History of Russia, Serbia, France, Great Britain, Italy, United States, Germany, Austria-Hungary before WWI.
Information about countries: Leader of Country
information about the country before the war
Role the country played in starting the war
Alliances of the country during the war
Affects of the war on the country
Russia was an autocratic state ruled by an emperor with the title of tsar, Russian for "Caesar," Nicholas Romanov, a grandson of Queen Victoria. He was weak-willed and foolish, with total power and no idea how to use it. His wife, Alexandra, was as foolish. The country had vast resources, but a rich and extravagent nobility much like France before their Revolution. The vast majority of people were poor, and had been serfs only a generation before. Russia's role in the war was as an ally of France, and interests in the Balkans caused conflict with Austria.
Casualties? For practical purposes a generation of European men were killed.
The Austro-Hungarians were ruled by Emporer Franz Josef Hapsburg. Austria was allied with Germany and Rumania, and had in the past two generations made incusrions into the Balkans, arousing nationalist reactions. There had been two major Balkan wars between Rumania, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria in the two years before the Great War, Bulgaria losing both.
Serbia was ruled by King Peter Karadordevic, a very popular but old man by the time of WW I. Tensions between Serbo-Croatians in areas ruled by Austria was the initial cause of the War, triggered by the assasination of the Austrian heir and his wife by a Croat nationalist named Gavril Princip. The root cause of the act was conflict over Macedonia; Princip and his accomplices were members of IMRO, the Internal Macedonian Resistance Movement, organized in the mid-19th century, the first modern terrorist group.
The real cause of the war was the rivalry of France and Germany. Germany was ruled by a militarist regime run by the Prussian royal family, the Hohenzollerns. The Kaiser ("Caesar" again) Wilhelm II was another grandson of Queen Victoria, as was King George V of England, whose neice was Queen of Romania. Almost every crowned head of state in Europe was a member of the Saxe-Coburg-und-Gotha family(George V changed his family's name to Windsor during the War).
France was a democracy, an industrialized and wealthy land whose Prime Minister was Rene Viviani, the President Raymond Poincare. France wanted a war with Germany ever since their humiliating loss in 1870 (Franco-Prussian War), but were afraid to start one. The Germans wanted another war with France to prove their superiority.
The German's inept diplomacy wrecked the ideals of Bismarck. He had opposed the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine in 1870, the real cause of WW I. He had opposed the idea of building a large navy, which he knew would alienate Britain. His main tenet had been, "If France has no allies, there will be no war in Europe." His successors had alienated the British and Russians enough so that France arranged alliances with them.
Britan was the richest country on earth, ruling an empire larger and more prosperous than any previous. Their king was a benevolent ruler of a constitutional monarchy. Their main point of conflict was that a Europe dominated by France was no threat to them, but a continent dominated by Prussian militarism would be.
America was a democracy with President Woodrow Wilson at the helm. America came out of the war with an economy that looked good on paper, as did England and France, but were all shaky. Germany was nearly ruined by the war, her economy in shambles and a socialist revolution put down by force of arms. Russia was derailed by the Revolution, and Austro-Hungary was broken up into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yogoslavia after the war.