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1 Aug, 2009 07:42

WW1: 95 years on. Lessons learnt from history?

It’s 95 years since Russia entered World War One. Memorial services in commemoration of those who died during the four-year conflict are to take place in Moscow.

The war was a great watershed of 20th Century history. Three major empires – Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian – ceased to exist.

When the fighting began, Russia was ruled by Tsar Nicholas II, and ended as a Communist state.

To that time the bloodiest world conflict, which left over 10 million people dead, laid the foundation for the WW2. And today, historians warn that current heads of state haven't learned from the mistakes of the past.

“The world refuses to take heed of the experience accumulated as a result of the First World War, and, in a major way, the Second World War,” said Dmitry Movsyakov, a historian.

“The leaders of many countries – in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the post-Soviet space – are still convinced that a minor local war – a conflict – can solve their existing differences and give them the advantages they strive for,” he added.

The formal cause for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo by a Serbian activist on June 28, 1914.

A month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. On July 29, Russia, Serbia's ally, ordered the mobilization of its troops.

On August 1, Germany, an ally of Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia and demanded the neutrality of Russia's ally France, which the latter refused to give and subsequently mobilized.