World War One was a turning point in history. Many scholars study this event and what caused this huge conflict. Germany used to be the sole one responsible for this war, but many controversial debates later, the blame was gradually put on the other great powers of Europe as well. In this essay, I will be analyzing the main causes of WWI, especially targeting the long-term causes. Most of these causes and events may be classified into 4 main themes: imperialism, the alliance system, militarism & nationalism.
Imperialism contributed greatly to the outbreak of WWI. Imperialism is when a country takes over other lands and subjects them to their rule to extend their power and influence. In the pre-WWI era, the great powers of Europe strove to expand their empires. Germany, who only became an united nation in 1871, desired a large empire like Britain’s, who at the time had an empire that stretched out over 5 continents and colonized about 1/3 of the world. However, Germany only had a few pieces of Africa. Soon, though, they decided they wanted more. In 1896, Admiral Muller said to Prince Henry of Germany, “...either we harness the total strength of the nation ruthlessly, even if it means accepting the risk of a major war, or we limit ourselves to continental power alone.” This shows how much Germany would do for more land and power. It clearly shows they prioritized developing their empire over suppressing war if it arose. In 1897, Prince von Bulow of Germany said, “We don’t want to put anyone else in the shade but we too demand a place in the sun.” It is suggested that Germany wanted more of Africa and Asia. The fierce competition over lands caused incredible tension between the great powers. Each country wanted to dominate more lands to increase their trades and power. This can also be seen in the First Moroccan Crisis. France and Germany had begun to motion towards war over the colonization of Morocco. France, assisted by Britain and Russia, wanted to colonize...
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