The sidebar to the right offers two views of the war's key events. The 'Timeline' offers a brief listing year
by year, whereas 'On This Day' provides a summary of events for each and every day of the war and into
1919 - click the given month for details.
Sourced from the Chronology of the War, originally published between 1918-20, and drawn from
contemporary sources by Edward Gleichen, the 'On This Day' entries provide a fascinating view of the war
as it was viewed at the time.
The fact that theCh ro n o lo g y was written both during and in the immediate aftermath of the war means that
it naturally suffers somewhat from a lack of distance. Modern perspectives - and access to wider archive
sources - have altered perceptions of events as seen at the time. Information on secret alliances, for
example, were obviously not made widely available during the years 1914-18, but are important when
judging events today.
Gleichen'sChronology perhaps suffers, too, from an Allied-centric view of the war. Whilst patently
striving to be objective - many German and Austrian documentary sources were consulted during its
compilation - the entries sometimes read as propaganda entries; for example, the entry for 1 July 1916 - the
disastrous first day of the British Somme Offensive - makes no mention of the almost 60,000 casualties
suffered by the British that day. Rather, the chronology as a whole prefers instead to immerse itself in the
facts of territorial gains (and losses), without paying close attention to the often painful cost of these.
This section lists the landmark events of the year 1914, the first year of the war which began as the widely
expected war of movement, but which inexplicably (to contemporary eyes) settled into stubborn trench
This section lists the landmark events of the year 1915, the first full year of the war, which saw the Allies
strive vainly to achieve a breakthrough on the Western Front, while the Germans achieved numerous
successes elsewhere. It was to prove a disappointing year for the Allies, a correspondingly positive one for
Germany and its allies.
Allied amphibious attack on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli (initiated by
Winston Churchill, who resigns as a consequence) ends with the Turkish
siege of the Allied forces
This section lists the events of the year 1916, the third year of the war. During this year the Germans attempted to "bleed France white" at Verdun, and the British strove to breakthrough along the Somme river. Both were doomed to failure; both were titanic struggles with correspondingly heavy losses.
Elsewhere possibly the greatest naval battle in history occurred at Jutland (which resulted in a tactical victory for Germany but a strategic victory for the British), and the Russians surprised everyone with impressive initial success in the Brusilov Offensive.
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