The First World War (WWI)

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Three Main Causes of World War I

While we are always reminded of the negative effects of war, it is not everyday that we learn to understand the deeper factors of war that can turn a small conflict into an international outbreak. World War I was said to have been sparked by the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand but there are various deeper reasons that contributed to the commencement of the Great War. These factors include militarism, imperialism and the alliance systems.
The first reason for the eruption of World War I was militarism. Militarism is the act of building up armies for threats against other countries – taking over new territory – and protection from other countries who decide to invade. In the 1900’s, the two strongest countries – Germany and Britain – decided to create a Naval Race. While Germany had a stronger ‘ground’ army, Britain had better naval protection with Dreadknought class ships. Because of this advantage, Germany decided to outdo Britain and build their own Dreadknought class battleships. As both countries tried to build more battleships than the other, tensions rose and tempers flared. When Germany and Britain finally stopped building their battleships, they had nothing to do but wait. Neither country wanted to be responsible for purposely starting a conflict between the countries, but both wanted to prove their strength and power through war. When a Serbian assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Britain were finally able to show off their marvelous defense at the expense of millions of innocent people. It is clear that militarism exposed the worst qualities of the German and British Empires, which set the stage for one of the worst wars to ever be experienced by humankind.
Another cause of the Great War was widespread imperialism. While imperialism was not uncommon at the turn of the century, it was not until after, that it created enormous problems for European countries and beyond. Countries such as Britain and Germany discovered that having several different countries under control of their Empire, provided boundless economic opportunities; they had unlimited access to raw materials and manufactured goods and received enormous profits for exportations. It was not simply the act of being faithful to one’s Empire that caused the war; it was the concepts of security, strength, the prosperity of the...

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...iance and declared war on Austria-Hungary after a short period spent neutral. Alliances created tension between Empires and secrets instilled distrust; only one incident was needed for an all out war to erupt. Thanks to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, war broke out between two counties, creating a chain reaction of war. Alliances can benefit countries if the fear of empowerment is so great that neither opposing sides will risk war, but if the desire to create havoc is so great that it is worth the risk, then alliances can become a deadly weapon. It is clear that the alliance systems played an enormous role in causing the onset of the First World War.
In conclusion, World War I, as unnecessary as it was, arose from three deeper factors, other than the assassination of the Archduke. The ever expanding militarism, widespread imperialism and the alliance systems all played vital roles in determining the dawn of the First World War. While the Great War demonstrated flaws in the government system and provided future generations with the ability to learn, understand and prevent mistakes, the outcome of such a conflict is never important because there are no real winners in war.
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