World War I began on December 7, 1914, with Germany waging an unprecedented campaign of aggression against the Allied nations. The war was fought with a blitzkrieg style of combat and the destruction of Allied cities was unprecedented. But amidst all the horrors and destruction of the First World War, the Japanese managed to win the battle for global dominance. In spite of Japan’s massive military budget and an enormous navy, it was not enough to deter the Japanese. The country’s blitzkrieg tactics and the Japanese atomic bombs were used to annihilate their Western targets.
As declarations of war began to fly across Europe, German military planners were well prepared. Their plans included holding off the Russians in the east while knocking France out of the war and throwing force against Russia. The Germans had long ago conceived of a plan known as the Schliefffen Plan, after its creator General Count Alfred von Schlieffen. It called for the invasion of the Low Countries to bypass the French fortifications. They would then advance into northern France and swing around Paris.
In addition to its devastating impact on the nations, World War I also ushered in a new era of innovation and medical breakthroughs. While the Great War resulted in the deaths of 16 million people worldwide, Britain’s losses in the war were outnumbered by those due to disease. The war accelerated changes in class and gender attitudes, led to the fall of empires, and ruined the national economies of Central and Eastern Europe.