-By Shivam Pathak
On a Sunday morning of 28 June 1914, a young Bosnian Serb Yugoslav Nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. The assassination of the future king struck the whole Austro- Hungarian Empire very severely. After a befitting funeral of Archduke the Austro-Hungarian
Empire issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23rd July for which Serbia was given 48 hours to abide. The ultimatum demanded a quick suppression of all publications which incite hatred and contempt against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. But Serbia’s reply failed to satisfy Austria’s appetency of a suitable reply.
Thereupon, two moved a war footing. But soon after the war enlarged from a bilateral issue to one involving most of Europe, and gave birth to the First World War in history. In world war First all powerful European countries were divided into two camps one was the Triple Entente (later known as Allied powers as other countries joined the alliance gradually) that includes France, UK, and Russia and the other was Triple Alliance (later known as central powers after Italy left the alliance and other countries joined ) that includes Germany, Austro- Hungarian Empire, and Italy, which remained neutral in 1914. But later Italy left Germany and Austro -Hungarian Empire alone and joined the Triple Entente due to a strained relationship with the former. In war the Germany was making successful advances towards west in France by invading Belgium in between, but on its eastern part the former was facing a grim battle against Russia.
As the time went by the situation was becoming more sophisticated as Germans had doubled down their efforts to invade France and Russia. But in April 1917 the USA military forces entered the war as an associate power rather than an official ally of Allied powers. The arrival of USA on the war canvas marked a significant halt of Germany’s efforts to become a super power in the world. Gradually, Germany and its allies had come to an end of their spirit and resources. And finally on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an Armistice was signed between the allies and Germany in 1918. In simple terms an armistice is generally an agreement to stop an ongoing fighting in order to create a breathing space in which a peace treaty can be negotiated, but the armistice of 1918 went a lot further.
The 1918 Armistice terms include not only evacuating all Germany’s conquests in France and Belgium, but also permitting the allied armies to occupy Germany west of the Rhine. The armistice also states that Germany had to give away its 30,000
machineguns, 5,000 cannons, 17,000 planes and all their u-boats. For an ambitious country like Germany, whose only objective was to become a supreme power, the armistice was a shame. But, at the end Germany signed the armistice and loses all its capacity to wage war in future (at least for two decades). Ultimately First World War was over, but Germany’s desire to avenge its enemies was started to build up even more fiercely. So it won’t be wrong to say that the ending of First World War sowed the seeds of an even more appalling conflict just two decades later. At last I want to state a line from a thought provoking book- “A Short History of the world” in which the writer, H.G. Wells, wrote in chapter 65 (page no. 425) that-‘The more interesting question is not why the Great War of 1914 was begun, but why the Great War was not anticipated and prevented”. Hope through this statement of the writer you could surmise the incompetency of that time so-called world leaders.