The World War I Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
The World War I Quiz
Image: Derek Bayes Aspect/Corbis

About This Quiz

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the event that launched the world into a war that would span more than four years and occupy every ocean and nearly every continent of the world. But do you know which terrorist group was responsible for the assassination of Ferdinand?

This was the war that pitted the Central Powers (Germany. Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire) against the eventual winners, the Allied forces. But with advancements in warfare strategy and military technology, more than 16 million people, soldier and civilian alike, died by the end of the war, leaving many to wonder if there ever was a winner. 

This was the war to end all wars, yet would sadly be repeated with even worse carnage 20 years later. How much do you know about the first world war? Well, you're about to test your limits. Do you know which weapon discovered by the Greeks was never implemented in warfare until World War I? Or, can you recall the nickname for the famous German fighter ace later parodied by a comical dog?

The history of World War I is a horrific time in history, but thanks to buffs like you, we'll be cautioned against repeating the past. Are you ready to arm the trenches and take up this quiz? It's time to lead the attack!



What event is credited with starting the conflict that led to WWI?
the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria started the world on the road to war.
the end of Britain's isolationism
changing alliances in Russia

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Author Hugh Lofting wrote about what beloved character to help his children escape, even temporarily, the horrors of war?
Winnie-the-Pooh
Dr. Dolittle
Lofting first penned stories about Dr. Dolittle in illustrated letters to his children.
Paddington Bear

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War is an expensive enterprise, in dollars, in the cost of human life and in the destruction of property. In cold hard cash, what was the U.S. bill for participation in WWI?
$300 million
$8.5 billion
$32 billion
Best estimates place the total at around $32 billion. To put that into perspective, the figure is a little over half of the U.S. gross national product (GNP) for the period.

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Who came up with the famous description, "the war to end all wars"?
Harry Truman
Kaiser Wilhelm
Woodrow Wilson
The famous phrase is a quote from Woodrow Wilson.

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WWI was often referred to as the "Great War," but after its conclusion, peace didn't last long. How many years elapsed between WWI and WWII?
20
There was a 20-year gap between WWI and WWII. Numerous experts believe sanctions imposed on Germany and other lingering issues helped set the groundwork for WWII.
24
27

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Two warring groups of partnered nations were the key players in the WWI conflict. What were these two groups called?
the AFF and the German Alliance
the Allied Powers and the Central Powers
The two groups were the Allied Powers (e.g., Britain, France, Italy, Russia) and the Central Powers (e.g., Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria).
the European Union and the Ottoman Empire

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During WWI, British tanks were gender specific. How?
All tanks were operated by women.
Female designated tanks were smaller than male tanks.
Female tanks were outfitted with machine guns; male tanks had cannons.
In the lexicon of war, the big guys sport the most firepower. For the British, that meant female tanks were outfitted with machine guns and male tanks had cannons.

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Who was U.S. President during WWI?
Franklin Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
That would be Woodrow Wilson. He manned the Oval Office from 1913 to 1921.
Harry S. Truman

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Russia is widely believed to have had the largest military during the war. How many soldiers were in the Russian army?
8 million
12 million
Russia's army was made up of approximately 12 million soldiers. Its military sustained heavy losses during the war. An estimated 1.7 million soldiers were killed, and 4.9 million were wounded.
14 million

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Before the widespread use of motorized vehicles, animals like horses, donkeys and mules were used for transportation, even during war. About how many horses were killed as a direct result of WWI fighting?
1 million
5 million
8 million
Best estimates place the figure at 8 million.

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What was Big Bertha?
a tank
a gun
Germany's Big Bertha was a howitzer style gun that lobbed high elevation shells. Don't let the cute name fool you. This behemoth could fire a 2,200-pound shell a distance of 9 miles.
a ship

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A shortage of steel during WWI resulted in the production of ships made of what material?
wood
concrete
That would be concrete. Some specimens from that period are still in existence today.
aluminum

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Why are tanks called — tanks?
They looked like steel water tanks.
The first military tanks looked a little like the steel water tanks of the time — and a new name was born.
They were named after inventor Bertrand Tanker.
They were named for the sound their treads made.

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How many soldiers died during WWI?
four million
eight million
Although there is some dispute among different sources, there were an estimated eight million military deaths.
eleven million

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In total, how many countries were eventually involved in WWI?
24
27
32
The conflict would grow to include at least 32 nations.

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WWI, dubbed the Great War, lasted how many years?
4
It began on July 28, 1914 and ended November 11, 1918. All told, the war lasted four years, three months and two weeks.
7
9

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Two types of critters were used extensively to carry messages during the war. Name them.
pigeons and dogs
Pigeons and dogs both participated in the war effort by carrying messages across enemy lines.
pigeons and dolphins
crickets and dogs

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Becoming a flying ace was an accomplishment. To achieve it, how many planes would a pilot have to shoot down?
three
five
To ace this one, a pilot would have to shoot down five enemy aircraft.
ten

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The June 1914 political murder of Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife by a Serbian terrorist started the war. What terrorist group was behind the attack?
Black Hand
That would be the Serbian secret society known as the Black Hand.
Cosa Nostra
Serbian Annex

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Soldiers aren't the only casualties in war. What was the estimated number of civilian deaths in WWI?
2.4 million
4.8 million
6.6 million
The number stands at around 6.6 million.

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What was the dreaded German U-boat?
a destroyer
dirigible
a submarine
The German U-boat, or unterseeboot, was a submarine.

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How many ships did German U-boats sink during the four years of the conflict?
4,202
6,596
A total of 274 U-boats sank an estimated 6,596 ships.
7,250

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A weapon of mass destruction in WWI may have been modest by modern standards, but could still be lethal. What common weapon used in the war could fire 600 rounds of ammunition in 60 seconds.
machine gun
A machine gun of the time could fire 600 rounds in 60 seconds.
howitzer
M1911 Browning

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On the home front, hamburger became an unpopular name for ground beef because of its association with Hamburg, Germany. What new name became popular for a ground beef steak?
beef patty
Salisbury steak
The popular ground beef steak was rechristened the Salisbury steak.
patty melt

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What was arguably the most devastating new chemical weapon used in the war?
mustard gas
First used in WWI, mustard gas (sulfur mustard) is a cytotoxin that causes irritation and blistering to the skin and lungs.
radiation
cyanide

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What is the estimated number of war casualties from the use of poison gas?
250,000
500,000
The use of poison gas resulted in an estimated 500,000 casualties over the course of the war.
1 million

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During and after the war, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was referred to by what common name?
shell shock
Shell shock was the early 20th century term used to refer to what we now know as PTSD.
mean blues
war willies

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Pigeons were useful messengers during the war, often carrying messages back and forth multiple times. About how many pigeons worked for the allied war effort?
250,000
500,000
That would be around 500,000.
1 million

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The British ocean liner RMS Lusitania is the most famous victim of a German U-boat assault. After it was torpedoed, how long did it take for the Lusitania to sink?
15 minutes
The 44,060 ton Lusitania sank in 15 minutes.
1 hour
5 hours

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A common malady during WWI, trench foot is what type of condition?
wearing shoes with holes in them
broken toes
a foot infection
Trench foot is an infection, usually of the tissues on and around the foot. It is caused by prolonged exposure to dirty water or mud, and characterized by itching, pain and swelling. In the later stages, it can cause numbness, the formation of blisters and necrosis.

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