People, Places, Dates

History and Archaeology are full of important people, places and dates. Here are some of the most important people, places and dates in the History of Essex.
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 43 AD
 410 AD
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 1066 AD
 1500 AD
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 1900 AD
Important Events

World War I

The first World War, known at the time as “the Great War”, broke out in 1914, when Franz Ferdinand, the Arch Duke of Austro-Hungary, was assassinated by a Serbian, Gavrilo Princip. Europe at this time was broken up into two groups of allied countries; the Triple Axis (or Central Alliance), of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy; and the Entente Cordiale (friendly alliance, or Triple Entente) of Russia, France and Great Britain.

Austro-Hungary threatened war with Serbia, who were supported by Russia, and as hostilities escalated both sides were drawn in. The German invasion of Belgium, with whom the British had an alliance, brought both Britain and France into war with Germany, and then with Austro-Hungary. What was anticipated, in Britain at least, as being “over in six months”, ended in four years of war, complicated in 1917 by the Russian revolution which pulled Russia out of the war.

Fortunately for Britain and France, Germany’s aggressive actions – such as the sinking of the liner Lusitania in 1915 with the loss of over 100 American lives – had affected Americans as well and the USA could not retain its neutral standing for much longer. In 1917 she joined the Allies.

After many years of fighting, in horrific conditions, all over the world, Germany finally surrendered and an armistice was signed on the 11th November 1918. Nearly a year later, the Treaty of Versailles would cement that peace – but only for the next twenty years.


World War II

The Second World War began in 1939 with the British declaring war on Germany. The British decision came after repeated warnings had failed to curb the violent and acquisitive tendencies of the Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler.

Hitler had already invaded Czechoslovakia, but it was his invasion of Poland that caused Britain, and her ally France, to realise that they could not negotiate a peace with Hitler. This time they could not find an ally in Russia, which was under the dictatorship of Josef Stalin. In fact, Russia and Germany had an agreement to divide up Poland between them.

The war lasted for 6 years, and during this time much of France was occupied by enemy forces. The USA were pulled into the war after Japan attacked the US Naval base at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. War continued in many countries across the world, though the Italians surrendered in 1943 after the death of the Italian dictator Mussolini. It was not until 1944 that the Allies invaded France, and eventually liberated Paris.

By 1945 the tide had officially turned on the Germans with the Russians, now on the Allies side, marching to Berlin. Hitler committed suicide and the Germans surrendered on the 7th May, but the war wasn’t over as the Japanese were still fighting. The American president sanctioned the dropping of atomic bombs on two Japanese targets, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan eventually surrendered in August of 1945.


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