What were the major causes of the First World War?

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"The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of itself and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies. "(Treaty of Versailles, Article 231)

Immediately after the peace agreement, November 1918, solely Germany was held responsible for the outbreak of the War. In this essay I will question that statement by emphasizing the attitude of the main powers and take into account other causes historians assume, especially the current ideological ideas in Europe and the events in the Balkans. Nevertheless, I will conclude that none of these reasons were solely the cause of the outbreak, but the combination of them all, and especially hegemonic ambitions and the lack of diplomacy.
The ideological disposition in Europe’s society was greatly affected by a high estimation of social Darwinism, the interpretation of which got pretty close to nationalism, resulting from successful imperialism. To conquer the “inferior”race was seen as “White Man's Burden”1, but the outcome was a rivalry between the colonizing states; “nationalism and a mixture of chauvinism and racism were prevalent”2. Another factor I would like to mention is the technical and industrial progress accompanied with economic growth. This “had turned Europe into a veritable box of inflammable tinder”3, because it came along with a great esteem for militarism. Generally you might say that this atmosphere was the foundation of the outbreak, due to the fact that without the support of society war is much less likely to break out.
To examine Germany’s guilt you have to u...

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...r war the moment the rigid military mobilizations schedules became the ruling logic."14.Additionally, war was even desirable to end all conflicts and rebuild a sustainable order by Christmas.

To conclude, the First World War occurred due to “nationalism and ethical arrogance”15 with militarism as the result of imperialistic rivalries and a general struggle for power within Europe. In my opinion, this and therewith the war could have been avoided with the means of diplomacy and dialogue. If the countries had understood each others' desires and intentions, instead being solely concerned about one's own hegemonic pursuits and preparing for war, many disputes could have been solved with out violence. However, maybe the knowledge of the leading countries nowadays - that diplomacy is superior to the means of war - had to develop through the dreadful experience of war.

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