Monday, May 9, 2016

World War I, aka the Great War, aka the War of the Nations, aka the War to End All Wars.....

No matter what you call it, this four-year conflict was the sixth deadliest war in the history of the world, cost the US a whopping $30 billion, left 17 million dead, 20 million injured, and caused the collapse of four major world empires which include the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, and the Russian Empire.

Another interesting fact is that the WW1 battles were fought over every ocean and almost every continent but the majority of the battles were fought on European land.

The big question is what exactly started WWI, there are a few causes actually from Imperialism to alliances to differences in foreign policies to some people just believed that Germany wanted to go to war but whatever the case may be, certainly the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (heir to the throne of Austria and Hungary) and his pregnant wife, Sophie, is what flipped the switch on this war.

 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
The assassination was planned and carried out by a Serbian terrorist group, The Black Hand, and Gavrilo Princip a Bosnian revolutionary.

The assassination took place on June 28, 1914 and a month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and subsequently in August 1914, Turkey (Ottoman Empire) and Germany negotiated a secret alliance, the following day Germany declared war on France, a day later Germany invaded Belgium which in turn forced Britain to declare war on Germany, and finally by August 10, 1914, Austria-Hungary invaded Russia.

So to sum it all up, the assassination of Ferdinand of Austria caused an already critical situation in Europe to erupted into a full blown war between the British Empire, the Soviet Union, the United States which was previously "neutral" (entered on April 6, 1917), and France on one side and Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austro-Hungary on the other.  Of course, torpedoing passenger ships such as the Lusitania and submarine warfare by the Germans certainly did not help anything so we will just conclude with there were several reasons for WWI.

~Interesting or lesser known facts from WWI.

*Private George Edwin Ellison was the last British solider to die in WWI at 11 a.m., on November 11, 1918.

*Post-war: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland were recognized as independent nations. Whoo-hoo!!

*Ever hear of canary women?  With the majority of the men off at war, a million women worked long hours in poor condition with dangerous chemicals which caused them to have toxic jaundice and turned their skin yellow.
Dr. Gillies

*New Zealand-born surgeon Harold Gillies basically paved the way for plastic surgery.

He is known as the father of plastic surgery.  You see, shrapnel cause many severe facial injuries during WWI so Dr. Gillies helped the victims with facial reconstruction.
Just because I like to ramble on and lose my focus, later in Dr. Gillies' plastic surgery practice, he carried out the first modern day sex reassignment surgery from male to female which is now the norm for the procedures done today.
Yep!  I am totally out of focus.
What was I saying?
You can read more about his patient here.

Just another really random side note because again, I like to ramble............., Dr. Gillies was the great-great-grandfather of Daniel Gillies who plays Elijah in the Originals.  LoVe HiM!!!

*Sidney Lewis was the youngest British solider in WWI.  He was only 12 years old but he lied about his age.  The law required you to be 19 at the time.

Did you know that the first known use of chemical weapons was during WWI?  Mustard gas or Yperite was used by the German Army in September 1917.

This is considered the most lethal of all poisonous chemicals used during the war.

It is odorless, highly explosive, and took over 12 hours to take effect resulting in blisters, internal bleeding, attack of the bronchial tubes, stripping mucous membranes, pain, sore eyes, and vomiting.

*Blood banks were also established during WWI.

*Was the Red Baron real?  Yep, he was born Manfred von Richthofen.  The British gave him the nickname of the Red Baron because during WWI, he flew a small red plane.  The French called him Le Petit Rouge.  He was the highest ranked fighter pilot in all of Germany.  Read more here.

*The British created an endless supply of slang terms/nicknames during WWI, for example, New Zealanders were Kiwis, Canadians were Canucks, Aussies were Diggers, Irish were Paddies, Germans were Jerries, and the Scots were referred to as Jocks.  They referred to cemeteries as rest camps and chaplains were devil dodgers.  Other words still used today include crummy, cooties (lice), lousy, pushing up daisies (death), and thingamajig.

*Zippers, Kotex pads, sun lamps, Kleenex, wrist watches, pilot communication systems, and stainless steel were all invented during WWI and surprisingly enough so were vegetarian soy sausages.  No kidding, Konrad Adenauer, the first German chancellor, created the Friedenswurst a.k.a. the peace sausage due to the lack of supply and cost of meat.  Cheers Chancellor Adenauer!!!  Vegetarians salute you!

*Winnie The Pooh creator, AA Milne and JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings author both served in WWI.

*Trench warfare is an idea that wound not be repeated in subsequent wars by any country.  Basically, soldiers dug out long ditches to stand in and fight but turns out, this was the worst idea ever!

*Ever heard of the Harlem Hellfighters?  They were the first African-American regiment to serve during WWI.

*My final interesting factoid for WWI is that dogs were used as messengers in WWI.  Like this little cutie, Stubby.  Check him out in the Smithsonian where he is on display or check out their "The Price of Freedom Exhibit" here that tells all about Stubby and his accomplishments.
Sergeant Stubby from World War I
Sadly, it seems that WWI does not get as much attention called to it as other wars but as you can tell by just what we discovered, it is a very important part of history and should have more time dedicated to it.  So keep reading about it through the awesome links in this post.
More on Ferdinand. 
BBC trenches

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for horsing around with me. You really never know what you will get when you read my blog so thanks for stopping by.