Three World Wars, George Washington: British Soldier and Making the Air Force
Three World Wars
(1) In 1914, a war broke out in Europe that would be the biggest armed conflict the world had ever seen. It came to be known as World War I. Dozens of countries fought the war in battles across Europe, Asia, and Africa. World War II began in 1939. It was even bigger and more widespread than World War I. Millions of people died in World War I, and tens of millions of people died in World War II. But World War I was not the first conflict that involved all of the world's most powerful nations, in battlefields all over the world. The first world war actually happened in 1756. Countries still fight against each other in warfare, but World War II was the last world war. The three world wars caused horrible casualties and great destruction, but they are three of the most important events in the history of the world.
(2) World War I started with an assassination. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Archduke Ferdinand was from Austria, and his assassin was from Serbia. Austria joined with the country of Hungary during World War I. After the assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Soon, many other countries joined in the conflict. The bloody war lasted until 1918. Because of how devastating and deadly the war had been, it was called "The War to End All Wars." That name turned out to be very inaccurate.
(3) The main cause that led to the start of World War II, in 1939 was German aggression. Adolph Hitler, who led Germany at the time, thought that he had the right to take land from other countries and make that land part of Germany. In 1938, Hitler invaded Austria. Then he invaded Poland. Britain and France joined together in the war against Germany. Soon after, scores of other countries joined the war on both sides. It is hard to determine exactly how many casualties resulted from World War II, but most estimates say that nearly 100 million people died.
(4) The Seven Years War happened one and a half centuries before World War I. The Seven Years War was a battle between the most powerful countries in Europe. Countries fought battles on almost every continent. France and Britain even battled in the American colonies during the Seven Years War. The colonists called it the French and Indian War. But no matter what it was called, the Seven Years War was the first conflict between the most powerful countries on Earth that was fought all across the globe.
(5) Each of these World Wars had lasting effects on the entire World. World War I introduced deadly battlefield technology. Soldiers during World War I used machine guns, tanks, poison gas, and even airplanes. World War II was the deadliest war in history. It was also the only time that nuclear weapons have ever been used in war. The Seven Years War actually contributed to building America. After the Seven Years War, Britain became more powerful than any country in the World. Even with their important contributions to history, these were horrible wars. Hopefully there will never be a World War III. A fourth World War would definitely be the most devastating war yet.
George Washington: British Soldier
(1) Everyone should know who George Washington is. He was the first president of the United States and one of the country's Founding Fathers. He was a hero of the American Revolution. All of these facts should be common knowledge. But, what many people don't know is that before George Washington fought against the British, he fought as a soldier for the British.
(2) George Washington was born in Virginia, in 1732. That made him a British citizen since Virginia was a British colony in 1732. By 1776, Great Britain and its American colonies were engaged in a fierce war. American colonists wanted to become a separate country, but Great Britain did not want to lose part of its empire. Eventually, the colonies won the war and gained their freedom. General Washington led the colonial army to victory.
(3) The United States did not elect its first president until 1789. It was George Washington. He had defeated the British army, and he had become the first president of a brand new nation. Washington served two terms as president. After eight years, Washington refused to run for a third term. He returned to Virginia and a peaceful life.
(4) By the 1760's, there was a lot of tension between Great Britain and its American colonies, although before that, the relationship was much better. In 1754, war broke out in the colonies, between the French and the British. Washington was chosen to lead the Virginia militia. He was not actually part of the British Army, but he fought alongside the British Army. After the war, he even tried to join the British Army. He was turned down. Twenty years later, he would lead soldiers against that same British Army.
(5) Of course George Washington was a great patriot. He was one of the first great American patriots. The American colonists knew that. That's why they chose George Washington to lead them in war, and to govern in peacetime. He did both jobs very well. Many people might not consider that he was a loyal British citizen before he was an American general or an American president.
Making the Air Force
(1) The United States military is divided into distinct branches. Each branch has a specific purpose and mission statement that explains that purpose. "The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight, and win... in air, space, and cyberspace." That mission statement of Air Force describes technologies that are relatively new, just like the Air Force is.
(2) The Army, Navy, and Marines were all established in 1775 before the United States had even won it's independence from Great Britain. The Coast Guard was founded just 15 years later, but there was still no Air Force. The most obvious reason that the Air Force wasn't created in the 1700's is that there were no airplanes that long ago.
(3) The Wright Brothers flew their first airplane in 1902. At first, the military was not interested in airplanes, but airplanes did see service in World War I. The planes of World War I were primitive, but they proved to be valuable. The United States government considered making a separate military branch, but felt that the air power should be the Army's responsibility. This was because airplanes had only been used to support Army troops on the ground.
(4) By 1947, the world had seen World War II. Airplanes played a pivotal role in the war, and they did far more than support troops that were already on the ground. The government decided that it was time to create a whole new military branch. They had seen how important airplanes had been in World War II. On September 18, 1947, the United States Air Force was born.
(5) Today, the Air Force operates completely separate from the Army. It is the second largest branch of the United States military. It is, by far, the largest air force in the world. It has fighters, bombers, spy planes, and even satellites in space. It has a specific mission, unlike any other American military branch. The Air Force has come a long way in the last few decades. It will surely continue to grow and change in the coming decades.