Was World War I
an avoidable debacle ?
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was one of the primary catalysts in the outbreak of the war.
Emperor Franz Joseph I was the Emperor of Austria-Hungary in 1914. Following his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, Emperor Franz Joseph I issued Serbia a harsh ultimatum.
It is believed that this ultimatum and its terms were drawn up by Austria-Hungary’s foreign minister, Count Leopold von Berchtold.
Count Karl von Stürgkh was the minister-president of Austria and Count István Tisza was minister-president of Hungary in 1914.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was Germany’s last kaiser, or emperor. Kaiser Wilhelm II and Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, played a significant role in the July Crisis of 1914. Their support and assurances egged Austria-Hungary on to take a harsh stand against Serbia, leading to the outbreak of World War I.
Helmuth von Moltke was the Army Chief of Staff in 1914. Moltke implemented Alfred von Schlieffen's plan to overwhelm France in World War I.
Sultan Mehmed V, the sultan and caliph of the Ottoman Empire, declared jihad against the Allied nations on November 11, 1914, thus announcing the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I.
King George V of the United Kingdom was the monarch of Britain and reigned over the British colonies at the start of World War I in 1914.
Herbert Henry Asquith served as the Prime Minister of United Kingdom and headed the Liberal government from 1908 to 1916. He was succeeded by David Lloyd George.
In the early years, Sir Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Field-Marshal Lord Henry Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, played central roles in managing the war. In 1915, David Lloyd George took over munitions from Lord Kitchener and eventually went on to become the Prime Minister of United Kingdom.
Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey and commander of the BEF, Sir John French, played important roles in the military decision-making of United Kingdom.
Tsar Ferdinand I, regent of Bulgaria, initially declared his country's neutrality in World War I. Subsequent to the initial German victories, the Tsar joined the Central Powers in October 1915. Forced to abdicate at the end of the war, Tsar Ferdinand I spent the rest of his days in Germany.
In 1914, the leadership of France rested with President Raymond Poincare, and Prime Minister Rene Viviani.
Tsar Nicholas II led Russia through World War II and was the last Russian emperor.
Crown Prince Alexander oversaw all offices and acted as the supreme commander of the Serbian army in 1914, due to the poor health of the regent King Peter I
United States of America
At the outbreak of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson declared U.S. neutrality, and called for the country to be neutral in both thought and action. In the 1916 presidential elections, his campaign slogan “He kept us out of war” ensured that President Wilson was re-elected for a second term. The United States could not keep out of war for long, though. America’s thought and action tipped in favor of the Allies and Wilson’s Fourteen Points became the major agenda. The League of Nations was the brainchild of President Wilson.