World War I, also known as The Great War was a result of many complicated factors that intertwine and generally deal with economics, cultures, national politics and a complex web of alliances.
The Great War was ignited when the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, was assassinated. But first, there is a need to take a look at the preceding events that led up to World War I. Nation-states had appeared in Europe which led to severe competition. The competition over the colonies and trade intensified greatly during the expansion. The division of Europe's great powers into alliances added fuel to the fire. The allies consisted of Germany, Austria and Italy on one side and France, Great Britain, and Russia on the other. The growth of nationalism in the 19th century had another serious consequence, such as the fact that not all ethnic groups were recognized as nations.
The Great War was a struggle for power. Britain and Germany were in a race to have the largest Navy, which created great tension in Europe. Many nations were expanding their military units, by adding more people and building bigger and better weapons. This was a threat to all European countries. And once again the tension was heightened.
As Europe was competing for nations, Africa was in the midst of it all. The scramble for African colonies, led to many arguments between European nations.
The alliance system in Europe played a large role in the road to World War I. Many of the alliances were made in secret, which produced mistrust and suspicion of European powers. Germany eventually felt threatened by the alliances; they felt they were surrounded by enemies on all sides.
With all the tension in Europe it was bound to boil over into a struggle of power. On June 28th 1914 the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand led to the official outbreak of World War I.