Living history actors in World War I uniforms reenact the liberation of Mons, Belgium, during Armistice commemorations, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Sunday marks exactly 100 years since the end of the First World War. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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PARIS: Empires would fall, regions reconfigure, new countries form: the end of World War I overhauled the global balance of power and redrew the maps of Europe and the Middle East.At the outbreak of war in 1914, the Habsburg dynasty's Austro-Hungarian empire – which had dominated central Europe for five centuries – stretched from Switzerland to Ukraine, grouping within it a dozen nationalities and more than 52 million people.By the end of the conflict, the empire had exploded into several new countries, amid a nationalist fervor for autonomy.The Paris Conference of 1919, where the final post-war peace treaty was reached, recognized the new countries and also resulted in the birth of Poland, previously divided between Austria and Russia.When Ottoman sultan Mehmed V proclaimed the "holy war" against France, Britain and Russia in November 1914, siding with the Central Powers, his empire had already lost most of its European possessions.The Ottoman defeat in World War I led to the final break-up of the once-mighty empire.
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