The Great War at Its Centenary
The First World War, also known as the Great War, broke out in July 1914. It is estimated that nearly 65 million military personnel were mobilized by the Central Powers led by Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire and the allies of the Triple Entente led by Great Britain, France and Russia. Technological advances enabled these industrial powers to create lethal new weapons such as poison gas, tanks and submarines, which produced horrific casualty rates: up to 30 million of combatants and civilians were wounded and died in what was one of the largest and most violent conflicts in history. Following a series of defeats on the battlefield in 1918, the Central Powers came under increasing military and political pressure. Realising conditions were not in its favour and facing growing social unrest at home, Germany agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, and the war finally came to an end.
The Great War that changed the world order is revisited through exhibits like news publications, postcards, fund-raising posters, commemorative medals and guns from the war period, along with valuable historical photos and film footage. The exhibition also reveals the far-reaching impact the war had on modern China and Hong Kong at the political, military and social levels. In commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War this year, let us reflect on the heavy price paid for war, and appreciate the value of world peace.