World War 1 started on 28th July 1914, following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary). In response, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia and invaded. A web of alliances and treaties drew other countries into the conflict. Russia readied its troops in support of Serbia, and Germany (allied to Austria-Hungary), invaded Belgium as a means of launching an attack on France. Britain entered the conflict by declaring war on Germany on 4th August 1914.
Find out more about how World War 1 started by clicking this link.
World War 1 ended at 11am on 11th November 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month), when Germany signed the Armistice of Compiegne. Approximately 9 million soldiers were killed and more than 20 million soldiers were injured during the conflict.
Many hundreds of soldiers were killed and injured on the day of cease-fire. The last British soldier to lose his life in World War 1 was Private George Edwin Ellison. He died about an hour before the cease-fire began. Henry Gunther, a US soldier from Baltimore, is thought to be the last soldier to be killed in the Great War. He was shot at 10.59 during a final charge against German troops in the Argonne region of France.
Many troops lost their lives after World War 1 had officially ended. News of the armistice took days to reach troops fighting in remote regions, and skirmishes continued for several days after 11th November 1918 in places such as Mozambique and Palestine
World War 1 lasted for 4 years, 3 months and 1 week.
What next? Discover more facts about World War 1, or learn more about Remembrance Day.