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World War 1 - Three Main Causes

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World War 1 - Three Main Causes

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  • June 5, 2003
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Three Main Causes of World War I

While we are always reminded of the negative effects of war, it is not everyday that we learn to understand the deeper factors of war that can turn a small conflict into an international outbreak. World War I was said to have been sparked by the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand but there are various deeper reasons that contributed to the commencement of the Great War. These factors include militarism, imperialism and the alliance systems. The first reason for the eruption of World War I was militarism. Militarism is the act of building up armies for threats against other countries – taking over new territory – and protection from other countries who decide to invade. In the 1900's, the two strongest countries – Germany and Britain – decided to create a Naval Race. While Germany had a stronger ‘ground' army, Britain had better naval protection with Dreadknought class ships. Because of this advantage, Germany decided to outdo Britain and build their own Dreadknought class battleships. As both countries tried to build more battleships than the other, tensions rose and tempers flared. When Germany and Britain finally stopped building their battleships, they had nothing to do but wait. Neither country wanted to be responsible for purposely starting a conflict between the countries, but both wanted to prove their strength and power through war. When a Serbian assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Britain were finally able to show off their marvelous defense at the expense of millions of innocent people. It is clear that militarism exposed the worst qualities of the German and British Empires, which set the stage for one of the worst wars to ever be experienced by humankind. Another cause of the Great War was widespread imperialism. While imperialism was not uncommon at the turn of the century, it was not until after, that it created enormous problems for European countries and beyond. Countries such as...