The main areas of conflict were on the European mainland; on the Western Front, in Belgium and France, and on the Eastern Front mostly between Germany and Russia.
The main theatre of war. It can be divided into two distinct phases; the early, fluid or mobile stage from the end of July to November 1914. This was the timescale that most of the combatants expected at the outset but with two mighty forces involving millions of men locked against each other and with a breakthrough less and less likely, the second phase, the static stage of trench warfare ensued for virtually 4 more years.
The Front ran generally in a south by south easterly direction through Belgium and France to the Swiss border.
At its greatest extent the Eastern Front ran along the entire frontier between the Russian Empire and Romania on one side and, on the other, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria and Germany. Stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, it included most of Eastern Europe and a large part of Central Europe, too. It never reached the static level of the Western Front.
The war in the east began with the Russian invasion of East Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. Germany heavily defeated the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914 and as the War continued, the tensions in Russian society led to its devastating disintegration. On 7 November 1917, the Communist Bolsheviks took power and tried to end the war with Germany. This finally came about at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918.
The original event which led to the War, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, happened in Sarajevo, Serbia, and the Balkans saw continued conflict between Serbia and Montenegro on the side of the Allies and Austria-Hungary along with Bulgaria in support of the Central Powers.
The Italian Campaign lasted from May 1915 – November 1918. The main warring countries were Italy and Austria-Hungary and there were over 2,000,000 casualties by its conclusion.
Because of Imperialism, and Western European powers having overseas territories in such places as India, Africa, Canada and Australia, it meant that a European war would become a world war. This happened in two ways; mainly through soldiers coming to Europe from the colonies to fight but also through conflict on other continents. The Gallipoli Peninsular was the scene of a prolonged struggle between the Turks and British (predominantly Australian) forces. The Middle East, in particular, also saw a number of battle campaigns and, despite the Battle of Jutland being the only significant sea battle, British naval power and German submarine activity meant war extended to the seas.
The curved ceiling of the Menin Gate Memorial with the rebuilt town in the distance.
A detail of Panel 11 of the Memorial with Joe’s friend Fellowes among those without a grave.
Army map of 1st Ypres 29th October, 1914 – source, copy in the 'In Flanders Fields Museum', with permission. Where Joseph Garvey was captured is circled.