by Jennifer D. Keene

War swept across Europe in the summer of 1914, igniting a global struggle that would eventually take nine million lives. World War I pitted the Allies (initially composed of Britain, France, Belgium, Serbia, and Russia, and eventually totaling eighteen nations including Japan, Italy, and the United States) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria). The assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo, Bosnia, set in motion a flurry of military mobilizations and failed diplomatic exchanges that led to Germany’s attack on Belgium and France in August 1914. In the early months of the war, Germany, France, and Britain dug defensive trenches, creating a complex system of earthworks along a western front that ran for 460 miles from the North Sea to Switzerland. Millions of soldiers would live and die in this trench deadlock over the next four years. More »

Featured Primary Sources

RMS Lusitania in New York, 1907 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Divi

Theodore Roosevelt on the sinking of the Lusitania, 1915

Creator: Theodore Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
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Teaching Resources

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