World War I was a global war fought between the Allies and the Central Powers that lasted from 1914 to 1918.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, was killed by Serbian assassins. When Serbia refused to permit Austrian-Hungarian forces from conducting an investigation on their soil, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Because of various pacts among the European nations, soon other countries were swept into the conflict; Germany supported Austria-Hungary (as the Central Powers) while Russia aided Serbia (as the Allied Powers); in turn, France was pledged to defend Russia. The UK attempted to remain outside the conflict, but when Germany invaded Belgium to flank France's border defenses, the UK joined the war to honor arrangements with Belgium. By July 28, the conflict, which would eventually be known as World War I, the Great War and the War to End all Wars, had begun.
World War I was fought primarily in Europe in the Eastern Front (territories around Russia's western border) and Western Front (territories around France's eastern border). However, the empires' colonies around the world were also brought into the conflict; notably, Canada, Australia and New Zealand of the Commonwealth all sent soldiers to support the UK, including the Canadian mutant Logan (James Howlett) and the young man who would become Night Raven; Canadian soldier Ernest St. Ives gained superhuman powers during the conflict, becoming Deadly Earnest. Initially, it was thought the war would be a brief affair, but it extended from weeks to months to years. Over time, Turkey and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers while Italy and Japan joined the Allies.
Various advancements in technology were highlighted during the conflict, notably the use of tanks, gas attacks, submarines and airplanes. Although the Communist government removed Russia from the Allies after the Russian Revolution, the Central Powers had little reason to celebrate; after the Germans declared unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, taking the lives of US citizens while combating the UK fleets, the US entered the war as one of the Allies. The US' entry into the war led to soldiers such as Isaac Christians, Daniel J. Whittier, James Fletcher and Jack Fury joining the fight, along with the costumed hero Iron Fist (Orson Randall). The US super-soldier John Steele fought on the Western Front, only to be captured by the Germans. The Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider, was also incarnated during WWI with an airplane as his vehicle of choice; he fought the creature Verminus Rex on the Western Front. Certain long-lived figures such as the Neanderthal man Cole, Ulysses Bloodstone and Walter Destine also participated in the war.
US citizen Karl Kaufman, an excellent aviator, longed to fight with the Allies, but his parents lived in Germany and he feared reprisals; instead, he became the masked hero Phantom Eagle to defend the US coast and soon journeyed overseas to battle the Central Powers. Englishman John Falsworth became a traitor to his country after the vampire lord Dracula turned Falsworth into the vampire Baron Blood. Compelled by Dracula to wage war on the UK, Baron Blood allied with the Germans and clashed against his brother, Montgomery, Lord Falsworth, the costumed hero Union Jack. Union Jack also served in the wartime group of Allied masked heroes Freedom's Five alongside Phantom Eagle, Crimson Cavalier of France and Sir Steel and Silver Squire of the UK. Another UK hero was Albion (Peter Hunter). In 1918, the Allies finally began driving the Germans from France, and the Central Powers were unable to absorb the mounting casualties. Peace was declared November 11, 1918.
Under the direction of the Allies, Austria and Hungary were split into separate nations and their shared monarchies dissolved; the nation of Poland was also created, largely from German territory. Viewing the terms of their surrender humiliating, forced to cede territory, accept all blame for the war and pay massive reparations, led to lasting resentment in Germany, which aided the WWI veteran Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and ultimately led to World War II. John Steele remained in German custody until World War II; between the wars his physique was analyzed, ultimately inspiring various Super-Soldier programs. World War I was also witnessed by various time travelers, including the Hulk (Bruce Banner) and Baron (Helmut) Zemo.
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Links and References
- World War I at Wikipedia