A viewer who has watched this series from the beginning is liable to start wondering by the 25th episode, "Whatever happened to Austria, Italy, and the Balkans?" Except for the first one or two episodes the emphasis has been almost exclusively on Britain and Germany on the Western front.
Finally, an answer. The Austrian Army attacked the Serbs and were beaten back with the help of the Russians, who felt a bond with Serbia because they were both Slavs. In other words, two countries are capable of getting together and killing people of other countries because the two countries speak similar languages and feel a sentimental bond of blood. Of course, by now, we realize that almost anything will serve to start a war -- blood bonds, languages, religion, envy, revenge, disagreements over historical facts, boredom. I'd add human nature to that list. We need to take a better look at our limbic systems. (Is it somehow "fun" to find an enemy and kill him?)
Italy was motivated by promises of post-war territorial expansion but the Italians were Luke warm about the notion and their leadership was terrible. In trying to move over the Alps into Austria, they were defeated at the battle of Caporetto. The narration doesn't say it, but this is where Erwin Rommel won his Knight's Cross and Ernest Hemingway, an ambulance driver for the Italians, was wounded.
In the end, the Allies prevailed. The enemy had completely run out of steam, food, supplies, and men. Bulgaria capitulated, then Austria-Hungary. "The iron thrones are falling," is from a letter written by a British officer.
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