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The war that would be over by Christmas dragged on for four long years of bloody stalemate Explore an overview of the war years in this brief year-by-year summary The war in brief 1914 Germany invades Belgium Britain declares war on Germany Japan joins the Allied forces Ottoman Empire soon joins the Central Powers War spreads to the seas 1915 Women take up mens jobs Stalemate continues on the Western Front The Lusitania passenger liner is sunk with 1200 lives lost London attacked from the air by German Zeppelins 1916 Conscription for men aged between 18 and 41 A million casualties in ten months Germany aims to bleed France white At sea the Battle of Jutland takes place Armed uprisings in Dublin the Irish Republic is proclaimed 1917 German Army retreats to the Hindenburg Line United States joins the war and assists the Allies Tank submarine and gas warfare intensifies Royal family change their surname to Windsor to appear more British 1918 Germany launches major offensive on the Western Front Allies launch successful counter-offensives at the Marne and Amiens Armistice signed on November 11 ending the war at 11am In Britain a coalition government is elected and women over 30 succeed in gaining the vote 1914 On 28 June in Sarajevo Gavrilo Princip a Slav nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the killing and because Europe was linked by a series of diplomatic alliances - Austria-HungaryGermanyItaly Central Powers and BritainFranceRussia Triple EntenteAllied forces - the affair escalated into full-scale war On 4 August Britain declared war after Germany invaded neutral Belgium Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary on 12 August The British government had previously promised to defend Belgium and felt that German troops directly across the Channel were too close for comfort On 7 August four divisions making up a British Expeditionary Force crossed to
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