Difference between WW1 and WW2


A lot of wars were fought during the 20th century. However, there are a couple of them that are thought to be bigger, or at least more famous than the others; World War 1 (First World War, WWI or WW1), which was fought from 1914 to 1918 and World War 2 (also known as Second World War, WW2 or WWII), which took place between 1939 and 1945. They both involved many of the most powerful armies in the world as well as alliances made between a lot of countries.

As for WWI, it took place in Europe. It was a confrontation between two groups, the Allies versus the Central Powers. The Allies were constituted by France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and the Russian Empire. The United States only became part of the Allies in 1817. As for the Central Powers, this group was constituted by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.

WWII on the other hand was a confrontation between the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan) and the Allies (France, Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China). This war is remembered mostly because of the genocide that the Jewish people suffered. This genocide was perpetrated by the Nazis.

Comparison Board




Dates WWI lasted for 4 years; from 1914, to 1918. WW2, on the other hand, lasted 6 whole years, from 1939 to 1945.
Predecessor/ Successor Napoleonic wars/ WW2 WW1/ Cold war
Also known as… The war to end all wars, the great war, the Kaiser’s war, the European war, first world war. Second world war, world war two, the great patriotic war.
Who was involved? There were two factions; the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungarian empire and the Ottoman Empire) versus the Allies (France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and the US) There were also two alliances confronted; the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan) versus the Allies (France, Britain, the US, the Soviet Union and China)
What caused it? The main reason or excuse behind WWI was de murder of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria, June 1914. There was also a combination of nationalism, militarism and imperialism that did not help either. Germany was in such bad shape after WWI, mostly because of the jarring conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. This crisis and instability facilitated the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Nature It was a war between countries. It was a war between ideologies.
  • (Estimated) Over 10 million military deaths.
  • (Estimated) Over 7 million civilian deaths.
  • (Estimated) Over 21 million wounded.
  • (Estimated) Around 7.7 million missing-imprisoned people.
  • (Estimated) Over 60 million deaths, although some say there were over 80 million deaths.
  • (Estimated) Between 38 and 55 million civilian deaths.
  • Between 13 and 20 million deaths from diseases and famine.
Was there genocide? Yes. The Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenians. Yes. The Nazi Germans committed genocide against the Jewish people.
Guns This war was fought from trenches. A lot of artillery and machine guns, infantry assault, tanks, airplanes and poisonous gas. For the first time, nuclear missiles were used. There were also submarines and tanks.
Results Russia, Germany Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires were defeated. The last two stop from existing. The war finished with a victory from the Allies.
Post-war political outcome As a result of the severity of the Treaty of Versailles, Adolf Hitler’s political party rose in Germany. Many believe the biggest consequence of WW1 was WW2. It was not related to WW2, but soon after WW2 ended, the Cold war began (USSR vs the US)