The following is a segment from Paul Gilkes' cover feature in the November Monthly issue of Coin World, dealing with World War I and the many numismatic collectibles that are related to that war.
It was called “the war that will end war,” by author H.G. Wells. World War I, however, was anything but. The June 28, 1914, assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, Sophie, served as the war’s trigger.
Suspecting that Serbia was behind the actions of the assassin, Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, and his accomplices, the Austrian government declared war against Serbia on July 28, 1914.
World War I had begun.
Military historian Edward M. Coffman indicates the root causes of the war ran much deeper, however.
National pride was extreme among the populace in many European nations that had increased their military capabilities to epic proportions. The race for continued colonial expansion was on and the invocation of military alliances formed decades before became a necessity, according to Coffman.
It was time to exercise some of that military muscle.
World War I placed the world’s major economic powers into two, opposite camps — the Allies and the Central Powers.
Allies versus Central Powers
The original core of the Allies was formed from the Triple Entente. Derived from the French meaning “friendship, understanding, agreement,” the entente united the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the Aug. 31, 1907, signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente.