World War I

Also known as the Great War, World War I was a global war between 1914 and 1918 that pitted the nations of the Allied Powers against those of the Central Powers. Although the war was triggered by the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, long-standing tensions and alliances between the nations of Europe set the stage for this so-called “War to End All Wars.”

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

Temporary hospital in California for Spanish flu victims, 1918

1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

In 1918, the most severe pandemic in recent history spread across the globe. The Spanish flu, or the H1N1 virus, infected 500 million people (about a third of the world’s population). Before it was over, about 40 million people died worldwide. Origins Though the origin of the virus is not known, it arrived during World …Read More

Artist's rendering of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Background The imperial couple had traveled to Sarajevo to review military troops and were on their way to the town hall when a Serbian nationalist threw a bomb at their car. It bounced off …Read More

HMS Warspite and Malaya during the battle of Jutland

Battle of Jutland

On May 31, 1916, the British and German navies clashed in the North Sea, off the coast of Denmark, in the Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval battle of World War I. The battle lasted about 12 hours and engaged more than 100,000 men on 250 ships. Chance Encounter The Battle of Jutland began on …Read More

British tank at the Battle of the Somme, September 1916

Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was fought July 1 to November 18, 1916, along a 25-mile front near the Somme River in France. It was the first great offensive of World War I and one of its bloodiest battles. Background As part of an Allied agreement to coordinate simultaneous …Read More

German soldiers during the Christmas Truce of 1914

Christmas Truce of 1914

The Christmas Truce of 1914 was a brief and unofficial series of cease-fires that took place along much of the Western Front during the first Christmas of World War I. In the months leading up to Christmas Day, opposing forces had reached stalemates up and down the continuous front line that stretched from the North …Read More

Signing of the armistice with Germany

End of World War I

On November 11, 1918, German representatives met with Ferdinand Foch, the commander in chief of the Allied armies, in a railroad car northeast of Paris, France, to sign an armistice to end the fighting of World War I. Countries allied with Germany—Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, and Austria—had already signed armistices with the Allied Powers between the end of …Read More

Australian troops charging near a Turkish trench during the Gallipoli Campaign, circa 1915

Gallipoli Campaign

The Gallipoli Campaign (also called the Dardanelles Campaign) was a World War I Allied offensive on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. It lasted February 17, 1915, through January 9, 1916, and was ultimately unsuccessful, ending in high casualties and evacuation. Background With trench warfare causing stagnation on the Western Front, the British and French decided …Read More

Lusitania

Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

Background When the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania set out on its final voyage on May 1, 1915, World War I had been raging for almost a year (though America was still neutral), and Germany had begun unrestricted submarine warfare around the British Isles. Still, despite a warning placed in newspapers by the German embassy …Read More

Woodrow Wilson, 1919

Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was an American statesman and academic who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and as Governor of New Jersey from …Read More