The War to End All Wars: An Analysis

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Known as the Great War or the “war to end all wars,” World War I spanned from 1914 to 1918 and involved most of the nations of Europe along with Russia, the United States, the Middle East, and other countries around the globe. The war pitted the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Turkey—against the Allies—France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy (Italy switched sides in 1915), Japan, and, from 1917, the United States. The war can be traced back to five main causes, militarism, alliances, nationalism, imperialism, and an assassination. As the world entered the 20th century, an arms race had begun. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in the size of their military and Great Britain saw a massive increase in the size of their navy. (Kelly) This enormous expansion of the armed forces otherwise known as militarism in most countries was a huge factor in the start of the war. During this same period countries were also forming treaties of assistance and by 1914 two mutual defense alliances had been created, The Triple Entente and The Triple Alliance. Nationalism was also a major factor in the rising tensions in Europe Ethnic groups such as the Serbs in the Austro Hungarian Empire wanted their own nation state which ultimately led to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Austrian throne), everything came crashing down and World War I began. The war ultimately ended with the defeat of the Central Powers. The U.S. along with many other nations stayed neutral throughout the beginning of the war before having to finally enter it. The decision by the United States to stay neutral during World War I was a brilliant tactical decision that, prevented the massive loss of American lives, caused substantial g...

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