Reasons for Break Out of World War One

Reasons for Break Out of World War One

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Reasons for Break Out of World War One

1. War broke out as a result of a combination of short and long term
factors. The system of alliances contributed to the outbreak of war as
this caused tension between the countries and everyone became
suspicious of everyone else. The triple alliance consisted of Germany,
Austria-Hungary and Italy, and the triple Entente consisted of
Britain, Franceand Russia. There was a lot of mistrust between the
alliances and if say Russiaand Britainwere to fall out, then all of
the countries would be involved.

The Moroccan crises played an important role to the cause of World War
One as the alliance between Britainand Francewas strengthened, which
threatened the Kaiser and his plans as he didn't expect Britainto take
France's side over Morocco. They made it very difficult for Germanyto
climb down in any future crisis. The Kaiser was made to feel
humiliated and it would now be difficult for him not to seek revenge.

The arms race between Britainand Germanyappears to be a significant
factor to the cause of WW1. Each country tried to out produce the
other. From 1906 onwards both Britainand Germanywere producing
powerful ships and the European countries knew that they were
preparing for a war that was to escalate very soon. Britainwas
wondering why Germanywanted such a big navy, unless the Kaiser was
planning on attacking the British navy. This produced a lot of
mistrust and jealousy between the countries.

2. The assassination of Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the

throne of Austria-Hungaryoccurred on the 28 June, 1914. The
assassination was carried out by Bosnian youths of Serb background.
This would have aggravated the Austria-Hungarians and therefore
Austria-Hungarywas given the opportunity to move against Serbiaand
resolve its Balkan problems. Germanyagreed to support
Austria-Hungaryagainst the Serbs, giving them unconditional support in
the form of a blank cheque. The Russians had decided to support the
Serbians. Austria-Hungaryissued an ultimatum to the Serbians
containing impossible demands which were to provoke war with Serbia.
Germanyadvised Austria-Hungaryto


negotiate but instead they declared war on Serbia, Russiathen

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mobilized her troops and then was given an ultimatum from Germanyto
'Suspend all warlike measures within 12 hours.' Russiaignored this
ultimatum and Germanydeclared war on Russia. Germanyalso sent an
ultimatum to France, demanding that it stays neutral, but the French
mobilized which then led to the Germans putting the Schlieffen plan
into action. By the third of August Germanyhad declared war on
Russiaand now on France, and now had invaded Belgium. Under the 1839
Treaty of London, Britain had promised to 'guarantee Belgium's
neutrality.' On 4th August Britaindeclared war on Germany. Two days
later Austriadeclared war on Russiaand then Britainand Francedeclared
war on Austriaon the 16th of August.

The reason that war broke loose was due to the alliances (the Triple
alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, and the triple Entente
alliance of Britain, Franceand Russia). When Austria-Hungaryand
Serbiahad fallen out, both Germanyand Russiawere pulled in, shortly
followed by Britainand France. So when two countries from the
alliances fell out, all of the other countries were involved and so by
August 1914 all major European powers except Italyhad become involved.

3. The tension in the Balkans and the arms race were both significant factors which led to the outbreak of World War One. The Balkans consisted of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Each of these newly formed countries was strong in nationalism and they all wanted to extend their borders. The Russians encouraged the Slavs, the main nationality of the Balkans, in hope of gaining a port on the Mediterranean Sea. In 1908 Austria took over Bosnia and Herzegovina. This angered the Serbs because they were planning to take over these countries themselves. They wanted to go to war but Russia had not mobilized yet. In the following years crisis after crisis broke out in the Balkans but peace was maintained. However, each time peace was restored one nation or another was humiliated. After 1913, no one was willing to be humiliated again. This produced a lot of tension between these countries especially with Russia and Austria Hungary as Austria-Hungary tried to stop Russia encouraging Balkan Nationalism. The Russians hated the German support to Austria-Hungary in the Balkans and again tension was building between the two alliances, like a powder-keg about to blow up.



The arms race was significant, and in my opinion, more significant to the outbreak of war than the tension in the Balkans as the pressure to out produce the other country was very high. There was a lot of jealousy between Britain and Germany as each tried to produce the better 'Dreadnought'. I think that this is more significant than the Balkan crisis as it looked like the countries were preparing for a war that would be soon to approach. There was a lot of mistrust between the alliances as when Germany was re-arming the surrounding counties felt threatened by this and so they began to re-arm producing more tension and more of a probability of a world war.

Another significant cause of the war is the July crisis as this was when trust between the alliances fell apart due to Germany's desire of greater power and international influence. Everybody had declared war on everybody else as nobody trusted anyone (except their allies), yet this is not as important as the Balkans because this was a short term affect and if it wasn't for all the other factors that contributed to the outbreak of war, then there would have been at least some trust between the alliances and peace may have been achieved.

Therefore it wasn't just one factor that contributed to the outbreak of war but a number of them put together that broke down the relationships between the countries and separated them into alliances that would eventually fall out and lead to a world war.
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