World War I and World War II are two of the most important wars in modern history. World War I, also known as the First World War, The Great War or The War of the Nations, started in 1914 and continued until 1918. World War II, also known as the Second World War, started in 1939 and continued until 1945. They differ greatly in terms of the countries involved, causes, methods of warfare and number of casualties.
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The Central Powers in the First World War included Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. The Allied forces included France, Britain, Russia, Italy and Japan. The United States joined the World War I in 1917, three years after the start of hostilities. The Axis Powers in the Second World War included Germany, Italy and Japan. The Allied forces included France, Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
The causes of the First World War and the Second World War differ greatly. In 1914, there was great tension caused by the acquisition of colonies. This desire to expand empires with additional land and resources was the provocation for both sides. However, in 1939 there were huge differences in political ideology between the Axis Powers and Allied forces, with Nazism and fascism on the one side and democracy and Communism on the other. German aggression in Europe was also a primary factor in the outbreak of war.
Methods of Warfare
There was a great change in the weaponry used in World War II as compared to World War I. In World War I, trench warfare was the main type of combat, with guns and artillery being the main weapons used. Primitive methods of warfare, including the use of horses, were also featured during World War I. In World War II much more advanced technology was used. War machinery in the sea and air were also much more commonly used. Submarines and planes -- led by the large American bombers, the B17 and B29 -- fought some of the most important battles during World War II. Finally, the greatest technological advance of the age, the atomic bomb, was first used toward the end of the war to finally defeat Japan.
Number of Casualties
There were many more casualties during World War II than in World War I. This can mainly be attributed to the development of more devastating weaponry, which had the potential to affect larger areas and kill greater numbers of people. There were approximately 10 million deaths during World War I, and over 55 million during World War II.
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