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Sparked in the Balkans as a result of European nationalism and imperial rivalries, the first world war raged from July 1914 to November 1918. It pitted the 48 million soldiers of the Allies – led by the French, British and Russian empires – against the 26 million soldiers of the Central Powers – led by the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, who lost the war. It was a truly global conflict fought on battlefields across the world, but also on the home front – in people’s living rooms, fields and factories.