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If you were to look back at WWI, you would see that there were direct and indirect causes to the war. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was an immediate cause. Gavrilo Princip, working with a Serbian anti-Austrian secret society called “The Black Hand” shot Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in order to make way for a Slavic revolution. The assassination didn’t do as Princip hoped, and it was used as an excuse for Austria to take hostile action against Serbia. That was not the only cause of the war.
The Alliance System was one of the festering causes of the war. After Germany took Alsace-Lorraine, Bismarck wanted to make sure that France didn’t make enough allies to take back the territory in a war. So he started to form an alliance with Austria-Hungry and Italy. France saw this as a threat, so it started making alliances of its own. France first turned to Russia then to Britain creating the Triple Entente. Now with forces in place on either side, nerves were frayed. What better question to ask next than why. Why were nerves frayed? The nations involved had large militaries.
These nations were building large armies and enhancing the glories of war. After rationalizing a huge arms race, people were eager to put up large amounts of money to support their government’s vast military. Great Britain has always had a large navy. Germany decided it wanted a navy to rival Britain’s. When the people of Britain saw the buildup of Germany’s navy, they got scared and started producing more and bigger ships for it’s own navy. Every time Britain got a “leg up” on Germany, Germany struggled to outdo Britain, and vice-versa. Soon, the public was clamoring for war. Militarism is based on imperialism and the fear that another nation is getting ahead imperially.
Imperialism is extending control of a nation over foreign lands. Countries expanded in the 1600’s to help their economies. They did this mostly through mercantilism. After industrialization in the 1800’s, imperialism changed. Two new and eager powers were on the scene. Italy and Germany were new nations and ready to catch up to Britain and others in the colony race. Imperialism could be related to nationalism.
There are two kinds of nationalism. There were the early forms of nationalism, where people of a similar race and nationality wanted a nation to themselves.
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As you can see, there was no avoiding the war. Even if you could have fixed one problem, there were still many others to fix. Too many problems involved for any two nations to fix. If that weren’t enough, there were six nations involved, all contributing to the problems and difficulties of war.