The First World War massively changed the way we approach and manage conflicts, particularly from one tribe securing and expanding their own territories to forming alliances with other like-minded civilizations to protect and maintain the ideologies and lifestyles they ought to abide by. It also set a prime example of what warfare would look like if more than two forces were involved in fighting and how drastic it could affect the outcome of waging war. While there are many other examples where a battlefield became a melting pot for different individuals fighting for one objective in mind, we’ll be using World War I (WWI) in examining the cultural fusions that occurred in Europe’s most iconic battles and how they influenced conflict outcomes.

As you all know, WWI broke out because of the assassination of one man, who was not just any man but the heir to the Austria-Hungry throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip. From there, tensions went into overdrive among the powerhouses of Europe in the summer of 1914, which led to the outbreak of the dreaded Great War. Unlike previous warfares, this time, multiple powerful Empires bonded together to pit against each other.

After receiving assurance from Germany that it would render support and alliance, Austria-Hungary sent Serbia a ridiculous ultimatum to force the latter to either surrender or fight. When Serbia didn’t submit to its harsh conditions, the dual monarchy declared war, ultimately severing the peace treaty between Europe’s great powers, and within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, and Great Britain (and its colonized nations) all rallied behind Serbia as the Allied Powers against the Centrals Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany.

american tank 1918
An American tank attached to the 27th Division escorted by an Australian soldier on horseback arriving at Bellicourt, October 3, 1918. (Courtesy New York State Military Museum via DVIDS)

The fighting between these alliances had caused horrendous destruction and massive casualties, and generational traumas, as well as technological inventions and innovations in the defense industry that made it well into the 21st century.