But they did not call it that then.
This isn’t actually the anniversary of the war, but it is the wedding anniversary plus one month of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, and the day the two of them were assassinated by Mlada Bosna. Today, one month later one hundred years ago, the first of several declarations of war was made, by Austria-Hungary against Serbia. After that, it gets very complicated.
By the end, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and the German Empire did not exist any more. The German colonies around the world were lost to Germany. The war was fought across Europe and Asia, in many parts of Africa, and even a little bit in the New World. Had things gone slightly differently, the US and Mexico may well have resumed hostilities, and if Mexico prevailed, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico might be Mexican states today. Over forty countries were involved on the “allied” side (or affiliates of the allies) though many on paper. The “Central Powers” (the bad guys) included a minimum of seven countries, depending on what you count exactly as a country. (The Ottoman Empire included a bunch of states.)
About ten million military personnel were killed in the war, but the number “missing” is almost as large, about 7.5 million. (over 20 million wounded). About seven million civilians were killed. It is almost certain that the Pandemic of 1918 was caused by the war. That killed between 50 and 100 million people.
Let’s assume the worst. 18 million killed in the war plus imma add 5 million untimely deaths following it from those wounded, and 100 milli0n for the flu, to come up with a total of 123 million people. That’s close to 7% of the world’s population at the time, but concentrated unevenly. The war plus the flu in France (where the war was a much much larger factor) deleted nearly 7 million out of about 40 million, or 18%. Those numbers are very rough estimates.
Verily, it was the war to end all wars. Except it didn’t.
So, Unhappy Anniversary.