World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Erich Fritz Emil Mielke was a German communist official and served as head of the East German Ministry for State Security, better known as the Stasi, from 1957 until shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. A native of Berlin and a second-generation member of the Communist Party of Germany, Mielke was one of two triggermen in the 1931 murders of Berlin Police Captains Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck. After learning that a witness had survived, Mielke escaped prosecution by fleeing to the Soviet Union, where he was recruited into the NKVD, he was one of the perpetrators of the Great Purge as well as the Stalinist decimation of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. Following the end of World War II, Mielke returned to the Soviet Zone of Occupied Germany, which he helped organize into a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship under the Socialist Unity Party becoming head of the Stasi; the Stasi under Mielke has been called the "most pervasive police state apparatus to exist on German soil."
In a 1993 interview, Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal has said that, if one considers only the oppression of their own people, the Stasi under Mielke "was much, much worse than the Gestapo."During the 1950s and'60s, Mielke masterminded the forced collectivization of East Germany's family-owned farms, which sent a flood of refugees to West Germany. In response, Mielke oversaw the construction of the Berlin Wall and co-signed orders to shoot all East Germans who were attempting to defect, he oversaw the creation of pro-Soviet secret police and insurgencies in Western Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition to his role as head of the Stasi, Mielke was a General in the National People's Army, member of the SED's ruling Politburo. Dubbed "The Master of Fear" by the West German press, Mielke was one of the most powerful and most hated men in East Germany. After German reunification, Mielke was prosecuted and incarcerated for the 1931 murders of Captains Anlauf and Lenck.
He was released early due to ill health, died in a Berlin nursing home in 2000. Erich Mielke was born in a tenement in Berlin-Wedding, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire, on 28 December 1907. During the First World War, the neighborhood was known as "Red Wedding" due to many residents' Marxist militancy. In a handwritten biography written for the Soviet secret police, Mielke described his father as "a poor, uneducated woodworker," and said that his mother died in 1911. Both were, members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. After his remarriage to "a seamstress," the elder Mielke and his new wife joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany and remained members when it was renamed the Communist Party of Germany, his son Erich claimed "My younger brother Kurt and two sisters were Communist sympathisers."Despite his family's poverty, Erich Mielke was academically gifted enough to be awarded a free scholarship in the prestigious Köllnisches Gymnasium, but was expelled on 19 February 1929, for being "unable to meet the great demands of this school."
While attending the Gymnasium, Mielke joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1925, worked as a reporter for the communist newspaper Rote Fahne from 1928 to 1931. He joined the KPD's paramilitary wing, or Parteiselbstschutz. At the time, the Parteiselbstschutz was overseen by KPD Reichstag Representatives Hans Kippenberger and Heinz Neumann. According to John Koehler, "Mielke was a special protege of Kippenberger's having taken to his paramilitary training with the enthusiasm of a Prussian Junker. World War I veterans taught the novices how to handle pistols, machine guns, hand grenades; this clandestine training was conducted in the sparsely populated, pastoral countryside surrounding Berlin. Mielke pleased Kippenberger by being an exceptional student in classes on the arts of conspiratorial behavior and espionage, taught by comrades who had studied at the secret M-school of the GRU in Moscow."According to John Koehler, members of the Parteiselbstschutz "served as bouncers at Party meetings and specialized in cracking heads during street battles with political enemies."
Besides the Berlin Police, their arch-enemies were street-fighters affiliated with the Nazi Party, the Monarchist German National People's Party, "radical nationalist parties." The SPD, which dominated German politics from 1918–1931 and which the KPD accused of "Social fascism," was their most detested foe. According to Koehler, the KPD's Selbstschutz men "always carried a Stahlrute, two steel springs that telescoped into a tube seven inches long, which when extended became a deadly, fourteen-inch weapon. Not to be outdone by the Nazis, these street-fighters were armed with pistols as well."In a 1931 biography written for the Cadre Division of the Comintern, Mielke recalled, "We took care of all kinds of work. The last work, accomplished by a Comrade and myself, was the Bülowplatz Affair". On 2 August 1931, Neumann and Kippenberger received a dressing down from Walter Ulbricht, the KPD's leader in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. Enraged by police interference, Ulbricht snarled, "At home in Saxony we would have done something about the police a long time ago.
Here in Berlin we wi
A political spectrum is a system of classifying different political positions upon one or more geometric axes that represent independent political dimensions. Most long-standing spectra include a left wing, which referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution. On a left–right spectrum and socialism are regarded internationally as being on the left, Liberalism can mean different things in different contexts: sometimes on the left; those with an intermediate outlook are sometimes classified as centrists. That said and neoliberals are called centrists too. Politics that rejects the conventional left–right spectrum is known as syncretic politics, though the label tends to mischaracterize positions that have a logical location on a two-axis spectrum because they seem randomly brought together on a one-axis left-right spectrum. Political scientists have noted that a single left–right axis is insufficient for describing the existing variation in political beliefs and include other axes.
Though the descriptive words at polar opposites may vary in popular biaxial spectra the axes are split between socio-cultural issues and economic issues, each scaling from some form of individualism to some form of communitarianism. The terms right and left refer to political affiliations originating early in the French Revolutionary era of 1789–1799 and referred to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France; as seen from the Speaker's seat at the front of the Assembly, the aristocracy sat on the right and the commoners sat on the left, hence the terms right-wing politics and left-wing politics. The defining point on the ideological spectrum was the Ancien Régime. "The Right" thus implied support for aristocratic or royal interests and the church, while "The Left" implied support for republicanism and civil liberties. Because the political franchise at the start of the revolution was narrow, the original "Left" represented the interests of the bourgeoisie, the rising capitalist class.
Support for laissez-faire commerce and free markets were expressed by politicians sitting on the left because these represented policies favorable to capitalists rather than to the aristocracy, but outside parliamentary politics these views are characterized as being on the Right. The reason for this apparent contradiction lies in the fact that those "to the left" of the parliamentary left, outside official parliamentary structures represent much of the working class, poor peasantry and the unemployed, their political interests in the French Revolution lay with opposition to the aristocracy and so they found themselves allied with the early capitalists. However, this did not mean that their economic interests lay with the laissez-faire policies of those representing them politically; as capitalist economies developed, the aristocracy became less relevant and were replaced by capitalist representatives. The size of the working class increased as capitalism expanded and began to find expression through trade unionist, socialist and communist politics rather than being confined to the capitalist policies expressed by the original "left".
This evolution has pulled parliamentary politicians away from laissez-faire economic policies, although this has happened to different degrees in different countries those with a history of issues with more authoritarian-left countries, such as the Soviet Union or China under Mao Zedong. Thus the word "Left" in American political parlance may refer to "liberalism" and be identified with the Democratic Party, whereas in a country such as France these positions would be regarded as more right-wing, or centrist overall, "left" is more to refer to "socialist" or "social-democratic" positions rather than "liberal" ones. For a century, social scientists have considered the problem of how best to describe political variation. In 1950, Leonard W. Ferguson analyzed political values using ten scales measuring attitudes toward: birth control, capital punishment, communism, law, theism, treatment of criminals and war. Submitting the results to factor analysis, he was able to identify three factors, which he named religionism and nationalism.
He defined religionism as belief in God and negative attitudes toward birth control. This system was derived empirically, as rather than devising a political model on purely theoretical grounds and testing it, Ferguson's research was exploratory; as a result of this method, care must be taken in the interpretation of Ferguson's three factors, as factor analysis will output an abstract factor whether an objectively real factor exists or not. Although replication of the nationalism factor was inconsistent, the finding of religionism and humanitarianism had a number of replications by Ferguson and others. Shortly afterward, Hans Eysenck began researching political attitudes in Great Britain, he believed that there was something similar about the National Socialists on the one hand and the communists on the other, despite their opposite positions on the left–right axis. As Hans Eysenck described in his 1956 book Sense and
Far-left politics are political views located further on the left of the left-right spectrum than the standard political left. The term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, Marxism–Leninism and Maoism. Since 2016, the term Alt-left has been used as a pejorative to refer to political views at the extreme end of this spectrum, to those who adhere to such views. Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh defines the far-left in Europe as those who position themselves to the left of social democracy, which they see as insufficiently left-wing; the two main sub-types are called the radical left, who desire fundamental changes to the capitalist system yet remain accepting of liberal democracy, the extreme left, who are more hostile to liberal democracy and denounce any compromise with capitalism. March specifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.
Vít Hloušek and Lubomír Kopeček add secondary characteristics to those identified by March and Mudde, such as anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and rejection of European integration. In France, the term extrême-gauche is a accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party, such as Trotskyists, anarcho-communists and New Leftists. Some, such as political scientist Serge Cosseron, limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party, but there is no real consensus. There were many far-left militant organizations formed from existing political parties in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Red Brigades and the Red Army Faction; these groups aimed to overthrow capitalism and the wealthy ruling classes. Anarchism Hard left List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation Moonbat Alt-right Media related to Far-left politics at Wikimedia Commons
Clara Zetkin was a German Marxist theorist and advocate for women's rights. Until 1917, she was active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany she joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany and its far-left wing, the Spartacist League; the eldest of three children, Clara Zetkin was born Clara Josephine Eissner in Wiederau, a peasant village in Saxony, now part of the municipality Königshain-Wiederau. Her father, Gottfried Eissner, was a schoolmaster and church organist, a devout Protestant, while her mother, Josephine Vitale, had French roots, came from a middle-class family from Leipzig, was educated. In 1872 her family moved to Leipzig where she was educated at the Leipzig Teachers’ College for Women. While in school she established contacts with the infant Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands; because of the ban placed on socialist activity in Germany by Bismarck in 1878, Zetkin left for Zurich in 1882 went into exile in Paris, where she studied to be a journalist and a translator.
During her time in Paris she played an important role in the foundation of the Socialist International group. She adopted the name of her lover, the Russian-Jewish Ossip Zetkin, a devoted Marxist, with whom she had two sons and following two years Konstantin. Ossip Zetkin became ill in the early period of 1889, passing away only a few months in June. Following the loss of her husband, she moved to Stuttgart with her children. Zetkin was married to the artist Georg Friedrich Zundel, eighteen years her junior, from 1899 to 1928. Clara Zetkin's political career began after being introduced to Ossip Zetkin, who she married. Within a few months of attending and taking part in socialist meetings, Zetkin became committed to the party, offering a Marxist approach and for the demand of women's liberation. Around the time of 1880, due to the political climate in Germany, Zetkin went into exile in Switzerland and in France. Upon her return to Germany, nearly a decade she became the editor of the Social Democratic Party newspaper for women, Die Gleichheit, a post she occupied for twenty-five years.
Having studied to become a teacher, Zetkin developed connections with the women's movement and the labour movement in Germany from 1874. In 1878 she joined the Socialist Workers' Party; this party had been founded in 1875 by merging two previous parties: the ADAV formed by Ferdinand Lassalle and the SDAP of August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht. In 1890 its name was changed to its modern version Social Democratic Party of Germany. In the SPD, along with Rosa Luxemburg, her close friend and confidante, was one of the main figures of the far-left wing of the party. In the debate on Revisionism at the turn of the 20th century they jointly attacked the reformist theses of Eduard Bernstein, who had rejected the ideology of a revolutionary change, towards "revolutionary socialism". Zetkin was interested in women's politics, including the fight for equal opportunities and women's suffrage, she helped to develop the social-democratic women's movement in Germany. In 1907 she became the leader of the newly founded "Women's Office" at the SPD.
She contributed to International Women's Day. In August 1910, an International Women's Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by American socialists' actions, Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual International Woman's Day and was seconded by Zetkin, although no date was specified at that conference. Delegates agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women; the following year on 19 March 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland. However, Zetkin was opposed to the concept of "bourgeois feminism," which she claimed was a tool to divide the unity of the working classes. In a speech she delivered to the Second International in 1899 she stated: The working women, who aspire to social equality, expect nothing for their emancipation from the bourgeois women’s movement, which fights for the rights of women.
That edifice is built on sand and has no real basis. Working women are convinced that the question of the emancipation of women is not an isolated question which exists in itself, but part of the great social question, they realize clear that this question can never be solved in contemporary society, but only after a complete social transformation. She viewed the feminist movement as being composed of upper-class and middle-class women who had their own class interests in mind, which were incompatible with the interests of working-class women, thus and the socialist fight for women's rights were incompatible. In her mind, socialism was the only way to end the oppression of women. One of her primary goals was to get women out of the house and into work so that they could participate in trade unions and other workers rights organizations in order to improve conditions for themselves. While she argued that the socialist movement should fight to achieve reforms that would lessen female oppression, she was convinced that such reforms could only prevail if they were embedded into a general move towards socialism, otherwise, they could ea
International Workers' Day
International Workers' Day known as Workers' Day, May Day or Labour Day in some countries and referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes, promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day, an ancient European spring festival. The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886; the 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on "all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, for universal peace."The first of May is a national public holiday in many countries worldwide, in most cases as "Labour Day", "International Workers' Day" or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September.
Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labour movements grew, a variety of days were chosen by trade unionists as a day to celebrate labour. In the United States and Canada, a September holiday, called Labor or Labour Day, was first proposed in the 1880s. In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed a Labor Day holiday on the first Monday of September while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty US states celebrated Labor Day, thus by 1887 in North America, Labour Day was an established, official holiday but in September, not on 1 May. 1 May was chosen to be International Workers' Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago.
In that year beginning on 1 May, there was a general strike for the eight-hour workday. On 4 May, the police acted to disperse a public assembly in support of the strike when an unidentified person threw a bomb; the police responded by firing on the workers. The event lead to the death of eight and injury of sixty police officers as well as an unknown number of civilian killed or wounded. Hundreds of labour leaders and sympathizers were rounded-up and four were executed by hanging, after a trial, seen as a miscarriage of justice; the following day on 5 May in Milwaukee Wisconsin, the state militia fired on a crowd of strikers killing seven, including a schoolboy and a man feeding chickens in his yard. In 1889, a meeting in Paris was held by the first congress of the Second International, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne that called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891.
Subsequently, the May Day riots of 1894 occurred. The International Socialist Congress, Amsterdam 1904 called on "all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organisations of all countries to stop work on 1 May, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers." May Day has been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist and anarchist groups since the Second International. May Day is one of the most important holidays in communist countries such as the People's Republic of China, North Korea and the former Soviet Union countries. May Day celebrations in these countries feature elaborate workforce parades, including displays of military hardware and soldiers. In 1955, the Catholic Church dedicated 1 May to "Saint Joseph the Worker". Saint Joseph is the patron saint of craftsmen, among others.
During the Cold War, May Day became the occasion for large military parades in Red Square by the Soviet Union and attended by the top leaders of the Kremlin the Politburo, atop Lenin's Mausoleum. It became an enduring symbol of that period. Today, the majority of countries around the world celebrate a workers' day on 1 May. In Algeria, 1 May is a public holiday. 1 May is celebrated in Algeria as Labour Day and has been a paid bank holiday since 1962. 1 May is considered a paid holiday. The President of Egypt traditionally presides over the official May Day celebrations in Cairo. In Ethiopia, 1 May celebrated as the Worker's Day. 1 May is a holiday in Ghana. It is a day to celebrate all workers across the country, it is celebrated with a parade by trade unions and labour associations. The parades are addressed by the Secretary General of the trade union congress and by regional secretaries in the regions. Workers from different workplaces through banners and T-shirts identify their companies. In Kenya, 1 May celebrated as the Labour Day.
It is a big day addressed by the leaders of the workers' umbrella union body - Central Organisation of Trade Unions COTU. The Minister for Labour address the workers; each year, the government approves the minimum wage on Labour Day. International Workers' Day was declared a national public holiday by the National Transitional Council in 2012 the first year of the post-Qaddafi era. On 1 May 1978 Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar Al-Qaddafi addressed the nation
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It