Exploring Why a Murder Lead to War in 1914

Exploring Why a Murder Lead to War in 1914

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Exploring Why a Murder Lead to War in 1914

Franz Ferdinand, Archbishop of Austria, and his wife Sophie were
murdered in 1914. This event set off a sequence of consequences which
ended up in the beginning of World War l. Franz and his wife were shot
by a Serb called Gavrilo Princep in Sarajevo. It was this act which
gave Austria-Hungary the motive for going to war with Serbia.

On the 28th of July 1914 an incident happened in Sarajevo which, some
people say could have triggered the war off. Franz Ferdinand (the
archbishop of Austria) and his wife Sophie arrived by train for their
tour. Unfortunately the tour did not go as planned, they ended up
being assassinated by Gavrilo Princip.

Five weeks after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie the
whole of Europe was at war and the alliance systems were in play. One
on side were the countries of the triple entente, France, Russia and
Great Britain, supported by Serbia and Japan, formed an alliance
against Germany. Opposing this was Germany, supported by
Austria-Hungary and Italy. This had the effect of making Germany feel
under threat from all round them.

On 23rd July 1914, ten demands were sent to Serbia by Austria-Hungary.
Austria-Hungary had made it quite clear that if all ten demands were
not met, they would declare war with them. After the Serbs refused to
accept 2 out of their 10 demands Austria-Hungary declared war on
Serbia. Austria-Hungary had hoped that Serbia would refuse to agree
because this would give them an excuse to invade Serbia.
Austria-Hungary wanted revenge on Serbia after the murder of Franz and
his wife even though he had not been very popular in his country.

So on 28th July the war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary began. At
this point, Russia became involved. Serbia’s ally was Russia and they
asked her to help. Russia was too weak to go to war, they didn’t have
enough weapons to win it but they wanted to help Serbia. For Tsar
Nicolas, the ruler of Russia, it was a hard decision, but on 31st July

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he mobilised his army in support of Serbia.

Austria-Hungary asked for support from their ally, Germany. Because
the treaties between Serbia, Great Britain, France and Russia were
already established this meant that, by allying itself with
Austria-Hungary against Serbia, Germany also positioned itself against
the ‘Triple Entente’. Germany was Austria’s ally, so when they
attacked Russia, they were going to use their plan that they called
the ‘schlieffen plan’. They expected Russia to take longer than they
did to mobilise. The plan was to go through Belgium, conquer France
quickly, then turn back to attack Russia. The Russian army were
prepared sooner than the Germans expected, and this ruined the
Germans’ plan. The Russians were ready too soon for the plan to work
and although Russia was weak, they were getting much stronger. In 1914
Germany declared war on France and soon after, on August 3rd, Germany
invaded Belgium. By September, the Germans were not far from Paris but
they were stopped before they had a chance to attack. The French got
great support from the people in the city of Paris. Britain had said
that it would defend Belgium if it was attacked, so on the 4th August,
after Germany had invaded Belgium, the British government demanded
Germany withdraw their troops. The German ministers were not happy
about Britain’s decision to join the war and refused to withdraw their
army. On 4th August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. By
September, the German army was very close to Paris, where they were
stopped.

The British and French armies advanced towards the German line. The
Germans needed a way to defend themselves so they dug trenches. The
British and French armies were then stopped and could no longer
advance forward so they went sideways. They also dug trenches as they
went until they reached the sea where they could no longer proceed.
All of this went on between September and November. There ended up
being a line of trenches from Switzerland to the English Channel. The
weaponry was too strong for the armies to break through the trenches
as they indeed tried to do. There would be men defending the trenches
with shells and machine guns. So the troops advanced on foot with only
rifles to defend themselves. The armies were becoming doubtful about
whether they would be able to break through the enemy’s lines and by
1916 they gave up trying and went ahead with another plan. The only
way to get through was to kill the enemies and that is what they tried
to do. They tried to kill more of the enemy than they lost. The
Germans had an advantage as they were the first people to use poison
gas as a weapon although soon after, Britain used the tank.

By 1917 America had joined the war against Germany and it was becoming
clear that the Germans could not win after a massive attack on America
collapsed. They gave up and signed a ceasefire which began at 11 am on
November 11th 1918.

I think that Serbia are mostly to blame for the war, or mostly Gavrilo
Princip, as when he shot Franz Ferdinand, the tension between
Austria-Hungary and Serbia became much worse. Although the Germans did
play a large part in the war I don’t believe that it was because of
them that it started as they only took part in it when it had already
started. Austria did declare the first war but they had good reason to
do so. I don’t think that it is any one country’s fault that the war
started as a lot of countries took part but if one country was to be
blamed I would say that it is Serbia.
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