Saturday, December 31, 2016

Global War

The First Global War: Britain, France, and the Fate of North America, 1756-1775. Seven Years' War (1756-1763) The third war between Austria and a rising Prussia for control over Silesia, the culmination of the long Anglo-French struggle for colonial supremacy, and the last major conflict before the French Revolution to involve all the traditional great powers of Europe. There were three principal theaters of this war. Great Britain helped support Frederick of Prussia in battling Austria, France, and Russia and their allies: British finances helped purchase mercenary troops to augment Prussia's army. The British navy battled the French navy in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as well as the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. Finally, augmented by colonial militia, the British made a determined and ultimately successful effort to destroy French power in North America. When the Seven Years' War ended, Frederick gained Silesia, though with significant manpower losses; the British gained territory in India and all of French Canada (save for tiny St. Pierre and Miquelon Islands off the Newfoundland coast).

First World War known as the Great War. Some 65 million men from all four corners of the globe packed their kit and marched off to war, from teenagers to grandfathers in their sixties. The fighting started in Europe, but the rest of the world soon got dragged in, including some 2 million Africans. Another 3 million from the far-flung British Empire answered the call to arms, shipped from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. And, for the first time, the United States got its hands dirty in Europe. In all, 28 countries were involved, making this the first truly global war. Even Japan hopped on the bandwagon, hoping to grab German islands in the Pacific when no-one was looking, while the Thais sneakily snatched twelve German ships when their king, Rama VI, boldly declared war on Germany in July 1917.

World War II (1939-45) was the most terrible war ever fought. It not only killed 17 million soldiers - compared to 10 million in World War I - but also twice as many civilians, through starvation, bombings and massacres. It was the first truly global war - fought on the plains of Europe, in the jungles of Southeast Asia, on the deserts of Africa, among the islands of the Pacific, on (and under) the Atlantic Ocean, and in many other places.

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