The Great war of 1914-1918 was caused by many reasons, some which even begun a century before the war in 1914 begun…
Germany was a new nation as it was only formed in 1871; Kaiser Wilhem II craved more land and was jealous of Great Britain power, its large empire and the fact that Britain owned a quarter of the worlds land.
In 1871, the Prussians beat France in the Franco-Prussian War. As a result, France lost Alsace-Lorraine and was seeking revenge against Germany. Although Germany was aware of this, they still continued the Schlieffen plan to strategic plan for victory both on the Western Front against France and against Russia in the east, taking advantage of expected differences in the three countries’ speed in preparing for war.
The First Moroccan Crisis was caused by France trying to take control of Morocco in 1905. Germany protested towards France’s actions but lost the argument as France, Britain and Russia stuck together.
Six years later in 1911, the Second Moroccan Crisis, also known as the Agadir Crisis occurred. Hence, Morocco and France developed a relationship of protection and some control by superior power over Morocco.
The Balkan wars were a series of wars during the years of 1912-1913 involving the Balkan states and Turkey. As a Result, Serbia became the leading Balkan State. Serbia became a potential enemy on Austria’s Border.
The Balkans were an unstable group of countries because there wasn’t one country that ruled, often they were fighting for the power. The Balkans included Austria-Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Bonsia-Herzegovia(before Austria-Hungary took control) and Montenegro.
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Alliances were a major cause of world war one. The earliest alliance made was between Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1879. Later, Germany and Austria-Hungary made the Triple alliance with Italy in 1882. Russia, France and Britain completed a Triple Entente not long after.
Bulgaria shared aids with Austria-Hungary and The Ottoman Empire. Russia was a sole aid for Serbia and was the main reason that Russia was involved in the war.
Britain developed a foreign policy named ‘splendid isolation’. The term was to praise Britain lack of involvement in European affairs. Britain ended ‘splendid isolation’ by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902. After the ‘splendid isolation’ had ended Britain also begun to have relations with other European countries.
Austria-Hungary took full control of Bosnia Herzegovina in 1908; this event is known as the Bosnian Crisis. During this, Russia showed their support towards Serbia in contrast Germany which is allied with Austria-Hungary threatened war on Russia. Russia Backed down, postponing the beginning of World War One leaving the relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia strained.
Imperialism and Nationalism also had a big role in the causes of the Great War;
Imperialism was caused because many countries controlled large colonial empires, which led to colonial rivalry.
In the late 19th Century Nationalism developed, Europeans had a strong feeling of pride for their country; many also thought their country was superior to other countries.
The rise of education between the countries meant a higher literacy rate, this lead to people being able to read papers etc of what other countries were saying and doing during this time, this also lead to nationalism.
The arms race was when the countries rapidly increased their armies, navies and mainly weapons. Britain and Germany were constantly trying to do better than each other in weapons, which brought the dreadnaughts into the war. The Dreadnaught was a British ship that was much better and advanced than the traditional war ship, it had revolving turrets, thick armour plating and fast modern engines.
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Furthermore, the trigger of World War One also known as the Great War was the rivalry between Serbia and Austria-Hungary and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph II and a close friend of Kaiser Wilhem II.
The Archduke was assassinated by the Black Hand, which is a Serbian terrorist group, six member of the Black Hand on the 28th Of June, 1914 were trying to assassinate Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.
There were two attempts to assassinate the Archduke, one succeeded, Gavrilo Princip a Serbian Student at the time shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s neck and his wife Sophie’s stomach.
After the assassination, Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the death of Franz Ferdinand and sent an Ultimatum. Serbia refused as the conscience Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Consequently, the ‘domino effect’ occurred not long after, Germany supported Austria-Hungary and as Russia supported Serbia, Germany declared war on Russia and France declared war on Germany. A day after Great Britain declared war on Germany. Later, the other countries became involved in the war.
Therefore, the war was caused by many factors other than the assassination of Franz Ferdinand which many believe was the sole reason for the Great War. The main reasons were the rise in nationalism, imperialism, Militarism and Alliances.