The first world war or World War 1 (WW1) began on June 28, 1914, when a Serbian terrorist shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife.
Following the assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia a month after. According to Fact Retriever, Serbia was then backed by Russia and France, while Germany supported Austria-Hungary.
Meanwhile, other countries across the globe were eventually dragged into the conflict and the war officially ended 4 years later on November 11, 1918.
Here are 10 interesting and horrifying facts that you might not know about World War 1:
1.THE ‘BIRTH’ OF FLAMETHROWERS
Germans were the first to use flamethrowers in WWI. Their flamethrowers could fire jets of flame as far as 130 feet (40 m).
2. MORE THAN 65 MILLION SOLDIERS FOUGHT IN THE WAR
World War 1 witnessed the involvement of more than 65 million soldiers from 30 countries.
Nearly 10 million lives were lost, with 6 million soldiers from The Allies a.k.a The Entente Powers while another 4 million was from The Central Powers.
3. IT COST A LOT OF MONEY
The United States alone had spent more than $30 billion (RM 126 billion), and they only joined the war during the final year.
4. ‘MALE’ AND ‘FEMALE’ BRITISH TANKS
The British categorized their tanks into ‘males’ and ‘females’.
The male tanks had cannons installed on them, while heavy machine guns were put on the females.
5. MOST SUCCESSFUL FIGHTER PILOT
Throughout the entire WW1, the most successful fighter pilot was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen a.k.a the “Red Baron.”
The German fighter pilot successfully shot down 80 planes alone, but later died in 1918 after being shot down near Amiens, a city in France.
6. “DOGS ARE MAN’S BEST FRIEND”
Dogs were used as ‘messenger’s as they were tasked to carry orders to the front line troops. They had capsules attached to their bodies and they were also used to lay down telegraph wires.
7. THE POWER OF EXPLOSIVES
A year before the war ended, explosives detonated beneath the German lines on Messines Ridge at Ypres in Belgium could be heard 140 miles (220 km) away in London.
8. ALFRED JOUBAIRE’S TERRIFYING DESCRIPTION OF WW1
Before dying, French Second Leutenant Alfred Joubaire wrote in his diary about WW1.
He wrote: “Humanity is mad! It must be mad to do what it is doing. What a massacre. What scenes of horror and carnage! I cannot find words to translate my impressions. Hell cannot be so terrible! Men are mad!”
9. THOUSANDS OF SOLDIERS DISFIGURED
The war left thousands of soldiers disfigured and disabled.
Reconstructive surgery was highly used to repair facial damages, but some soldiers chose to put on masks to cover their horrific disfigurement.
In fact, some soldiers even decided to stay in nursing homes for the rest of their lives.
10. TOP 10 DEADLIEST CONFLICT IN THE WORLD
WWI is ranked as the sixth deadliest conflict in world history.
It also witnessed the downfall of four empires: Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian.