Wilfred Owen

.       British poet and soldier who fought in WWI

.       Killed in battle on 4 November 1918, one week before the end of fighting

.       His poems still help readers understand life on the warfront during WWI


John J. Pershing

.       Commanding general of U.S. Army during WWI

.       Had nearly 2 million men under his command by the end of the war

.       Refused to allow his soldiers to enter the line before they were properly trained, thus credited with saving many American lives


Gavrilo Princip

.       19-year-old Serbian nationalist who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, June 1914, providing the catalyst for World War I

.       Too young to face the death penalty; sentenced to maximum 20 years in prison

.       Died of disease in prison in April 1918


Manfred von Richthofen

.       Most successful flying ace of WWI, popularly known as the "Red Baron"

.       German fighter pilot instrumental in developing techniques of aerial combat

.       Painted his plane red to help fellow Germans identify him

.       Killed in action in April 1918


Woodrow Wilson

.       Democratic U.S. President from 1913 to 1919, pledged to keep America out of WWI during his 1916 reelection campaign

.       Then asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in spring 1917

.       Authored the Fourteen Points, which advocated for human rights and self-determination for all nations

.      Failed to gain Congress's ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, meaning U.S. failed to join League of Nations



1914 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

.       Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, 28 June 1914

.       Assassination set into motion a series of events that eventually led to the beginning of WWI


1915 Lusitania Incident

.       British passenger ship sunk by German submarine

.       Resulted in death of 1200 people, including 128 Americans

.       Press coverage steered public opinion in favor of the Allied side in the war


1917 Zimmermann Telegram

.       British intercepted telegram from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador in Mexico

.       Telegram urged Mexico to fight with Germany against U.S.

.       Promised Mexico that when the war was won, it would recover the territory it lost to the U.S. in the Mexican-American War (the American Southwest)

.       Mexico declined the offer, but the leaked telegram was published in the American press, spurring anti-German sentiment in U.S.


1917 U.S. Enters WWI

.       After 3 years of fighting in Europe, U.S. entered the war

.       Declaration came after series of events that convinced the American public and the government that Germany was a significant threat to the U.S.

.       Shortly thereafter, Congress passed the Selective Service Act to draft soldiers


1917 Espionage Act

.       Federal law passed in June 1917, just a few months after the U.S. entered WWI

.       Imposed fine of $10,000 and 20 years in prison for any interference with the draft or any act that encouraged national disloyalty


1918 Sedition Act

.       Federal law passed in May 1918

.       More repressive than the Espionage Act

.       Criminalized production of antiwar materials and the delivery of any speech deemed unpatriotic or detrimental to the war effort

.       Imposed fine and imprisonment on anyone who discouraged military recruiting or criticized the government, the flag, or the military uniform


1919 Treaty of Versailles

.       Officially ended WWI

.       Treaty terms included the creation of new League of Nations

.       U.S. Congress refused to ratify treaty and thus didn't join League of Nations





Black Hand

.       Serbian nationalist group

.       Included 19 year old Gavrilo Princip, assassin of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand


Central Powers

.       WWI alliance of the German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Ottoman Empire

.       Bulgaria joined later in the war

.       Became enemy of U.S. after 1917


League of Nations

.       International deliberative body originally proposed as part of the Fourteen Points, authored by President Woodrow Wilson

.       Created by the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI

.       U.S. Congress refused to ratify it, thus the U.S. didn't join


Triple Entente

.       WWI alliance originally comprised of Britain, France, and Russia (a.k.a the Allies)

.       Fought against the Central Powers in WWI

.       Italy joined after the war began

.       After Bolshevik Revolution, Russia pulled out

.       U.S. joined in April 1917, just before Russia withdrew





Barbed Wire

.       Fencing material invented in 1873 by Joseph Glidden

.       First used by farmers and ranchers in the American Great Plains

.       Used by both sides during WWI to protect trenches and slow enemy attacks

.       Many died in WWI, killed by barbs or trapped in them and then shot by enemy gunners


"Flying Circus"

.       A German military strategy utilized during WWI

.       Developed with the help of pilot Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a the "Red Baron"

.       A mass air attack that confused Allied air forces


Fourteen Points

.       President Wilson's ambitious plan for a just peace at war's end

.       Most significant portions called for "self-determination" for all nations, formation of League of Nations to resolve disputes

.       Wilson presented the Points at the Paris Peace talks in 1919, but other Allies insisted upon a more punitive final treaty


No Man's Land

.       Term used to describe the area between opposing trenches

.       Could be as wide as several miles or as narrow as a few hundred feet

.       Extremely dangerous area with flying bullets, artillery shells, and poison gas


"Rape of Belgium"

.       British propaganda term for alleged German atrocities committed after 1914 invasion of Belgium

.       According to Allies, German armies raped and plundered their way through the country; propaganda tilted American opinion against Germany

.       Debate still rages today over the truth of the Allies' claims


War of Attrition

.       Type of military strategy based on wearing down the enemy through continuous warfare

.       In these conflicts, the power with the greatest resources usually prevails





The Somme, France

.       Site of extraordinarily bloody WWI battle, 1916

.       British army suffered 60,000 casualties in one day in failed attack on German trenches


Belleau Wood, France

.       Site of first major battle to feature American soldiers, 1918


Versailles, France

.       Location of sprawling palace complex built by French royalty

.       Site of peace talks that ended World War I