Kingdom of Serbia

Kingdom of Serbia during World War 1

The Serbian Campaign is the series of campaigns launched against Serbia at the beginning of the First World War.

The first campaign began after Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914, the campaign to “punish” Serbia, under the command of Austrian Oskar Potiorek, ended after three unsuccessful Austro-Hungarian invasion attempts were repelled by the Serbs and their Montenegrin allies.

Serbia’s defeat of the Austro-Hungarian invasion of 1914 ranks as one of the great upsets of modern military history.

The Second Campaign was launched, under German command, almost a year later, on 6 October 1915, when Bulgarian, Austrian, and German forces, lead by Field Marshall August von Mackensen, invaded Serbia from three sides, pre-empting the Allied advance from Salonica to help her.

This resulted in the Great Retreat through Montenegro and Albania, the evacuation to Greece, and the establishment of the Macedonian front.

The defeat of Serbia gave the Central Powers temporary mastery over the Balkans, opening up a land route from Berlin to Istanbul, allowing the Germans to re-supply the Ottoman Empire for the rest of the war.

Mackensen declared an end to the campaign on November 24, 1915. Serbia was then divided and occupied by the Habsburg Empire and Bulgaria.

After the Allies launched the Vardar offensive in September 1918, which broke through the Macedonian front and defeated the Bulgarians and their German allies, a Franco-Serbian force advanced into the occupied territories and liberated Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro.
Serbian forces entered Belgrade on 1 November 1918.

The Serbian Army declined severely from about 420,000at its peak to about 100,000 at the moment of liberation.

The estimates of casualties are various: the Serb sources claim that the Kingdom of Serbia lost more than 1,200,000 inhabitants during the war (both army and civilian losses), which represented over 29% of its overall population and 60% of its male population, while western historians put the number either at 45,000 military deaths and 650,000 civilian deaths or 127,355 military deaths and 82,000 civilian deaths.

According to estimates prepared by the Yugoslav government in 1924, Serbia lost 265,164 soldiers or 25% of all mobilized people. By comparison, France lost 16.8%, Germany 15.4%, Russia 11.5%, and Italy 10.3%

Kingdom of Italy

Kingdom of Italy during World War 1

Before the outbreak of World War One Italy generally allied with Germany and Austria-Hungry as it was an official member of the Triple Alliance.

The Italians had enhanced its diplomatic relationships with Great Britain and France before the First World War Only a few days after the outbreak of World War One

the Italian Government led by Antonio Salandra would not commit any Italian Troops maintaining the Triple Alliance had only a defensive stance and that Austria-Hungry had been the aggressor of the First World War.

Italy refused to join the Germans and Austria Hungry and Italy entered the War on the allied side on May 15th, 1917.

The Italians suffered very heavy losses and made very little progress with continuous Attacks on Austria at the start of the Italians campaign.

The Italians success came in October 1918 with the Italians deep in Austrian Territory and fighting finally ended on November 3rd, 1918.

The Italian front or Alpine front (Italian: Fronte alpino, “Alpine front”; in German: Gebirgskrieg, “Mountain war”) was a series of battles at the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy, fought between 1915 and 1918 in World War I.

Following the secret promises made by the Allies in the Treaty of London, Italy entered the war in order to annex the Austrian Littoral and northern Dalmatia, and the territories of present-day Trentino and South Tyrol.

Although Italy had hoped to gain the territories with a surprise offensive, the front soon bogged down into trench warfare, similar to the Western Front fought in France, but at high altitudes and with very cold winters.

Fighting along the front displaced much of the civilian population, of which several thousand died from malnutrition and illness in Italian and Austrian refugee camps.

The Allied victory at Vittorio Veneto, the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, and the Italian capture of Trento, Bolzano, and Trieste ended the military operations.

Italy also refers to the Great War as the Third War of Independence, which completed the last stage of the Italian unification.

Empire of Japan

Empire of Japan during World War 1

Japan had been an ally with Great Britain since 1902.

On August 7th, 1914 British Government asked Japan for her assistance in destroying the German radars of the Kaiseriliche and also the Chinese waters.

Germany had failed to respond to the Japanese ultimatum sent on the 14th August 1914 and declared war on Germany 9 days later.

Japan pledged her alliance with The Entente Powers and played a major influence part in securing the sea lanes in the South Pacific and the Indian oceans.

Japan also declare war on Austria-Hungary as Vienna refused to withdraw the cruiser, Kaiserin Elisabeth, from Tsingtao.

On September 2nd, 1914 Japanese forces landed in Shandong Provence in China and seized several German island Colonies of the South Pacific.

The Japanese conducted the very first naval launched air raids on the Germans on September 6th, 1914.

The Japanese seaplane carrier “Wakamiya” launched an unsuccessful attack on the Austria-Hungarian cruiser, Kaiserin Elisabeth. ‘

The Siege of Tsingtao came to end with the Germans forces surrendering on November 7th, 1914.

Russian Empire

Russian Empire during World War 1

Russia entered into World War I on July 28, 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Russia’s ally Serbia.

Russia sent an ultimatum to Austria-Hungary stating, if Austria-Hungary showed aggression toward its allies, they would meet with military action.

Once Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia Germany followed suit.

In accordance with its war plan, Germany ignored Russia and moved first against France—declaring war on August 3 and sending its main armies through Belgium to attack Paris from the north.

The invasion of Belgium caused Britain to declare war on Germany on August 4.

The main parties were now at war. 

Soon Turkey joined on Germany’s side, and later Italy on the Allied side.

Historians on the causes of World War I have emphasized the role of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The consensus of scholars includes scant mention of Russia, and briefly mentions Russia’s defense of Orthodox Serbia, its pan-Slavic roles, its treaty obligations with France, and its concern for protecting its status as a great power.

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary was assassinated by Bosnian Serbs on 28 June 1914 to protest the Austrian takeover of a largely Slavic province.

Vienna was unable to find evidence that Serbia had sponsored the assassination but a month later issued an ultimatum to Serbia, which it knew would be rejected and thus lead to war.

Austria-Hungary felt that Serbia had to be destroyed or else it would destabilize Austria by alienating Austria’s very large Slavic minority element.

Russia did not have a treaty obligation to Serbia but stood in opposition to Austria for control of the Balkans.

From a long-term perspective, Russia was militarily gaining on Germany and Austro-Hungary, and thus had an incentive to wait.

Most Russian leaders wanted to avoid war.

However, in the present crisis, they had the support of France, and they feared that failure to support Serbia would lead to a loss of Russian credibility and a major political defeat to Russia’s goals for a leadership role in the Balkans.

Tsar Nicholas II mobilised Russian forces on 30 July 1914 to threaten Austria if it invaded Serbia.

Christopher Clark states: “The Russian general mobilisation [of 30 July] was one of the most momentous decisions of the July crisis.”

This was the first of the general mobilisations.

It came at the moment when the German government had not yet even declared the State of Impending War”.

Germany now felt threatened by Russia and responded with her own mobilisation and declaration of war on 1 August 1914.

At the opening of hostilities, the Russians took the offensive against both Germany and Austria-Hungary

France & Empire

France and Empire during World War 1

During World War I, France was one of the Triple Entente powers allied against the Central Powers.

Although fighting occurred worldwide, the bulk of the fighting in Europe occurred in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Alsace-Lorraine along what came to be known as the Western Front, which consisted mainly of trench warfare.

Specific operational, tactical, and strategic decisions by the high command on both sides of the conflict led to shifts in organizational capacity, as the French Army tried to respond to day-to-day fighting and long-term strategic and operational agendas.

In particular, many problems caused the French high command to re-evaluate standard procedures, revise its command structures, re-equip the army, and to develop different tactical approaches.

Upon mobilization, Joffre became Commander-in-Chief of the French Army. Most of his forces were concentrated in the northeast of France, both to attack Alsace-Lorraine and to meet the expected German offensive through the Low Countries.

First Army (7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, and 21st Army Corps), with the objective of capturing Mulhouse and Sarrebourg.
Second Army (9th, 15th, 16th, 18th, and 20th Army Corps), with the objective of capturing Morhange.

Third Army (4th, 5th, and 6th Army Corps), defending the region around Metz.

Fourth Army (12th, 17th and Colonial Army Corps) held in reserve around the Forest of Argonne

Fifth Army (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, and 11th Army Corps), defending the Ardennes.

Over the course of the First World War, another five field armies would be raised.

The war scare led to another 2.9 million men being mobilized in the summer of 1914 and the costly battles on the Western Front forced France to conscript men up to the age of 45.

This was done by the mobilization in 1914 of the Territorial Army and its reserves; comprising men who had completed their peacetime service with the active and reserve armies (ages 20–34).

In June 1915, the Allied countries met in the first inter-Allied conference. Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Serbia, and Russia agreed to coordinate their attacks but the attempts were frustrated by

German offensives on the Eastern Front and spoiling offensives at Ypres and in the hills west of Verdun.

By 1918, towards the end of the war, the composition and structure of the French army had changed. Forty percent of all French soldiers on the Western Front were operating artillery and 850,000 French troops were infantry in 1918, compared to 1.5 million in 1915.

Causes for the drop in infantry include increased machine guns, armored cars, and tank usage, as well as the increasing significance of the French air force, the Service Aéronautique.

At the end of the war on November 11, 1918, the French had called up 8,817,000 men, including 900,000 colonial troops.

The French army suffered around 6 million casualties, including 1.4 million dead and 4.2 million wounded, roughly 71% of those who fought.

Albania

Albania during World War 1

Albania a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə; Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria; Gheg Albanian: Shqipni or Shqipnia also Shqypni or Shqypnia), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, pronounced [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːsə]), is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea.

It shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, Greece to the south, and maritime borders with Greece, Montenegro, and Italy to the west.

Historically, the country has been inhabited by numerous civilizations such as the Illyrians, Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans.

The Albanians established the autonomous Principality of Arbër in the 12th century. The Kingdom of Albania and Principality of Albania formed between the 13th and 14th centuries.

Prior to the Ottoman conquest of Albania in the 15th century, the Albanian resistance to Ottoman expansion into Europe led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg won them acclaim over most of Europe.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Albanians gathered both spiritual and intellectual strength which conclusively led to the Albanian Renaissance. After the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars, the modern nation-state of Albania emerged in 1912. 

In the 20th century, the Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy which formed Greater Albania before becoming a protectorate of Nazi Germany.

Enver Hoxha formed Communist Albania after the Second World War and launched the Albanians on a path of oppression and decades of isolation.

The Revolutions of 1991 concluded the fall of communism in Albania and eventually the establishment of the current Republic of Albania.

Politically, the country is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy dominated by the service sector, followed by manufacturing. It went through a process of transition, following the end of communism in 1990, from centralized planning to a market-based economy. 

Albania provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.

Great Britain & Empire

Great Britain in World War One

Great Britain entered the First World War due to the German’s violation of the Treaty of London (1839) in defense of Belgium Neutrality.

The tension between Great Britain and Germany had been rising for some time due to the determination of the Germans to rival the United Kingdom’s dominance in its Navy.

The Germans invaded Belgium on the way through to France in 1914 with the British protesting against Germany regarding their obligations of the treaty.

German Foreign Minister Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg

referred to the treaty as a ” Mere scrap of paper” and could not believe Britain was entering the War.

With the treaty being almost 100 years old the Germans did not expect the British to stand by their pledge.

The British Army had sustained substantial losses in the Horror and July 1st, 1916 in The Battle of the Somme and regarded as the worst disaster in the History of the British Army.

But as the war unfolded this paved a new way for a new type of warfare and an inspiration for new technology and weapons in a modern war that led to victory which was finally achieved in 1918.

The Royal Navy

The Royal Flying Corps

The British Army

 

Entente Powers