Whenever we talk about WWI, we can imagine the Flanders Fields of Belgium that inspired Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write his poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

That is not wrong, but not entirely correct, too, since not all the crucial battles of World War I in Europe. Discover the other regions that shifted WWI. 


While it is easy to assume that the first shots fired during the First World War happened somewhere on the Western Front, that is incorrect. The very first shot fired by the British army was, in fact, in a small West African country, Togoland, now called Togo. The person who fired that shot was Lance Corporal Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast Regiment. It was August 7, 1914, just three days after Britain declared war on Germany when a German police force fired a shot, to which Grunshi very well responded.

You might be wondering: What were they doing in West Africa?

British troops on parade in Togoland, 1914. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

It was because the Germans were building a cutting-edge wireless radio station in the town of Kamina, using the local workforce to construct a radio communication that could reach Asia, which was uncommon in that era. After the war was declared, the Allied forces marched toward the construction area and surrounded the tower. The Germans, who did not have an army in the area, tried to resist using the local police force and mercenaries, but in the end, they were outnumbered and left with no choice but to burn down the precious tower and surrender.



Tsingtao (now called Qingdao) was a port city in China. To understand how an East Asian country got involved in a European war, we have to trace things back to 1897, when two German missionaries were murdered and allowed Germany to force China into granting a 99-year lease on the Yellow Sea port in Tsingtao. The Chinese fishing village, through time, evolved into a modern city with infrastructures, schools, and a naval base, all created by the Germans. Moreover, it became a strategic outpost for Germany.