The Causes of World War I

The Causes of World War I

World War I was the result of certain countries aggression towards

others and by the rising nationalism of the European nations. Economic

and imperial competition and fear of war triggered military alliances

and an arms race, which further escalated the tension contributing to

the outbreak of war.

At the settlement of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the idea of

nationalism was ignored to preserve the peace. Germany and Italy were

divided into states but nationalist changes and revolutions led to the

unification of Italy in 1861 and that of Germany in 1871. Another

result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was that France was left

furious over the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and revenge was a

goal of the French. Nationalism posed a problem for Austria-Hungary

and the Balkans, areas made up of many conflicting national groups.

The Panslavism of Serbia and Russia's support to its Slavic brother

conflicted with Austria-Hungary's Pangermanism.

Another factor that contributed to the rivalry in Europe was

imperialism. Great Britain, Germanyand France needed foreign markets

after the increase in manufacturing caused by the Industrial

Revolution. These countries competed for economic development in

Africa. Although Britain and France resolved their differences in

Africa, several crises before the war involved the Germany against

Britain and France in North Africa. In the Middle East, the Ottoman

Empire was attractive to Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Russia.

World War I was caused in part by the two opposing alliances developed

after the Franco-Prussian War. In order to diplomatically cut off


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...rbia on July 28, 1914.

On July 29, Russia ordered a partial mobilization only against

Austria-Hungary in support of Serbia, which escalated into a full

mobilization. The Germans threatened war on July 31 if the Russians

did not demobilize. Upon being asked by Germany what it would do in

the event of a war between Russia and Germany, Francereplies that it

would act in its own interests and mobilized. On August 1, Germany

declared war on Russia, and two days later, on France. The German

invasion of Belgium to attack France, which violated Belgium's

official neutrality, prompted Britain to declare war on Germany. World

War I had begun.



Various Internet websites, mainly

The Outbreak of World War I: Causes and Responsibilities by Holger H.

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