In September of 1914, the first battle of the First World War took place. French and British forces confronted the invading German army. After advancing into northeastern France and coming within 30 miles of Paris, the Germans were driven back to the north of the Aisne River by the Allied troops. This defeat ended Germany’s hopes of achieving a quick victory in France. It also set the stage for the Hellish war of attrition that would span over three years on the Western Front.
The war was initially welcomed by people across Europe, with a wave of patriotic feeling. Although few people could have imagined that it would last so long, most believed that their country would win within months. People welcomed the war either patriotically as a necessity to defend their country, or idealistically as a fight between right and might, upholding the sanctity of treaties, and upholding international morality.
On 4 October, the German high command requested an armistice, claiming that a revolutionary movement at home had stabbed their army in the back. Food shortages and inflation were the result, and Austria-Hungary suffered greatly. The armistice was agreed upon and signed on 11 November 1918 at Compiegne.
The war was different from previous conflicts because of the new weapons used. These weapons could be used on land, sea, and air, causing thousands of deaths. British people often heard thunder coming from the battlefields in Europe. That was the sound of artillery, and around 75% of all men who died in the war were killed by these weapons.