Germany entered WWI alongside Austro-Hungary and, following the Schlieffen Plan, immediately began fighting against both France and Belgium to the West, as well as Russia in the east. After a quick advance towards Paris, the initial advance was halted by the Allies and 3 years of trench warfare would follow, causing huge amounts of casualties on both sides. In the east, Russia responded by invading East Prussia and Poland and forced Germany to pull extra troops from the Western Front to support their lines. As with their push into France, the Germans were now stuck in a prolonged conflict due to the rapid mobilisation of Russia's war machine. This lasted until 1917 when Russia's internal politics led them to push for an armistice and German troops were able to return to the Western Front, just in time to face fresh opposition as the USA entered the war. The combined Allied forces, plus the failure of the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918, shifted momentum away from Germany and they were pushed back through France and Belgium over the following months. On November 4th Austro-Hungary reached an armistice with the Allies, which combined with dwindling resources and discontent back in Germany, eventually forced the Germans to concede and finally the war ended on November 11th 1918.
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