Events In History


Life in the trenches

Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

  • Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

    Ever since 1917 Passchendaele has been a byword for the horror of the First World War. The assault on this tiny Belgian village cost the lives of thousands of New Zealand soldiers. But its impact reached far beyond the battlefield, leaving deep scars on many New Zealand communities and families.

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  • Page 2 – The battle for Messines

    The assault on Passchendaele was part of a vast Allied offensive launched in mid-1917, which, for New Zealanders, started with the Battle for Messines.

  • Page 3 – The Passchendaele offensive

    The failed attempt to capture the town of Passchendaele saw more New Zealanders killed in one day than in any other military campaign since 1840.

  • Page 4 – After Passchendaele

    Military events in Belgium after the Passchendaele offensive of October 1917, including the failed attack at Polderhoek


  • Allies

    The military alliance that fought against the Central Powers was known as the Allies. Initially this alliance was based around the four great powers of Russia, France, Japan and the British Empire, along with the smaller states of Serbia, Montenegro and Belgium that also went to war in 1914.

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  • Page 2 – Kingdom of Belgium

    Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Belgium during the First World War

First World War - overview

  • First World War - overview

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18.

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  • Page 2 - Origins of the warAs part of the British Empire, New Zealand was formally involved in the First World War (often referred to as the Great War) by the declaration of war on Germany by King George V

Supporting the war effort

  • Supporting the war effort

    Thousands of New Zealanders donated money, goods or time to help those affected by the First World War.

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  • Page 5 - Supporting Belgium: Queen Elisabeth MedalThe Belgian government created the Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth, or Queen Elisabeth Medal, to honour Belgian and foreign women who had performed outstanding services in aid of

First World War memorials

  • First World War memorials

    The New Zealand war memorials of the First World War have become part of the common fabric of our lives, like stop signs or lamp-posts. Virtually every township in the country has one, usually in the main street.

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  • Page 2 - Remembering the dead430 war cemeteries in Northern France, Belgium and the UK and more than 500 public memorials in New Zealand serve as permanent reminders of the terrible toll of the First World