The Role of National Interest in World War I

National interest was a key factor in the explosive beginning of World War One. By looking at the Naval Arms Race, the People’s Revolt in Austria-Hungary and European alliances, it can be shown that national interest was a significant factor in contributing to World War One. The ultra nationalistic views of many countries overruled their ability to act in a just and logical manner. It was in the years following the formation of the Triple Alliance in which the desire and craving for power grew, and created insincere relationships and unrealistic portrayals of other countries intentions.

The Naval Arms Race was a major factor of World War One. In a parliament speech made by Sir Edward Grey (the British Foreign Secretary), it is stated,

“The situation is grave… (and) is created by the German program [of building a battle fleet]… When that program is completed, Germany, a great country close to our shore, will have a fleet of thirty three dreadnaughts”

This statement begins to expose the fear felt by Britain of the imposing German fleet. Due to the militaristic views of Europe, many countries desired to have more power and control, by any means possible. This hunger initiated the Naval Arms Race, in which nations believed as one country increased its naval powers, they too were obliged to increase their armed forces, to maintain a balance of power. The British had dominated the seas and many far off colonies because of their naval fleet, granting them immense power. As the Germans began to propose a new and vast naval fleet, and France and Russia formed a new alliance sparking suspicion in Britain, Germany quickly became a threat to British supremacy. This created a chain reaction of stressed importance upon naval arme...

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...d conflict. The alliances among European countries were an imminent cause of World War One, because of the lack of trust between unallied nations and the ultra nationalistic view that one country was prominent over another.

World War One was greatly influenced by many factors, and in many ways. National interest ignited the mistrust and insecurities within nations, which in turn led to the creation of strong alliances and immense military forces. The growing suspicion Britain had of Germany only heightened the wariness and uncertainty of nations. The means, by which individual nations dealt with the issues within themselves, and outside of their boundaries, in the years preceding World War One, were irrational and improperly thought through. Nations fell into a strong ultra nationalistic point of view, and acted in a way which expressed interest in themselves only.

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