The Battle of Verdun in the First World War
© picture-alliance / dpa
The First World War
lasted from 1914 to 1918. Germany bears much of the blame for the fact that it broke out. The war pitted Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy, Turkey and, later, Bulgaria against – mainly - France, Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Greece, Romania, the USA and Japan. Over ten million people died in the war. This great conflict was triggered by the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in the Serbian city of Sarajevo on 28 June, 1918. However, the deeper causes of this world war were longstanding quarrels between the big European powers. Great Britain, France, the German Empire, Austro-Hungary and Russia wanted to extend their power. They fought for more economic influence on world markets. Above all, however, the arms race between these countries led to growing tensions.
Germany and its allies lost the First World War. The victorious powers set out the consequences of this defeat for Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. The monarchy in the German empire was abolished; the emperor had to leave the country. Border areas in the east and west of Germany were handed to its neighbours. In addition, Germany had to reduce its army to 100,000 soldiers and pay high amounts in compensation – these are called "reparations” - to the victors.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid