Causes of World War 1
Length: 565 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
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It was directly triggered by the assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, on 28th June 1914 by Bosnian revolutionary, Gavrilo Princip. This event was, however, simply the trigger that set off declarations of war.
The actual causes of the war are more complicated and are still debated by historians today. Causes of the war also dealt with such ideologies as Nationalism, Imperialism and militarism along with the prominent alliance systems and the naval race. One of the main causes of the First World War is Kaiser Wilhelm 11.
Kaiser Wilhelm 11
One of the causes of the outbreak of the war was Kaiser Wilhelm 11 ambitious aim. He had many aims but his main aim is to make Germany the superior.
The German Kaiser was extremely envious of Britain for having a larger navy than that of Germany's and ordered the production of new Dreadnought-class battleships. Britain responded to the Germans attempt to equal its navy by creating a navy so large and powerful that no other nation's navy would ever contemplate an attack. This head-to-head production period was known as the "Arms Race" and created more tension between the two nations.
a system of military alliances was formed to provide European powers with a sense of security.
There were two rivalling alliances
The Triple Alliance consisted of the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary that had existed since 1879 when Bismarck had befriended the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the agreement, both countries pledged that they would go to the aid of the other if attacked by Russia. This was done to ensure that Germany would always have an allied nation on its border if war were to occur. Italy later joined this alliance in 1882, which remained in tact until the beginning of World War I. The conditions of the alliance changed after Italy was added and stated that countries would aid any other that was under attack from two or more countries.
The other alliance: The Triple Entente, was made up of Great Britain, France and Russia. As a result of Germanys build-up in naval resources, Great Britain was forced to abandon its isolation policy and adopt allies. France joined Great Britain in 1904. Unlike the Triple alliance, this agreement contained no promises of military support, although the two powers began to talk of joint military plans. The Triple Entente was completed when Russia joined in 1907.
A country hoped to discourage an attack from its enemies by entering into a military agreement with one or more other countries. In case of an attack, such an agreement guaranteed that other members of the alliance would come to the country's aid or at least remain neutral.
The alliance system has been attributed by numerous historians as the defining cause of the war's outbreak and spread throughout Europe. As the two key alliances strengthened, a potentially disastrous situation was created whereby if any single country was to provoke or be involved in any conflict, allied nations of both sides would come into the conflict to assist any allied nation and would eventually cause mass war. Fritz Fischer, a German historian, believes that Germany was looking to provoke war by making the assumption that Russia had not mobilised, and allowed Austria to invade Serbia with the belief that no retaliation would come from Russia.