Why was WW1 called a world war?

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I’ve been thinking about it and as far as I know WW1 was essentially just a war between European great powers and their overseas colonies, where almost all of the war was in Europe and in a smaller amount in the middle east. Some independent countries in other continents declared war on the central powers but most didn’t really do anything else. Why is it considered a world war?

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7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Nearly the whole world beside maybe most of South America was a either a party to the war or a colony of a power part of the war. [This shows it pretty well.](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/WWI.png)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Is short, at the time it was not called WW1 it was known as the Great War, or the War of 1914. After 1945, historians found the term “First World War” appropriate because they saw 1914-1918 as the first of a particular type of international conflict – the world’s first industrialised “total” war – which had been followed by a second industrialised world war of this kind – 1939-1945.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because before WWI most wars were just between 2 belligerents or 2 groups of kingdoms and fought in a geographically small area. WWI was the first time huge alliances were forged and involved every continent.

Anonymous 0 Comments

During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Canada, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers)…13 of the most powerful countries fighting a war…I don’t know, seems like a world war to me…

Anonymous 0 Comments

It was originally known as “The Great War”.

It got labeled in the history books after WW2 since it involved many of the same nations and it was a significant war.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I really want to emphasise what “Europe, some allies, and some colonies” looked like during World War I.

**Here’s a list of every country that participated in WWI.** ([source](https://www.thoughtco.com/countries-involved-in-world-war-1-1222074)) They may have provided troops, supplies, or natural resources. They may have volunteered these things, or been required to provide them because of colonisation. Some of these countries were invaded or plundered for resources by warring countries.

It’s a long list:

**Africa:** Algeria, Angola, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Belgian Congo, British East Africa (Kenya), British Gold Coast, British Somaliland, Cameroon, Cabinda, Egypt, Eritrea, French Equatorial Africa, Gabon, Middle Congo, Ubangi-Schari, French Somaliland, French West Africa, Dahomey, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauretania, Senegal, Upper Senegal and Niger, The Gambia, German East Africa, Italian Somaliland, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South West Africa (Namibia), Southern Rhodesia, Togoland, Tripoli, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zanzibar.

**Americas:** Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, British Guiana, British Honduras, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Newfoundland, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S.A, and West Indies.

**Asia:** Aden, Arabia, Bahrain, El Qatar, Kuwait, Trucial Oman, Borneo, Ceylon, China, India, Japan, Persia, Philippines, Russia, Siam, Singapore, Transcaucasia, and Turkey.

**Australasia:** Auckland, Austral Islands, Australia, Bismarck Archipelago, Bounty, Campbell, Caroline Islands, Chatham Islands, Christmas, Cook Islands, Ducie, Elice Islands, Fanning, Flint, Fiji Islands, Gilbert Islands, Kermadec Islands, Macquarie, Malden, Mariana Islands, Marquesas Islands, Marshal Islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, New Zealand, Norfolk, Palau Islands, Palmyra, Paumoto Islands, Pitcairn, Philippines, Phoenix Islands, Samoa Islands, Solomon Islands, Tokelau Islands, and Tonga.

**Europe:** Albania, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Turkey.

**Atlantic Islands:** Ascension, Sandwich Islands, South Georgia, St. Helena, and Tristan da Cunha.

**Indian Ocean Islands:** Andaman Islands, Cocos Islands, Mauritius, Nicobar Islands, Reunion, and Seychelles.

Anonymous 0 Comments

OP: The European and their colonies made up the vast majority of the world

[https://www.thoughtco.com/countries-involved-in-world-war-1-1222074](https://www.thoughtco.com/countries-involved-in-world-war-1-1222074)

Basically everywhere but south america was fully engulfed in the war. Some countries were ‘bigger participants’ than others. Until this point wars were more localized even ‘wide reaching ones’ (the crusades) were still mostly regionally focused with local ‘outsiders’ having a slight trickle in. Maybe there were some mercenaries (The Varangian Guard) from outside the major war zone

WW1 was a mess that involved pretty much everyone everywhere. Most of the major battles occurred in Europe but wherever you lived you were involved even if only because your king swore to send troops to the Allied Power half the world away. This occurred because alliances became silly at that point. Practically any regional power being upset with any other regional power could have been the ‘straw that broke the camels back’ and started the fire

For a nerdy video game example look to shogun 2 when the realm divide triggers. Instead of everyone fighting back and forth and having minor disputes instantly lines are drawn 1 mass force against the other