news. [[note]]The Kaiser actually tried to abort the invasion of France, but due to the above-mentioned military plans on auto-pilot, his minister of war told him that he couldn't simply reverse all the trains. If he did (he could have- indeed, the man in charge of organizing the trains published a book after the war showing precisely how it could have been done), the war might have stayed as a local Germany/Austria-Hungary vs. Serbia/Russia war... assuming the French would be in the mood to not attack Germany of course. Which, to the Germans at least, didn't look very likely. Indeed, Germans did actually make a diplomatic gesture before starting the war against the French; demanding that, as a guarantee that the French would not try to take advantage of a war between Germany and Russia (which the French were legally obliged to enter, as a military ally of Russia), they should disarm and abandon their fortifications along the border. Needless to say that the French refused this demand.[[/note]]

Both France and Germany had, for nearly two decades, made various plans to invade each other through Belgium due to the country's weak military forces (she basically didn't have any outside of three ginormous fortresses along her chief railway lines) and good infrastructure as a result of her abundant mineral (iron+coal) wealth and early industrialisation and relative prosperity. German deployment plans called for, in the event of a Franco-German war, all available forces to be deployed against France. However, as a Franco-German-Russian war (and thus simultaneous Franco-Russian offensive into Germany) began to look more likely after 1905 and Germany's failure to re-establish her alliance with Russia, most deployment plans after 1904 called for at least 15% of Germany's troops to be deployed in Prussia to counter Russia. While Germany ''wanted'' to deploy more, the railway network would only allow up to 40% - and this would only be enough to achieve 1:1 parity of troop-numbers with Russia (rather than the 2:1 against a French offensive). Thus, even though a couple of ''Generalstaffreise'' wargames did experiment with focusing on defeating Russia's offensive, all the actual Deployment Plans called for deploying c.85-90% of troops in the west to defeat the French offensive. What would be done with the troops after they were deployed was left open-ended, as Germany's military doctrine called for the lower-level commanders to make their own decisions about what to do with their forces - though it was generally understood that the anti-France force would keep its 'right'/western wing strong so it could launch a strong counter-offensive against the sides of a French offensive directly into Germany and/or defend against a French offensive coming through Belgium and the Ardennes forest.

As it happened, the Western wing in 1914 decided to go ''on the offensive'' instead on the grounds that the coming war would be a long and damaging one to the very ground on which it was fought, thus making it imperative that it should not be fought on German soil (despite the many advantages that would confer). Therefore, ''Germany'' invaded Belgium with the forces of her right flank to make the war happen in not-Germany and preclude the French from occupying it first under their ''Plan XVII'', which (unknown to the Germans) only called for the French to march into southern Belgium if ''Germany'' made moves to do so first. The invasion (followed by frequently exaggerated but sometimes dismally true tales of atrocities) was an excellent pretext for Britain to go to war against Germany. [[note]]The German Navy ''absolutely refused'' to contemplate a war with Britain and ''could not voice its disapproval loud enough'' when the Army brought it up with them. They did, however, manage to get the Army to divert a militia ('Landwehr') division and some hobbyists (local militia, gun-clubs, etc., etc.) to help defend the North German coast as per the navy's request, this being not even 20,000 men. The small size of the BEF (50,000 men) and its assumed ineffectiveness given its lack of artillery meant that it was regarded in the same manner as the French militia forces in German war-planning once it became clear that Britain might intervene on France's side in the event of a Franco-German war (i.e. from about 1904-5 and the Russo-Japanese War, Anglo-Russian Rapproachment, and Moroccan Crisis onwards) [[/note]]. When the two invasion forces tripped over one another in the Ardennes, the French forces made the mistake of attacking without scouting out the German forces or waiting for their artillery to catch up. They take heavy losses and inflict few in return, and the Germans' follow-up offensive to catch the damaged forces while they're still understrength and demoralised inflicts still-heavier losses. Ultimately, however, pursuing these forces draws the Germans too far forward and south - their left/eastern flank still needs to be covered and can't be linked-up with Alsace-Lorraine as the fortress-district of Verdun can't be taken, their right/western flank is completely open and vulnerable to any and all attack (particularly from Paris), and their individual forces are way too spread-out. This leaves them susceptible to even a half-arsed Entente counter-offensive...

The Ottoman Empire entered the alliance with the Central Powers (what Germany and Austria-Hungary came to be known as) through some trickery by the German Admiralty. [[note]]At the end of Summer in 1914, as war was rapidly approaching for Europe, France had troops stationed in its colonies in North Africa and naturally wanted to bring these troops back to French soil to defend itself from the German invasion that was sure to come. Britain and France were trying to coordinate naval efforts in an attempt to work together, so Britain's Mediterranean fleet was tasked with defending the French transports that were to ferry the men back to France. Unfortunately, Germany had two very powerful ships in the Mediterranean: the Battlecruiser ''Goeben'' and Light Cruiser ''Breslau'' commanded by Wilhelm Souchon. And wouldn't you know it: they were out looking to cause trouble. With orders to bomb French Philippeville in Africa, Souchon does so and promptly flees East. This attack gives the British Admiral Sir Archibald Berkeley Milne, commander of the Mediterranean Fleet, quite a fright at the thought of losing the transports. Milne eventually gets his act together and trails Souchon all the way to Sicily where Souchon was getting coal from then-neutral Italy (even with superior numbers Milne's ships were older and had much smaller guns; and a majority of his fleet was kept back West guarding the transports and hedging against an about-face he felt was coming from the Germans at any moment). Thanks to the British being argent about Italy's neutrality, Milne could not attack as Souchon took on coal. Souchon then goes on to continue his escape, with his destination now evident to be the Dardanelles. During this last leg of the ''Goeben's'' flight, Milne's subordinate Ernest Troubridge briefly engaged with the ''Goeben'' and ''Breslau'', doing damage to neither with his severely underpowered and antiquated Armored Cruisers (Troubridge was severely punished for not pressing the attack more; but similar engagements in the following years have proven his decision to be prudent and he probably saved his four ships by retreating). Souchon leads his ships into the Dardanelles controlled by the Ottoman Empire, and thanks to hasty communications between embassies he is allowed passage. To keep the Ottoman Empire neutral (which was Germany's plan at the time), Germany sells ''Goeben'' and ''Breslau'' to the Ottoman Empire. The best sailors the Ottomans have are currently in Britain, stranded because Britain "requisitioned" two battleships they were meant to pick up when construction had finished. So Souchon offers to command and crew the ''Goeben'' and ''Breslau'' (now renamed ''Yavuz Sultan Selim'' and ''Midilli'' respectively), justifying this by saying that his crew was now Ottoman because they wore fezzes. However, Souchon isn't happy with neutrality and feels it is his duty to lead the Ottomans into the war. So in October, Souchon, now commander in chief of the Ottoman Navy, led the Ottomans past the point of no return and sailed ''Goeben, Breslau'' and a handful of Ottoman warships into the Black sea and attacked three Russian ports. Because the commander, the ships, and the men are all officially "Ottoman," the Ottoman Empire joins the war on the side of the Central Powers. [[/note]] By joining the war, the Ottoman Empire severely hampered Russia's ability to receive foreign military aid (see the paragraph on Russia below) and forced Britain to divert troops from the continent to fighting in the Middle East.

Several decades earlier Victorian Britain had decided to get closer to - i.e. [[NapoleonicWars back on speaking terms with]] - France in order to iron their many thousands of miles of shared Colonial borders and thereby cut down on the defence budget. In the process they aligned themselves against their old allies, the Prussians, who soon trounced France and became the center of the unified Germany in the Franco-Prussian War. After several decades of colonial rivalry with the Germans, the British had become fearful of German power and saw the War as an opportunity to check what they saw as German expansionism. The invasion of Belgium - a country created after the Napoleonic Wars for the express purpose of being neutral and independent, and whose neutrality and independence was guaranteed by all - was the perfect reason to get involved. Indeed, France had their own plans to invade Belgium itself if German forces were allowed transit through it. Albert's refusal of access to the Germans shelved that plan (see CrowningMomentOfAwesome below). [[note]]While Britain had guaranteed Belgian neutrality and independence, this in no way meant it actually would follow through. However, Britain's relations with Germany were also at an all-time low following a decades-long naval arms race (largely Kaiser Wilhelm's doing). This and their fear of a German-dominated Europe combined to make entering the war on the side of France and Russia look like a good idea.[[/note]] The Japanese came in on the Entente's side because of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and promises of German territory in 1914, and made a good showing in every theater in which they were involved, especially in the Far Eastern and Mediterranean theaters.

The Germans took the offensive on the 4th of August and began pushing through Belgium, regardless of the hostilities. The tiny Belgian army was no match for the juggernaut of the German war machine, but they fought bravely still and delayed the Germans, especially by holding them up with crucial forts along the border, such as in Liege. The Germans still managed to push through their territory, but there were many hang-ups. It was a particularly hot summer in Western Europe, so their own share of men and horses collapsed from heat stroke, and there were issues with the troops outpacing their logistical supplies. Despite some of these setbacks, the Belgian capital of Brussels fell into German hands.

The French made grabs at Alasce, but their success was limited and the German advance would drain any offensive mobility they had. The Germans pushed through Northern France, winning some victories in the ''Battle of the Frontiers'' but being ultimately delayed by the British Expeditionary Force and French rearguards. This allowed the main French and British forces to redeploy outside of Paris, completely voiding the German plan of encircling these troops. This culminated in arguably the most crucial battle of the Western front, the ''First Battle of the Marne''. French and British troops stopped the German offensive with a counterattack on the River Marne. The Germans were simply outmatched by Entente's resistance. Although roughly equal in numbers and equipment, the Germans had just trudged through nearly month of battles in Belgium and lacked artillery support. In addition to those Entente forces that had trudged against them, the back of the offensive was held up by the French garrison of Paris, who were an army in their own right and were both fresh and ready.

The Entente - thanks to determined Belgian resistance, the fighting retreat of the British Expeditionary Force from Mons, and Foch's counter-attack at the Marne stopped the German advance before they could reach Paris. The result was a race to the sea (or rather, mutual attempts at outflanking which ended there) and entrenchment of lines. The subsequent trench warfare became the most iconic image of the war, as both sides began to hunker down. It doesn't take a stunning tactician to know that pointing two fortifications at each other won't result in much offensive mobility, and thus the Western Front, despite- and because of-being one of the most hotly contested and most (in)famous parts of the war, began to slow to a standstill as neither side could break the stalemate. Germany's plan for a quick end to the war by seizing Paris was most certainly shattered.

1915 became a stalemate. Germany tried for the offensive, directed at the British, but were pushed back due to logistical problems and an unwillingness of either side to budge. The British and Canadians then led an offensive at Vimy Ridge with some success. The Entente would stay on the offensive for the majority of the war, slowly but surely pushing back the Germans. Another offensive began in Champagne later that year, with both sides heavy losses, but the Entente taking the worse of it while failing to make the Germans budge in a truly sizable way. Further offensives at Loos fared similarly. All in all the whole year on the Western front was marked by failed offensives and a growing sense of futility, probably even more than in 1916.

Meanwhile, the war in the sky was on. Planes, up to this point, had only been equipped as scouts. However, a French pilot named Roland Garros equipped his plane with machine guns and became the first pilot to shoot down an enemy craft as such. The Germans reverse engineered his plane and started producing fighter pilots. They had mad a marginally better airforce, and their heavy deployments of fighters meant the Entente were blind, having all their scouts shot down.

This began essentially an arms race between the two sides as each developed more and more weapons to break the stalemate, with varying success. The Germans made use of chemical weapons, the Brits topped them with tanks, and so on so forth. What absolutely nobody in any position of responsibility seemed to realise, however, was that ''reality'' was the greatest constraining factor upon either side's ability to sustain an offensive. That is to say, that shortages of food and ammo made it impossible to fight. This sounds obvious, but the complete lack of focus on the ''logistics'' of road- and railway-warfare eludes most accounts of the war.

The ''Somme'' offensive was one of the most infamous battles of the entire war, especially the much-mythologized First Day. The lack of coordination between artillery and infantry coupled with inexperienced British soldiers and well-dug in German defenses and defenders resulted in bloody slaughter followed by gradual, costly advances. The infantry was still lacking and the artillery faced continuing shortages and a misconception that it could win battles by itself; because of that the German defenders sat out a massive bombardment that was meant to destroy them and then popped out to pepper the British forces advancing under the assumption they would occupy the "vacant" positions. While artillery ''is'' crucial it does not win battles by itself as some previously thought, but what is typically ignored is that even on the first day the French and the British forces next to them *did* do quite well, and over the next several months the Entente artillery and infantry managed to advance solidly in spite of numerous German counterattacks and great cost. Tanks made their first appearance on the battlefield and helped rip a (relatively) large gash in the German line, but were inadequately reliable and numerous to have a decisive effect.

In the end, the Entente liberated the Somme River basin at appalling cost in time and lives while the Germans failed to prevent them from doing it at similar cost. The latter beat a scorched earth fallback that ceded even more land than they lost in combat after thoroughly burning, poisoning, and destroying everything they could in the ceded area. Perhaps the most-neglected question about ''Somme'' is why on earth it happened in the first place? The answer: ''Verdun''.

The Verdun offensive was launched by Germany as part of her new Western Front Commander- von Falkenhayn's- strategy of "bleeding France dry" by killing so many of her men that she would sue for peace rather than lose any more and/or taking a vital area in a crushing swoop. The area they chose was the Verdun Salient, a small ring of French forts centered on the town of Verdun jutting into German territory, supplied only by one road and a light single-tracked railway while the German side facing it had three double-tracked railway lines and even more roads. The idea was to get a massive superiority in forces, smash through to take Verdun and kill and capture as many French soldiers as possible, and hand France a painful enough defeat that they might sue for peace. It did not work; after initial victories the French were able to regroup and turn the remaining fortresses into modernized death dealers that could hold out against great odds, and kept the area supplied well-enough that ''the Germans'' were actually the ones who had more soldiers (more than a million to France's "mere" million) die and be crippled as the ground they took was slowly lost. Falkenhayn realized the unfolding fiasco and "retconned" the logic from the offensive, claiming he had never intended to take Verdun itself (when he totally had) and that instead it was meant to tie the French down defending it and kill so many they would give up (which didn't happen). The rest of the budding dictatorship were unamused, and the reverses at the Somme and Verdun led to Falkenhayn being sacked.

The USA was still out of it for the same old reasons - strong isolationist fervor among the American populace[[note]]in particular, a fair number of those of Irish descent saw the war as an opportunity for the British to get their collective ass kicked, something they were greatly in favor of due to resentment over how the British had treated their ancestors, families, and in some cases themselves[[/note]], a worry over a possible repeat of the numbers of dead and crippled from [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar their Civil War]], doubts over the loyalty of the German immigrants who comprised a considerable amount of the country's ethnic makeup, and a perceived lack of relevance (i.e, "What does it matter to us if Europe shoots itself up?"). That said, the USA continued trade with the Entente(and the Central Powers on the rare occasions they could slip ships in) and letting them place ''massive'' orders for war-materiel with US firms. This didn't slip past Germany, which largely started unrestricted submarine warfare because of this --the ''Lusitania'', a British ship whose sinking by a German Unterseeboot caused popular outrage in the USA [[note]]The ''Lusitania's'' passenger list included 139 US citizens, of which just eleven survived[[/note]], was an unarmed passenger ship secretly (and illegally) being used to carry munitions. Germany also began trying to rile the Latin American states (Mexico in particular) against the US in order to keep it distracted.

As for Italy, PM Francesco Giolitti had made it back in 1882 one of the signatories of the Triple Alliance (that is, a defensive agreement signed by Austria-Hungary, the German Empire and the Kingdom of Italy itself); this however proved ''extremely'' unpopular with most Italians, who not only saw the Austrians as their long-time enemy but spent most of the mid-1800s fighting them during the UsefulNotes/WarsOfItalianIndependence. Moreover, Italy claimed some territories - namely Trentino, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia - which not only had been part of some of the previous Italian states but were also inhabited by an ethnic Italian majority. These were still under Austrian control, and the Austrians weren't willing to cede them. By 1915 most intellectuals - like Gabriele d'Annunzio - began pushing to enter the war on the Franco-British side and the rest of the public opinion followed quickly: on May 24, 1915, a formal declaration of war was sent and the Italian troops began crossing the Piave river.

The first weeks of fighting along the Alpine arch shattered any illusion of an easy victory as both armies soon became involved in a sluggish, deadly stalemate; Italy had joined a war of attrition in which whomever managed to hold the highest peak could easily shower the enemy with bombs - and the Austrians were the ones holding most of the high terrain at the start of the conflict. The Italians had to fight hard in order to even get near one such peaks, storm it (or blow it up, if necessary) and then hold it waiting for the inevitable counter-attack; as if "ordinary" trench warfare wasn't pleasant enough such a mountainous, frozen hellhole claimed the lives of many. The Isonzo river also proved to be a mighty obstacle and both armies fought no less than eleven - and equally indecisive battles - in order to cross it hoping to break the enemy lines.

A senile, grade-A idiot by the name of Luigi Cadorna - whose fondness of frontal assaults nearly cost Italy the war - was in charge of the Royal Italian Army; the Austrian High Command, headed by the aforementioned Conrad von Hoetzendorf, was only slightly better. The course of the war wouldn't turn in favour of the Italians until 1917 when, after the near-total defeat at Caporetto, the Parliament realised the utter incompetency of the butcher they had appointed as Commander-in-Chief. General Armando Diaz replaced him, and the soldiers' morale soon improved (to give you an idea, soldiers under Cadorna's command not only weren't given leaves but were also held personally responsible whenever the general's plans were met by failure; those who refused to fight were summarily executed via decimation - meaning that one in ten soldiers would be chosen randomly amongst the troops and then beaten by his comrades in order "to set an example" - all while the ''Carabinieri'' were acting as barrier troops, always ready to machine-gun deserters and whomever they thought wasn't at his place...).

A year and a million casualties later, the tide finally had turned and the stalemate broken.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:'''The Eastern Front''']]

The Russians started the Eastern Front according to their pre-war agreement with France, invading Germany to try to draw German forces from the push on Paris. It was something the Tsar would live to regret, the force of c.300,000 men sent there lost nearly 200,000 men killed or (overwhelmingly) captured at the hands of the 120,000 German troops that caught them by surprise with a well-executed counter-offensive (at Tannenburg and The Masurian Lakes). As if to add insult to injury, the troops the Germans did redeploy didn't arrive until after the two Russian armies were all but destroyed. However, the main effort on the Eastern Front was ''supposed to'' have been the Austro-Hungarian offensive against Russia (done to cover Germany's back so she could march on Paris with her full strength, as per pre-war agreement), but this failed ''spectacularly'' with the Austro-Hungarian army actually being pushed back by the Russian counter-offensive. Most importantly, that winter the Ottomans tried to invade Georgia. The Russians fared a little better against the Ottomans, who were somehow in an even ''more'' hopeless position. They began the Bergman Offensive in 1914, pushing against Ottoman forces in the Caucasus. The Russians would start using Armenian volunteer regiments. This "betrayel" against the Ottomans would be cited as one of the reasons for the Armenian genocide later into the war. The Russians saw success at both the ''Battle of Ardahan'' and the ''Battle of Sarikamish''. ''Sarikamish'' was a complete and utter defeat for the Ottomans, with the whole army turning in full flight after Hafiz Hakka Pasha ordered them to. Despite the failure of the Ottomans, the Central Powers continued to push onward clear into 1915, winning a victory at the ''Second Battle of Masurian Lakes''. They also launched a successful offensive in Galicia, and began to expel the Russians from their far western territory. By the end of 1915, the Russians would be fully driven out of Poland.

Russia did very badly for a reason; their soldiers fought as bravely as any others, but the army was still set-up like an eighteenth-century fighting force; there was a General Staff but it was seriously underfunded and actually had to wrestle with the Ministry of Defence and the Grand Dukes of the Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery in each and every single matter from funding allocations to strategic priorities. In practice the Ministry ended up appointing both Front commanders for the Northern and Southern Fronts, but the General Staff ended up appointing the Front commanders' assistants, and both parties wrangled to appoint the Army commanders (100-200k combat troops), Corps commanders (20-50k troops), and Division commanders (10-20k) who served under them. This contributed to the critical dysfunction of the Russian army as both Front Commanders and several of the Army Commanders under them did not work towards the strategic needs of the Russian War Effort as a whole or their front in particular, respectively: they largely did their own thing and had to be bought or bullied into acting in accordance with any plans.

Numerous Commanders were also incompetent. The Officer Corps as a whole was largely composed of men from the lower- and middle-classes[[note]]Which was an unusual thing for that day and age. The Germans' Officer Corps was dominated at every level by the Prussian Nobility and was something of a refuge from social mobility, whereas Russia's was a means thereof [[/note]]. However, appointment to the post of Division-Commander and above (corps, more so army, and especially Front) had a lot to do with your political connections to the Grand Dukes, the Ministry, and to a lesser extent the General Staff. There was a lot of talent in the lower ranks and truly brilliant commanders could be found as high as at Corps-level (which is where the General Staff 'discovered' Alexei Brusilov). But even their abilities were more than negated by those of their superiors.

Though the Russian and German-Austro-Hungarian forces were relatively evenly matched at first, given that the Austro-Hungarian Army was ''even more dysfunctional'' than the Russian Army, this changed after the Austro-Hungarians' repeated humiliations in 1914-15 led them in 1915 to defer the running of the entire war-effort on the Eastern Front to the German General Staff. The Russians' dysfunctional system remained largely intact despite their own setbacks in 1914-15, the Grand Dukes and Ministry openly conspiring with the Generals to blame General Headquarters and The Tsar for their own blunders - they accused them both of providing the troops with insufficient equipment and particularly ammunition. 'Shell Shortage' became an almost farcical excuse for incompetence of every kind, mostly notably the tendency of many Russian Generals to obsess over fortresses and fortress artillery... in a War (on the Eastern Front at least) of highly mobile warfare and in an age wherein the fortresses they practically worshiped could be leveled in a mere day of bombardment[[note]] Or, as happened much more often, simply surrounded and starved out having contributed nothing to the campaign[[/note]]. Though there were material shortages in the first year of war, they were entirely solved by mid-1916 and the 'Shell Shortage' was actually the product of an attempt by Generals to mimic the warfare of the Western Front: they would horde massive stores of shells while firing virtually none for weeks if not months at a time, then use them all in massive day- and week-long bombardments before making massive frontal attacks... which made zero head-way because the bombardment would always tell their enemies exactly were the Russian assault was going to take place, allowing them to shift their reserves there ready to meet the Russians' frontal assaults when the bombardment stopped.

The Serbian front opened with a similar plan to the Schlieffen Plan in which Austria-Hungary would smash through Serbia before Russia could mobilize against them. The Austro-Hungarians had hoped by that point that the Balkan Front wouldn't expand any more than it did. Unfortunately for the Central Powers, Serbia did well in the opening hostilities. Despite still being in a state of recovery from the Balkan Wars and lacking the equipment to even field a full army (some of its troops still wore civilian garb), the Serbians were able to win, mostly by massive tactical oversights by the Austrian command.

The Austro-Hungarian general on the field was Oskar Potiorek. Potiorek wanted to win the campaign before Franz Joseph's birthday and, like many generals of the early war, he was both overly ambitious and over-confident. This led him to the Battle of Cer, in which he made the tactical mishaps of attacking the fortified Serbs in hilly terrain and with only half his strength. The Serbian command thought the notion of it being an ''actual'' attack was simply too stupid, but when it became clear that this was indeed the real offensive and not a feint to draw away attention, the Serbs brought in reinforcements and won.

Although the share of bad tactical decisions did not belong only to Potiorek. The Serbs were pressured by their allies (Russia, in particular) to launch an offensive into Austria-Hungary. This idea was very bad, as the under-supplied and under-equipped Serbs could barely manage a defensive war, let alone an offensive one. Potiorek decided to take the chance to attack the less defended Serbian homeland, and he crossed the Drina River with his troops. The Serbs were indeed caught off guard, but the river crossing was perilous enough that the Austro-Hungarian armies lost the initial engagements. But before long, the Serbs were beaten back and withdrew into the hills, and the Austro-Hungarians gained a toe-hold across the river. The Serbians set up for trench warfare, but they were outmatched in this regard because the artillery advantage of the Austro-Hungarians.

The Austro-Hungarians finally forced them back and took Belgrade on December 2nd of 1914, but the Serbs wouldn't give up so easily. Before the Austro-Hungarians could recoup, the entire Serbian army came down and them and sent them into a massive retreat on December 3rd. The Austro-Hungarians fled back across the Drina as 1914 came to an end, and as they had been on the Marne, the hopes of a quick victory were shattered on the Drina.

This led to what is widely considered one of the greatest military blunders of the war - the Gallipoli Campaign. Orchestrated primarily by WinstonChurchill, the idea was that before the Ottoman Army could be reconstituted a small but elite Entente force would force the Dardanelles. At one swoop this would allow Russia to sell her raw materials and particularly food to the wider world again (pre-war she'd been heavily dependent on exporting goods through the straits), allow the giant back-log of munitions the Russians had bought from her allies and the USA to be delivered at a higher rate, and probably take the Ottomans out of the war. It all seemed to be such a good idea.

Except the Ottoman Army wasn't quite gone, and the people the Entente assigned to command the operation proved to be extremely uninspired choices. The all-naval attempt faltered on the capitol's guns and initial landing attempts blundered about until the Turks could get organized enough to defend themselves. Increasing the size of the Entente force to take the strait didn't help, because their supply problems (they lacked a proper port, railways, and proper roads) meant they weren't able to field a force big enough to overcome that of the Ottomans. The Russians weren't able to help as much as they'd hoped, either, because Austria-Hungary and Germany went on the offensive against Russia that year (in part to help the Ottomans, but largely because France was just too tough a nut to crack until German industry had started churning out adequate ammo). Australian and New Zealander national consciousness were given a certain kick-start as a result of the whole debacle, what with their ANZAC troops facing their first major campaign in it.

By then the war looked bleak for Russia. With the failure of Gallipoli, they had little hope to get relief from the Ottomans or to get supplies through the Black Sea. The Russians resumed the Offensive at the Battle of Malazgirt. The conditions in the hills were rough, and in the end neither side was ready. The Russians may have "won", but in the end the line changed very little and both sides sustained casualties. Furthermore, the Ottomans regrouped and reorganized efficiently following the battle.

Needless to say the front was going poorly, and by 1916 things were slowing down. The Russians may have been advancing, albeit slowly, but both sides were taking huge losses and the Russians were facing strategic troubles from the north. They had managed to drive them out with key battles at Erzican and Van, which was a siege by the Ottomans not against the Russians, but against the Armenian resistance.

It was by now that the Serbs had finally been conquered. The combined forces were able to conquer their country, but only after two years of brutal resistance. Greece would been coerced into the war after heated negotiation. The idea of who to side with, if anyone at all, drove Greece into basically a mini-Civil War. Before things got out of hand, King Constantine I resigned and his son, Alexander, put Greece firmly in with the Entente. However, later that year the Central powers also got a boost when Bulgaria entered their side of the war. Bulgaria was eager to take territory from Serbia and the other Balkan states, and their decision was motivated by Russian losses in 1914-1915 and the failure of the Entente at Gallipoli.

With these ill tidings, the Serbs were finally defeated after the Germans, the Austro-Hungarians, and the Bulgarians all ganged up on them. Although some French and British forces had arrived to help, the bulk of the action still fell on the Serbs. The Serbian army was forced into a full retreat. They fled their country into neutral Albania and from there they would go on to help the Entente and reclaim their country late into the war. Still, for now, things looked bleak for the Entente on the Eastern front. Russia was being defeated time and time again, offensives into Ottoman lands had failed and supply shipments through the Black Sea were still to perilous. Serbia had been defeated. Montenegro fell in 1916.

Romania entered the war on the Entente side in 1916 hoping to gain the largely ethnic Romanian territory of Transylvania[[note]]The Entente are now believed to have just promised this to get Romania into the war without intending to fulfill it; after a couple of years of stalling, Romania was only able to take it by invading Hungary and toppling their Socialist Republic under Bela Kun, seizing Transylvania on the way out. Even then, it took ''lot'' of activism by Queen Marie and the Romanian delegation for Romania's control of the region to be legitimised under the Treaty of Trianon (signed in the Trianon Room of the Versailles-palace).[[/note]],and promptly got defeated thanks to poor training, horrible planning and (historically completely understandable) distrust of Russia.

It's worth noting that the only Russian offensive that actually succeeded, the 'Brusilov Offensive' of 1916 under Corps-Commander Brusilov of the Southern Front, succeeded even though he used barely any shells; he was the head of a small faction who realised that Mobile Warfare was actually possible on The Eastern Front because of the massive distances involved - though the forces on The Western Front were nearly as big as those on the East, the 'front' was only a fifth as long (though much, ''much'' better-supplied given the far-better rail infrastructure)! His offensive was considered a mere 'experiment', however, and he was only allowed to try it out on the condition that he wouldn't be given any more men or ammunition than normal - there was a 'serious' offensive planned by the Northern Front which was meant to do the 'real' work of distracting Germany from Verdun. The fact that his rapid-movement-and-encirclement approach succeeded when the massive-prolonged-bombardment-and-frontal-attack precedents of 1914-15 and counterpart of 1916 failed was regarded as a kind of fluke and completely ignored. Worse still, the offensive by the Northern Front consumed the manpower and munitions which (technically) Brusilov could have used to mop up the routing Austro-Hungarian forces and break the back of their army for good. As it was, the Northern Offensive consumed vast numbers of men and went nowhere, and the Austro-Hungarian Army was allowed to regroup and was put under the Germans' direct command [[note]]Brusilov's techniques ultimately made a great contribution to Entente victory, however, as the Germans had a look at them and said ''"Wow, look at that! He also had lesser resources than his enemies, but still won some tactical victories! If we form specialised assault-units like his we can win battles against the Entente!"'' instead of thinking ''"Eurgh, we're just like him. His campaign failed even though he won so many battles! That just shows how important campaign-planning and logistics are - we should reform our forces so we can win campaigns and thus the war despite our lesser resources!"'' This guaranteed Germany's defeat as it basically handed their best troops over to The Entente (the death-rate for stormtroops was appalling) and meant that the German army didn't focus on anything that might have actually helped them win the war (i.e. operational/campaign planning, efficient management of engineering and logistics).[[/note]]

By 1917 the Russian Army had been pushed back hundreds of miles and had lost all of Poland and Lithuania to the Germans (though in fairness they had some competent chaps like Brusilov, who in 1916 had gone back on the offensive and broken the back of the Austro-Hungarian army). Worse, Urban Russia suffered an economic crisis as inflation and the shortage of consumer-goods in the economy led to Russia's huge peasant-farmer sector being reluctant to sell their grain. The result was urban famine in a country that had been food-exporting (exporting 14%+ of annual grain output) before the war cut off the German and other overseas markets (thanks to the closing of the Dardanelles) and continued to produce a healthy grain-surplus. The eventual result, at the end of the winter of 1916-17, was a near-total breakdown of civil order in St Petersburg as the city ran out of food entirely. Though no-one knew what to make of the situation, the one thing most of the country's political elite could agree on was that Tsar Nicholas II should resign[[note]] Even though, doing so was legally impossible under Russian Imperial Law[[/note]]. The result was a Provisional Government and a system of Urban Communes established by the country's industrial workers and soldiers. The uneasy alliance between the two broke down after the elections of 1917 when the radical 'Bolshevik' faction of the Communist Party arrested the Provisional Government[[note]]Claiming that it had tried to destroy the Urban Communes aka 'Soviets'[[/note]]. What happened was the ''de facto'' dissolution of the entire Russian State as the Ministries stood idle and the soldiers of the former-Army were told to go home... and did so. Shortly thereafter, when The Central Powers kept advancing on Leningrad and Moscow despite the laughably ineffectual attempts of the Soviets' tiny forces of Revolutionary Militia to stop them, the Bolsheviks signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk in which they ceded Poland, The Baltic Territories, Belorussia, and The Ukraine to Germany and Austria-Hungary. By the end of 1918, Russia had descended into Civil War with the Bolsheviks/Communists/Soviets/'The Reds' using a new 'Red Army' they had originally created (recruiting from the ranks of the old Imperial army, including virtually the entire former-General Staff) to defend Russia from the Central Powers, having recognized as they did that they needed a proper army in case the Germans went on the offensive again and tried to destroy their regime because they were DirtyCommunists. The former-Grand Dukes and nobility, the remnants of the Ministry, and the commanders associated with them rose up against them to lead a faction of ex-servicemen known as 'The Whites', and virtually the entire Russian Imperial countryside refused to have anything to do with either faction and actively fought them both as 'The Greens'.

By 1917, things were going poorly for the Ottoman Empire (well, truthfully the whole war had gone poorly for them since day one). Germany, as they did with Austria-Hungary, had sent troops to support the crumbling Ottoman armies. They were struggling under nationalist revolt in Armenia and being pushed steadily backwards by the Anglo-Egyptian forces creeping up through Palestine. In October of 1918, the Ottomans finally conceded their defeat and signed the Armistice of Mudros. They awaited the inevitable partitioning of their empire.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:'''The War at Sea''']]

The ‘War at Sea’ is probably the front of World War One that has received the least focus. Unlike WorldWarII, which featured massive naval battles in the Pacific that capture the idealized view of the war, World War I’s naval combat was not as glamorous nor as interesting. Pitched battles were uncommon and those that did happen were often smaller than those of WorldWarII. Still, it was crucial to the Entente success of the late war and indeed the War at Sea may have been the only thing that stopped the Central Powers from winning.

Prior to the war, there was a huge naval arms race between the two world naval powers; Britain and Germany. For almost all of its history Germany had been a land-based military power. Bismarck and his contemporaries believed maintaining a “continental power” in Europe on land was the key to Germany’s success, but Kaiser Wilhelm II saw things differently. He believed Germany should achieve international glory by gaining overseas colonies. Thus he began the construction of a new navy as a prestige project and a source of national pride - setting the target-size at 2/3rds the size of Great Britain’s. Britain was concerned, because a slow-moving fleet of battleships would be useless for fending off France's fleet of fast-moving commerce-raiding 'cruiser' ships, but it ''would'' be able to counter Britain's own (somewhat aged) fleet of battleships. What sparked the arms-race in earnest was the development of a new type of Capital (super-big) Ship that was half again more powerful and faster than its predecessors.

The HMS ''Dreadnought'' was a battleship equipped with ultra-modern mechanical computing machines, steam turbines, and 'target-range finding' equipment that made use of some of the very latest advances in mathematics and engineering. This meant that her ten big guns [[note]]which weren't superimposed; six of them were mounted on the centerline, and eight could be used in any broadside.[[/note]] could accurately hit a target several kilometres away rather than just a few hundred metres away.

Pre-''Dreadnought'' Battleships were equipped with dozens of smaller, but less powerful, guns that could fire several kilometres and were expected to do most of the work in destroying enemy ships - by getting a lucky shot on a ship’s 'bridge'[[note]]the command booth from which the Captain commanded the ship[[/note]] or simply hitting it with so many hundreds of shells over the course of several hours that it would either surrender or catch fire and blow up.[[note]]Both of these results were seen in the RussoJapaneseWar of 1905[[/note]]. The new ''Dreadnought''-type Battleships, however, could sink another Battleship in just a couple of dozen shots and within just a few tens of minutes. This started a race to equip the battleships of the world with these new 'computing machines' and 'rangefinders', and all new-build battleships were designed with the innovations of the ''Dreadnought'' in mind. In the post-''Dreadnought'' period British ships specialized in an absurd output of fire, with massive guns and quicker fire rates. German ships were designed more on superior targeting optics and maneuverability. Other ship types such as battlecruisers, destroyers, and submarines (such as the German U-Boat) would be integral to the war, but the battleship was dominant. Some new forces like radio became important to naval combat as well.

Naval combat during the war occurred all across the Earth, from Jutland to the Pacific. Entente shipping sent troops from India, weapons and supplies from America, and food from abroad to places like Great Britain and France. The German fleet was largely scattered around the globe, hunting this shipping. German U-Boats harassed Entente shipping well into the war. The Entente retaliated with their own ships, hunting the scattered raiders and submarines all across the globe.
Because of the nature of this “search and destroy” style of warfare, there were few large naval engagements. Still, there were some massive battles of note:

The first of the major battles was fought on the 28th of August, 1914, off the Helgioland Bight (the German Coast). It was a trend setter for the rest of the war. The British ambushed the unsuspecting Germans and did heavy damage, sinking several German ships. The outcome of the battle was hardly surprising, as the Germans were badly outmatched strength-wise. The Brits returned home victorious, only losing one cruiser. The German Fleet was once again restricted to port as the British gained control of the North Sea with little opposition. That dominance would not ever be shaken through the course of the war, although the Germans would challenge it at the Battle of Jutland.
''The Battle of Dogger Bank'' on the 24th of January, 1915, was far less conclusive. The British intercepted orders about a raiding squadron and went to engage them. They caught the Germans unaware and right where expected, but the German ships turned tail and ran. The British managed to catch up far enough to get in range, and sunk the SMS ‘’Blücher’’ at the cost of one of their own flagships being disabled and having to leave the battle line. Due to a communications mix up, the British disengaged and the rest of the German squadron made it home in one piece.
The largest engagement of the war fittingly happened very close to one of the largest land battles of the war, the Battle of the Somme. ''The Battle of Jutland'', also known as the ''Battle of Skaggerak'' happened on the 31st of May in 1916. It was the first and only clash of battleships in the war, and one of the largest naval battles in all of history. ''Jutland'' proved inconclusive. Although the Germans scored a tactical victory by outmaneuvering their foes in the course of a panicked retreat from what otherwise would have been annihilation, the British still drove their fleet to harbor, where they remained for the rest of the war. German historians claim/ed that it was a Pyrrhic Victory for Germany, as Britain suffered heavier losses in terms of ships and men, including three of their fragile Battlecruisers. However, British scholarship has argued that Britain's only objective was simply to keep the German fleet out of "their" North Sea, which they did - the Kaiser's fleet was badly damaged [[note]]Several of their battleships were effectively knocked out of the war[[/note]] and spent the rest of the war in home waters, whilst the British quickly replenished their own losses. The issue ultimately became moot when the United States entered the war, which added its considerable fleet of dreadnoughts (the third largest in the world) to the Grand Fleet, tipping the naval balance of power prohibitively in the favor of the Entente.

Why were these battles important? Well, maintaining dominance of the North Sea and other waters around the globe was integral to the British war effort. Their plan called for a blockade of German ports so nothing could get in or out. This ruined the German economy and led to massive raw-material [[note]]Heavy metals used to make stronger steel alloys, gold, aluminium, oil, rubber, coffee, tea, wheat, even Sichuanese pig-intestine used for sausages[[/note]] and food shortages in 1917-18, eventually culminating in full-on food riots as the economy teetered on the brink of total collapse.

The battles weren't just restricted to the North Sea. Skirmishes were fought across the globe. In the Atlantic, shipping from the (then neutral) USA was threatened by the U-boats. The Germans, already under blockade, were trying to cut-off the British Isles from their overseas supplies. Although numerous merchant vessels were sunk, the sheer amount of allies or neutral powers lending arms, ammo, food, and supplies to Britain offset this cost. The U-boat blockade never neared the effectiveness of the British blockade of the German ports. Food supplies and other goods did dwindle in Britain, but there was a heavy price to pay, as the US would intervene in the war after the sinking of the ''Lusitania''.

The Mediterranean didn't see any real battles besides the attack on Gallipoli, but the Adriatic sea saw the birth of asymmetric naval warfare. The Italians, realising the inferiority of their fleet, began using small motorboats which had been modified to hold and launch torpedoes; two such vessels managed to sink the Austrian warships ''Szent Istvan'' and ''Viribus Unitis'' while they were moored in the harbour at Pola. The Italian ''Regia Marina'' (Royal Navy) was also the first to employ frogmen.

The neighboring Black Sea, however, saw more action. The Ottoman fleet was vastly outmatched by the Russians, but the Germans lent them two of their ships from their own Mediterranean fleet. This caused the action to sway back and forth before Russia finally gained control over the Black Sea... just before their revolution forced them out of the war in 1917.

In the rest of the world, the German East Asia Squadron scored a number of early victories before being mopped up by the Entente. At Coronel off Chile Germany's only powerful global flotilla under Maximillian von Spee inflicted severe casualties on a British squadron, before being wiped out themselves off the Falkland Islands. The light cruiser SMS ''Emden'' bombarded Chennai and destroyed a Russo-French squadron in the Straits of Malacca before it was caught and destroyed by the HMAS ''Syndey'' off Cocos. The SMS ''Konigsberg'' menaced the British in Africa before being wrecked in the Rufiji Delta. A combined British/Japanese operation (under Japanese command) took the German-held port of Qingdao in China. This action is notable for highlighting The Empire of Japan's new place in world affairs and featuring the first naval air raid, launched from the Japanese seaplane tender ''Wakamiya'' - the shape of things to come. The last German warship outside the North Sea, the SMS ''Dresden'', was ambushed whilst coaling at Cumberland Bay in Chile and destroyed by the cruisers HMS ''Glasgow'' and HMS ''Kent'' in 1915.

The War at Sea had a huge impact on the Central Powers' logistical network. They could not produce enough horses, fuel, ammo, medicine, staple food, and luxuries (coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, and liquor were ''huge'' boons to morale when widely available and drains on it when not) to maintain their forces' fighting efficiency and morale. The handful of Commerce Submarines like the famed ''SMS Deutschland'' could only supply German industry with the very rarest elements it needed to maintain production, and in general supplying the army with the essentials could only be achieved by taking things from the civilian population - pissing them off ''royally''. The Germans may not have started The Great War, but they sure as hell ended it. The German people basically had a revolution because of the ruinous effect the war had on the German people and economy. The Kaiser would flee to the Netherlands. The victory was essentially owed to the navies of the Entente, especially because the Kaiserliche Marine would end up mutinying near the end of the war.
Had the Kaiser's fleet succeeded in fighting off the British, Germany may have had more luck importing and exporting critical goods. With that influx of goods, things such as the Spring Offensive may have gone much better and maybe even succeeded, and the Central Powers could have stretched the war out for months or even years longer (and maybe even reached a negotiated peace). In the end the Kaiser's fleet, his pride and joy that he had spent years building - raising like a child! - failed him.

[[/folder]]


[[folder:'''A War of The World''']]

The British [[UsefulNotes/TheIrishQuestion had a mini-conflict all of their own in Ireland]], where the Easter Rising took place. Ironically, the war had seemed to Britain like a golden opportunity to submerge Irish tensions (which were getting close to bursting over the issue of Home Rule)... but, like just about every other war aim, things went badly wrong.

It is important to note that this war has almost always been called some form of "The World War" for a reason. Participants from all 6 inhabited continents of the globe would fight in the war, directly or indirectly. The ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) fought in Gallipoli, Europe, and would also occupy German Samoa and New Guinea. Japan and Britain worked to take Germany's Micronesian colonies, as well as fight at the important battle of Tsingtao, seizing the German colonies in China along with British support. Japan had operated under the idea that they would be rewarded for their efforts by basically being given these territories. In fact, the Japanese had grand plans of Empire-building in the Pacific and uniting the Asian peoples under one flag pretty much since the Boshin War and their start as UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan. BY 1914, all German colonies in the Pacific were seized.

India played a big role, lending supplies and soldiers to the British forces. India had long been the "jewel of Britain's empire" and it was indeed impressive. There was an ever growing industrial base that worked to provide supplies to the British Empire, as well as a massive population. Over one million Indians served in World War One, fighting at ''The Battle of Ypres'' and in Africa.

The African front was one of the longest campaigns of the war. German colonies in Togo and Cameroon were seized (once again by the end of 1914) but not for lack of trying; the Germans did score some victories at ''the Battle of Nsanakong'' and ''the Battle of Garua''. In fact, Germany's Cameroonian colony would hold out until 1916. The only front where Germany clearly won was in German East Africa. German commander Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck managed to tie down 300,000 Entente troops with a far smaller force of 14,000, mostly made of African soldiers. He was said to be a "father to his men" and he treated the native troops as equals. He fought through the whole war and only surrendered in late November 1918, after being informed by the British (while he was making plans for another offensive) that Germany herself had already surrendered.

Fighting also occurred in the Middle East by a mix of Anglo-Egyptian forces, the revolting Arabs, and the crumbling Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire, being the "sick man of Europe" that is was, failed to put up a lot of meaningful resistance in these campaigns, as the British trained and supplied Arabs were able to harass them with guerrilla tactics while the British and Egyptians did the bulk of the actual fighting. Although German forces would be sent to bolster Ottoman ranks, it was clearly not enough, and the Kaiser knew that full well. The Ottomans had made many enemies and were already struggling internally before the war.

The Arabs were promised a grand kingdom in the Middle East in return for aiding the British, but they ended up fairly swindled by the end, with the Brits taking over the majority of the former Ottoman territory, leading to the mess that is the Middle East today. The Ottoman Empire was restricted to Turkey and later suffered from revolution.

Brazil would join the Entente for a similar reason to the USA; Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare had killed Brazilians and destroyed Brazilian ships. Their navy teamed up with the British to hunt down the remnants of Germany's naval forces.

Still, the war saw the inevitable end of Germany's colonial enterprises, but it put a surprising strain on the Entente's colonies as well. The massive loss of life on India's part had caused a massive divide between them and the British. Before, many Indians believed that Western civilization was a good force, but after seeing the devastation wrought by the First World War, there was a much larger outcry for independence. Other Commonwealth states felt similarly about their loyalty to Britain. It is also worth noting that there was a multitude of rebellions in Africa and elsewhere during the war.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:'''The Spring Offensive''']]

Two events in 1917 transformed the stalemate into a fight to the finish: the collapse of Tsarist Russia, and the entry of the United States. The Russian Civil War knocked Russia out of the war permanently, freeing up some 500,000 experienced German troops for the Western Front. For the first time since 1914, the two sides would have near-numerical parity in the French theater. But not for long. Continued unrestricted submarine warfare and meddling in the American hemisphere like the Zimmermann Telegram[[note]]A telegram sent by the German foreign minister to try and sway Mexico into attacking the United States. History students may redeem this factoid for two (2) points extra credit on any WWI exam. Extra Special Bonus points for the Cuba Memorandum (German decision to attack American power in the Americas, signed in 1898) Manufacturer's coupon; no expiration date.[[/note]] by the Germans had finally goaded the U.S. into joining the war on the side of the Entente. The reasoning was simple; the US would gain prestige and would honor their alliances while avoiding the bloodiest parts of the war, and could gain huge influence by being present in the peace negotiations (not to mention this would ensure that the Entente would still be around to pay off the considerable tab they had run up with American banks). America's entry had huge ramifications for the war: the United States was now the world's biggest industrial and economic power, backed up by a formidable navy and a population (and thus available manpower) as large as the rest of the principal Entente powers put together. American troops made haste to the front, despite frantic German efforts to step up their unrestricted submarine warfare. Despite their lack of experience, tactics, and training, the sheer number of American troops arriving in Europe threatened to turn the tide irrevocably towards the Entente. Meanwhile, subsequent victories against the Ottomans resulted in the occupation of most of their territory, coupled with the Arab Revolt, and the freeing up of several new independent states. The Ottomans were all but defeated, and with the arrival of the Americans 1917 seemed like the beginning of the end for the Central Powers.

However, the Germans were hardly ready to throw in the towel. With the arrival of the forces they gained from the Russian Civil War, the Germans had the time and resources for one last, big gamble. The Germans launched an ambitious but poorly-organised series of attacks under the name 'Operation Michael' -- better known as 'The Spring Offensive' -- in a final winner-take-all gambit to... ''something'', though the general impression is that it was an attempt to weaken The Entente before the US could begin to deploy forces rivaling the French and Commonwealth for size. The offensive was aimed at the British, considered the softer nut of Germany's two principal enemies, with the nominal objective of separating them from the French and throwing them into the sea. 'Nominal', because in practice this aim was a bit vague and wasn't planned-out or pursued with any real dedication or persistence.

The Germans seem to have assumed that the use of some new battlefield tactics would be enough to win the war for them. These built on those used at Verdun and Some and by Brusilov, and made use of small infiltration-and-assault units (later called Storm-troopers) to make tactical breakthroughs - the idea being that the minimal use of artillery would minimise the need to repair roads and railway-lines, theoretically making an operational breakthrough (after enough tactical breakthroughs) possible. However, German engineering and logistics hadn't been reformed since 1914 (and so were still relatively inefficient) and their capabilities had diminished due to the wartime loss of horses. While Entente logistics, on the other hand, were only marginally more efficient than they had been when the war started (thanks to some cosmetic reforms) their absolute capabilities had dramatically improved thanks to the continual war-time purchase of horses and even motor-vehicles from the outside world (and particularly the USA, which during the war had indisputably become the world's largest single economy).

The initial 'successes' of the new tactics (in making tactical breakthroughs) are at least partly due to the fact that the British forces were experiencing an organisational crisis at the time, with as few as half the troops in any given 'front-line' unit being available being for actual fighting[[note]] the rest being needed for full-time engineering+logistics duties. Engineers were nominally just 1/20th of the front-line combat troops, but in practice 1/3 of them had to perform engineering duties if the other 2/3 were to remain fed and protected by adequate field-fortifications. Then in 1917 the civilian government had the bright idea to 'solve' Britain's manpower crisis by decreasing the numbers of men in front-line combat units while increasing their armament (and thus ammunition-expenditure)... [[/note]]. But then the usual problems (and worse) manifested - weak logistics meant that the storm-troops weren't getting food or ammo or rest, whereas their more-numerous enemies had plenty of all three. The result was that the storm troopers quickly ran out of steam and began suffering staggering casualties that were completely irreplaceable.

This was not helped by the way that the Germans' commanders did their usual thing and ''abandoned the nominal aim of the offensive'' when their progress started to slow, moving instead to attack the French and try to advance on Paris. This was due in part to a hesitancy to take more casualties, as Germany was on the verge of falling apart from the sustained attrition of four years of two-fronted war. Unfortunately, this resulted, if anything, in more casualties later on when the Germans failed to make any kind of substantial headway. By striking out where opportunity offered, the Germans ''did'' gain territory, but territory that was mostly useless and exposed their troops to Allied counterattacks. This culminated in the Second Battle of the Marne. The initial part of the battle was, as the previous parts of the offensive had been, a limited success for the Germans, who managed to cross the river itself and set up positions. However, they encountered heavy resistance, particularly from American units like the 3rd US Infantry Division, nicknamed forever after "The Rock of the Marne" for their steadfast resistance. More reinforcements, mostly American but some British, stalled the German advance before they could consolidate their gains on the other side of the river. Casualty-wise, the Entente suffered a few more but the Germans were weakening from attrition, and the Entente could now call on virtually limitless American troops. The end was near. Yet despite the setbacks and general failure of ''Operation Michael'', it was still the closest the Germans would ever come since 1914 to ending the war on favorable terms.

The Entente, sensing the Germans had exhausted their offensive capabilities, began what is called "The Hundred Days Offensive," a continent-wide series of offensives by the Entente intended to push the Germans out of France and finally end the war. The Germans were pushed back after Entente intelligence found weaknesses in their positions, and the Germans were routed back across the Marne. Every loss counted against the Germans: the Hundred Days offensive alone cost each side a million men, but while the Entente could call on American reserves to replace their non-combat troops and free up their own more experienced soldiers for fighting units, Germany's manpower was utterly exhausted. Furthermore, many German troops, demoralized by four years of war, the Spanish Flu and millions of Americans arriving at the front, surrendered outright. This was truly the beginning of the end of the war, and from here on out the Germans would never really have a chance at defeating the Entente forces and getting anything close to favorable peace terms.

Much of this was due to the German home front. The British had succeeded in winning the crucial -- but often neglected in textbooks -- "War at Sea" and were able to turn back the German navy and blockade their. German agriculture was highly inefficient, with many small farms being relied upon to churn out food. Thus, much of Germany's food supply was imported, and the blockade effectively ruined that. Furthermore, it limited Germany's logistical ability, such as the lack of horses mentioned above. They couldn't bring in any supplies, and in some ways the even worse effect was the fact that they couldn't ''export'' any supplies. Without being able to sell products abroad, the German economy tanked under the strain of war. The German economy was on the brink of collapse, with the Mark constantly changing in value often by the hour (resulting in workers going in to work and being paid less than what they should, as the currency value had changed so much during the day that their eventual pay was worth even less). This inflation made the Mark useful only as fuel for furnaces. Industrial output had dropped sharply, morale had collapsed, medical supplies were low and there were few new recruits to replace the staggering losses. Anti-War protests became frequent and many people were discontented with the Kaiser's rule due to the war. The Hundred Days Offensive marked the final nail in the coffin. The Entente were able to push the demoralized German troops back to Amiens, but as resistance grew they diverted attention elsewhere. The Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line. The German High Command realized the war was lost and even the Kaiser saw that it must come to an end. Moreover, Austria-Hungary's army had been defeated in Italy and the Balkans and effectively collapsed, and Bulgaria and the Ottomans had for all intents and purposes withdrawn from the war. All peace offers sent, however, were rejected. Further battles like Champagne and Cambrai pierced the Hindenburg Line. Bulgaria left the Central Powers and now the list of Germany's allies had basically shortened to Austria-Hungary. The German Navy mutinied when it caught wind of an offensive being ordered that would almost certainly end in disaster. With the collapse of the Balkan front, Germany's last supplies of food and oil dried up. The war came to an end and a revolution ousted the Kaiser and replaced him with a new government: the Weimar Republic. And at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918, a ceasefire was called and the war was over. Four long, brutal, bloody years of a worldwide struggle came to an end, and the greatest war man had seen by that point was finally over.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:'''Aftermath''']]

Pushing 1918 into the winner's circle for the title of Worst Year Ever (*cough*[[TheGreatDepression 1932]]*cough*[[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII 1944-45]]*cough*) was an influenza pandemic. The Spanish Flu (which actually originated in Fort Riley, Kansas, USA) struck that fall, killing between ''fifty and a hundred million people'' (2.5-5% of the then global population) compared to the war's ten or fifteen million, but has largely been forgotten by history and fiction. The war actually helped its spread (troop transportation), and four years of malnutrition and stress probably hadn't strengthened anyone's immune system, but today it's thought that that flu strain killed by inciting a cytokine storm (basically, your immune system goes berserk and, if its strong enough, accidentally kills you). Certainly the 1918 flu was unusual in that it mostly killed healthy adults, as opposed to the more usual flu victims: the sick, the very young, and the very old. Also ''very'' unusual in that almost ''none'' of the stories or films set in the period even ''mention'' it--even contemporary fiction. ''[[Literature/AnneOfGreenGables Rilla of Ingleside]]'', by Creator/LMMontgomery, chronicles the entire war without touching on it at all.

Four empires were toppled (Russian, German, Austrian-Hungarian and Ottoman; indeed, it could be argued that in November 1918, there was not a ''single'' functional government between the Rhine and the Dnieper rivers!) and the winners took the opportunity in the Treaty of Versailles to redraw the map of Europe along what were supposed to be ethnic lines but in fact just stored up more problems for the future (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, to name the biggest). The treaty terms were really harsh on the Germans (including the Austrians, who voted to join Germany and were told to stuff it... until 1938, anyway) and the Hungarians (who lost two thirds of their country) storing up lots of resentment that would come back to haunt the Entente later - though some modern historians now believe they were actually not hard ''enough'' and served the worst of both worlds in angering Germany but not substantially weakening her. Additionally, it's been argued that - if the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk negotiated by the Germans and the new Bolshevik government in Russia was any indicator - whatever treaty the victorious Germans might have come up with could have been even harsher.

Russia became the first Communist country late in this war, although that was only because of the wartime starvation itself. Similarly, the Treaty of Versailles completely ignored the pleas from imperial colonies like French Indochina or disadvantaged countries like China to reform the European policies in said countries; this lead to anger and mistrust throughout the 20s and 30s that contributed to said countries later becoming Communist.

Two of the most iconic German symbols of the war -- the spiked "Pickelhaube" helmet and the bright red Fokker Triplane -- were relatively short-lived. The Pickelhaube looked cool (sort of) but was useless for keeping the wearer's head safe so was quickly replaced by the end of 1915 by the Stahlhelm, "coal-scuttle" helmet, whose improved version became the symbol of the German forces in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The Triplane was never that successful and quickly withdrawn after April 1917. The only red ones were flown by the RedBaron, Manfred von Richthofen, and his younger brother Lothar -- the iconic image simply stuck.

The war also ushered in modern espionage, to say nothing of modern spy fiction (although it had already had a leg up from Erskine Childer's ''The Riddle of the Sands'', which was actually semi-predicting the war at the beginning of the 20th century).

Also, behind the oft-forgotten Turkish Front, the Young Turk government carried out a series of deportations and massacres against Anatolian Armenians, Pontic Greeks and Assyrians, killing over 1,000,000 people in what would come to be called the first modern genocide. The failure to properly bring it to justice afterwards likely made it the inspiration for Germany's FinalSolution against its Jews in the next world war.

There were many future writers in the trenches: notably, Creator/JRRTolkien and Creator/AAMilne served in the British infantry, while Creator/ErnestHemingway and Creator/WaltDisney volunteered to serve as Red Cross ambulance drivers; on the other side, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein served in the Austrian artillery. One who did not survive his service was Creator/WilliamHopeHodgson, author of ''Literature/TheNightLand'', who was killed by a shell in 1918; the accomplished BlackComedy writer Creator/{{Saki}} was also killed, shot by a German sniper after yelling at another soldier to put out his cigarette (he was discovered because of his yell). The famous German painter and founding member of "''The Blue Rider"'', FranzMarc, was killed by a grenade at Verdun. And sadly, there was at least one young, promising scientist in the trenches: the physicist Henry Moseley, who discovered the principle underlying atomic number, establishing the periodic law, was killed at Gallipoli, just as his career was getting off the ground. The French lost André Durkheim, a promising young linguist and the son and protégé of the notable sociologist Emile Durkheim. Sent to the Belgian front in late 1915, André Durkheim was declared missing in January, and declared dead in April of 1916. The elder Durkheim never quite recovered from the loss of his son, dying himself in 1917. The loss of many of his other protégés and friends in the trenches didn't exactly help. Fighting on the German side was another physicist, Karl Schwarzschild, who was the first to use UsefulNotes/AlbertEinstein's new General Theory of Relativity to predict black holes. He died on the Russian front.

[[/folder]]

----
Another legacy character who fought in the trenches, some obscure painter named [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Adolf something]], would eventually set off [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the sequel]]. After the high ratings and widespread critical acclaim for the first two installments rumors did abound at one point about a ''second'' sequel, but it appears to be stuck in development and there seems to be little interest in backing the project given the likely costs. A [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar long-running spin-off sidequel]] of a different genre was made, the ending of which more or less tied up all the loose ends and acted as a grand finale for the entire franchise. So, if the franchise is ever revived, it'll be a remake rather than a sequel.
----
!!Other highlights include:
* World War One saw the most diverse uses of [[UsefulNotes/{{Airships}} airships]] in combat. They were used as heavy bombers, reconnaissance craft, airborne aircraft carriers, convoy escorts, anti-submarine aircraft, and as experimental platforms.
* Gallipoli had brought about UsefulNotes/AussiesWithArtillery.
* UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships
* UsefulNotes/CanucksWithChinooks
* UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades
* UsefulNotes/LeagueOfNations: Was created at the end of the war as a global body meant to [[HarsherInHindsight prevent the bloodshed]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII from happening again]]. The United States (with President Wilson as one of the backers of the [=LoN=]) refused to join. [[note]]Wilson obviously wanted the US to join, but was blocked by congress who didn't like the idea of an international body having influence over American policy making. Wilson's own health was also deteriorating after suffering a stroke and was unable to fight back against congress.[[/note]]
* UsefulNotes/NewRomanLegions
* UsefulNotes/ThePoppy: A Commonwealth remembrance symbol instituted in 1920, first used as such in 1918 and inspired by the 1915 war poem "In Flanders Field".
* UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles: As the largest force in the war, and the one with the most and best artillery in 1914 (though this came to nothing because of just how ''awful'' their infantry-artillery coordination was). But in 1915, during the height of the Central Powers' campaign to defeat Russia, many of the replacement-troops pressed into service (given the million captured or dead Russian troops) lacked heavy weapons and in some instance even ''rifles'' (though this was chiefly among the supply-troops and ''Opolchenie''/militia who were unexpectedly pressed into action due to the encirclements). This was fixed by 1917... whereupon a ''food'' became evident (as a direct consequence of fixing the material/weaponry shortage, no less!)
* UsefulNotes/TurksWithTroops
* Some historians credit the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar from 1756 to 1763 as the real first World War, because of its global nature. World War I may then just be the TropeCodifier.
* UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks
----

A thing about the representation of WWI in games is that there aren't many WWI titles in general and as compared with the more numerous representations in other media. Some gamers and game critics blame this on the somewhat more static nature of the war or the ignorance of developers and most gamers, who often assume that "WWI = muddy and "unmoving" western front".This situation might be slowly changing.

!!Media set in this time period:
[[index]]
[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The backstory of ''Anime/PorcoRosso''.
* Also mentioned in ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', the main bulk of which is set in TheRoaringTwenties.
* Several episodes of ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'', specifically detailing [[OnlySaneMan Germany's]] and [[TheDitz Italy's]] first meeting. Austria is described as reduced to a wheelchair-bound [[IllGirl cripple]] after the War.
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass'', a picture of C.C. can be seen running around a WWI battlefield.
* The shoujo ''Manga/CandyCandy'' is set before and during this time period. It becomes pretty important towards the last part of the series: [[spoiler: Candy's fellow nurse Frannie Hamilton decides to enroll as a war nurse to leave her DarkAndTroubledPast behind (prompting Candy to investigate her origins)]] and [[spoiler: Candy's close friend Alistair "Stear" Cornwall joins the American Air Forces [[RebelPrince despite the clan's objections]]... [[KillTheCutie and later dies when his plane is shot down]].]]
* In ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'''s finale Ed finds himself [[spoiler:in real-life London in 1916]]. And yes, [[TruthInTelevision zeppelins really were used in bombing raids during that time]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'': In the first ''Dark Eyes'' series (2012), Eighth Doctor companion Molly O'Sullivan is a nursing assistant during the war, with her first story, "The Great War", being set here.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The most famous comic book example is DC's ''Comicbook/EnemyAce'', about the trials of an elite German flying ace who is profoundly haunted by the constant death around him of which he is a master dealer in the unforgiving sky.
* ''Charlie's War'' is a classic British comic with socialist overtones that does not flinch from the horrors of battle.
* One of the past incarnations of the goddess ''{{Promethea}}'' was an angelic figure helping the soldiers fighting in the trenches of World War I.
* Creator/JacquesTardi is renowned for depicting WarIsHell in several graphic novels, the most famous being ''It was the War in the Trenches''. His tendencies link the war to StrawmanPolitical and CorruptCorporateExecutive. The usual French point of view about the conflict.
* Marvel had quite a few heroes in a UsefulNotes/WW1 setting:
** The Phantom Eagle was an American pilot who fought against the Germans. He had to disguise his identity in order to protect his German-born parents (they had returned to Germany at the beginning of the War) from reprisals.
** Union Jack fought on the Western front against the Germans.
** John Steele (America's first super-soldier, complete with steel-hard skin and super-strength)also fought on the Western front.
** Freedom's Five was a team of heroes who fought for the Entente: Union Jack (U.K.), Phantom Eagle (America), Sir Steel and the Silver Squire (U.K.), and the Crimson Cavalier (France).
** Villain Baron Blood was an English traitor who fought for the Kaiser.
* NickFury's father, Jack Fury, served as a pilot in the war.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheFourHorsemenOfTheApocalypse'', in which a callow IdleRich boy goes off to fight in the trenches.
* The two film adaptations of ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront''. The UsefulNotes/AcademyAward-winning 1930s version directed by Lewis Milestone is more famous than the 1970s TV movie.
** The older version is considered one of the greatest and most important movies on WWI created, as per the Library of Congress. Also listed as the 7th Most Epic Film (well, 7th in the "Epic" genre of films, whatever that means) in the American Film Institute's list of the Top Ten of the 10 Classic American Film Genres. It's also probably the TropeMaker / TropeCodifier of the modern war movie.
* ''Film/HellsAngels'', a 1930 film about fighter pilots in the RAF.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westfront_1918 Westfront 1918]]'', a German film. It bears resemblance to ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront'' and was released the same year (1930), although it has a bleaker tone.
* ''Film/PathsOfGlory'' with Creator/KirkDouglas. Directed in the late 50s by a then young Creator/StanleyKubrick. An example of ShotAtDawn. And possibly one of the best filmed but [[HollywoodHistory least accurate]] war dramas ever made.
* ''Film/TheBigParade''. 1925 silent; wonderful story about a callow rich boy who joins the Army, falls in love with a French girl, then sees the hell of combat...
* ''Film/TheRedBaron'' (known as ''Von Richthofen and Brown'' outside the US)
* The 1959 Italian comedy/drama ''Film/LaGrandeGuerra'' (The Great War), the story of an AntiHero and a LovableCoward who become VitriolicBestBuds and try not to get caught in the slaughter of the trenches.
* ''Black and White In Color'' is a French movie set somewhere in West Africa, on the border between a French colony and a German colony. When the French get news that they're at war with Germany, then they (well, the Africans under their control) go to war. It ends with the English arriving to announce that the Germans' superiors have already surrendered.
* The A&E cable network made a movie called and about ''Film/TheLostBattalion'', a US Army unit that during an attack was cut-off behind German lines. Fighting off attack after attack and in spite of mounting casualties and dwindling supplies they rejected every surrender demand that was made. They were rescued and returned back to US lines.
* ''Film/TheAfricanQueen''.
** And the book it's based on ''Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure''. The Tangiyaka campaign was just messed up.
*** ''Mimi and Toutou'' came well after that film, which was based on CS Forester's novel of the same name. The true story has been told in many places.
* ''Film/DarlingLili,'' a 1970 musical set in the waning days of the war, starring Creator/JulieAndrews as a GlamorousWartimeSinger / FemmeFataleSpy who romances an American AcePilot. Has some spectacular aerial dogfight scenes using replica aircraft originally built for the film ''TheBlueMax'' (see below).
* ''Film/DawnPatrol'' -- Basil Rathborne has to keep sending out pilots with single digit flying hours, Errol Flynn has to lead them. Rather accurate about the particulars of air strategy. But the planes are 1918 types, and the situation is more 1916-17 (bloody April especially).
* The Australian film ''Film/{{Gallipoli}}''
** And an Australian mini-series, ''Series/{{ANZACs}}''
** And another Australian film, ''Film/TheWaterDiviner'', set in the aftermath of Gallipoli, that looks at both the Turkish and Australian sides of the battle.
* ''Film/TheLighthorsemen'' is an Australian film about a stunningly effective (and TruthInTelevision) ''mounted charge'' by Australian horsemen against entrenched Turkish infantry supported by artillery and machine guns, in Palestine.
** Explained in-film as a result of the Turkish expectation that the Australians (who were mounted infantry, NOT cavalry) would dismount and advance on foot since they lacked sabres, and had set the sights on their rifles and MG's to the range corresponding to the dismount point. When they charge in on horseback instead, the Turks are so surprised and frightened that they simply blaze away and ''forget to re-set their sights'' to account for the decreasing range.
*** Much of the footage from the movie was used again by the director Simon Wincer in an episode of ''TheYoungIndianaJonesChronicles'' he directed about the same historical incident but with young Indy inserted in as an Entente spy. The episode also featured then-unknown actors Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
* The 2002 ''[[Film/{{Deathwatch 2002}} Deathwatch]]'' is a British SurrealHorror film, starring [[SerkisFolk Andy Serkis]] and [[BillyElliotPlot Jamie Bell]], features a squad of Tommies getting lost in a German entrenchment. They are tormented by uncertainty of their whereabouts, mounting distrust of their lone German prisoner and each other, and increasingly supernatural phenomena. They are slowly picked off [[KillEmAll one by one]]. And the ending features a WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic MindScrew.
* ''Film/{{Flyboys}}'' is a 2006 film about the [[EagleSquadron Lafayette Escadrille]], a French fighter squadron composed entirely of American volunteers.
* ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'' dealt with the Arab Revolt and Middle Eastern theatre.
* A very touching 2005 French movie, ''Film/JoyeuxNoel'' ("Merry Christmas"), is about French and British soldiers briefly fraternizing with German soldiers on Christmas of 1914.
* The 1941 Gary Cooper film ''Film/SergeantYork'' was [[BioPic based on the true story]] of Sgt Alvin York, a pacifist farmhand who became an American hero and earned its highest military honor, the Medal Of Honor, for an incident in 1918 where he single-handedly killed and captured over a hundred German soldiers.
* ''Shout At The Devil'': A 1968 novel and 1976 film about a private war between English poachers and a German colonial official in East Africa.
* The French film ''Film/AVeryLongEngagement'' is about Audrey Tatou's character's search for her fiancé who was lost and presumed dead in no man's land during the Battle of the Somme. We see UsefulNotes/WW1 told through some pretty graphic flashbacks of the other men he was stationed with.
* ''Zeppelin!'': 1970 Michael York film about a German plot to steal the British crown jewels using the eponymous zeppelin and featuring flying sequences using accurate reproductions of actual WWI aircraft.
* ''LegendsOfTheFall'' had Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and [[HeyItsThatGuy ET's best friend]] go off to Europe to fight on the Western Front.
* ''The Eagle and the Hawk'' - depressingly realistic B&W movie in which the hero becomes increasingly and profoundly disillusioned by the number of young pilots dying under his command, finally snapping when the enemy ace he kills turns out to be no more than a fuzzy-cheeked youth. Driven beyond the brink, he [[spoiler:kills himself. His best friend takes his body up in a two-seater and, using the rear gun, peppers the wings and the hero's head with bullets to make it appear as though he died in combat and thereby save his reputation.]]
* The 1965 film ''Film/TheBlueMax'' is the story of a German infantryman, Lt. Bruno Stachel, who transfers to the German Air Service towards the end of the war. His ruthless kill-or-be-killed attitude clashes with the squadron's old fashioned notions of chivalry. Most well known for its excellent aerial stunts and flying scenes.
* 1970s British drama ''Aces High'', a very down-to-earth and touching portrayal of the lives (and deaths) of a regular squadron of fighter pilots.
* The plot of Terry Gilliam's ''Film/TwelveMonkeys'' features TimeTravel and has several short scenes set on the Western front, and the war is also referenced by the PresentDayPast characters in the movie [[spoiler:because [[FishOutOfTemporalWater one of the time travelers apparently got stuck there and was acting suspiciously for that era.]] ]]
* There's a little known 2004 independent film about American soldiers on the western front in 1918, called ''[[http://www.companykthefilm.com/ Company K]]''. It's based on a semi-autobiographic novel by William March, one of the American veterans of the war.
* ''Film/ABearNamedWinnie'', chronicling the life of the original Winnipeg/Winnie the black bear, the bear that eventually inspired A. A. Milne to create Literature/WinnieThePooh.
* ''{{Film/Passchendaele}}'', written, directed, and starring Canadian Paul Gross, based on his grandfather's war diary.
* ''[[Film/GoodbyeMrChips Goodbye, Mr. Chips]]'' It starts when Mr. Chipping ("Chips") is a young teacher in 1870 and goes through his fifty year career. During WWI he reads aloud a "Roll of Honour", the names of those killed in battle which include many of Chip's former students and fellow teachers. One of them is an old friend of Chips, a German who fought on his country's side.
* ''The Officers' Ward'' in 2001, about the ''"gueules cassées"'' ("broken faces" in French: war invalids and horribly disfigured men).
* ''Capitaine Conan'' by Bertrand Tavernier, about the French corps in the Balkans.
* ''Film/TheGrandIllusion'' (1937), was directed by Creator/JeanRenoir.
* ''Film/{{Wings}}'', the only silent movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture, was centered on World War I flyboys.
* ''Literature/WarHorse'' (2001), adapted from the book by Creator/StevenSpielberg.
* ''La France'' (2007), a somewhat surreal French film in which a woman disguises herself as a teenage soldier to find her husband at the front, ironically joining a squad of deserters en route. And it's (sort of) a musical.
* ''Käsky'', or ''Tears of April'', a 2008 Finnish novel adaptation about a Red POW in the Finnish Civil War of 1918, the White soldier responsible for her, and the corrupt military judge in charge of her trial.
* The first section of ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' is set in this war, setting up the fascist dictators analogy in the rest of the film.
* ''{{Film/Wilson}}'' is a 1944 biopic about Woodrow Wilson, with much of the film focusing on his actions during World War I and his efforts to get the U.S. into the League of Nations. As you might have guessed from the release date, the movie was created largely as propaganda for the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII then-ongoing sequel]].
* ''Film/ShoulderArms'' (1918) was the product of Creator/CharlieChaplin's rather daring decision to make a comedy out of the horrors of trench warfare while the war was still going on. It proved to be one of his most popular films.
* ''Film/{{Doughboys}}'', the best of a generally uninspiring collection of talking films made by Creator/BusterKeaton at MGM, features Buster enlisting by accident, going through boot camp, and then fighting in the trenches in France.
* ''Film/BeneathHill60'' tells the story of the [[UsefulNotes/AussiesWithArtillery 1st Australian Tunnelling Company’s]] effort to mine a tunnel beneath Western European trenches and detonate an explosive charge below a German bunker to aid the advance of British troops.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront'' (1929) by German writer Erich Maria Remarque, another WWI staple of the western literary canon. The story follows a young German soldier from his idealistic enlistment through the horrors of war as his compatriots die one by one. Ironically, the story was written in German, by a German war veteran, depicting the German side of the war, but it has become the most popular depiction of the war for English speaking audiences.
* The poem ''My Boy Jack'' (1915), about the death of Creator/RudyardKipling's only son in the war.
* John Buchan's Richard Hannay stories, seminal spy thrillers that were both written and set in WWI. ''Literature/TheThirtyNineSteps'' (1915) has been adapted multiple times, although the Creator/AlfredHitchcock version is a very loose adaptation, set in the 1930s. Buchan portrays Wilhelm II fairly sympathetically.
* The ''SherlockHolmes'' story, ''His Last Bow'' (1917), takes place in England during the run up to the war, with Holmes attempting to deal with a German spy network in England. [[spoiler:He succeeds]].
* ''My Reminiscences of East Africa'' (1920) is General Paul Von Lettow-Vorbek's diary from his service in East Africa at this time.
* ''Literature/TheMysteriousAffairAtStyles'' (1920) was actually written in 1916 and set during the war. Lieutenant Arthur Hastings returns from the War due to an injury, while HerculePoirot is a war refugee.
[[/index]]
** The short story ''The Kidnapped Prime Minister'' also takes place in WWI.
[[index]]
** ''[[Literature/TommyAndTuppence The Secret Adversary]]'' has a prologue on the sinking ''Lusitania'' (1915).
* As mentioned in the above, the L.M. Montgomery book ''[[Literature/AnneOfGreenGables Rilla of Ingleside]]'' (1921) chronicles the eponymous character's experiences throughout the entire war, in quite a bit of detail that could only come from first-hand experience. Given that level of detail, it's supremely odd she made no mention at all of the 1918 influenza pandemic, not even in passing. It devastated Canada as thoroughly as it did the rest of the world, having a profound effect on many of the events she relates, yet the word 'flu' or 'influenza' is never once mentioned.
* Quite a lot of Creator/HPLovecraft stories feature WWI in the background somewhere (e.g. Herbert West, Reanimator-1922) - not surprising given that he did a lot of his writing in the 1920s.
** He specifically mentions in ''The Silver Key'' that his dreamer-hero [[BadassBookworm Randolph Carter]] saw action with the [[LegionOfLostSouls French Foreign Legion]] and suffered near-fatal injuries in the Battle of the Somme, near Belloy-en-Santerre. He apparently still had PTSD from this in "The Statement of Randolph Carter" where his friend Warren describes him as a nervous wreck.
* ''[[Literature/TheGoodSoldierSvejk The Good Soldier Švejk]]'' (1923), a classic ([[RuleOfFunny and hilarious]]) satirical novel by Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek. Some say Švejk is an AuthorAvatar version of him, but with some cunning ObfuscatingStupidity (possibly) added to the mix. This has some truth in it, only the AuthorAvatar was a different character entirely. Hašek never tried to hide the fact that the novel was largely autobiographical. His avatar, however, was not Švejk, but his friend, a bumbling former journalist, volunteer Marek.
* In ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars The Master Mind of Mars]]'' (1928) by Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's, Ulysses Paxton starts out fighting in this War.
* The early (and best) ''Literature/{{Biggles}}'' stories are set in the War, though the character debuted in 1932.
* The first part of the novel ''Journey to the End of the Night'' (1932), by the famous French author Céline, takes place during World War One. The main character, who sees the war as a lot of frightening and senseless violence, does his best to avoid risking his life. After being wounded, he manages not to be sent back to the western front until the war is over.
* The novel - and later film - ''Literature/JohnnyGotHisGun'' (1938) by Dalton Trumbo: A horrifying story of a young American soldier, who has his arms, legs and ''face'' blown off, leaving him blind, deaf, dumb and immobile, a living torso in a hospital bed, with no way of communicating until [[spoiler: he figures out how to tap the Morse code with the back of his head]].
** Related, Music/{{Metallica}}'s song ''One'' retells the same story. The band bought the rights for the movie to use it in the video for that song.
* ''Pale Horse, Pale Rider'' (1939), a collection of three short stories by Katherine Anne Potter, is apparently the only major work on the Spanish flu epidemic.
* ''The Razor's Edge'' (1944) by William Somerset Maugham features Larry Darrell, a World War I pilot who is wounded and traumatized in the War. He spends the rest of the novel searching for ways to adjust to the post-war life.
* ''A Killing For The Hawks'' by Frederick E. Smith. A 1966 novel about a RFC squadron that flew Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5as.
* ''Literature/CharlotteSometimes'' (1969), second in Penelope Farmer's ''Aviary Hall'' series, features a young girl who [[spoiler:switches between living in Britain at the end of the war, and in boarding school in 1963.]] The book does, in fact, mention the flu - [[spoiler: it is revealed to have killed an unseen but nonetheless crucial character.]]
* The novel ''Goshawk Squadron'' (1971) by Creator/DerekRobinson deconstructs the popular view of World War One air combat which, rather than dueling "Knights of the Air", actually involved undertrained pilots diving out of the sun and machine-gunning their opponent in the back before he had a chance to defend himself. ''War Story''(1987) and ''Hornet's Sting'' (1999) by the same author have a similar setting.
* The novel ''Strange Meeting'' (1971) by Susan Hill, title taken from a Wilfred Owen poem, is about the friendship between two British officers on the front line.
* The short story ''Schwarzchild Radius'' (1987) by Creator/ConnieWillis features an extended metaphor of WWI as a [[UsefulNotes/BlackHoles black hole]].
* British author Pat Barker has written three award-winning novels that form her World War I trilogy, TheRegenerationTrilogy (1991-1995): ''Regeneration,'' ''The Eye in the Door,'' and ''The Ghost Road.'' The novels are chock full of history and real-life characters, including the poets Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Robert Graves. The first novel was turned into a movie, released in 1997 and known as ''Regeneration'' in the UK and ''Behind the Lines'' in the US.
* ''Birdsong'' (1993) by Sebastian Faulks, widely considered one of the great WWI novels. It describes the horrors of trench warfare, through the eyes of troubled young officer Stephen Wraysford and of his men.
* ''Literature/TheBloodyRedBaron'' (1995), part of the ''Literature/AnnoDracula'' series by Creator/KimNewman, takes this war and introduces vampires. Specifically, {{Dracula}} leading the German war effort.
* Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''Great War'' AlternateHistory trilogy (1998-2000, part of his larger ''{{Timeline-191}}'' series) pits the United States of America, Germany and Austria-Hungary against Britain, France, and the Confederate States of America. Among other differences, the October Revolution fails, and Russia is still a monarchy after the war. For that matter, so are Germany, Austria, and Mexico.
** In recent years, Turtledove has also penned a YoungAdult AlternateHistory series called ''Crosstime Traffic''. Its second novel, ''Curious Notions'' (2004), is set in the late 21st century of a world where the Central Powers managed to successfully pull off the Schlieffen Plan and eventually won UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* Though it doesn't take place during the war, in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' (2000-) it turns out that World War One was actually arranged by a very, ''very'' powerful necromancer by the name of Kemmler who apparently spent two centuries quietly setting everything up. Kemmler was implied to be a ''very'' BigBad, who took several attempts to kill [[KilledOffForReal before it finally stuck]] - and that took the combined forces of the [[BigGood White Council]] to pull off.
* The Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures novel ''Casualties of War'' (2000) is set in England during the closing months of the war.
* ''Phoenix and Ashes'' (2004), one of the 'Literature/ElementalMasters' books by MercedesLackey (this one a [[RecycledInSpace Cinderella retelling]]), centers on the stepdaughter of a war profiteer and a Shell-Shocked pilot sent home to recover.
** ''Unnatural Issue'', also in the same series (based on the story ''Donkeyskin''), has the main character sent to France to escape her necromancer father shortly before World War One starts.
* Kate Cary's unofficial sequel to ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'', ''Bloodline'' (2006), starts off in Northern France during the war. The main characters, John Shaw, Quincey Harker, and Mary Seward, are a lieutenant, captain, and nurse, respectively, for the British.
* ''The Blindness of the Heart (Die Mittagsfrau, 2007)'' by Julia Franck spans both world wars; Martha and Helene's father [[spoiler:loses his leg and eventually dies from the complications]] in the war, and it affects their lives in all manner of other ways.
* The French half of ''Divisadero'' (2007), a novel by Michael Ondaatje.
* ''Literature/{{Leviathan}}'' (2009) by ScottWesterfeld is a YoungAdult AlternateHistory adventure novel set in UsefulNotes/WW1, where the armies of the Entente Powers are aided by their {{Biopunk}} creations (like [[SpaceWhale flying sky whales]]) and where the Central Powers fight with {{Steampunk}} HumongousMecha. [[RuleOfCool And it's awesome]].
* Ken Follett's ''[[Literature/TheCenturyTrilogy Fall of Giants]]'' (2010), a DoorStopper novel, tells the story of the war (and other important events, like the Russian Revolution) through the eyes of several different individuals: British, Russians, Germans, Americans, some being aristocrats, others being working class people.
* Creator/LordDunsany wrote ''[[http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5713 Tales of War]]'' based on his experiences in the trenches, focusing on the desolation of the Western Front mixed with a stiff measure of anti-Kaiser propagandizing.
* Hemingway's ''Literature/AFarewellToArms'' is a classic fictional depiction of the war.
* Creator/RobertEHoward's Francis X. Gordon (aka ElBorak), an American gunslinger in the Middle East, saw action against the Turks during the War.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Tarzan}} Tarzan the Terrible]]'', Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs' Tarzan went up against the Germans in Africa.
* Although set after the war, Creator/FScottFitzgerald's ''Tender Is The Night'' features a memorable scene where the characters visit a cemetery on the Somme and discuss the meaning of the war.
* Creator/WilliamFaulkner wrote stories depicting American pilots fighting on the Western Front.
* UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's ''Literature/MeinKampf'' (''My Fight''). The book clearly shows that this war and the German defeat [[FromNobodyToNightmare shaped this man and his ideas]] more than anything else.
* The middle two novels of ''Literature/ParadesEnd'' are set during the war.
* ''Literature/ToTheLighthouse'' by Creator/VirginiaWoolf revolves around the Ramsay family and their friends just before and after the war.
* UsefulNotes/ErwinRommel's ''Infanterie Grieft an'' (''Infantry Attacks'') recounts his experiences over the course of the war, from mobilisation and the early fighting in France to the Carpathians and the Italian front. These experiences would shape his tactics in the next war.
* A major section of Jan Guillou's ''The Bridge Builders'' takes place during WWI, mostly following German soldiers in the East African Campaign, but also showing how civilians in Norway are affected by the war.
* ''Johnny and the Dead'', the second book in the ''Literature/JohnnyMaxwellTrilogy'' by Creator/TerryPratchett, features an elderly British soldier who was actually named Tommy Atkins, who on his death joins the rest of the Blackbury Pals' Battalion. The Author's Note at the back says there really were Pals' Battalions, and they really were a horribly innocent way of ensuring all the young men from a given area would be killed at once.
* ''Literature/FallOnYourKnees'': James Piper is a WWI veteran.
* Robert Graves' autobiographical novel ''Literature/GoodbyeToAllThat'' details his experiences as a British army officer on the Western Front.
* DorothyLSayers' fictional detective LordPeterWimsey was an officer in WWI, and still has occasional shell-shock.
* The ''Literature/SwarmOnTheSomme'' series. A UsefulNotes/WorldWarI equivalent of ''Literature/TheWarAgainstTheChtorr''. And quite awesome.Created by members of Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom
%% commented out as ZeroContextExample * ''Literature/NoMansLandTalesFromTheWeirdWars'' Created by members of Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom
* ''[[http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=83811 Shadow of Fashoda]]'' features an alternate timeline of the pre-war years. Created by members of Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Fighting in the Great War made ''Series/YoungIndianaJones'' the jaded and cynical man that he came to be by the 1930's.
** A series of arcs in the ''[[Series/YoungIndianaJones Young Indiana Jones Chronicles]]'' TV series is set during The Great War and Indy even attends the signing of the Treaty Of Versailles with appearances by T.E. Lawrence, Adolf Hitler and [[spoiler: the future Chairman Mao!]]
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}} Goes Forth'': A rare comedy set here, although it was far darker than earlier series. Well-known for an [[TearJerker extremely touching]] and [[DownerEnding sad finale]].
* Season four of ''Series/UpstairsDownstairs''. If [[{{Blackadder}} Blackadder's Lt. George]] is the ''comedy'' version of what happens when an UpperClassTwit turns Tommie, [[UpstairsDownstairs James Bellamy]] is the ''drama'' version. It is not easy for him.
* An episode of ''FantasyIsland'' featured DonAdams (in complete Maxwell Smart mode) as a bumbling school teacher who wants to visit WWI and ends up fighting the RedBaron.
* ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'' has a large portion of its immediate BackStory set in the trenches, and it's [[AbortedArc heavily implied]] that the [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil machinations]] of the [[FamilyFeud two Avatara]] were major factors in causing this and other conflicts.
* While most of the episode is set a year before, the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Family of Blood" (based on the Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures novel ''Human Nature'') features two of the students from the episode's school fighting and surviving in the trenches of the war.
* The ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' episode "To the Last Man" has a World War I veteran snatched away by Torchwood in order to fix two timelines colliding with one another. At the end of the episode after returning to the war, [[DownerEnding he gets shot for cowardice and shell-shock in the war]].
* [[Characters/{{MASH}} Colonel Potter]] in ''Series/{{MASH}}'' fought in World War One after lying about his age at 16 in order to get in the Army. Note that if this is the case, Potter could be no older than 52 at the end of the Korean War; a far cry from actor Harry Morgan's 68 years.
* On ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', both Jimmy Darmody and Richard Harrow fought in the war, and are both [[ShellShockedVeteran not coping well]], which leads to their involvement in organized crime. Harrow in particular suffered [[FacialHorror horrific injuries]].
* Series 2 of ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' is set during the war and immediately after. The ways people responded to the war are explored in detail:
** Thomas tries to get a cushy assignment by joining the medical corps voluntarily before the war; he ends up getting assigned to France anyway and engineers to have his hand shot to get reassigned back to England.
** Matthew serves as an officer in France, with William eventually (eagerly) joining up as well and serving as his [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(military) batman]]. Matthew also does recruitment across Northern England. Both are injured at Amiens; William succumbs to his injuries weeks later.
** Lord Grantham, a veteran of the [[/index]]SecondBoerWar[[index]], is frustrated his military position in the War is purely ceremonial.
** The Crawley ladies turn Downton into a convalescent home for officers; in the meantime, Isobel busies herself with refugee work in France as well as administering the hospital and home.
** Mrs Byrd, Isobel's cook, creates a soup kitchen for the enlisted war wounded.
* ''Birdsong'', an adaptation of the book by Sebastian Faulks.
* The BBC's series ''Wings'' was about the lives of pilots and observers in the Royal Flying corps. Beginning in 1915, it focuses on the development of air combat tactics, the poor performance of British fighters in comparison to their German counterparts, and the changes in social norms that the war brought about.
* The BBC's 37 Days is a depiction of the July crisis resulting from the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
* While ''Film/CarryOn'' might not be the obvious choice for such subject matter, the ''Carry On Laughing!'' episode "Who Needs Kitchener?" - one of the ''Series/UpstairsDownstairs'' spoofs - is set in the run-up to, and during, the war. Sir Harry Bulgen-Plunger is a retired old warhorse desperate for any position at the War Office, his son Willie is a reluctant officer whose father bought his commission for him, and Albert the butcher's boy seems to have remarkable foresight regarding the outbreak of hostilities...
* ''Series/PeakyBlinders'' kicks off around six months after WWI has ended, in 1919. All three eldest Shelby brothers, as well as most of the young men of Birmingham, served in France (Tommy, specifically, was a tunneler) and are regarded as war heroes. The show deconstructs this idealization of soldiers, and various characters have shell-shock, PTSD, and the "Flanders Blues", self-medicating with alcohol, opium, and cocaine.
* ''Series/OurWorldWar'' is a dramatization of key moments in the war experienced by British forces.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Magazines]]
* Many characters, including ''Franchise/DocSavage'', ''Radio/TheShadow'', ''Secret Agent X'', ''Literature/TheSpider'' and many more from {{Pulp Magazine}}s, had WWI as part of their BackStory. Aviation pulps, such as ''G-8 and His Battle Aces'', tended to be set in this time period.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/Swedish band {{Sabaton}} has several songs that deal with the horrors of the Great War, some of the best known being ''The Price Of A Mile'' and ''Cliffs of Gallipoli''.
* ''1916'' by Music/{{Motorhead}} is a ballad from the perspective of a soldier fighting in it.
* Music/TheZombies' song "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)" gives gruesome detail to the trench warfare, commenting on both shell shock and the strange dichotomy between "God and Country." "And the preacher in his pulpit / Sermons 'Go and fight, do what is right!' / But he don't have to hear these guns / And I bet he sleeps at night."
* ''The War'' by Music/RunningWild is based on World War One.
* Metallica's song ''One'', as already mentioned in the Film section.
* ''Paschendale'', a song about the horrors of the Third Battle of Ypres by Music/IronMaiden.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llIQUqfljr0 This video]] to "A Small Victory" by Faith No More.
* ''And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda'' by Eric Bogle is about a young Australian soldier who is maimed at the Battle of Gallipoli.
** In another song by Bogle, "No Man's Land" (also called "The Green Fields of France" and what the DropkickMurphys [[CoveredUp made famous]]) the narrator is reflecting on the grave of a young man who died in France during World War I.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxzg_iM-T4E "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron"]] and the sequel [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jlf---13Q0g&feature=related "Snoopy's Christmas"]]
* [[http://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=2924〈=en The Soldier's Sweetheart]] by Jimmie Rodgers
* ''Christmas In The Trenches'', a song by John [=McCutcheon=], based on the true stories of truces between different groups of opposing entrenched forces on the Western Front on Christmas Day 1914, with the soldiers singing carols, exchanging gifts, and playing soccer in No Man's Land. (This would also inspire the film ''Joyeux Noel'', above.) (Though later years would see similar truces, due to high command on both sides being upset when they heard it, they were not nearly so widespread as before.)
* Along with their invoked usage of MusicToInvadePolandTo that centers on UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the IndustrialMetal band ''Hanzel und Gretyl'' has done UsefulNotes/WorldWarI-themed German songs as well such as "[=KaiserReich=]".
* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHeTQJuBYeE 1917]]" by Emmylou Harris and Music/LindaRonstadt is about a HookerWithAHeartOfGold trying to comfort soldiers about to head back into the war.
* Music/{{PJ Harvey}}'s 2011 album ''Let England Shake'' deals with UsefulNotes/WW1 in an impressive way.
* "Remember" by Renaissance, a song about finding a (deceased?) old woman's letters from her soldier boyfriend/husband. It's implied. of course, that he never came home.
* [[/index]]"Common Ground" by neo-ProgressiveRock band IQ. [[index]]
* "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHFO2FSxg_8 The Rose of No-Man's Land]]", about the Red Cross nurses who served on the front lines. This song dates from the war itself.
* Creator/EricBogle's "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is about a soldier crippled at Gallipolli, while "No Man's Land" is a musing on WWI generally.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Snoopy's "World War I Flying Ace" fantasies from the ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' cartoons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* {{TabletopGame/Diplomacy}} is a board game made in 1954 about pre-WWI diplomacy.
* ''[[TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion Wraith: The Great War]]'' is set shortly after the war and focuses on the effects it had in the Underworld. It also includes UsefulNotes/{{airships}} that crashed as [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld relic vehicles]]!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The originator of many of the tropes seen in World War One fiction is the stage play ''Theatre/JourneysEnd'', written a few years after the war by a British officer. It's actually a lot funnier than most of its imitators. (In place of usual tropes about First World War officers it shows one who's been promoted from the "other ranks" - which happened in RealLife a great deal more often than it's shown in fiction.)
* Queensland tourist attraction ''Australian Outback Adventure'' (a dinner-and-a-show kind of deal), originally just a mish-mash of different stereotypes and Australian bush lore, has started recently performing a show called "Heroes of the Light Horse", based on the aforementioned battle in Palestine.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' has a chapter that takes place in a church-turned-hospital in 1916 France. The premise of the chapter is that the Ancients and Pious Augustus instigated the war so the amount of people who died in the war would inevitably speed up the unleashing of the respective ancient (and keep the artifact guardian in check, apparently consuming far more than can be provided).
* ''CompanyOfHeroes'' has a total conversion GameMod for World War I - [[http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-great-war-1918 The Great War 1918]], keeping the same cover and territory-point mechanics from the base game but changing it otherwise to reflect the Great War (such as having trenches, poison gas, officer mechanics for both sides to make heavy use of, and adding melee combat). It currently includes British Expeditionary Force and the German Empire as 'Allied' and 'Axis' factions respectively, and is working to add the French Army as another 'Allied' faction.
* {{RTS}} [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historyline History line: 1914-1918]] is one of the few dedicated UsefulNotes/WorldWarI games.
* ''Snoopy Vs the Red Baron'' takes place here, although the technology is... not quite the same.
* [[/index]] Combat flight sims are one of the most common type of game based on this war. You can find several examples on the SimulationGame page.[[index]]
** The most famous WWI flight sim games are probably Sierra's older ''VideoGame/RedBaron'' series.
** ''[[http://allaircraftsimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=91&t=34411 Canvas Knights]]'' was originally a ''VideoGame/IL2Sturmovik'' GameMod.
** Origin's ''VideoGame/WingsOfGlory'', using the same engine as their earlier ''Strike Commander'', is set in a British aerodrome in France during WWI with an American volunteer pilot as the PlayerCharacter.
** Several of the most realistic air combat simulations on the market are set in WWI, such as Over Flanders Fields, where the player joins the squadron and side of their choice and continues to fly until their character is killed. And the sim points out that the objective is not to "win" but to survive - the seventeen hours that was the average flight time of a new pilot.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaBloodlines'' is set in 1917. Elizabeth [[strike:Bathory]] [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Bartley]] uses the souls of war casualties as part of her plan to revive Dracula.
* ''VideoGame/TheDarkness'' {{FPS}} has WWI as the backdrop for its BonusLevelOfHell.
* ''VideoGame/{{NecroVisioN}}'' is a horror {{FPS}} set in 1917 on the most war-torn parts of the Western front. The game starts off fairly normal, but the protagonist soon discovers a {{Masquerade}} DarkWorld hidden (literally) under the surface of the war...
* ''VideoGame/IronStorm'' is a dystopian AlternateHistory {{FPS}} in which history diverged from ours during the late stages of WWI and the beginning of the Russian Civil War. It's the 1960s, [[ForeverWar the Great War has been dragging on for half a century]], Earth is a CrapsackWorld and [[WarForFunAndProfit war has become an accepted way of everyday life]]. Oh, and the game's BigBad is none other than a CaptainErsatz of the infamous baron Roman UsefulNotes/UngernSternberg.
* The events of ''TheLastExpress'' (an AdventureGame) take place on the threshold of the war, are heavily undertoned by and, arguably and implicitly, cause it.
* ''VideoGame/VictoriaAnEmpireUnderTheSun'' features World War One technology in its later stages and the possibility to spark the war, [[AlternateHistory create an alternate version of it... or avert it altogether]].
* Many pan-historical {{RTS}} games, like ''VideoGame/RiseOfNations'' or the ''VideoGame/EmpireEarth'' series, have a historical era based on WWI, complete with typical military units of the period.
* The ''VideoGame/IronGrip'' series, true to its SchizoTech PunkPunk feel, borrows a lot of inspiration from this era as well. The games can be seen as a LowFantasy [[RecycledINSpace retelling]] of some aspects of the war, coating the industrial war-torn grimness of the frontlines with a DarkerAndEdgier SteamPunk and DieselPunk aesthetic.
* ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying'' is set immediately after the war. The protagonist, Patrick Galloway, is a veteran from one of the Irish regiments on the western front.
* The MMOFPS [[http://www.verdungame.com Verdun]] is in open beta and set for release in Q3 of 2013. It is a squad-based online multiplayer FPS that will allow the player to fight as any of the factions present in the Battle of Verdun.
* ''VideoGame/{{Wings}}'' allows playing as either an Entente or German fighter pilot.
** ''Wings 2: Aces High'' is a sequel on the SNES.
* In the ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberium'' series, [[BiblicalBadGuy Kane's]] [[StateSec Black Hand]] is suggested to be the very same organization that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
* As testament to either the failings of the game engines or the sheer scale of how many mistakes and complex factors lead to the war, it is nearly impossible to recreate the circumstances of this war in any version of ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' but it has been attempted on numerous public forums. Whether or not one agrees with this assessment, the important part is that one has to ''actively try'' to bring the situation about.
* ''[[http://1916.dadiugames.dk/ 1916-Der Unbekannte Krieg]]'', an indie horror game where you are a German soldier being chased through the trenches of the Western Front by...[[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs velociraptors]]. [[SugarWiki/BetterThanItSounds Much scarier than it sounds]].
* ''VideoGame/CallOfCthulhuTheWastedLand'' is an indie tactical RPG mixing World War One with ''Franchise/CthulhuMythos''.
* [[/index]] ''[[http://www.bay12games.com/ww1medic/ WWI Medic]]'' is a freeware game where you control an Entente medic trying to tend to the wounded, and survive long enough to turn the tide of [[UnwinnableByDesign one more battle....]] [[index]]
* ''[[http://www.supertrenchattack.com/ Super Trench Attack]]'' (previously ''Videogame/MedalWars'') is a Third Person RPG that has you playing a [[FantasyCounterpartCulture comedy]] version of it as a soldier of [[TheFederation the Green Army]] fighting against seemingly endless and hilarious waves of [[TheEmpire the Black Army]], and various other surprises.
* [[/index]] ''[[http://www.brasshats.com/ Brass Hats]]'' (named after a nickname for officers) is a turn based strategy game in the vein of NintendoWars in a surprisingly trenchless [[FantasyCounterpartCulture version of WWI]] fought between [[TheFederation the "Allied Forces"]] and [[TheEmpire the "Central Army"]]. Sadly, it appears to have been discontinued. However, [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes the demo]] is still downloadable for free, along with [[http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/maps/brasshats/map.html a few fan-created maps.]] [[index]]
* ''VideoGame/ValiantHearts'' is set on the Western Front from 1914 to late 1917 (ending roughly when the USA enters the war). Notable for being a cartoony sidescrolling puzzle-adventure game and yet probably treating the war with more seriousness and respect than basically any video game for any war ever has.
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' has a PlayableEpilogue that takes place in 1914, just after the outbreak of the conflict in Europe. It doesn't really come into play much, but [[spoiler: Jack]] can read a newspaper that also briefly covers the start of the war, with the journalist not even trying to pretend to understand what's going on, but noting that America has wisely decided to stay out of it and is even promoting peace by selling weapons to both sides.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheWordWeary'' features a ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' campaign that takes place during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The premise of the game comes from Germany's efforts to take Russia out of the war by financing Vladimir Lenin's activities during his time in exile in Zurich and his entrance back into Russia. The main characters play mercenaries hired by Germany charged with keeping Lenin safe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* EmperorTigerstar has created a map animation showing the front lines of World War I every single day.
* ''VideoGame/CovertFront'' has WWI taking place in 1904, with the protagonist conducting investigations in the midst of the conflict.
* ''WebVideo/TheGreatWar'': An original weekly YouTube documentary series recounting the events of World War One, starting in August 2014, exactly 100 years to the week of the war's beginning and intended to continue through 2018.
* From Wiki/SCPFoundation:
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-186 SCP-186]] is a WWI battleground that saw the use of anomalous weaponry; the aftereffects have left it anomalous up to the present day.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1914 SCP-1914]] is a WWI soldier transformed into a {{cyborg}} as part of a SuperSoldier experiment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines''.
* The final episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' centered around a flashback telling an adventure that [[IdenticalGrandson Fred's grandfather]] had in "Stone World War One."
* One of the final classic-era ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' shorts, 1964's "Dumb Patrol," features Bugs as a flying ace fighting German pilot Yosemite Sam.
[[/folder]]
[[/index]]
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