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The First World War, 1916 to 1919


Historical Information

(The Following brief description of the First World War is taken from Wikipedia, with minor editing by the webmaster)

The First (1st) World War was a global war centered on the European Continent that began on July 28th, 1914, and lasted until November 11th, 1918. It was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until the start of World War II in 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy; Italy did not enter into the war, as Austria–Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance). These alliances were both re-organized and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of technological advancements that led to enormous increases in the lethality of weapons without corresponding improvements in protection or mobility, causing both sides to resort to large-scale human wave attacks, which proved extremely costly in terms of casualties. It was the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history, subsequently paving the way for various political changes, such as revolutions in many of the nations involved.

One of the long-term causes of the war was the resurgence of imperialism in the foreign policies of the great powers of Europe. More immediately, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on June 28th, 1914, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo triggered a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary subsequently delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and, via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.

On July 28th, 1914, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots of the war as preparation for the invasion of Serbia. While the Russians mobilized, the Germans invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg on the way to France, providing a casus belli for Britain's declaration of war against Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt (the so-called Miracle of the Marne) the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening up fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915 and Romania in 1916. In Russia, the tsar's government collapsed in March 1917 and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and American forces began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on November 11th, 1918. The war ended in victory for the Allies.

MTI Impressions

"A Ring, A Razor, and a Pipe"

“A Ring, A Razor and A Pipe” by Dane Coffman is a living history tribute to his grandfather Ralph E. Coffman, a doughboy in the 328th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Division, National Army, and to all of the men and women who served in the Great War. All or parts of the display are available for presentation to schools, veteran organizations, civic groups, or churches. The display includes uniforms, weapons, field equipment, personal effects, pictures, manuals plus much, much more (each item has it's own story, how much time do you have?)

For more information about this display please contact Dane Coffman.

A Doughboy and the display.

As General of the Armies John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing with a power point presentation of his life.

Other aspects of the dispaly include a tribute to the (Left) African American Troops who served; (Center) the Chaplin's Corps; and (Right) the Home Front in the First World War.

Links of Interest

Historical Information
Reenactors & Living Historians
The Doughboy Center
The Great War Association
The First World War: A Multimedia History
27th Infantry Division, O'Ryan's Roughbecks
World War I: Trenches on the Web
318th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division

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