New Zealand

New Zealand during World War 1

The military history of New Zealand during World War I began in August 1914.

When Britain declared war on Germany at the start of the First World War, the New Zealand government followed without hesitation, despite its geographic isolation and small population.

It was believed at the time that any declaration of war by the United Kingdom automatically included New Zealand; and the Governor (the Earl of Liverpool) announced that New Zealand was at war with Germany from the steps of Parliament on 5 August.

The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–18, excluding those in British and other Dominion forces, was 100,444, from a population of just over a million.

Forty-two percent of men of military age served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, fighting in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front.

16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war – a 58 percent casualty rate.

Approximately a further thousand men died within five years of the war’s end, as a result of injuries sustained, and 507 died while training in New Zealand between 1914 and 1918.

The First World War saw Māori soldiers serve for the first time in a major conflict with the New Zealand Army (although a number had fought in the Second Boer War when New Zealand recruiters chose to ignore British military policy of the time of disallowing ‘native’ soldiers).

A contingent took part in the Gallipoli campaign and later served with distinction on the Western Front as part of the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion.

2688 Māori and 346 Pacific islanders, including 150 Niueans, served with New Zealand forces in total.


.Australia During World War 1

In early 1915, however, it was decided to carry out an amphibious landing on the Gallipoli peninsula with the goal of opening up a second front and securing the passage of the Dardanelles.

The Australians and New Zealanders grouped together as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), went ashore on 25 April 1915, and for the next eight months the Anzacs, alongside their British, French, and other allies fought a costly and ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the Turks.

The force was evacuated from the peninsula in December 1915 and returned to Egypt, where the AIF was expanded.

In early 1916 it was decided that the infantry divisions would be sent to France, where they took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front.

Most of the light horse units remained in the Middle East until the end of the war, carrying out further operations against the Turks in Egypt and Palestine. Small numbers of Australians served in other theatres of war.

While the main focus of the Australian military’s effort was the ground war, air and naval forces were also committed.

Squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps served in the Middle East and on the Western Front, while elements of the Royal Australian Navy carried out operations in the Atlantic, the North Sea, Adriatic, and the Black Sea, as well as the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

By the end of the war, Australians were far more circumspect.

The nation’s involvement cost more than 60,000 Australian lives and many more were left unable to work as a result of their injuries.

The impact of the war was felt in many other areas as well.

Financially it was very costly, while the effect on the social and political landscape was considerable and threatened to cause serious divides in the nation’s social fabric.

Conscription was possibly the most contentious issue and ultimately, despite having conscription for home service, Australia was one of only three combatants not to use conscripts in the fighting. 

Nevertheless, for many Australians, the nation’s involvement in World War I and the Gallipoli campaign was seen as a symbol of its emergence as an international actor, while many of the notions of the Australian character and nationhood that exist today have their origins in the war, and Anzac Day is commemorated as a national holiday


Canada during World War 1

The military history of Canada during World War I began on August 4, 1914, when the United Kingdom entered the First World War (1914–1918) by declaring war on Germany.

The British declaration of war automatically brought Canada into the war, because of Canada’s legal status as a British Dominion which left foreign policy decisions in the hands of the British parliament.

However, the Canadian government had the freedom to determine the country’s level of involvement in the war.

On August 4, 1914, the Governor-General declared war between Canada and Germany.

The Militia was not mobilized and instead, an independent Canadian Expeditionary Force was raised.

Canada’s sacrifices and contributions to the Great War changed its history and enabled it to become more independent, while also opening a deep rift between the French and English speaking populations.

For the first time in Canadian military history, Canadian forces fought as a distinct unit, first under a British commander but ultimately under a Canadian-born commander.

The highpoints of Canadian military achievement during the Great War came during the Somme, Vimy, and Passchendaele battles and what later became known as “Canada’s Hundred Days”.

Canada’s total casualties stood at the end of the war at 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded, out of an expeditionary force of 620,000 people mobilized (39% of mobilized were casualties).

Canadians of British descent—the majority—gave widespread support arguing that Canadians had a duty to fight on behalf of their Motherland.

Indeed, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, although French-Canadian, spoke for the majority of English-Canadians when he proclaimed: “It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country.”

However, this did not stop Laurier along with Henri Bourassa from leading the opposition to conscription three years later in 1917.


China During World War 1

The Chinese Labour Corps (CLC; French: Corps de Travailleurs Chinois; simplified Chinese: 中国劳工旅; traditional Chinese: 中國勞工旅; pinyin: Zhōngguó láogōng lǚ) was a force of workers recruited by the British government in World War I to free troops for front line duty by performing support work and manual labour.

The French government also recruited a significant number of Chinese labourers, and although those labourers working for the French were recruited separately and not part of the CLC, they are often considered to be so.

In all, some 140,000 men served for both British and French forces before the war ended and most of the men were repatriated to China between 1918 and 1920.

In 1916, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig requested that 21,000 labourers be recruited to fill the manpower shortage caused by casualties during World War I.

Recruiting labourers from other countries was not something unusual at that time.

Other than the Chinese, labour corps were serving in France from Egypt, Fiji, India, Malta, Mauritius, Seychelles, and the British West Indies, as well as a native labour corps from South Africa.

At the end of the war, an estimated over 300,000 workers from the colonies, 100,000 Egyptians, 21,000 Indians and 20,000 native South Africans were working throughout France and the Middle East by 1918.

As China was initially not a belligerent nation, her nationals were not allowed by their government to participate in the fighting. As a result, the early stage of the recruiting business in China was somewhat sketchy, with semi-official support from local authorities.

However, after China declared war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, on 14 August 1917, the Labour Department of the Chinese government began organizing the recruitment officially.

The scheme to recruit Chinese to serve as non-military personnel was pioneered by the French government.

A contract to supply 50,000 labourers was agreed upon on 14 May 1916, and the first contingent left Tianjin for Dagu and Marseille in July 1916.

The British government also signed an agreement with the Chinese authorities to supply labourers.

The recruiting was launched by the War Committee in London in 1916 to form a labour corps of labourers from China to serve in France and to be known as the Chinese Labour Corps.

A former railway engineer, Thomas J. Bourne, who had worked in China for 28 years, arrived at Weihaiwei (then a British colony) on 31 October 1916 with instructions to establish and run a recruiting base.

The Chinese Labour Corps comprised Chinese men who came mostly from Shandong Province,and to a lesser extent from Liaoning, Jilin, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Gansu Provinces.

The first transport ship carrying 1,088 labourers sailed from the main depot at Weihaiwei on 18 January 1917.

The journey to France took three months.

Most travelled to Europe (and later returned to China) via the Pacific and by Canada.

The tens of thousands of volunteers were driven by the poverty of the region and China’s political uncertainties and also lured by the generosity of the wages offered by the British.
Each volunteer received an embarkment fee of 20 yuan, followed by 10 yuan a month to be paid over to his family in China.

Two of the unit’s commanders, Colonel Bryan Charles Fairfax and Colonel R.L. Purdon, had served with the 1st Chinese Regiment in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.

Service Members of the Chinese Labour Corps and British soldiers working at a timber yard, Caëstre, July 1917 CLC men load 9.2-inch shells onto a railway wagon at Boulogne for transport to the front line, August 1917 Labour Corps men and a British soldier cannibalise a wrecked Mark IV tank for spare parts at the central stores of the Tank Corps, Teneur, spring 1918.

A deal between the Chinese government and the allies resulted in the enlistment of thousands of Chinese who formed the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) mainly poor Chinese men from the north who were told they would be in non-combatant roles.

The Canadian government had restricted the arrival of all Asians and the CLC were secretly landed at Victoria, British Columbia.

They were drilled in the old quarantine station at Metchosin, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. Roughly 81,000 Chinese men were then taken on Canadian Pacific Railway trains to Halifax to board steamships to England.

On arrival, they crossed the English Channel to France.

After the war, over 40,000 returned by ship to Halifax and then by train to Vancouver; they were returned by ship to China.

Unknown numbers never made it to the war front, died and buried in unmarked graves in British Columbia (including 21 at William Head Prison) and Ontario (1 known grave of Chou Ming Shan in Petawawa, Ontario). A total of about 140,000 Chinese workers served on the Western Front during and after the war.

Among them, 100,000 served in the British Chinese Labour Corps. About 40,000 served with the French forces, and hundreds of Chinese students served as translators.

By the end of 1917, 54,000 Chinese labourers were with the British Imperial Forces in France and Belgium.

In March, the admiralty declared itself no longer able to supply the ships for transport and the British government were obliged to bring recruitment to an end.

The men already serving in France completed their contracts.

By the time of the armistice, the CLC numbered nearly 96,000, while a further 30,000 were working for the French.

In May 1919, 80,000 Chinese Labour Corps were still at work.

The British soldier Arthur Bullock, in his wartime memoir, gives a vivid account of the interactions between the British soldiers and Chinese workers.

He also drew a sketch of one Chinese man, Tchung Camena Tungwa, who invited him to have tea in Beijing when he was next there (he never was).

The workers, mainly aged between 20 and 35, served as labour in the rear echelons or helped build munitions depots. They were asked to carry out essential work to support the frontline troops, such as unloading ships, building dugouts, repairing roads and railways, digging trenches, and filling sandbags.

Some worked in armaments factories, others in naval shipyards, for a pittance of one to three francs a day.

At the time, they were seen just as cheap labour, not even allowed out of the camp to fraternise locally, dismissed as mere coolies.

When the war ended, some were used for mine clearance, or to recover the bodies of soldiers and fill in miles of trenches.

Men fell ill from poor diets and the intense damp and cold, and on occasion, they mutinied against their French and British employers or ransacked local restaurants in search of food.

The harshness of the conditions in which some of these men worked is recorded by Arthur Bullock in his wartime memoir, along with the contemporary justification for it.

Bullock also recalls the differences between the ‘coolies’ and the German prisoners of war, in terms of their attitudes to work and to each other.

After the armistice, the Chinese, each identified only by an impersonal reference number, were shipped home.

Only about 5,000 to 7,000 stayed in France, forming the nucleus of the later Chinese community in Paris.

Most who survived returned to China in 1918.

The contribution of these Chinese men went forgotten for decades until military ceremonies resumed in 2002 at the Chinese cemetery of Noyelles-sur-Mer.

Throughout the war, trade union pressure prevented the introduction of Chinese labourers to the British Isles.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb suggested that the CLC was restricted to carrying out menial unskilled labour due to pressure from British trade unions.

However, some members of the corps carried out skilled and semiskilled work for the Tank Corps, including riveting and engine repair.

One member of the corps, First Class Ganger Liu Dien Chen, was recommended for the Military Medal for rallying his men while under shellfire in March 1918.

However, he was eventually awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, as it was decided CLC members were not eligible for the Military Medal.

By the end of the war, the Meritorious Service Medal had been awarded to five Chinese workers.

After the war, the British government sent a war medal to every member of the CLC.

The medal was like the British War Medal issued to every member of the British armed forces, except that it was of bronze, not silver.

United States of America

United States during World war 1

The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, nearly three years after World War I started.

A ceasefire and Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918.

Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to the United Kingdom, France, and the other Allied powers.

The U.S. made its major contributions in terms of supplies, raw materials, and money, starting in 1917.

American soldiers under General of the Armies John Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrived at the rate of 10,000 men a day on the Western Front in the summer of 1918. During the war, the U.S. mobilized over 4 million military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths, including around 45,000 who died due to the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak (30,000 before they even reached France).

The war saw a dramatic expansion of the United States government in an effort to harness the war effort and a significant increase in the size of the U.S. Armed Forces.

After a relatively slow start in mobilizing the economy and labor force, by spring 1918, the nation was poised to play a role in the conflict.

Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, the war represented the climax of the Progressive Era as it sought to bring reform and democracy to the world, although there was substantial public opposition to U.S. entry into the war.

Contents 1 Entry 2 Neutrality 3 Public opinion 4 Preparedness movement 4.1 Democrats respond 4.2 National debate 5 War declared 6 Home front 6.1 Food 6.2 Finance 6.3 Labor 6.3.1 Women and labor 6.4 Propaganda 6.5 Children 7 American military 7.1 Women in the U.S. military 7.2 Impact of US forces on the war 8 After the war 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 11.1 Historiography and memory 12 External links Entry Main article:

American entry into World War I

The American entry into World War I came on April 6, 1917, after a year-long effort by President Woodrow Wilson to get the United States into the war.

Apart from an Anglophile element urging early support for the British, American public opinion sentiment for neutrality was particularly strong among Irish Americans, German Americans, and Scandinavian Americans, as well as among church leaders and among women in general.

On the other hand, even before World War, I had broken out, American opinion had been more negative toward Germany than towards any other country in Europe.

Over time, especially after reports of atrocities in Belgium in 1914 and following the sinking of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania in 1915, the American people increasingly came to see Germany as the aggressor.

1917 political cartoon about the Zimmermann Telegram published in the Dallas Morning News As U.S. President, it was Wilson who made the key policy decisions over foreign affairs: while the country was at peace, the domestic economy ran on a laissez-faire basis, with American banks making huge loans to Britain and France — funds that were in large part used to buy munitions, raw materials, and food from across the Atlantic.

Until 1917, Wilson made minimal preparations for a land war and kept the United States Army on a small peacetime footing, despite increasing demands for enhanced preparedness.

He did, however, expand the United States Navy.

In 1917, with the Russian Revolution and widespread disillusionment over the war, and with Britain and France low on credit, Germany appeared to have the upper hand in Europe,

while the Ottoman Empire clung to its possessions in the Middle East. In the same year, Germany decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare against any vessel approaching British waters; this attempt to starve Britain into surrender was balanced against the knowledge that it would almost certainly bring the United States into the war.

Germany also made a secret offer to help Mexico regain territories lost in the Mexican–American War in an encoded telegram known as the Zimmermann Telegram, which was intercepted by British Intelligence. 

Publication of that communique outraged Americans just as German U-boats started sinking American merchant ships in the North Atlantic.

Wilson then asked Congress for “a war to end all wars” that would “make the world safe for democracy”, and Congress voted to declare war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

On December 7, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Austria-Hungary.

U.S. troops began arriving on the Western Front in large numbers in 1918.

Neutrality I am neutral but not afraid of any of them 1915 After the war began in 1914, the United States proclaimed a policy of neutrality despite President Woodrow Wilson’s antipathies against Germany.

Early in the war, the United States started to favor the British and their allies with 1452 soldiers stationed in Europe.

President Wilson aimed to broker a peace and sent his top aide, Colonel House, on repeated missions to the two sides, but each remained so confident of victory that they ignored peace proposals.

When the German U-boat U-20 sank the British liner Lusitania on 7 May 1915 with 128 US citizens aboard, Wilson demanded an end to German attacks on passenger ships, and warned that the US would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare in violation of “American rights” and of “international obligations.”

Wilson’s Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, resigned, believing that the President’s protests against the German use of U-boat attacks conflicted with America’s official commitment to neutrality.

On the other hand, Wilson came under pressure from war hawks led by former president Theodore Roosevelt, who denounced German acts as “piracy”, and from British delegations under Cecil Spring Rice and Sir Edward Grey.

U.S. Public opinion reacted with outrage to the suspected German sabotage of Black Tom in Jersey City, New Jersey on 30 July 1916, and to the Kingsland explosion on 11 January 1917 in present-day Lyndhurst, New Jersey.

Crucially, by the spring of 1917, President Wilson’s official commitment to neutrality had finally unraveled.

Wilson realized he needed to enter the war in order to shape the peace and implement his vision for a League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference.

kingdom of Romania

 The Kingdom of Romania during World War 1

The Kingdom of Romania was neutral for the first two years of World War I, entering on the side of the Allied powers from 27 August 1916 until Central Power occupation led to the Treaty of Bucharest in May 1918, before re-entering the war on 10 November 1918.

It had the most significant oil fields in Europe, and Germany eagerly bought its petroleum, as well as food exports.

From the point of view of its belligerent status, Romania was a neutral country between 28 July 1914 – 27 August 1916, a belligerent country on the part of the Entente between 27 August 1916 – 9 December 1917, in a state of the armistice with the Central Powers between 10 December 1917 – 7 May 1918, a non-combatant country between 7 May 1918 – 10 November 1918, and finally a belligerent country in the Entente between 10 November 1918 – 11 November 1918.

At the start of World War I, King Carol favored Germany while the nation’s political elite favoured the Entente. As such, the crown council took the decision to remain neutral.

But after King Carol’s death in 1914, his successor King Ferdinand favored the Entente. For Romania, the highest priority was taking Transylvania from Hungary, with around 2,800,000 Romanians out of around 5,000,000 people.

The Allies wanted Romania to join their side in order to cut rail communications between Germany and Turkey and to cut off Germany’s oil supplies.

Britain made loans, France sent a military training mission, and Russia promised modern munitions. 

The Allies promised at least 200,000 soldiers to defend Romania against Bulgaria to the south, and help it invade Austria.

At the outbreak of hostilities, the Austro-Hungarian Empire invoked a casus foederis on Romania and Italy linked to the secret treaty of the alliance since 1883.

However, both Italy and Romania refused to honor the treaty on the grounds that it was not a case of casus foederis because the attacks on Austria were not “unprovoked”, as stipulated in the treaty of alliance.

In August 1916, Romania received an ultimatum to decide whether to join the Entente “now or never”. 

Under the pressure of the ultimatum, the Romanian government agreed to enter the war on the side of the Entente, although the situation on the battlefronts was not favorable.

The Romanian campaign was part of the Eastern Front of World War I, with Romania and Russia allied with Britain and France against the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.

Fighting took place from August 1916 to December 1917 across most of present-day Romania, including Transylvania, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, as well as in Southern Dobruja, which is currently part of Bulgaria.

The Romanian Campaign Plan (The “Z” Hypothesis) consisted of attacking Austria-Hungary in Transylvania while defending Southern Dobruja and Giurgiu from Bulgaria in the south.

Despite initial successes in Transylvania, after German divisions started aiding Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, the Romanian forces (aided by Russia) suffered massive setbacks, and by the end of 1916 out of the territory of the Romanian Old Kingdom, only Western Moldavia remained under the control of the Romanian and Russian armies.

After several defensive victories in 1917 at Mărăști, Mărășești, and Oituz, with Russia’s withdrawal from the war following the October Revolution, Romania, almost completely surrounded by the Central Powers, was also forced to drop out of the war, it signed the Treaty of Bucharest with the Central Powers in May 1918.

The parliament signed the treaty, however, King Ferdinand refused to sign it, hoping for an Allied victory on the western front. 

On 10 November 1918, just one day before the German armistice and after all the other Central Powers had already capitulated, Romania re-entered the war after the successful Allied advances on the Macedonian front.

Kingdom of Montenegro

Montenegro during World War 1

Montenegro with a largely ethnic Serbian population was still a part of the declining Ottoman Empire at the turn-of-the 20th century.

Knjaz Nikola proclaimed an independent kingdom in Cetinje (1910).

He became Nikola I.

The common ethnicity meant there were close ties with already independent Serbia. The Montenegrins joined Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria in the First Balkan War (1912).

The Montenegrins suffered substantial casualties.

The Balkan War formally secured Montenegro’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.

When Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia (August 1914).

The small Montenegrin army fought with the Serbs.

They helped occupy northern Kosovo which with the Central Powers offensive (October 1915) provided an escape route for the Serbian Army.

Montenegro like Serbia was overrun and occupied by the Central Powers (January 1916).

Nikola I signed the Corfu Declaration (July 1917). It affirmed the unification of Montenegro with Serbia after the War.

King Nichola was a strong believer in unification with Serbia to form a great Serbian state.

After the Austrian evacuation (October 1918) and the King’s return to liberated Montenegro, he proclaimed unification with Serbia (November 1918).

King Nicola quarrelled with King Alexander of Serbia over who should be the monarch of a united Serbia. King Alexander with a much larger army was able to engineer the dethroning and exiled of Nicola.


Greece during World War 1

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Kingdom of Greece remained neutral.

Nonetheless, in October 1914 Greek forces once more occupied Northern Epirus, from where they had retreated after the end of the Balkan Wars.

The disagreement between King Constantine, who favoured neutrality, and the pro-Allied Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos led to the National Schism, the division of the state between two rival governments. 

Finally, Greece united and joined the Allies in the summer of 1917.

Despite Greece remaining officially neutral, by September 1916 the country was effectively a battleground in the war.

The Bulgarians occupied eastern Macedonia, while relations with the Allies were marked by deep hostility and mistrust.

After repeated calls from Thessaloniki, on 25 September Venizelos, accompanied by many of his followers, sailed to Chania in his home island of Crete, with the intention of forming a revolutionary government. 

Although Venizelos stressed that his initiative served national rather than narrow party, interests it was welcomed in Crete and the islands of the eastern Aegean, which had been only recently seized during the Balkan Wars (when Venizelos had been prime Minister), but found few supporters in “Old Greece”, the pre-1912 territory of the kingdom.

Venizelos was joined by two respected military figures, Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis and Lt.

General Panagiotis Danglis, in the so-called “triumvirate” (τριανδρία). Together they landed at Thessaloniki on 9 October and formed the Provisional Government of National Defence.

Soon recognized by the Allies, the new regime declared war on Germany and Bulgaria on 23 October and 24 October respectively.

Entente and Venizelist efforts to persuade the “official” royal government in Athens to abandon its neutrality and join them failed and relations irreparably broke down during the Noemvriana, when Entente and Venizelist troops clashed with royalists in the streets of the Greek capital.

The royalist officers of the Hellenic Army were cashiered, and troops were conscripted to fight under Venizelist officers, as was the case with the Royal Hellenic Navy.

Still, King Constantine, who enjoyed the protection of the Russian Tsar as a relative and fellow monarch, could not be removed until after the February Revolution in Russia removed the Russian monarchy from the picture.

In June 1917, King Constantine abdicated from the throne, and his second son, Alexander, assumed the throne as king (despite the wishes of most Venizelists to declare a Republic).

Venizelos assumed control of the entire country, while royalists and other political opponents of Venizelos were exiled or imprisoned.

Greece, by now united under a single government, officially declared war against the Central Powers on 30 June 1917 and would eventually raise ten divisions for the Entente effort, alongside the Royal Hellenic Navy.

United States of Brazil

United States of Brazil During World War 1

During World War I (1914–1918), Brazil initially adopted a neutral position, in accordance with the Hague Convention, in an attempt to maintain the markets for its export products, mainly coffee, latex, and industrially manufactured items.

However, following the repeated sinking of Brazilian merchant ships by German submarines, President Venceslau Brás declared war against the Central Powers in 1917.

Brazil was the only country in Latin America to be directly involved in the war.

The major participation was the Brazilian Navy’s patrol of areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Brazil officially declared neutrality on August 4, 1914.

At the beginning of the war, although neutral, Brazil faced a complicated social and economic situation.

Its economy was largely based on exports of agricultural products such as coffee, latex, and very limited industrial manufacturing.

As these products exported by Brazil were not considered essential by foreign consumers, customs duties and export fees (the main source of government income) decreased as the conflict continued.

This was accentuated further by the German blockade of Allied ports, and then by a British ban on the importation of coffee into England in 1917.

This arose because the British government now considered the cargo space on ships necessary for more vital goods, given the great losses of merchant ships as a result of German attacks.

The Brazilian merchant ship Rio Branco was sunk by a German submarine on May 3, 1916, but as this was in restricted waters and registered under the British flag and with most of its crew composed of Norwegians, it was not considered an illegal attack by the Brazilian government, despite the public uproar the event caused.

Relations between Brazil and the German Empire were shaken by the German decision to introduce unrestricted submarine warfare, allowing its submarines to sink any ship that breached the blockade.

On April 5, 1917, the large Brazilian steamship Paraná (4,466 tons), loaded with coffee and traveling in accordance with the demands made on neutral countries, was torpedoed by a German submarine with three Brazilians being killed.

Kingdom of Belgium

 Kingdom of Belgium during World War 1

The history of Belgium in World War I traces Belgium’s role between the German invasion in 1914, through the continued military resistance and occupation of the territory by German forces to the armistice in 1918, as well as the role it played in the international war effort through its African colony and small force on the Eastern Front.

When World War I began, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as part of the Schlieffen Plan, in an attempt to capture Paris quickly by catching the French off guard by invading through neutral countries.

It was this action that technically caused the British to enter the war, as they were still bound by the 1839 agreement to protect Belgium in the event of war.

On 2 August 1914, the German government demanded that German armies be given free passage through Belgian territory, although this was refused by the Belgian government on 3 August.

King Albert I addressed his Parliament on 4 August, saying “Never since 1830 has a graver hour sounded for Belgium.

The strength of our right and the need of Europe for our autonomous existence make us still hope that the dreaded events will not occur.”

The same day German troops invaded Belgium crossing the frontier at dawn. Liège was attacked on 4 August and fell on 7 August.

It is widely claimed that the Belgian Army’s resistance during the early days of the war, with the army – around a tenth the size of the German Army – holding up the German offensive for nearly a month, gave the French and British forces time to prepare for the Marne counter-offensive later in the year.

In fact, the German advance on Paris was almost exactly on schedule.

The German invaders treated any resistance—such as demolition of bridges and rail lines—as illegal and subversive, shooting the offenders and burning buildings in retaliation.

Flanders was the main base of the British Army and it saw some of the greatest loss of life on both sides of the Western Front.