Today is the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, whose death at the hands of Serbian revolutionaries set off the chain reaction that lead to history’s first (though sadly not last) global war.*
Few conflicts have been more pivotal to the course of human history; not only did the Great War, as it was originally called, help pave the way to another massive and world-changing conflict just two-and-a-half decades later, but its influence can be seen today in the political, cultural, demographic, national psyches of the nations involved.
While I wish I had more time to engage in proper reflection about this very worthy topic, my chronic shortage of time leaves me with this nonetheless informative substitute: forty maps (courtesy of Vox) that help explain the lead up to the war, its major events and innovations, and its subsequent consequences. I highly recommend you check them out to get a firmer understanding of just why this long-overshadowed conflict is making something of a comeback in public and academic consciousness.*While there had technically been previous conflicts fought between European powers across the world (namely the fierce colonial competition between France and Britain), these hardly reached the scale and scope of the First World War.