World War I or the Great War was a global war fought between the Allies and the Central Powers that lasted from 1914 to 1918 A.D.
On June 28, 1914, "The Great War" began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, was killed by an assassin from Serbia. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Due to various treaties Germany allied with Austria-Hungary while Russia aided Serbia; in turn, France was pledged to defend Russia. Britain attempted to remain outside the conflict, but when Germany invaded Belgium to flank France's border defences, the Britain joined the war to honor arrangements with Belgium. By July 28, the conflict, which would eventually be known as World War I, the Great War and the War to End all Wars, had begun.
World War I was fought primarily in Europe in the Eastern Front (territories around Russia's western border) and Western Front (territories around France's eastern border). However, the empires' colonies around the world were also brought into the conflict; notably, Canada, Australia and New Zealand of the Commonwealth all sent soldiers to support the UK, including the Canadian mutant Logan (James Howlett) and the young man who would become Night Raven; Canadian soldier Ernest St. Ives gained superhuman powers during the conflict, becoming Deadly Earnest. Initially, it was thought the war would be a brief affair, but it extended from weeks to months to years. Over time, Turkey and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers while Italy and Japan joined the Allies.
US citizen Karl Kaufman, an excellent aviator, longed to fight with the Allies, but his parents lived in Germany and he feared reprisals; instead, he became the masked hero Phantom Eagle to defend the US coast and soon journeyed overseas to battle the Central Powers. Englishman John Falsworth became a traitor to his country after the vampire lord Dracula turned Falsworth into the vampire Baron Blood. Compelled by Dracula to wage war on the UK, Baron Blood allied with the Germans and clashed against his brother, Montgomery, Lord Falsworth, the costumed hero Union Jack. Union Jack also served in the wartime group of Allied masked heroes Freedom's Five alongside Phantom Eagle, Crimson Cavalier of France and Sir Steel and Silver Squire of the UK. Another UK hero was Albion (Peter Hunter).
In 1916, Baron Strucker encountered the Momentary Princess, which was fated to appear and disappear at regular intervals of time. When he touched it, and saw his future as he became the leader of the Hydra.
Germans declared unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, taking the lives of US citizens while combating the UK fleets, the US entered the war as one of the Allies. The US' entry into the war led to soldiers such as Isaac Christians, Daniel J. Whittier, James Fletcher, and Jack Fury joining the fight, along with the costumed hero Iron Fist (Orson Randall).
The US super-soldier John Steele fought on the Western Front, only to be captured by the Germans. The Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider, was also incarnated during WWI with an airplane as his vehicle of choice; he fought the creature Verminus Rex on the Western Front.
In 1918, the Allies finally began driving the Germans from France, and the Central Powers were unable to absorb the mounting casualties. Peace was declared November 11, 1918.
Under the direction of the Allies, Austria and Hungary were split into separate nations and their shared monarchies dissolved; the nation of Poland was also created, largely from German territory. Viewing the terms of their surrender humiliating, forced to cede territory, accept all blame for the war and pay massive reparations, led to lasting resentment in Germany, which aided the WWI veteran Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and ultimately led to World War II. John Steele remained in German custody until World War II; between the wars his physique was analyzed, ultimately inspiring various Super-Soldier programs. World War I was also witnessed by various time travelers, including the Hulk and Baron Helmut Zemo.
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Links and References
- World War I at Wikipedia