It was known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars pre-1939, but the 1st World War soon became overshadowed by the tragic events that followed. With that in mind, what are the amazing facts you need to know more than 100 years on? Take a look at some fantastic facts about the 1st World War worth remembering…
1. TNT making during the war had horrible side effects.
Thousands of women turned yellow as a result of the toxic jaundice they developed from making TNT.
2. WWI tanks had genders.
Tanks had genders and were called ‘male’ if they carried a cannon, and ‘female’ if they were equipped with machine guns!
3. You could hear war from miles and miles away.
You could hear the explosion of a particularly loud bombardment all the way over in London — that’s more than 140 miles away!
4. The US curtailed German as a language.
German went from the second most widely spoken language in America to being banned in schools.
5. Even certain foods and treats were renamed.
Frankfurters and hamburgers were renamed so Americans could tuck into their new liberty sausages and liberty burgers.
6. Blood was in high demand.
The first blood bank was established in 1917 as a result of the huge amount of emergency surgery that was required.
7. Plastic surgery arose as a result of WWI devastation.
Harold Giles would go down in history as the inventor of plastic surgery. He developed it to help veterans with severe facial injuries re-enter society in a time when there was a great stigma about their injuries.
8. An enduring character was created in the trenches.
Hugh Lofting didn’t want to worry his kids when writing home from the trenches so created a special character and told stories. His name was Dr. Doolittle.
9. The plate’s date… it was fate.
When Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, his license plate read: A 111 118 — the date of armistice day for 4 years later!
10. Native Americans served in WWI despite a lack of citizenship.
13,000 Native Americans served in the trenches. It would not be until 1924 that they would officially become US citizens.
11. Some took to the battlefield extremely young.
Sidney Lewis faked his identification papers and entered combat at just 12 years old.
12. Wilson u-turned when the going got tough.
Woodrow Wilson dropped his anti-war slogan one month after being re-elected and duly declared war on Germany.
13. Millions of people wrote to the trenches.
There were 12,000,000 letters delivered to frontline trenches every single week.
14. WWI affected everyone, everywhere.
135 countries took part in WW1 in one form or another. This led to the deaths of more than 15 million people in just 4 years.
FAQs about the First World War
What exactly started World War I?
The First World War was started as a chain reaction after Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of Austria, was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in June 1914.
How and when did the First World War end?
WWI ended as a result of Germany agreeing to an armistice - signed as of November 11th, 1918. This date is celebrated as the end of war, and to remember those brave people who lost their lives in conflict, every year - all over the world.
Who was allied with Germany in WWI?
Germany had allies in the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, and Austria-Hungary. They fought against the likes of the US, Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Russia, and Romania.
Do you know any fun facts about WW1? Share them in the comments below!