World War I didn’t just start overnight. Countries in Europe had been pretty angry at each other for a while, but what most people think was the last straw in this long argument happened in 1914. Franz Ferdinand, who was next in line to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was shot and killed in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Someone from Serbia did this, and Serbia was one of Austria-Hungary’s main enemies. Austria-Hungary eventually declared war on Serbia, but since Germany was allied with Austria-Hungary, they also declared war on Serbia. Russia was allied with Serbia, so the war had two countries on each side.
Great Britain got involved in the war because they had promised a while ago to protect Belgium, and Germany had declared war on Belgium.
Great Britain was on the side of the Allied Powers, which were also called the Entente Powers. Some of the other countries in this group were:
- The United States
On the other side were the Central Powers, which included:
- Ottoman Empire
World War I ended on 11 November 1918, when the Allies and Germany signed an Armistice that meant they each agreed to stop fighting. This went into effect at 11:00am.
During the months after this, Germany and the Allies agreed to terms of peace. These were laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919.
Over 16 million people died during World War I. One of the largest battles of World War I was the Battle of the Somme in France. It lasted from 1 July to 18 November 1916. Around 1 million people were killed or wounded during that time.
Remembrance Day, also called Armistice Day, is on 11 November every year since King George V declared it in 1919. It is a time to think about those in the armed forces who have died in battle, not just in World War I. At 11am on Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday before Remembrance Day), there is a two-minute silence. There are also special ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday all over the country, including one in London at the Cenotaph war memorial.
Poppies are a symbol of Remembrance Day because they grew all over the battlefields in Northern France and Flanders. Red poppies grow naturally in places in Western Europe where the soil has been turned over and mixed up. This happened in France because of all the fighting that had taken place there. A soldier named John McCrae was inspired by seeing all the poppies and wrote a poem about it called ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Names to know
David Lloyd George (1863-1945) – Prime Minister from 1916-1922, during the end of World War I
Field Marshal Douglas Hague (1861-1928) – a famous commanding officer during World War I
Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914) – Archduke of Austria, whose assassination led to Austria-Hungry declaring war on Serbia at the beginning of World War I
Herbert Henry Asquith (1852-1928) – Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916, during the beginning of World War I
John McCrae (1872-1918) – a soldier in World War I who wrote the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, inspired by the red poppies he saw growing there
Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) – Leader of Germany during World War I
King George V (1865-1936) – King during World War I, who declared the first Remembrance Day in 1918
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) – President of the United States during World War I, who helped to draw up the Treaty of Versailles
Боль стала утихать, туман перед глазами постепенно таял. Он посмотрелся в зеркало. Вид был такой, будто он не переставая рыдал несколько дней подряд. Беккер вытер лицо рукавом пиджака, и тут его осенило.