Leaders of World War I

Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) German Empire

Wilhelm became emperor of the German Empire in 1888. He was a militaristic leader and competed with Britain and France to have the most battleships and colonies. In 1914 he encouraged the Austro-Hungarian Empire to take revenge for the Serbian attack on Franz Ferdinand.

Throughout WWI he was the Commander in Chief of the German armed forces. When Germany had no chance of winning the war by 1918, he abdicated on the 9 November, 1918.

Franz Josef I (1830-1916) Austro-Hungarian Empire

Franz Josef I ruled over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He decided to declare was on Serbia after the assassination of his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering a chain reaction which would lead onto the First World War. By the time of his death in 1916, his once mighty empire had fallen apart.

Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) France

From 1917 Clemenceau became Prime Minister of France, keeping French morale up and pushing the German Army back. Because of the devastation that France suffered by Germany, after the war he wanted to punish Germany severely. He wanted Germany to disband its army (making it defenceless) and to pay reparations (money to cover damages caused by war).

David Lloyd George (1863-1945) Great Britain

David Lloyd George became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1916. Britain was under the threat of starvation because German U-boats continued to destroy supply ships coming in from across the Atlantic Ocean. He encouraged a convoy system that slowed down the effects of this.

In 1919 he was in the middle of the harsh Georges Clemenceau (France) and the idealistic Woodrow Wilson (USA). Because Britain had received less damage by Germany’s hands than France, he helped to balance out the decision on how Germany would be punished.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) USA

Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States of America. He pushed Congress to enter the USA in the First World War in 1917. After the war he presented his 14 points. The last point was to form a ‘League of Nations’ which would ensure that a world war would never happen again. The USA however did not become a member!

As the United States had not felt the same destruction by Germany as France and to a lesser extent Britain, Wilson was the most idealistic and benevolent voice at the Treaty of Versailles.

Lenin (1870-1924) Soviet Union

Tsar Nicholas II had failed to keep Russia going during the First World War against Germany. In 1917, the situation was so bad that he abdicated and allowed a Provisional Government to take control.

In October of the same year Vladimir Lenin led a revolution taking assuming power under a Socialist system and pulling Russia out of the war.


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Daniel is a history geek who has written about all periods of history during his student days from Tokugawa Japan to the American revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As an illustrator and writer he combines history with a fun and intriguing graphical style. Now he presents a book series for children who have a curiosity about the world around them and its rich past, in the form of his new series 'Simple History'. Send your Fanmail to me! to: simplehistorybooks@gmail.com