50 Insane World War 1 Facts That Will Shock You!

Articles, Blog

50 Insane World War 1 Facts That Will Shock You!

50 Insane World War 1 Facts That Will Shock You!

World War One officially started on July 28th,
1914, and ended on November 11th, 1918. The number of casualties differs, depending
on what source you read, and finding exact numbers is, of course, impossible. It’s generally thought this devastating
war involving multiple nations ended with about 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. 10 million of those deaths were civilian deaths,
and 9.7 million of them were military personnel. It’s said The Entente Powers (also called
the Allies) lost around 5.7 million soldiers, and the Central Powers lost somewhere in the
region of 4 million. As the Robert Schuman Centre tells us, many
of the overall deaths were not related to actual fighting, but to famine, disease, and
genocide. Welcome to this episode of the Infographics
Show, “50 Shocking Facts About World War I.” 50. The Allies
Before we talk about details many of our viewers might not know, we have to spend a bit of
time on the basics. Who was involved, for instance? Well, it started with Austria-Hungary and
Serbia declaring war on each other. Soon after, other countries got involved. As we already said, there were the Allies
and the Central Powers. The main Allies were the French Republic,
the British Empire, and the Russian Empire. Italy changed sides and joined the Allies. The USA declared war on Germany on April 6th,
1917. These were the main players on the allied
side, but backing them up were the countries of Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Montenegro, Romania,
Japan, and Serbia. Please note that we have stated “empires”,
which consisted of various other nations. If you go to the Cook Islands, you’ll find
a memorial with a list of its soldiers that fell in the war. Or you can look at a similar list of people
who came from India and died in the war, and it’s a very long one. For instance, 1.4 million Indians served,
while 629,000 Canadians did. The empire where the sun never set was vast. 49. The Central Powers
The Central Powers’ main players were Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Then there were what were called “co-belligerents”
and German client states. The main co-belligerents were the Dervish
State (a Somali Muslim kingdom), the South African Republic, and the Sultanate of Darfur. 48. Who Died? It’s said that Germany mobilized 13,250,000
soldiers. 66 percent of them ended up as casualties,
and 1.8 million of them ended up injured or in the ground. Over 20 million Russians served, and around
11.8 million or 56 percent of them died or got injured. (These numbers are highly disputed). 6.2 million Brits went to war, and 886,000
of them didn’t come back. 41 percent of those Brits died or were hurt
in the war. The French sent 8.4 million people to war,
and 1.4 million soldiers died. 67 percent of French soldiers were injured
or died. The USA sent 4.3 million soldiers to war,
and 53,000 of them didn’t come back. 5.9% of American soldiers were hurt or died. 74,000 Indians from almost 1.5 million soldiers
died in the war. 650,000 Italians from over 5.6 million soldiers
died. 62,000 Australian soldiers died, and 65,000
Canadians died. Romania was also badly hit, with 250,000 of
its soldiers not coming back from the war. It was almost the same situation for Serbia,
which lost 275,000 soldiers. We can’t go through every country unfortunately
as it would just take too long, but these countries suffered the worst in terms of military
losses. The USA also suffered in an entirely original
way, but we are keeping that fact for the number one spot. 47. A Chain Reaction
Okay, now that we have some of those basic facts over with, let’s talk about more obscure
things. Some people say one man was the catalyst for
the beginning of the war. His name was Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian
Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. He said after he was arrested, “I am a Yugoslav
nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form
of state, but it must be freed from Austria.” He obviously had no idea this would start
a war…and then a world war. 46. Always Read the ‘Use-by’ Date
After the assassination, Mr. Princip didn’t fancy a life in jail, so he swallowed a cyanide
pill. However, this only made him feel sick because
it’s said the pill was out of date. The 19-year old also tried to shoot himself,
but his gun was taken from him. Talk about an ill-starred life. He was then sent to prison where conditions
were so awful he got very sick, lost a limb, and died looking not much different from a
skeleton. 45. Trenches
So, you probably know this already, but much of the war was fought in trenches. On the Western Front, you had many of these
things, and millions of soldiers lived in them. Sometimes the opposing armies were not even
that far apart, with the space between them being called “No Man’s Land.” Of that space one historian writes, “On
the Western Front it was typically between 100 and 300 yards (90 and 275 meters), though
only 30 yards (27 meters) on Vimy Ridge.” 44. Trench Feet
Standing inside dirty, muddy, often rain-soaked trenches was hard on the feet – or you could
say soft on the feet. Many soldiers developed what became known
as “trench foot.” You could also call it “zombie foot,”
as that is what it might look like. Sometimes it would become gangrenous, and
the foot would have to be amputated. 43. Dogs
The British love their dogs, and during the war some people in the UK donated their canines
to the war effort. Dogs could run around the battlefield and
carry messages, and they were hard to shoot. Smaller dogs were also great at catching rats
in the trenches. Believe it or not, there were what was called
casualty dogs. These dogs would run around the battlefield
with medical supplies tied to them, so injured soldiers could be helped. They were like little four-legged ambulances. 42. Jackie
South African soldiers took a baboon to France to help out. Its name was Jackie, and it had a uniform. 41. Dead Fish
Goldfish were also employed, or we should say sacrificed. They were used to test the water that had
been used to wash gas masks. If the fish died, those masks needed a better
washing. 40. A Stairway to Hell
The Brits used to hate German Zeppelins, which are kind of rigid airships that would fly
over Britain. They killed about 500 people in the UK, and
the British public certainly didn’t like the sight of them. The first ever Zeppelin attack by Germany
on Britain happened at Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in January 1915. By the end the war, the Brits had become pretty
good at shooting them down, destroying 77 of the 115 airships of the German Zeppelin
fleet. 39. British Men
When the war began, there were just 350,000 soldiers in the British army. That number became millions when conscription
was introduced in 1916. That meant that if you were a “bloke”
aged 18-41 and in decent health, off to war you went. 38. I’m Not Going
Some people just refused to fight. Many of those people may have had an inkling
of the utter carnage that was taking place on the front lines while higher-ups were busy
moving plastic figures over a map. Others were pacifists because of their religious
beliefs. Those that refused to go were called conscientious
objectors, and it’s believed there were 16,000 of them in the UK. One man writes, “I looked him straight in
the eye and told him, I said, ‘I respectfully refuse to obey your orders,’ and he went
barmy. Absolutely barmy.” Barmy means crazy, if you didn’t know already. Not many Brits use this word nowadays. 37. Dear Bertrand
British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a conscientious objector. “I never believed so frightful a thing could
happen…it is utter madness for us to join this war,” said Russell. This very intelligent man was well aware of
what scheming is often behind wars and the propaganda countries use to send their men
to die. Russell said the public needed to think harder
about war, stating, “the force that in the long run makes for peace and all other things
is Reason, the power of thinking against instinct.” He wasn’t keen on American war policies
either later in his life. He died at the ripe old age of 97. 36. Old Flame
It was the Germans who first used the flamethrower in the war, and their scary machines could
fire flames 130 feet (40 meters). Historians write that the “Flammenwerfer”
terrified British soldiers. 35. Tank Sex
The British had male and female tanks in the war. Male tanks had two 6 pounder guns and three
.303 Hotchkiss machine guns, while female tanks had one Hotchkiss and four Vickers machine
guns. 34. Mexico GO! The Brits intercepted a German telegraph in
1917. It was a message from German Foreign Secretary
Arthur Zimmermann to Germany’s minister in Mexico. It said, “please invade the USA.” The Brits didn’t tell the USA about the
message at first. They waited for a better time instead. The Brits thought if America was going to
get involved, there had to be a perfect moment to show the country that it was almost invaded. 33. PTSD
Imagine what it would be like seeing half your friends being killed. This kind of warfare is unimaginable to people
today. Many soldiers returned home and became what
people have called a “quiet man.” In the army, there wasn’t much sympathy,
and if men suffered psychologically, they were often called weak. 32. How do you really feel? We found this excerpt from a book written
after the war, about the mental state of some men that came back. It says that some of those men suffered “loss
of memory, insomnia, terrifying dreams, pains, emotional instability, diminution of self-confidence
and self-control, attacks of unconsciousness or of changed consciousness sometimes accompanied
by convulsive movements resembling those characteristic of epileptic fits, incapacity to understand
any but the simplest matters, obsessive thoughts, usually of the gloomiest and most painful
kind, even in some cases hallucinations and incipient delusions.” It also states that “these symptoms make
life for some of their victims a veritable hell.” 31. No Shocks Please
Sigmund Freud didn’t like the fact that many of these suffering men were given electric
shock therapy, which basically meant destroying their brains. Freud wrote that war neuroses were best treated
with psychoanalysis, not shocks. 30. Military Men Don’t Get Neuroses
The military fought back against all these intellectuals saying war could ruin a man
physically AND psychologically. One military man wrote, “War neurosis which
persists is not a credible disease to have…as it indicates in practically every case a lack
of the soldierly qualities which have distinguished the Allied Armies…no one should be permitted
to glorify himself as a case of ‘shell shock.’” Shell shock was exactly what it sounds like,
a kind of PTSD before the expression was created. 29. 6th place
It’s generally thought that the first world war was the 6th deadliest of modern wars. 28. Chinese Warriors
Maybe the deadliest war of all time was the Three Kingdoms War in China that lasted 60
years from 220 to 280. It’s thought as many as 40 million people
died. The Mongol Invasions killed almost that number. 27. Letters to the Front
12 million letters were delivered to the Western Front every week. It took them two days to get there from the
UK. 26. Plastic Faces
It was this war that more or less started the work of plastic surgeons as so many people
lost bits of their faces and other body parts. One soldier described what happened to his
face in the war: “I could feel something lying loosely in my left cheek, as though
I had a chicken bone in my mouth. It was in reality half my jaw, which had been
broken off, teeth and all, and was floating about in my mouth.” 25. Banks of Blood
The first ever blood bank was set up in 1917 on the Western Front. 24. The Mess of Gallipoli
58,000 soldiers died at the bloody battle of Gallipoli, a move thought up by Winston
Churchill to bring down Germany’s ally, Ottoman Turkey. Australia’s ex-Prime Minister once said
this battle “left horrific scars and was, in a critical sense, our nation’s baptism
of fire – and 8,000 Australians didn’t come back.” 87,000 Ottoman Turkish troops also died. 23. Old Siam
It’s said one of the countries hardly anyone knew joined the war was Thailand. 19 Thai soldiers died of accident and disease,
although in those days they were called Siamese as the country was called Siam. The soldiers fought on the side of the Allies. 22. Poetry, Not Pain Relief
People wear poppies to commemorate war because of a poem written about World War One. That poem is called “In Flanders Fields.” This is one stanza: “We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.” 21. No Food
The British had such a big food shortage that the government banned feeding pigeons and
people throwing rice at weddings. 20. Fake Paris
During the war, the French built a fake Paris to fool German bombers. The Telegraph writes, “A second Paris, complete
with a Champs-Elysées and Gard Du Nord, was built towards the end of the First World War
to fool German bombers, it has emerged.” The fake city was very much a secret, and
it was never fully finished or tested. 19. We Speak No English Here Dude
Did you know that before WW1 German was the second most widely spoken language in the
USA but was forcibly suppressed because of the war? 18. Germans Were Treated Badly in America
During the war, all Germans in America were forced to carry registration cards at all
times after they had registered at the post office. NPR writes that the U.S. wanted to get rid
of all things German, saying, “During World War I, U.S. Government Propaganda Erased German Culture.” The Huffington Post also states that, “2,048
Germans living in America were arrested and forced to live in internment camps.” 17. Ban on Sausages
During the war, Germany put a ban on eating sausages. 250,000 cow intestines were used to make just
one Zeppelin, so intestines were in demand. 16. Fake News
The British wanted America to get involved in the war, so it decided one way to do that
was to write some fake news to get Americans emotional and harbor some anti-German sentiments. They had journalist John R. Rathom write reports
that were later said to be fraudulent. According to Time magazine, his motto was
“Raise hell and sell papers.” Other media reports that “His false reports
stirred up anger against many innocent Germans living in the U.S.” 15. Native Americans
It’s said about 13,000 Native Americans fought in the war. 14. The Native Tongue
Germans were always breaking codes, and it was hard to come up with something to beat
that. After hearing two native Choctaw soldiers
talking, one American officer realized that the Germans would never understand this strange
language. The BBC writes, “The Choctaw Telephone Squad
was born.” It’s said this band of men were instrumental
in winning many battles. 13. Clever Birds
It’s thought that about 500,000 pigeons carried messages during the war. Some of them were sent to the front line by
parachute. One such message we found read, “’On water
attacked by 3 Huns.” Huns were Germans. Don’t ever call pigeons pests again. 12. The Return of the Hawks
The Germans didn’t much like how the British used those clever birds, so the German army
trained hawks to kill the pigeons. 11. The Sorry Somme
The worst battle in British history was at the Battle of the Somme. Some 60,000 British men died in just one day. It’s said more than one million British,
French, and German troops were killed or injured. 465,000–600,000 were German. 350,000 were British, and 204,000 were French. Soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,
South Africa, and Canada also died. One German officer once wrote, “Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain
a ghastlier word.” 10. Genocide
It’s said that during the war the Turks slaughtered around 1.5 million Armenians. Robbery and rape were also common. This is known as the Armenian Holocaust. 9. Silent Night
Time magazine writes, “On a crisp, clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British,
Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and
spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front.” Stories differ, but it’s generally thought
about 100,000 soldiers had a truce on Christmas Day, singing hymns and even playing football
in no man’s land. One British soldier wrote, “First the Germans
would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours.” 8. New Nations
After the war, independent nations emerged. They were Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
and Poland. 7. Big Guns
In 1917, the Germans pulled out what was at the time the biggest gun in the world. It looked more like a house than a gun, and
it could fire shells up to 31 miles (50 km). Its name was “Lange Max,” which meant
Long Max. 6. Rape of Belgium
The Germans marched into Belgium, and all hell broke loose. They killed and plundered, but it wasn’t
as bad as how the British media portrayed the invasion. The Brits compared German soldiers to serial
killer Jack the Ripper. Nonetheless, things were pretty bad. 18,296 children became war orphans. So, yes, it was bad, but not as bad as the
Brits made out. Fake news isn’t new by any means. 5. Mud Bath
Some sources say that the mud at times was so thick that some soldiers disappeared in
it. By the way, trenches were given names, such
as “Death Valley.” In all, 25,000 miles of trenches were dug. 4. Famous Soldiers
Who fought in the war? The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien was one famous person. Harry S. Truman was also there, and so was
Mr. Adolf Hitler. Walt Disney tried to sign up but was rejected
because of his young age. He did, however, end up driving ambulances
in France. 3. Lots of Love, Your Dearest Son
War was horrible, and letters home to families can be harrowing to read. One man wrote, “Just a line to let you know
that I got the fags [cigarettes] on Tuesday. I thank you very much for sending them… They have stopped the weekend passes as there
are a lot of absences, but I shall ask the Captain for permission to come on a pass. We are going to the front on the 19 of November. Dear mother, do not worry about me for by
God’s help I shall come home well.” He died soon after he wrote that letter, according
to The Telegraph. Here’s another letter: “This is what they call the Somme…up to
the neck in mud and water. Shells flying everywhere.” That was from a Brit called Grimshaw. We are not sure what happened to him. 2. British Semen Write the Best Letters
Because of the Freedom of Information Act, we know that a man called Mansfield Smith-Cumming
did something original when he served in the secret service during the war. Apparently, he discovered that semen (sperm)
made great invisible ink, and like other invisible inks it was impossible to find with chemicals. Mr. Cummin’s wrote, “now every man has
his own stylo”. Okay, we know this sounds a bit like fake
news, but Britain’s Telegraph backs the story up, stating, “British intelligence
services experimented with using semen as an invisible ink to write top-secret letters,
it has been disclosed.” Now you know how to send secret letters to
your lover… use your man juice. 1. No Condoms for Americans
It seems the USA was the only country not to give its soldiers condoms for their time
served during the war. It’s also said that thousands of American
soldiers returned home with STDs. The Huffington Post writes, “An estimated
400,000 military men were infected with syphilis or gonorrhea.” Those “yank” soldiers were very popular
in those days with European girls. Apparently, the British also didn’t give
condoms to its forces at the start but changed that policy quite quickly. Perhaps with all that terrible destruction
going on, one solace to soldiers was wanting to create a new life. We could have said so much more, so feel free
to add to this list in the comments. We finished on perhaps some amusing points,
but we don’t want to undermine the devastation and loss of life in this terrible – some
say avoidable – war. We just wanted to lighten things up at the
end. Be sure to check out our other video, 50 Shocking
Facts about World War 2. Thanks for watching and as always, please
don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.

100 thoughts on 50 Insane World War 1 Facts That Will Shock You!

  1. Do you know a shocking World War 1 fact that wasn't mentioned? Share it with the rest of us by commenting bellow…

  2. Please Americans pronounce the german "Z" (zet) as a "C" (like zeppelin = "ceppelin", Zimmermann = "Cimmermann"). It belongs to your culture as well, because of the german immigrants in the 18-19. century. Thanks.

  3. I stopped watching after 2 mins because you couldnt even get the countries right who fought in ww1. You missed the anzacs. (Australia and new Zealand army corp).

  4. It seems rather imprecise for the video to refer to Poland as one of the "new" nations created in the aftermath of WW I. It is generally accepted that Poland was established in 966 AD with Miesko I the Grand Duke of the initial Piast dynasty. True, Poland's villainous autocratic empire neighbours (Russia, Prussia, and Austria) had partioned it in 1772, 1792, and 1795, essentially legislating it out of existence, but it is more accurate to refer to Poland as being re-born, rather than created, in 1918.

  5. yeah, time for the basics. The Central Powers lost 4 million. Two minutes later Germany alone lost almost 9 Million SOLDIERS.
    Please make this straight, somehow …

  6. Fact check : South Africa was not part of the Central powers. They were a colony of the British Empire following the Boer war in 1899 – 1902, making them part of the allied Powers. South Africa was ordered to invade South West Africa(Namibia today) since it was a colony of Germany during the war. After the war South Africa managed South West Africa as a 10th province of the country until South West Africa independence following the border war(Angolan war) from 1966 to 1989 where its named changed to Namibia.

  7. I like it how you change the amount of deaths at the start xd a vi on this yt channel said it was 7 mill civ and 9 mill milatiary……

  8. My goodness, 10 million sons, brothers, fathers slaughtered for what? Over our man-made lines drawn up on these beautiful lands we miraculously get to inhabit

  9. I’ve never heard of newfinland I have heard of Newfoundland. If you don’t know half of these facts, you live in a country that that was not involved or have never cared.

  10. “#18 Germans were treated badly in America during the war” yeah I would expect that they would be treated badly during a war. Not very surprising nor educational.

  11. Why are Ireland listed as allied.
    We are and were well known for being an neutral country.

    Just because we sympathise with allies don't mean we are one

  12. Not many people know but WWI was the first of the two world wars so far. YES in fact there was a WWII or WW2 for those none II understanders.

  13. Technically it ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. But the fighting did stop on the date you gave.

  14. 18,296 orphans and thousands of dead parents. Yeah… I would definitely choose that over Jack the Ripper. Because… it's not as bad.

  15. South Africa was part of the British Empire and the Allies. 100 000s of South Africans died for the Allies. Yes there were Independants that were either neutrals or supported Germany but that was due to bad feelings due to the Anglo Boer Wars but most still served as soldiers for the British Empire. Get your facts straight

  16. South Africa was not a republic at the time and part of tne British Commonwealth…. 1st SAI took and held Develle Wood during the Somme offensive.

  17. Do we use the term "German Holocaust or Russion holocaust or genocide? No. But each lost almost 10 million soldiers and 10 million civilians at the time of war. But you insist on the term of Armenian Genoside. It was a civil war and lasted 4 more years after ww1. France, USA and Russia heartened them to attack their own country where they were the most educated and the wealtiest citizens. But they didn't help them during war. Now, may be feeling guilty, only crying like a spoiled child "It was a genocide." Anyway a war is a genocide, in fact"…

  18. Why American only focus on Uk?
    I know you talk the same language you are close to them but come on… French have done and lost more in this war. ?

  19. why u leaving Canada out of the battle of the Somme? Forgetting about all the soldiers that fought for us, Get your facts straight otherwise it can be completely offensive and destroy your whole video

  20. Why didn't you mention the Austro-Hungarian losses in your mention of losses? Maybe because it's too complicated to explain who these people were who died. I just mention because they (the Austro-Hungarian empire) were basically the second half of the "Central Powers", at least until they were destroyed by Russia, and played an introductive role in the war, and lost at least 700k men.

  21. All Central-Powers together lost 4 Million soldiers, but later he says that Germany alone lost 8.7 Million (what‘s obviously not right)…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *