On 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo, a Bosnian Serb student shot the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The assassination plunged the world into a global conflict that was to scar human history and redefine the meaning of the word war . The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand provided the spark that ignited smouldering enmities, but World War I had been a long time coming. Decades of burgeoning imperialism and the formation of complex alliances brought the world s great powers face to face in what would become known as the Great War. On one side were ranged the Allies of Great Britain, France and Russia; on the other the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. As time went on and the killing continued, all the world s powers were drawn into battle and the war s deadly influence touched every corner of the planet. More than seventy million military personnel were mobilised during World War I and more than nine million of them died. The grim figures also included twenty million wounded and eight million missing in action. When the war ended in 1918, four empires had ceased to exist, the map of Europe had been redrawn and a generation of young men had been lost. The combatants had given their all, but their valiant sacrifice was in vain. This book tells the story of the conflict dubbed the war to end wars .
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