The industrial era had many effects, not the least of which was plunging the world into world war. One must consider the relationship between eras and events as a student of history. The industrial era created a perceived need in America for raw materials and markets for goods. The United States was not alone in this desire for expansion. All the industrial nations were in open competition to develop vast empires that would provide them with the fuel to run the factories of industrialism. This imperialist competition led to tension and the creation of vast armies. The willingness to use these armies was known as militarism. In order to feel safe (there was a pretty fair degree of paranoia as you can imagine) nations began to sign secret treaties formingalliances and Europe was divided into an armed camp. Tension was high, the subjugation (taking over) of other nations led to feelings of nationalism that would eventually light the spark that would explode Europe into the flames of conflict. The causes of World War One as discussed above can be summarized by the following acronym as a mnemonic device: A- Alliance: European nations signed secret treaties that created a system of alliances pitting nation versus nation. N - Nationalism: There were intense feelings of nationalism on the part of subjugated nationalities. These feelings would eventually lead to rash acts. I - Imperialism: Competition to develop vast empires caused tension and conflict. M - Militarism: Nations built huge armies to defend themselves and help to gain these empires. It was a natural feeling for them to want to use these militaries. A - Anarchy: There was no international organization to help them deal with their problems. L - Leadership: It was poor. Just look at the system they set up...quite poor indeed.
These were the conditions facing Europe as a crisis emerged in the Balkans. The Archduke of Austria Hungary, a traditional power, was touring the nation of Serbia. Meanwhile Bosnian nationalists desiring freedom from Serbia plotted to assassinate the Archduke. Gabriel Principe, a member of the Black Hand, the aforementioned Bosnian nationalist group, shot and killed Franz Ferdinand on June 28th 1914.
Austria Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the assassination of the Archduke and issued an ultimatum (demands). The Serbians agreed to all but two of the demands, one of which was the placement of Austro Hungarian troops within Serbia. The Serbians appealed to Russia for support and Russia as the "protector of the Slavs" agreed to support Serbia. Meanwhile the Austro Hungarians still wanting revenge and fearing Russia secured the support of their traditional ally, Germany. In a famous decision Germany issued what has become know as "Carte Blanche," of blank check, to Austria Hungary. This unqualified military support from Germany made Austria Hungary rather confident that Russia would not attack. At this point the Austro Hungarians declared war on Serbia. In response to the declaration of war Russia mobilized her military forces. Perhaps it was a bit of saber rattling, perhaps not. Regardless Germany demanded Russia demobilize its army. When Russia refused Germany attacked Russia. The effect of the war on the Russian front were devastating. The Russians were ill prepared for war and lost millions of men. In the end the Czars refusal to exit the war cost him his throne as the Bolsheviks (Communists) revolted in 1917 overthrowing Czar Nicholas II.
When the Russians were attacked by Germany, France was obligated to declare war on Germany as a result of a treaty she had signed with Russia. The Germans attacked France by marching through Belgium. The Belgians who did not give Germany permission to do this now were in a state of war with Germany as well. The most important byproduct of this was the fact that England had a treaty with Belgium! Now England was obligated to declare war on Germany as...