2.67 million enlisted as volunteers, while 2.77 million enrolled as conscripts (although some volunteered after conscription was introduced and would most likely have been conscripted anyway). The army's monthly recruitment rates varied substantially. In the first year of the war, it averaged about 250,000 per month. By the end of 1918, when America entered the war, it was less than 100,000 per month.
The number of volunteers increased as more countries joined the war, but also because more young men were obliged to join up (or their parents had to find a substitute). There is evidence that the proportion of volunteers decreased among older men because they tended to come from wealthier families who could afford to lose them or who were unwilling to risk having their property taken away. In any case, by the end of the war, only 6% of soldiers were over 30 years old while 42% were under 20. Almost 75% were under 35.
After the initial surge, the number of volunteers began to decline steadily. By 1919, only 500,000 men were volunteering each month, compared with 2.1 million enlisted through conscription.
In conclusion, a large number of volunteers helped to win World War I but also because there were fewer and younger recruits available than in modern wars.
At the height of Red Cross wartime activities in 1945, 7.5 million volunteers and 39,000 paid employees served the soldiers. During the conflict, the Red Cross provided assistance to 16 million military men, including one million battle casualties. It operated 5,500 field hospitals and 1,600 cemeteries across Europe.
Volunteers helped in many ways during World War II. Some volunteered their time by working with injured veterans at hospital-based rehabilitation programs or by serving on public information panels about the war. Others gave their skills as pilots, mechanics, truck drivers, or other specialists. Still others donated blood, supplies, or money. The American Red Cross received more than 15 million hours of volunteer help during the war.
Women made up half of all wartime volunteers. They worked in jobs such as clerks, telephone operators, translators, and nurses. But many other women volunteered by taking over tasks that had been done by men - including duties as cooks, cleaners, mechanics, and soldiers' mothers. In fact, many women felt compelled to volunteer because they didn't want to be left out of the workplace when so much activity was needed during the war.
Children also contributed greatly during the war. Children's charities across the United States trained children in first aid and other lifesaving skills and sent them to Europe to work with wounded children.
Following the beginning of war in August 1914, Britain enlisted a massive voluntary citizen army. New recruits were then given months of basic training in camps around the country, where they learned what it meant to be a soldier. New officers learnt how to command their troops. And all soldiers received some form of medical attention during their time in the forces.
When the war ended in November 1918, millions of people around the world had died. But two great nations had been spared this fate - Britain and France. Their governments knew that they needed new ways to defend themselves against attack, so they turned to the experts - the generals who had commanded them into battle.
Britain's General Sir John Cowan was 70 years old when he retired in January 1916. He had been in charge of all British troops in India, where many young men had joined up to fight for their home country. Cowan was replaced by his younger brother, Lieutenant General Charles Cowan. The younger Cowan had also retired at age 70, but he was now sent back into combat as commander of the newly formed Eastern Expeditionary Force. It consisted of Indian Army units stationed in Egypt and Palestine.
France had a more complex system of recruitment. There were three main types of soldier: the conscript, the volunteer, and the émigré.
More than 10,000 guys enlisted on certain days. Hundreds of thousands had come forward by Christmas 1914, and this trend lasted far into 1915. Men from various socioeconomic groups and regions of the United Kingdom volunteered. This was in part because recruitment policies were not discriminatory. For example, anyone born between 1871 and 1895 could join up; no physical criteria other than age were required.
The number of volunteers exceeded expectations, and by early 1916 it was estimated that there were more than 600,000 men from Britain engaged in some capacity with the war effort. This included over 100,000 soldiers on the Western Front. About 40,000 of these were attached to British divisions, and another 30,000 worked in support roles such as engineers, doctors, and nurses. There were also large numbers of volunteers in other countries including India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Of those who joined up, only about one in five actually went to France or other parts of Europe. The rest worked in military offices, built roads, trains, and ships, supplied food to troops, and performed other tasks necessary for victory.
Women also played an important role in the British war effort. Some worked in factories turning out ammunition and weapons, others in hospital wards taking care of the injured.
There are 60 million soldiers. 10 million died: war deaths worldwide since 1945. About 3% of the population at the time.
WW1 began on August 14, 1914 when Germany declared war on France and Russia. Two months later, Italy joined the war on Austria-Hungary. World War 1 lasted for four years and involved all the major powers of Europe: Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Japan.
It started as a European conflict but soon spread to other parts of the world. Indeed, colonies and states with economic ties to one or more of the European countries got involved in the war. These include: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.
Additionally, several non-European countries entered the war after it became clear that they would be able to influence the outcome in favor of one of the European camps: America, China, India.
Finally, there were some small territories and islands that joined the war despite having no control over their own military policy: Guam, Haiti, Samoa, Tunisia, Turkey.
These different groups of people fought or served in WW1.