World War 1 developed on different fronts in Europe, Asia, and even Africa. Two major scenarios were the Western front from which Germany confronted the British, French, and later America in 1917, and the Eastern front from whence Russia confronted Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Nationalism had grown in the 1900s, and most European powers aimed to be world powers. Among them were Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. They scrambled and partitioned colonies, and formed large armies and alliances. Countries with similar ideologies came together; Britain, France, and Russia formed an alliance called Allies or entente. Germans, Austria-Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Ottomans formed the Central Powers. The war was sparked by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a student, making Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia, and other nations joined the war. The Allies who had had long disagreements with the Central Powers declared war on them and World War 1 started (Aybar & Carlos, 2001). This paper provides a conceptual understanding of World War 1.
World War 1 developed from different fronts in Europe, Asia, and even Africa. Two major scenarios were the Western front from which Germany confronted the British, French, and later America in 1917, and the Eastern front from whence Russia confronted Germany and Austria-Hungary. After 1914, there was stability in the western front and vicious trench warfare ensued called the war of attrition. On the Western front, Russians were defeated in the Battle of Tannenberg. When Germans attacked America’s ships in 1917, America joined and this led to mass destruction of life and property as new technology was used including machine guns, cannons, and ground-tanks. Submarines and airplanes were also used. With the help of America, the Allies defeated the Central Powers, which led to the signing of an armistice in 1918, where amongst the outcomes, saw Germany undergo colonies reparations such as Alsace-Lorraine and others which were placed under the League of Nations (Aybar & Carlos, 2001).
New Zealand being part of the vast Britain Empire at the time of British’s declaration of war on German made New Zealand join the war. Its contribution was in terms of soldiers, nurses, and skill power. New Zealand’s strong ties with Britain and concerns to keep open trade routes for its exports made it enter the war. In a month’s time, New Zealand had captured Western Samoa, which was part a territory owned by Germany. October of 1914 saw an estimate of over 8,000 New Zealand soldiers heading to the war. Later on, a Maori contingent also followed (Taonga & McGibbon, 2012). Initially, military-age individuals were recruited on volunteers but later on, recruitment was on conscription.
There are conflicting reports on the exact number of New Zealand’s citizens involved in the war, but a fair reckoning puts the number at 128, 525 New Zealanders in total. They are; 98, 950 soldiers served, 2227 served in Maori units, 550 nurses in New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and 7036 served within New Zealand. The first troop fought in Gallipoli and many were killed (Shoebridge, 2015). Many of the subsequent troops served in the Western front in France and Belgium. A battle at Passchendaele saw the highest number of NZ soldiers killed, as over 800 were killed in hours. The role of NZ women in the war was being nurses who were also considered as officers. Others served the Kiwi soldiers at home (Rodgers, n.d.).
The overall impact of the war was that 5 percent of military-age men died and others sustained wounds (Taonga & McGibbon, 2012). A sense of patriotism, national identity, and pride of the country rose amongst New Zealanders. I believe that New Zealanders should have been involved in the war but with more calculations. NZ gained a new identity on the global map. Even though the lives of young men that were lost and human suffering experienced, I believe that NZ gained more as it gained a renewed respect from other countries and learned that unity for a purpose was imperative.