First World War
was a global military conflict that took place
mostly in Europe between 1914 and 1918. It was a total war which left millions dead
and shaped the modern world.
The Allied Powers, led by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and later the
United States, defeated the Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and
the Ottoman Empire.
Much of the fighting in World War I took place along the Western Front, within a
system of opposing manned trenches and fortifications (separated by a "no man's
land") running from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. On the Eastern Front,
the vast eastern plains and limited rail network prevented a trench warfare stalemate
from developing, although the scale of the conflict was just as large. Hostilities also
occurred on and under the sea and — for the first time — from the air. More than 9
million soldiers died on the various battlefields, and millions more civilians suffered.
The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German,
Russian. Germany lost its overseas empire, and states such as
Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created, or recreated, as was the case with
World War I created a decisive break with the old world order that had emerged after
the Napoleonic Wars, which was modified by the mid-19th century’s nationalistic
development of World War II 21 years later.
Woodrow Wilson had become president in 1912 in a landslide victory against
Theodore Roosevelt. Wilson, a democrat, held a PhD in History, had been a professor
of Political Science at Princeton and later the President of the University. He was
committed to reform and was elected governor of New Jersey in 1910. He had become
president w/o any experience in foreign affairs. However, Woodrow Wilson had
definite ideas about how the nation should behave in world affairs. Wilson believed
that the US should set an example to the world because of its commitment to
democracy and capitalism.