causes world war 1

causes world war 1

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It can be said that the First world war was caused by the alliance system, which has a very weak argument, the alliance system had very little to do with the first world war, it did to some extent cause the size of the war, but its argument in my opinion is very weak. Many other causes lean towards the side against the alliance system causing the first world war, which I believe is credible.

The alliance system did cause the size of the war as it caused countries to be pulled in. First made in the Franco- Prussian war. Alliances held countries to some sort of standard and normally required something of each participant. The triple alliance signed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy bound each country to give military support in a case of war or “if any one member of the alliance was at war with any two great powers other members would come to aid”. When the entente was made it did not intend for reciprocal arrangements for support, though it did allow wide variety of arrangements negotiations to take place, one negotiation would have been of support in war. But by 1911 A.J.P Taylor said “the entente was in the process of disintegration.” and was not seen as strong, because of the triple alliance Germany came to Austria’s aid willingly, which plunged Germany into war.
When Germany declared war on France and Russia, Austria- Hungary was pulled into that battle to fulfill their part of the alliance. This had four major powers fighting. Alliances pulled countries into war because if they were not followed a threat of retaliation would be expected.

On the other hand.

Other causes include Nationalists wanting freedom, causing the Slavs to ultimately assassinate the duke and causing hate towards to Austrian empire. Nationalism was also a major cause of war, it caused problems especially in Austria- Hungary and France. This same nationalism had brought Germany together a one country and who took Alsace- Lorraine from the French in 1870- 1871 in the Franco- Prussian war, and in recent times the Moroccan crisis which left the French with hatred as an attitude towards the Germans, the thought of revenge was also one that was favored by the French nationalists. While this unrest was happening in France, nationalism was also causing problems in the areas of Austria- Hungary, over here the nationalists were slavists

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who wanted freedom from the Austrian empire, they had been growing more and more restless with Russia encouraging these wants of Slavs freedom till all hell broke loose when a nationalist assassinated the arch-duke which opened the gates to world war 1.

The assassination of the archduke marked the start of the war, this did not involve any alliance just hate and oppression of the Slavs. The assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand began the unfolding of the events that led to war. Gavrilo Princip wanted to free Slavic people from the clutches of the Habsburgs he shot the arch duke and his wife in Bosnia while on tour. Austria issued a ultimatum about a month later, which Serbia refused to comply by thus starting a war between Austria and Serbia. Germany agreeing to support Austria because she was eager to apply her influence on the Balkan states and to keep Russia from gaining any more. If Austria won which was counted on and forseen, Germany would have more power and control in these states. Russia was on the side of Serbia and encouraged them to fight knowing that France would come to their aid if help was needed. Thus when Austria declared war on Serbia, Russia mobilized which caused Germany to declare war on Russia. France mobilized on the side of Russia, Germany decided to declare war on France which put the Schlieffen plan in action causing Britain to declare war on Germany because of the invasion of Belgium. The assassination did not occur because of an alliance or treaty, nor did the war with Serbia occur because of an alliance which plunged all of Europe into a war. Gavrilo Princip known to historians as “ a teenager with a gun who started the First world war.”

Imperialism caused tensions between countries and had caused some controversies which were serious, in the end caused powers to lash out and protect what they had. Imperialism had grown steadily worse by the start of the war, with countries fighting over land and colonies in Africa and China, this produced the worse crisis which was that of the Moroccan crisis which Germany sought to take control of by bullying the French to cave in. Joining the war was counted as payback for France. The “arms race” which furthered the tension between major powers, armies began expanding and around 300% more was being spent on them a their belief at the time was victory went to the country with the most ammunition, this brought on what is known as the “naval race” for Germany and Britain, as the key to defeating Britain lied in the power of the navy. Historian Fischer Geiss said “Germany only wanted a war, prepared for it, and ultimately provoked it in 1914 in order to advance Germany’s position into the world” The Kaiser claimed “only those powers who had great navies will be listened to with respect.” These races produced massive amounts of ammunition which was to be wasted with the lives on the battle fields. A.J.P Taylor calls the third Pyres “ the blindest slaughter of the blindest war”

The Germans planned to defeat the French through the use of the Schlieffen plan. The Schlieffen plan consisting of an attack on Russia, with France on Russia’s side, Germany had to defeat France in the time it would take Russia to mobilize which General Moltke said “ in six weeks this will be over.” To invade France Germany had to go through Luxembourg and Belgium. This would take France by surprise, once France was defeated Germany could concentrate on defeating Russia. Looking at the Schlieffen plan, Germany had already contemplated war with Russia therefore she was trying to kick France out of the war as fast as possible so France could not come to Russia’s aid, or else Germany had to fight with two major powers France and Russia on both sides of the country, her army would be spilt and weakened. This dragged Luxembourg and Belgium into the war by violating their rights to gain access to France, but this plan was halted with the beginning of the battle of the Marne which expanded to the threat of war throughout Europe and made Germany very target of which to declare war on was favorable.

Security of countries were threatened if they declared themselves neutral. As the war raged between few countries only, other countries were forced to think of their well being and their vulnerability like Luxembourg and Belgium, if they stayed neutral and would they be able to survive and remain inactive. Most countries opted into this war to rid the threats and insecurities which were posed and open to anyone, in doing this they all made crucial mistakes which were: “1. They all believed their own propaganda about their military preparedness and about their own superiority.” 2 “ They had all been deceived in to believing that they were embarking on a war of movement and attack, in which a few, sharp blows would lead to a rapid and adventurous position.” Military personnel knew very little about their opponents capability of destroying and attacking which placed a lot of unnecessary bloodshed on the fields. Gambles took place which came at high prices the most infamous was that of the Austrians and their thinking that all could be settled without creating any other major consequences.

Attitudes of people promoted a war that would reestablish their countries power. Historian Jolls said that “ the willingness of people and leaders of all nations to go to war” was one cause of the scale of this war. Attitudes on the home front of nations was that of pro-war especially the people of Germany, poll in Germany stated that the people were fine with a war starting, nationalists all over Europe agreed. The people of France agreed with the war as they were still angry over Morocco and the long open wound of the loss Alsace- Lorraine in the Franco- Prussian war. Military personnel also agreed, they wanted a war which they would win. Each country guaranteed a winning plan but they were not based on reality, everybody was ultimately fooled by their own propaganda which led to the scale of this war.

The alliance system did cause the size of the war as it brought and pulled countries in to the war. On the side against the alliances causing the war, nationalists stood for what they believed in, in violent ways which disrupted countries and ironically brought Germany together. The assassination is what started the unfolding of world war one, involving Austria making rash decisions, causing a war to bloom. Imperialism pulled powers into arguments about control over land which caused some hatred specially between France and Germany, this caused the arms race to bloom. The Schlieffen plan saw Britain enter the war because of a violation of another country’s rights and saw France enter to defend itself. Security of neutral countries were threatened as they were put in a place of possible attack or invasion. Attitudes were very naïve as people wanted a war. Argument for the alliances of this war is plausible, that can never be disputed but other theories that have been put forward here have more weight.



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