The Great War And The Shaping of the 20th Century Essay

The Great War And The Shaping of the 20th Century Essay

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The Great War And The Shaping of the 20th Century

Another man is killed; Another family receives a telegram saying that a loved one was killed in battle; The family will never be the same again without the presence of this man. This is an effort to explain some of the impact that World War I had on millions of individuals. This sequence of events was conducted over and over millions of times during WWI. So why were there so many deaths?Who were the instigators of a war that caused so much suffering, not just in family life, but in society in general? What were some of the effects that war had on society? To answer these questions, it is necessary to look at history, prior to the war, and examine the actions of certain individuals and explain the effects that these actions had on European society. For example, the “Black Hand”, the Serbian nationalists who assassinated Austria’s Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Count Leopold von Berchtold all are specific individuals who greatly contributed to the beginning of the war.[i]

The first instigator of WWI to be discussed is the "Black Hand." The Black Hand was a group of Serbian Nationalists that were convinced that Serbia was not receiving the attention that they deserved from the bigger country of Austria-Hungary, led by Austria’s Archduke Francis Ferdinand. The tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary had greatened when Austria- Hungary took over the two provincesof Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, before Serbia could claim the land. Gavrilo Princip, a member of the "Black Hand," assassinated Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 when he went into Sarajevo to review the newly acclaimed territories. The price he paid for refusing to give "a bigger place in the su...


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...otten during its reign.”[xiv]

[i] Camille Bloch, The Causes Of The World War (New York: Howard Fertig Inc., 1968),
p. 9.

[ii] S.L.A. Marshall, The American Heritage of World War I (American Heritage
Publishing Co., Inc., 1964), p. 17.

[iii] Marshall, p. 17.

[iv] Marshall, p. 8, 9.

[v] Bloch, p. 48.

[vi] Bloch, p. 49.

[vii] Bloch, p. 59.

[viii]Marshall, p. 26.

[ix] Marshall, p. 25.

[x] Rene Albrecht-Carrie, The Meaning of the First World War (New Jersey: Prentice-
Hall Inc., 1965), p. 57.

[xi] Marshall, p. 28.

[xii] Anver Offer, The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1989), p. 345.

[xiii]Offer, p. 342.

[xiv] Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy, The War and German Society: A Testament of a
Liberal (New York: Howard Fertig, 1971), p. 15.

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