150 Mind-Blowing Facts About World War 1

Facts About World War 1: Welcome to FactsCrush.Com. In this article we will know some facts related to World War 1. We have done a lot of research on this topic. We hope that you will definitely get the information you need related to World War 1 here.

World War I was a global war that originated in Europe. The war lasted from July 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918, when it was called the "War to End All Wars." A total of 20 million soldiers, including 30 million Europeans, joined the war, making it one of the deadliest wars in the world. The war was won by the Allies of France, Britain and Russia, while Germany, Turkey and their allies were defeated.

150 Mind-Blowing Facts About World War 1

Interesting Facts About World War 1

  • Roughly 1 million dogs died in WW1
  • Approximately 8 million horses on all sides died
  • Germany built 360 U-boats, 176 of which were lost
  • Around 8 millions horses died in the First World War.
  • Approximately 7 million combatants were maimed for life
  • 11% of France’s entire population was killed or wounded
  • On average 230 soldiers perished for every hour of fighting
  • France produced more tanks than all other countries combined.
  • 628 Victoria Cross medals were awarded between 1914 and 1918.
  • 50% of all British merchant shipping was sunk by German U-boats
  • Half of all British merchant shipping was sunk by German U-Boats.
  • Allied soldiers sometimes used glow worms as lamps in the trenches.
  • Germany lost the most men, with 2,037,000 killed and missing in total
  • At nearly 65% the Australian casualty rate was the highest of the war
  • Over 65 million soldiers mobilized for the Central and Allied Powers.
  • 121 men received the Medal of Honor for their actions in World War I.
  • Over 12,000 Native Americans served in the US Army during World War I.
  • Total casualties caused directly by the war are estimated at 37.5 million
  • Germany lost 13% of its European territory – more than 27,000 square miles.
  • Over 30 nations were involved in the First World War between 1914 and 1918.
  • On the first day of the Battle of Verdun 7,000 horses were killed by shelling
  • Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland emerged as independent nations.

Amazing Facts About World War 1

  • Explosions on the front line in France could sometimes be heard in London, England.
  • 634 Victoria Crosses were awarded during WW1. 166 of those were awarded posthumously.
  • In Britain there were toy tanks available just six months after their first deployment
  • Germany only deployed 20 of their own tanks during the duration of the First World War.
  • Russia had the largest army, with over 12 million troops mobilizing during World War I.
  • The term “World War I” was first used by Time Magazine in their issue on June 12th, 1939.
  • About 20 million people died in WW1, 9.7 million in the military and 10 million civilians.
  • Because so many horses were enlisted, Lizzie the elephant was used to cart munitions in Sheffield
  • Tanks were initially called “landships” but were renamed to “tanks” in order to preserve secrecy.
  • About 2.35 million African soldiers were mobilized during the First World War, with 250,000 dying.
  • Between October 1916 and January 1917 1,400,000 tons of Allied shipping was lost to German U-boats.
  • British tanks were labeled as male if they had cannons, and female if they have heavy machine guns.
  • The Battle of Verdun (February-December 1916) was the longest battle of the war, lasting over 300 days
  • When soldiers returned there was a baby boom in Britain. Births increased by 45% between 1918 and 1920
  • Diseases including the Spanish Flu caused about a third of all military deaths during the First World War.
  • During a patrol over Italy in March 1918, Lt Alan Jerrard’s Sopwith Camel was hit 163 times – he won the VC.

Strange Facts About World War 1

  • Australian Private Billy Sing sniped at least 150 Turkish soldiers at Gallipoli. His nickname was ‘Murderer’.
  • The total cost of the First World War is estimated at $208 billion (equivalent to about $11 trillion in 2020).
  • The last living veteran of World War I was Florence Green, who died at the age of 110 on the 4th February 2012.
  • The harsh provisions in the Treaty of Versailles are often given as one of the main causes of the Second World War.
  • The Red Baron of Germany was the war’s greatest flying ace. Baron Manfred von Richthofen was credited with 80 kills.
  • In total during the war, 13.4 million German men were mobilised. This was the highest number of men mobilised by any nation.
  • Roles for dogs included: sniffing out enemies, carrying supplies, finding the wounded, delivering messages and companionship
  • There was a series of temporary ceasefires across the Western Front around Christmas 1914 lasting up to a week in some areas.
  • The Armistice was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch to come into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918.
  • The youngest soldier to join the British Army, Sidney Lewis, was just 12 years old when he lied about his age to enlist in August 1915.
  • The oldest soldier in the First World War was 68-year-old William John Paxton who enlisted in the British Army on the 12st October 1914.
  • By December 1915 just under 27% of Scottish men aged 15-49 had volunteered. In the end 26.4% of all Scots who enlisted became casualties.
  • Peter the cat served at the front with the Northumberland Hussars from 1914 to 18. Cat and dogs often served as mascots for frontline troops.
  • The first British Army soldier to die in action in the First World War was John Parr, who was killed at the age of 17 on the 21st August 1914.
  • The first French soldier to die in WW1 was Jules-André Peugeot on the 2nd August 1914 in the same skirmish that the first German soldier died in.

Wierd Facts About World War 1

  • Germany was the first to use flamethrowers – at Malancourt on February 26, 1915. Flamethrowers could fire jets of flame as far as 130 feet (40 m).
  • Future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill oversaw the failed Gallipoli campaign, leading him to resign from the Government and enlist in the army.
  • On 8 August 1918 at Amiens 72 Whippet tanks helped make an advance of 7 miles in one day. General Ludendorff called it “the black day of the German Army.”
  • Russia was able to call upon the largest army on mobilisation, approximately 5 million men. Germany was second with 4,500,000 and France third with 3,781,000.
  • The North Sea was heavily mined by both sides. Under a 1907 treaty opponents could only mine 3 miles off an enemy’s coastline but both sides ignored this rule.
  • Renegade Pilot Frank Luke, the ‘balloon buster’, claimed 18 victories in total. On September 29 1918 he downed 3 balloons but was fatally injured in the process.
  • By the end of the war, 800,000 horses and mules were in service in the British army. This section makes grim reading and viewing – but the war was extremely grim.
  • Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August after Germany had invaded Belgium. Britain was obliged by the Treaty of London (1839) to protect Belgium’s sovereignty.
  • In 1917 anti-German sentiment forced George V to change the Royal Family’s name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor. Many road names in Britain were changed too.
  • In Britain killing, wounding or molesting a homing pigeon was punishable with 6 months imprisonment. This came into force after the Defence of the Realm Act (1916).
  • The first American deaths in World War I occurred on the 3rd November 1917 in Artois, France when 3 soldiers were killed in an early morning raid by the German Army.

Unbelievable Facts About World War I

  • The youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross, Boy (First Class) John Cornwell, was 16 years old. He stayed at his post for over an hour despite receiving a fatal wound.
  •  Around 70 types of plane were used in by all sides. Their roles were largely in reconnaissance to begin with, progressing to fighters and bombers as the war progressed.
  • The deadliest battle of World War I was the Brusilov Offensive in which the Allies and Central powers received over 2 million casualties between June and September 1916.
  • American soldier, Henry Gunther, was the last of any side to be killed in World War I, with his death coming at 10:59 a.m., 1 minute before the armistice came into effect.
  • It cost the Allies $36,485.48 to kill an opposing serviceman – significantly more than it cost the Central Powers. Niall Ferguson makes these estimations in The Pity of War.
  • Tsar Nicholas II agreed to a full mobilisation of the Russian Army on 30 July 1914. Mobilisation was seen as a declaration of war, and Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August.
  • Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to accept guilt for the war and pay $31.4 billion in reparation. That is approximately $442 billion in today’s money.
  • Over the course of the war, 700,000 women took up posts in the munitions industry. With many men going to the front, there was a labour shortage – many women filled vacant positions.
  • Germany’s army was capped at 100,000 and its navy at 6 battleships, no air-force was allowed. Germany’s peace time strength was 761,00 prior to the war, so this was a significant reduction.
  • The first German soldier to die in World War I was Albert Mayer who was shot and killed at the age of 22 on August 2nd, 1914, 1 day before the German Empire formally declared war on France.
  • Britain and Germany were engaged in a naval arms race in the early 20th century. But by 1914 it was all but over: Britain had 38 dreadnoughts and dreadnought battle cruisers to Germany’s 24.

Historical Facts About World War 1

  • On the Western Front total casualties were 3,528,610 dead and 7,745,920 wounded. The Allies lost 2,032,410 dead and 5,156,920 wounded, The Central Powers 1,496,200 dead and 2,589,000 wounded.
  • By late 1916 the German meat ration was only 31% of peacetime, and it fell to 12% in late 1918. The food supply increasingly focused on potatoes and bread – it became harder and harder to buy meat.
  • 80,000 British soldiers suffered shell shock (roughly 2% of all that were called up) Shell shock was an incapacitating mental illness believed to be brought on by intense sustained artillery shelling.
  • The first war declaration was Austria-Hungary on Serbia on 28 July 1914. The declaration caused a domino effect in the alliance system. Russia mobilised her army, which Germany considered an act of war.
  • In December 1914 the German Navy bombarded Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby. 18 Civilians were killed. As this poster suggests, the incident created outrage in Britain and was used for later propaganda.
  • Sergeant Stubby, a Boston Bull Terrier, was the most decorated dog of the war and the only one to become sergeant. Stubby was very useful for detecting incoming shell fire, hearing it before humans could.
  • The winter of 1916-1917 was known as the “Turnip Winter” in Germany. Because that vegetable, usually fed to livestock, was used by people as a substitute for potatoes and meat, which were increasingly scarce
  • At the Masurian Lakes (September 1914) Russian casualties numbered 125,000 to Germanys 40,000. In a second catastrophically heavy defeat Russian forces were outnumbered 3:1 and routed as they attempted a retreat.
  • The Battle of Tannenburg (August 1914) saw the Russian 2nd Army routed by the German 8th, a defeat from which they never truly recovered. Russian casualties at Tannenburg are estimated at 170,000 to Germany’s 13,873.
  • The Allied naval blockade of Germany (August 1914 – January 1919) was devastatingly effective. Germany was heavily reliant on imports. An academic study in 1928 put the death toll caused by the blockade at 424,000 lives.
  • Several Russian women’s ‘Battalions of Death’ were raised by the Russian Provisional Government in 1917. Although rarely seeing conflict, these units were effective in shaming their male counterparts into fighting harder.
  • Edith Cavell was a British nurse who helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. The Germans arrested her and she was executed by a German firing squad. Her death helped turn global opinion against Germany.

Facts About World War 1 for Kids 

  • Ernst Udet was Germany’s second greatest flying ace, claiming 61 victories. Udet would enjoy a playboy lifestyle after the war. However he re-enlisted in World War Two and committed suicide in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa.
  • US Sergeant Alvin York was one of the most decorated American soldiers. In the Meuse Argonne Offensive (1918) he led an attack on a machine gun nest which killed 28 enemy and captured 132. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • Almost as many men joined the army voluntarily as joined after the introduction of conscription (1916) in Britain. Altogether just under 2.5 million men volunteered to fight in the British Army, approximately 25% of those eligible.
  • The Battle of Marne (September 1914) initiated trench warfare. The Battle of Marne brought an end to the first mobile phase of the war. After a communication breakdown, Helmuth von Moltke the Younger’s army dug in at the River Aisne.
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated around 11:00 am on Sunday 28 June 1914. The Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne was murdered by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. The assassination precipitated the July Crisis.
  • Lord Kitchener called for 200,000 men to sign up for the British army in the 1st month of the war – 300,000 men enlisted. War represented adventure for new recruits, who were often of the opinion that they would ‘be home by Christmas.’
  • The term “dogfight” originated during WWI. The pilot had to turn off the plane’s engine occasionally so it would not stall when the plane turned sharply in the air. When a pilot restarted his engine midair, it sounded like dogs barking.
  • 750,000 British men appealed against their conscription in the first 6 months. Most were granted exemption of some sort, even if it was only temporary. Often a white feather was given to those who refused to fight out of principle alone.
  • An estimated 1,200,000 soldiers on both sides were victims of gas attacks. Throughout the war the Germans used 68,000 tons of gas, the British and French 51,000. Only around 3% of victims died, but gas had the horrific ability to maim victims.
  • Britain only had an army of 733,500 men on mobilisation, but by 1918 this stood at 3,196,000. Lord Kitchener recognised that the British Army was far too small in comparison to the French and German forces and wanted to build an army of 70 divisions.

Unique Facts About World War 1

  • In both Britain and France women accounted for around 36/7% of the industrial workforce by the end of the war. Dan is joined by Chris Taft and Georgina Tomlinson from the postal museum where a new exhibition marking 151 years of the British postcard.
  • The combined Russian & French peacetime armies in 1913-14 had 928,000 more troops than Germany & Austria Hungary. If Britain’s peacetime force of 248,000 is also included, the Triple Entente had a significant manpower advantage over the Dual Alliance.
  • In 1917, explosives blowing up beneath the German lines on Messines Ridge at Ypres could be heard in London 140 miles away. Building mines through No Man’s Land to plant explosives under enemy lines was a tactic used before a number of major assaults.
  • At the start of the war, soldiers on all sides were issued with soft hats. Soldier’s uniforms and equipment in 1914 did not match the demands of modern warfare. Later in the war, soldiers were issued with steel helmets to protect against artillery fire.
  • The Ottoman Empire entered the war on 1 November 1914 when Russia declared war. Russia, followed soon by France and Britain, was compelled to declare war on the Ottoman Empire when it joined the Central Powers in August, signing the Turco-German alliance.
  • 979,498 British and Empire soldiers died. See a Commonwealth War Dead: First World War Visualised – based on figures from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A detailed look at the impact of World War One on contemporary artwork depicting the conflict.
  • The armistice on the Western Front was signed on 11/11/1918 at 11 AM. The armistice was signed in a train carriage in Compiègne. When Germany defeated France on 22 June 1940, Adolf Hitler insisted that the armistice was signed in exactly the same carriage.
  • Russia underwent two revolutions – in October 1917 Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Party took control. The first revolution in March had led to the creation of a Provisional Government, but their failure to stop the war brought massive support for the Bolsheviks.
  • The success of German U-boat attacks caused the disastrous Passchendaele offensive. A main reason why the Passchendale campaign was launched was to capture the German U-boats based at Flanders. The attack failed however, with Britain suffering massive casualties.
  • The Hundred Days Offensive (August-November 1918) was a rapid series of Allied victories. Beginning at the Battle of Amiens the German forces were gradually expelled from France and then back past the Hindenburg line. Widespread German surrender led to armistice in November.
  • Anibal Milhais, the most decorated Portuguese soldier of the war, successfully and single-handedly withstood two German assaults. His resistance and rate of fire during a German ambush convinced the enemy that they were up against a fortified unit rather than a lone soldier.
  • 3/4s of the British parliamentary party were for “absolute non-interference at any price”. According to Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. Britain was not required by any treaty to support France or Russia in the event with war Germany. Many British politicians were against intervention.

Random Facts About World War 1

  • The Spring Offensive (March – July 1918) saw German stormtroopers make huge advances into France. Having defeated Russia, Germany moved vast numbers of troops to the Western Front. However, the offensive was undermined by supply issues – they could not keep up with the rate of advance.
  • The German war plans were called the Schleiffen Plan, and required Germany to defeat France in 6 weeks to avoid a two front war. The Schleiffen plan was fundamentally flawed: 8 of the divisions planned for use did not exist. It did fail after the German army was outmanoeuvred on The Marne.
  • In 1914 Europe was divided between two major alliance systems – the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. The Triple Entente consisted of France, Russia and Great Britain, while the Triple Alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. However, once war broke out Italy reneged on its commitment.
  • After two Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913, Serbia emerged as an empowered, nationalistic state. Serbia’s pan-Slavic intentions ran counter to Austro-Hungary’s imperial ambitions. Any conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary threatened to at least involve Russia, who was sympathetic to Serbian nationalism.
  • The Battle of the Frontiers (August-September 1914) was a series of 5 bloody battles in Lorraine, the Ardennes and southern Belgium. These early exchanges saw the French Plan XVII and German Schlieffen Plan collide. The offensive was a spectacular failure for the French army, with over 300,000 casualties.
  • A pigeon named ‘Cher Ami’ was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme for her assistance in saving 194 American soldiers trapped behind German lines in 1918. She made it back to her loft despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood and with a leg hanging only by a tendon.
  • The Battle of Jutland (31 May – 1 June 1916) was the largest sea battle of the war. In the largest full-frontal naval battle of the war 14 British ships were lost to Germany’s 11. Britain also lost more than twice as many sailors than Germany. However, it was not the knock-out blow that the Germans required.
  • In 1914-15 German statistics estimated that 49 casualties were caused by artillery to every 22 by infantry, by 1916-18 this was at 85 by artillery for every 6 by infantry. Artillery proved the number one threat to infantry and tanks alike. Also, the post-war psychological impact of artillery fire was massive.
  • Tanks first appeared on the battlefield at The Somme on 15 September 1916. A Mark I tank which had broken down as it crossed a British trench on the way to attack Thiepval. Date: 25 September 1916. Tanks were originally called ‘landships.’ The name tank was used to disguise the production process from enemy suspicion.
  • The female mortality rate rose in Germany from 14.3 in 1,000 in 1913 to 21.6 in 1,000, a bigger rise than England, due to hunger. It is likely that hundreds of thousands of civilians died from malnutrition — usually from typhus or a disease their weakened body could not resist. (Starvation itself rarely caused death).
  • Many nationalists in Germany called the signatories of the Treaty the ‘November Criminals’ and refused to accept they had lost the war. This led to the ‘stabbed in the back’ myth – some nationalists blamed those responsible for signing the Treaty of Versailles, the new Weimar Government and Jews for the defeat of Germany.
  • In 1914 SM U-9 (a German U-boat) sank 3 British armed cruisers in under an hour. 43. On 7 May 1915 the cruise ship Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat. 1,198 people were killed, including 128 Americans. The wrecklessness of German submarine warfare was an influence on the United States decision to join the Allies in 1917.
  • 4 empires collapsed at the end of the war: The Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian. More than 70 years after her death, Mata Hari is still a household name throughout the Western world. So who was this daughter of a Dutch hat-maker, who was executed for espionage after a secret trial during the darkest days of World War One?
  • The Battle of Heligoland Bight (August 1914) was the first naval battle of World War One. The British fleet ambushed and sunk three German light cruisers and one destroyer. Avi Shlaim is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at St Antony's College, Oxford. Here he discusses the background and implications of the historic Balfour Declaration of November 1917.
  • There were 16,000 British conscientious objectors who refused to fight. Some were given non-combatant roles, others were imprisoned. Historian Richard van Emden, explains why we should give more attention to 1918 when studying the First World War. How close did Germany come to winning the war in early 1918 and how did the soldiers feel who faced their final onslaught?
  • French general Ferdinand Foch said this of the Treaty of Versailles: And he was right! When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933/34, he completely disregarded the treaty and used it as an excuse to fulfill expansionist policies. The failure of the signees of the Treaty of Versailles of the League of Nations to stop him led to World War Two twenty years later.
  • A single machine gun could fire up to 600 rounds a minute. At ‘known range’ the rate of fire of a single machine gun was estimated much as 150-200 rifles. Their awesome defensive capability was a major cause of trench warfare. Historian Stephen Bourne, author of 'Fighting Proud', discusses the role of gay servicemen in the world wars and the challenges of publishing gay history.
  • The collapse of the Ottoman Empire led to Britain and France taking their colonies in the Middle East as League of Nations mandates. China started out as a neutral country during the First World War. But by early 1917, one thousand Chinese men were on their way to the Western Front. Tens of thousands more would follow, to provide logistical support to the Allies. They constituted one of the largest labour corps of the war.
  • Britain was theoretically able to call upon an Imperial population of nearly 400 million. In this special Valentine’s Day edition of History Hit LIVE, Dan Snow is joined by special guests for an exploration of love and romance across the ages. Chris Laoutaris will discuss Shakespeare and love, while Laura Doan will explore female homosexuality in World War One and Two. By 1914 Britain had a vast empire and, for example, could call upon India’s population of 316,000,000.
  • The Somme (March – July 1918) was the bloodiest battle of the war. In total, Britain lost 460,000 men, the French 200,000 and Germans nearly 500,000 Britain lost around 60,000 men on the first day alone. The first day of the Battle of the Somme holds an infamous record for the British army, being the bloodiest day in its history. But the battle wasn't just being fought in no-man's land. Beneath the ground a dreadful, silent war was taking place, as British and German engineers tunnelled and counter-tunnelled in a vicious war of explosives and hand-to-hand fighting.
  • Verdun put such strain on French forces that the British were pushed to launch the Somme Offensive. A French infantryman described the German artillery bombardment – “Men were squashed. Cut in two or divided top to bottom. Blown into showers, bellies turned inside out.” After the First World War broke out, Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson established a hospital in a vast and derelict old workhouse in Covent Garden's Endell Street. The medical marvel which sprung up treated 26,000 wounded men over the next four years, and was staffed entirely by women. Wendy Moore joined Dan on the pod to tell this remarkable story, and discuss the legacy of these pioneering women. 27. The Gallipoli campaign (April 1915 – January 1916) was a costly failure for the Allies. The landing at ANZAC Cove is infamous for the appalling conditions in which approximately 3,000 ANZAC soldiers became casualties. In total, the allies lost around 27,000 French and 115,000 British and dominion troops
Friends, hope you liked this post on 150 Mind-Blowing Facts About World War 1. If you liked this post, then you must share it with your friends and Subscribe to us to get updates from our blog. Friends, If you liked our site FactsCrush.Com, then you should Bookmark it as well.

Post a Comment