One hundred years have passed since World War I took the lives of more than 16 million people, revealed the stakes of modern warfare and brought the importance of solid international relations to the global stage. Rooted in complex histories of territory disputes, conflicting governing styles and regional power struggles, from 1914 until 1919 Russia, France, the British Empire, Serbia, Belgium, Italy, United States, Japan and others slowly came together as allies against the central powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.
As these nations pieced together “The Great War,” the power and technology of the time were tested. Massive tanks and modern machine guns rained down on the winding, soldier-filled trenches of the Western Front. Lethal gas suffocated unmasked soldiers. Bombs dropped from the air onto innocent civilians. U-Boats sunk merchant ships at will.
But the war also led to the first global alliance, The League of Nations, which formed the framework for today’s United Nations.
The war ended with a truce that took effect on November 11th, 1918 at 11:11 A.M., known as Armistice day in Europe. We mark it each year on Veterans Day. Learn more about the events that led to the war and what eventually ended it in the timeline below.