In many ways, the reason that World War I escalated from localized conflict to a global catastrophe was due to relationships between nations. The Allies in World War I were ultimately victorious over the Central Powers who had been at the heart of the initial conflict.
World War I Allies
During World War I, the Allied Powers were made up of Russia, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States. Russia was the first of the Allied Powers to enter the conflict in the Balkan regions after Germany declared war on it in August of 1914. Soon after, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. In 1915, Great Britain was attacked by zeppelin and retaliated against Turkey who had joined the war on the side of Germany. Italy joined the Allies in declaring war on Germany and Austria in 1915, and together the Allies started the evacuation of Gallipoli in December of that year. In 1916, Great Britain began conscription of its people into the military, and the war waged on in Europe, growing increasingly bloody and producing unprecedented levels of carnage.
In 1916, after the sinking of several U.S. merchant ships by German U-boats, the United States joined the war. The United States provided tremendous military and tactical support to the Allies, and their help in the war was instrumental in turning the tide and assuring an Allied victory.
Why Did the United States Enter the War?
At the outset of the conflict in Europe, the United States had pledged to remain neutral, as was the country's custom during European wars. The anti-war sentiment was very popular in the United States, and as nearly one-third of the nation's population was made up of immigrants from Europe, the desire to remain neutral was strong. This stance became more and more difficult to maintain in the wake of Germany's unchecked aggression against nonmilitary ships and watercraft.
Germany declared the water surrounding the British Isles to be a war zone and began sinking ships carrying munitions and, in several cases, sinking passenger vessels. In 1915, following the sinking of a ship from the United States bound for England with more than a hundred Americans aboard, American sentiment began to collectively shift against Germany. Several more attacks on American merchant ships were sustained until Congress, under President Woodrow Wilson, agreed to declare war on Germany.
Who Won World War I?
Though the carnage during World War I was tremendous, and ultimately the fighting turned into a horrific battle of attrition, the Allied Powers were victorious. In 1918, Germany asked for an armistice, and later that year the nation's own navy mutinied. Shortly thereafter, Austria and Turkey both agreed to make peace. The war officially ended on November 11, 1918.