What year did the First World War begin?
The First World War killed 17 million people, traumatised a generation, overturned old empires and changed the world's political order – and yet its origins often seem obscure. The immediate cause was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria-Hungary. His death at the hands of Gavrilo Princip – a Serbian nationalist with ties to the secretive military group known as the Black Hand – propelled the major European military powers towards war. When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States, a position favored by the vast majority of Americans.