World War I, also called the Great War or the First World War, started in August 1914. It was a war of territorial acquisition and international conflict, involving all of the major powers of the world. The war involved a massive amount of violence.
Austria-Hungary, Russia and France were the Central Powers. They fought on two fronts, in the Balkans and the Ukraine. As a result, the war spread into the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and by the end of the year, most of Europe was in the grip of the conflict.
Although the United States was not at war with Germany, its entry into the conflict signaled a new political balance. This resulted in the creation of the League of Nations. In addition, the economic might of the United States helped to bind the various fronts of the conflict.
The war began as a defensive necessity, but by the time the war ended, it had become a global struggle. Various colonies, both colonial and non-colonial, were threatened. Africa was particularly affected.
Allied colonial regimes found themselves under threat from revolts and armed risings. Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points were a response to Soviet proposals for an immediate peace.
At first, Europeans saw the war as a necessary defensive measure. After all, they wanted to prevent German colonies from becoming bases. But after the Treaty of Versailles, they were bitter and dissatisfied.
In 1923, Hitler declared that the treaty was designed to kill 20 million Germans. He then began rebuilding the armed forces and began to invade countries. By December 1940, he had approved a large-scale invasion of the USSR.