Shocking Things You Might Not Have Know About The First World War

World War I, also known as WWI or the First World War, was a global war which began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. The war was fought by the Allied powers (mainly France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) against the Central Powers (mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire). It was the deadliest conflict in human history, with more than nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths.

The spark of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by a Serbian nationalist on 28 June 1914. This event led to a series of diplomatic ultimatums between the major powers of Europe, and eventually the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia on 28 July 1914. This led to a domino effect of countries declaring war on each other, with Russia, France, and the United Kingdom eventually joining the war on the side of Serbia.

The war was fought mainly in Europe, with battles occurring mainly on the Western Front between Germany and the Allied Powers. Both sides employed innovative tactics, weapons, and technology, such as machine guns, aircraft, poison gas, and tanks. While the war was mainly fought on the ground, naval battles also played a role. By the end of the war, the Central Powers were defeated and the Treaty of Versailles was signed, formally ending the war.


1. The first tanks used in battle were actually called “landships” and were used by the British during the Battle of the Somme in 1916

2. The first death of a U.S. soldier in the war occurred on October 4, 1917, when Private Henry Gunther was killed in France.

3. The first aerial bombing of a city happened in 1915 when the Germans bombed the city of Liège in Belgium.

4. The first military use of poison gas was in April 1915 when the Germans used chlorine gas against the French at Ypres.

5. The first war photographer was a woman—Margaret Bourke-White.

6. The first woman to receive the Victoria Cross was Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed by the Germans in 1915.

7. The first use of an aircraft to drop bombs occurred in August 1914 when the Germans dropped bombs on the Russian city of Libau.

8. The first use of a submarine to sink a warship occurred on September 22, 1914, when the Germans sank the British battleship HMS Pathfinder.

9. The first use of a tank in battle occurred in September 1916 when the British used them at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.

10. The first use of a machine gun in battle was in August 1914 by the Germans during the Battle of Liège.