Table of contents:
The First World War was an event that turned the whole world upside down. It all started with the declaration of war on Serbia by Austria-Hungary on July 28, 1914 and ended with the surrender of Germany on November 11, 1918. And as sad as it may sound, but during this unpleasant period of time, many legendary and famous figures associated with the First World War appeared, who turned human consciousness, becoming heroes for some, and enemies for others.
These include Gavrilo Princip, who was mainly responsible for starting the war due to his assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Red Baron, the German fighter pilot who had eighty victories in aerial combat, the legendary Mata Hari who became synonymous with the seductive spy woman, Wilfred Owen is arguably the most famous war poet and many others who have made history.
1. Gavrilo Principle
Gavrilo Princip was the man responsible for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. The two shots he fired changed the course of human history, starting a catastrophic chain of events that led in part to the outbreak of World War I. As a supporter of South Slavic nationalism, the young man strove with all his might to destroy the Austro-Hungarian domination in the Balkans and unite the South Slavic people into a Federative Nation. As a Bosnian Serb, he believed that Serbia, as a free Slavic state, was obliged to help in this matter. Obsessed with his ideas and desires, Gavrilo entered a secret society called "Blank Hand" and studied there under the leadership of the head of the intelligence department of the Serbian army, who enjoyed the special support of the Serbian state.
In 1914, Princip was one of three men sent by Dragutin Dimitrievich, head of the Black Hand, to assassinate the Archduke. On June 28, he, together with his accomplices, built a route along the Appel embankment, which the archduke's cavalcade was supposed to pass. The first attempt by Nejelko Kabrinovich failed, but upon his return from the mayor's office, Gavrilo had the opportunity to kill Franz Ferdinand, the alleged heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at close range. It was this event that pushed Europe into a diplomatic battle known as the July Crisis, and finally into World War I. For the crime committed, Princip was arrested and brought to trial in Sarajevo. Sentenced to twenty years in prison, in 1918 he died of tuberculosis in a prison hospital.
2. Grigory Rasputin
Among the most controversial figures in Russian history is Grigory Rasputin. He was a peasant from Siberia with a reputation as a healer with prophetic powers. At the age of eighteen, he went to a monastery in Verkhoturye, where he was introduced to the secret sect of the Khlysty (flagellants). Rasputin left after a few months, got married and had three children. However, the marriage did not calm him, and he became a wanderer, traveling in Greece, the Middle East and Jerusalem. Rasputin's travels brought him to Petersburg in 1903. And he ended up at the court of Tsar Nicholas II because of his supposed healing ability. The only son of the royal family and heir to the throne, Alexei Nikolaevich suffered from hemophilia, which caused great pain to the family. Rasputin miraculously healed the boy, thereby gaining the indestructible support of Empress Alexandra and a bridgehead at the very top of Russian society.
However, Rasputin's dissolute morals, his drunkenness and other quirks soon began to play a role, making him the talk of the town. The royal family seemed to be mesmerized by him, and this worried many people. When World War I broke out in 1914, Rasputin opposed Russia's entry and predicted the country's demise. In 1915, the Tsar's accession to the post of commander-in-chief left internal affairs in the hands of Tsarina Alexandra and her adviser Rasputin. This angered many even more, and Rasputin was called a German spy, an insane monk and a molester of the imperial family. Several attempts were made to take Gregory's life, but none of them were successful until 1916, when close members of the royal family conspired and killed him. The last prophecy of Rasputin had not yet been revealed, shortly before his death he wrote to Nicholas II, predicting that if he was killed by government officials, the entire imperial family would be killed by the Russian people.
3. Red Baron
Manfred von Richthofen, better known as "The Red Baron", was a fighter pilot in the German Air Force. But initially a cavalryman, Richtofen served on the Eastern and then on the Western Front. When the trench war broke out on the Western Front, the cavalry ceased to be relevant, and Manfred was transferred to the communications corps. In 1915, he volunteered for the air service as an observer, where he learned to fly over the next few months. He became one of the first members of the Jagdstaffel 2 fighter reconnaissance squadron in 1916.
Later, as a pilot, Manfred painted his plane red, thereby firmly securing the nickname Red Baron. Thus, it could be seen from afar. As the leader of the Ace of aces, Manfred quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became the leader of the Jasta 11 and then the larger Jagdgeschwader 1 fighter squadron, known at the time as the Flying Circus due to its bright colors. aircraft. In nineteen months (1916-1918) as a fighter pilot, Richthofen shot down eighty aircraft, making him a legendary hero in his country. But in April 1918, during the First World War, his plane was shot down near Vaux-sur-Somme, which led to the death of the Red Baron.
4. Thomas Edward Lawrence
Known for his cohesive role in the Sinai-Palestinian campaign and for helping the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Edward Lawrence was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat and writer. An architect and archaeologist, Lawrence was a regular visitor to the Middle East and Egypt in the pre-war years, making him a strategically valuable post-war fighter. Following the outbreak of hostilities, Lawrence was appointed as an intelligence officer in Cairo in December 1914. Intelligence maintained contact with Sharif Hussein, the emir of Mecca, who negotiated with the British and offered to lead the Arab uprising against the Ottomans. In 1916, when the Arab uprising broke out, Lawrence was sent to the Arab army by Hussein's son Faisal as a liaison officer, where he played an effective role in the guerrilla war against the Turkish lines.
The Arab world was liberated by the end of the war, but Lawrence's hope that the peninsula would be united into a single nation was dashed. Allied double deals and Arab factionalism disappointed him, and he left for England, where he refused the honors offered to him. It is worth noting the fact that Lawrence became a legendary figure during his lifetime. After the war, he lobbied for the independence of the Arab countries, wrote his military memoir "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and joined the RAF. And in 1962, a historical film based on real events in his life, Lawrence of Arabia, won seven Academy Awards, making him a household name.
5. Mata Hari
Born Margareta Gertrude Zelle in the Netherlands, Mata Hari was the archetype of a seductive spy woman. After an unsuccessful marriage with an army man more than twenty years her senior, Mata Hari moved to Paris in 1905. Here she became the mistress of a French diplomat. Margareta gained a superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances while in Malaysia with her ex-husband, making them a part of her life and a comfortable existence. After completing her dramatic transformation from a military wife to the siren of the East, she came up with her stage name "Mata Hari", which means "Eye of the Day" in the Indonesian dialect.
Mata Hari soon rose to prominence, drawing crowds of admirers and fans overflowing dance halls and opera houses. Among her admirers were politicians and high-ranking military personnel of various nationalities. In 1916, when she was nearly forty years old, Mata Hari accepted a lucrative offer to spy for France from Georges Lada, head of French military intelligence during World War I. She planned to use her connections to seduce the German high command. The facts surrounding her espionage activities remain unclear, but she was identified as a German spy in intercepted German communiqués by the French. This made her a double agent and led to her arrest in February 1917. The judicial-military process was riddled with bias and circumstantial evidence, as a result, Margareta was accused of divulging a new Allied weapon, namely the tank, and was found guilty. And on October 15, 1917, before being shot, she abandoned the bandage and blew a kiss to the soldiers a few moments before her death.
Continuing the theme - the story of the one that marked the beginning of the First World War.