The Great War in Numbers tells the complete story of World War I – from outbreak to conclusion – and the fragile peace that followed. It was a war unlike any other before it, with a number of firsts along the way. Seventy-milliion men were mobilised to fight around the world, from the trenches of the Western Front to the Middle East and Africa. There were more bullets fired, more bombs dropped, more men killed, more money borrowed and spent than in any war before. It was a war of numbers: men, ammunition, food – quantity was the difference between victory and defeat, and for the first time in human history, everything was recorded in exacting detail: 762,000 Britons enlisted in the first four weeks of the war; 980,000 ‘war’ horses shipped to Europe from America; the life expectancy of a WW1 pilot was only 15 flight hours; the cost of bullets for one day of fighting in 1918 was £3,800
Season 01, Episode 01 – “Men on the March”
The opening episode tells the story of the outbreak of war in 1914. In the decades since the last European War the world changed. In Europe and America industrialisation has created unprecedented wealth, for some. At the same time the Empires of Britain, France, Russia and Germany have carved up the globe. The British Empire is the largest the world has ever seen ruling over a quarter of the world’s population. But despite their vast territories and immense wealth, the imperial powers are still not satisfied. When two shots are fired in Sarajevo in the summer of 1914, killing the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife, it pits Empire against Empire and engulfs the world in a conflict that will eventually claim 18 million lives.