The First World War, which began in the Summer of 1914 and ended in November 1918, claimed around twenty million lives. The war ended empires and disrupted political systems and economies across the world.
In April 1917, the United States of America joined the war against Germany. Arriving on the battlefields in 1918, the American army was well trained and equipped, while the Germany army was exhausted. The British navy blockaded German ports, starving German industry of raw materials and the people of food. Between April and August 1918, the German army decided to make one last, determined effort to win the war. They had early successes, but were quickly overwhelmed. By the autumn of 1918, the Germans were losing and senior generals could see that defeat was inevitable. Peace negotiations began and an armistice was signed on 11 November 1918. After four years and millions of lives lost, the guns fell silent.
In Germany, impending defeat triggered a revolution and brought down the German Emperor, the Kaiser. In this section you will find out about the circumstances in which the new democratic German state, The Weimar Republic, came into existence after the First World War.