Hawaii Pacific University
17 October 2010
The late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a great deal of colonization of Asia and Africa by European powers, each trying to fulfill its own version of manifest destiny. England controlled vast holds in Africa, as well as India; the Belgians ruled the Congo; Germany, France, and Italy also held several African lands. These colonies funded a great part of the ruling countries' economies and provided foreign markets for European products, and expansion became necessary and desirable to advance the glory and the wealth of each European power. However, the land available diminished as Germany, France, England, Italy, and Belgium occupied increasingly large tracts of land. Border disputes would break out often between colonists of different nationalities. One primary example would be the Boer War in South Africa, between the Dutch and the English. Furthermore, in the Middle East, the crumbling Ottoman Empire was alluring Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Russia. An arms race increased the hostile feelings among the European nations. Acknowledging that Germany was the leader in military organization and efficiency, the other great powers of Europe copied the universal conscription, large reserves and detailed planning of the Prussian system. Technological and organizational developments led to the formation of general staffs with precise plans for mobilization and attack that often could not be reversed once they were begun. The German von Schlieffen Plan, to attack France before Russia in the event of war with Russia, was one such complicated plan that drew more countries into war than necessary. Armies and navies were greatly expanded during this time period. Archer 2
The standing armies of France and Germany doubled in size between 1870 and 1914. Naval expansion was also extremely competitive,...