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It's the early 19th century and problems are erupting all over Europe.
France has just finished a war with Prussia in which it was defeated
and tempers are running high. Germany has taken a piece of Eastern
France named Alsace Lorraine and France wants revenge. France has been
very humiliated and is now building up its alliances. The first of
these was the Dual entente; an agreement between France and Russia
signed in 1894. Next the French built an alliance with Britian, this
was named the entente cordiale, and Together France and its allies
formed the Triple Entente. France was secure, in the event of another
war it would be backed up by its allies.
By this time Germany was seen as a huge threat throughout Europe.
Kaiser Wilhelm II has come to the throne of Germany. Germany has only
just become a united country and Kaiser Wilhelm II believes that he
has a lot to prove. Kaiser Willhelm II had been slightly disabled
since birth and his main ambition is to make himself and Germany look
all-powerful. During the years of 1880- 1914 Germany started to build
up its armed forces and Navy. Britian was starting to feel very
threatened, even more so when Germany started trying to occupying
colonies in Africa and Asia. Lots of these colonies were neighbouring
British colonies. Kaiser Willhelm II was hugely Jealous of all
Britains Colonies and once famously said "Germany must have its place
in the sun" and "the world belongs to the strong". This began a huge
amount of Colonial rivalry. France and Britian had agreed that Britian
would be free to control Egypt if Britian helped France to control
Morocco. Kaiser Willhelm II tried to split up the Entente cordiale by
famously making his 'Tangier' Speech. Germany tried to split up France
and Britian and invade Morocco. This didn't work and Germany was
humiliated, Germany wanted revenge because of this.
Like France, Russia had been humiliated by being defeated in war.
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"The Murder of Franz Ferdinand and the Outbreak of a Major European War." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Nov 2019
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Russia lost against Japan in a disastrous and costly war. Russia was
keen to prove that it was still a huge European Power. Russia was also
keen to gain more influence in the Balkans and desperately didn't want
Austria- Hungary to expand its empire in this area. Russia was a great
ally of Serbia, A country bordering Austria-Hungary. This was probably
because they shared a similar language and religion.
Austria-Hungary and Serbia's friendship has been seriously damaged by
the Bosnia crisis, which took place in 1908. Austria-Hungary annexed
Bosnia, thereby taking Bosnia over. This deeply aggravated Serbia and
of course their close ally Russia.
Austria- Hungary has a huge empire with an aged leader. Franz
Ferdinand the heir was the leaders Nephew. Franz Ferdinand was
assassinated on the 28th of June 1914. He was on a tour around
Sarajevo, the Capital City of Bosnia, Austria-Hungary's new annex.
Franz Ferdinand was killed along with his wife by a group of Serb
nationals called 'The Black Hand'; they were terrorists funded by the
Serbian government. The Black Hand's members included important and
influential people such as army generals and government officials. The
Black Hand recruited a group of men to carry out the assassination.
They were all Bosnians who hated the Austria- Hungary empire and
distrusted it's leaders. The young man who eventually carried out the
assassination was named 'Gavrilo Princip'
Gavrilo Princip was dying of a nasty, untreatable illness called
Tuberculosis. He knew that he was dying and had nothing to lose by
assassinating the ArchDuke. The young men recruited to carry out the
assassination were supplied with guns, bombs and cyanide. They were
then given a map of the Dukes movements and worked out a plan. The men
found out that the Archduke was planning to travel along a long road
by the river in Sarajevo. They decided that they would position
themselves along this road about half a metre apart and kill the
Archduke as he drove past. They would then drink the cyanide given to
them and jump in the river to make sure they died and were not caught.
This plan failed.
When the first hit man saw the Car carrying the Archduke coming he
threw a bomb at it. The hit man forgot that it had a ten second delay.
The bomb didn't kill the archduke. He took the cyanide as planned and
tried to drown himself in the river. This failed, the cyanide was out
of date and the river contained only 6 inches of water. He was dragged
out the river and thrown into jail and interrogated. He said nothing
under pressure. The hit men further up the line were shaken by the
first failure and did nothing. It seemed that the plan had failed.
In the end Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by his own bad luck. On
his tour around the city his driver took a wrong turn by mistake. This
put the Archduke and his wife in Gavrilo Princeps firing line. Gavrilo
Princep didn't delay he shot the Archdukes wife and then the Archduke
himself. Both died almost instantly.
Austria- Hungary knew that Serbia was responsible for this awful
murder. Austria- Hungary sent Serbia an almost impossible Ultimatum.
Austria- Hungary knew that Serbia wouldn't comply. Austria-Hungary now
wanted war. Austria- Hungary asked Germany if it would support them in
the case of war. Kaiser Willhelm II replied quickly. Kaiser Willhelm
II told Austria-Hungary that they would support them in the case of
war. Kaiser Willhelm II also wanted a war. Germany wanted to show the
world how great the country had become. The war, soon to become world
war one started very soon. First Austria-Hungary declared war on
Serbia. Then the Russian army mobilized. Due to this Germany declared
war on Russia, then later France and Belgium. Because Britian
protected Belgium, Britian declared war on Germany. Then Austria-
Hungary declared war on Russia. Finally on August 12th 1914 France and
Britian declared war on Austria-Hungary.
I think the reason that world war one started so quickly was because
all the country's involved had old scores to settle. Problems had been
getting worse for a long time. The alliances in Europe actually helped
to keep peace rather than destroy it. If it weren't for the alliances
there would have been a major war before 1914. Germany had been
threatening countries in Europe for many years before the war and
Serbia was always going to retaliate over the annexing of Bosnia. The
war was inevitable.