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PITCAIRN ISLANDS: Centenary of World War I (1914-1918)

PITCAIRN ISLANDS: Centenary of World War I (1914-1918)

World War I, also known as the Great War, was centred in Europe and began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. The conflict involved some 70 million military personnel, with 9 million casualties and saw the map of Europe redrawn. The war drew in all the world's great economic powers which assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (UK, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria – Hungary. These alliances were eventually joined by Italy, Japan and the United States of America (Allies) and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria (Central Powers).

Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria – Hungary. This set off a diplomatic crisis, with international alliances being invoked and within weeks the major powers were at war. By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro -Hungarian and Ottoman empires, ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The maps of Europe and much of the Middle East were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created. Four dynasties all fell after the war: the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, the Romanovs, and the Ottomans. Belgium and Serbia were badly damaged, as was France, with 1.4 million soldiers dead, not counting other casualties. Germany and Russia were similarly affected. A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for another seven months, until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on 28 June 1919, although most commemorations of the war’s end concentrate on the armistice of 11 November 1918.

The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim failed, with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the German feeling of humiliation contributing to the rise of fascism and the conditions for World War II.

The Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau has released this stamp issue to commemorate this world-changing conflict and acknowledges the sacrifice made by many.

WWI Anniversary Collectors Notes:
Designer Denise Durkin, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand
Process: Offset Litho
Stamp Size: 40.0 mm x 30.00 mm horizontal in die-cut miniature sheet.
Perforation Gauge: 14.00 x 14.00
Denominations: $1.00, $2.20 and $2.80
Paper: 103gsm Tullis Russell yellow/green phosphor gummed paper
Period of Sale: 28 July 2014 for a period of 2 years.
Acknowledgement: The Science and Society Picture Library, London and the
National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand.




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