The British Empire, constituted with United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, was a principal participant in the First World War and one of the first involved in the conflict, drawn into the war after the German invasion of Belgium, a violation of the 1841 Treaty of London, in which the great powers of Europe guaranteed Belgian neutrality and territorial integrity.
The British Empire was with France, Kingdom of Belgium, Kingdom of Italy, Kingdom of Serbia, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Romania, Russian Empire and United States, the principal actor of WW1 in the side of the Entente. The British Empire is known for his implication in the war especially trough his involvement in the field of weaponry, british were the first one to build and use tanks on the battlefield.
The British Crown declared war to the German Empire directly after the invasion of the Belgian territory, an ultimatum was imposed to the country to let the german imperial forces crossing the land to flank the french army, the King Albert I, who had excellent diplomatic relations with the King Georges V (Sovereign of the British Empire), refused it and the gear of alliance pushed the British Empire to declare war on the germans.
Unlike France and Germany, Britain didn't installed a forces enrollment system, the soldiers were volunteers, even if the Major state led by Marshall Douglas Haig used a heavy propaganda. The BEF (British Expeditionary Forces) was so constituted with volunteers until 1916 when British Empire had to remedy the lack of soldiers for the news offensives of this year.
Directly after the BEF was operational, the British fought in Belgium at Charleroi and Tournai to contain the german breakthrough in 1914. As the french army, they had to retreat and stopped the invasion of Paris at the First battle of the Marne. The following year of 1915 include bloody attempts the take the germans trenches in Loos and in the region of Artois but also the great battle of Dardanelle's Strait and along the Suez Canal against the Ottoman Empire, having as goal to get the hand on the petrol for the new machines that will seal the destiny of the war. In 1916 the British Empire showed his true power by dominate the seas with their fleet and by leading the first tank offensive of the history at the Battle of the Somme, were the casualties were not calculated and the result unexpected. The two last years of the war brought the British Empire to deploy a huge number of man from the "White Dominions" to operate by fast strikes, especially with Scottish scout troops and Canadians assault squad. They finally managed to contain the last german attack on the Second Battle of the Marne (Kaiserschlacht). Victory was gained few months later.
Today United Kingdom and all their former colonies still grant respect and hommage to all their lost in the Great War as many memorial throughout Belgium and France show it. The British Empire, who reached the top of his power and influence in 1918, engaged nearly 8 800 000 soldiers (including man from Africa and all the Commonwealth).
In the game, it is represented with three squads, ordered by introduction:
- For the squad, see Canadians.
During the time of the First World War, Canada (or formally, the Dominion of Canada) was a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, meaning that it had control over domestic policy in a Parliament elected to Ottowa, but its foreign policy was controlled by the Crown at Westminster. Before 1949, the modern-day province of Newfoundland was a separate dominion, and apart from Canada proper.
The declaration of war in 1914 applied to the whole of the British Empire, who owned 25% of the land, immediately drawing in dominions like Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa into the conflict as well.
Here are the most popular British soldiers, generals or civilians who served during the war : J R R Tolkien, Marshal John French, Winston Churchill, Edith Cavel, Lord Kitchener