World War I and its Effect on International Relations
It is a tragedy when one person dies. When 10 million die…well, the only thing we can call it is World War I. Now, going to war is justified if it is to end slavery or stop Hitler. It’s even understandable to go to war over a stolen bucket (which has happened). But to fight for no reason is the height of foolishness.
Ironically, World War I was a product of the Napoleonic Wars, which killed a generation of young men. After Napoleon was defeated, the other European countries decided to prevent any further bloodbaths by creating a balance of power, where all nations would have comparable strength. Despite two minor flare-ups (the Crimean and Franco-Prussian Wars), it was successful, creating a century of peace – the longest time Europe had gone without war in 2000 years. Unfortunately, the equilibrium of power did little to reduce the desire for power, so in an effort to regain the upper hand or “keep up with the Joneses,” the European nations turned to a strategy they had been using since the Protestant Reformation: alliances. This, coupled with the Jingoism that was then in vogue, led to powerful collaborations that were either itching for a fight or required to participate whether they wanted to or not. Consequently, when a Serbian terrorist group called The Black Hand assassinated an Austro-Hungarian archduke named Francis-Ferdinand, the rest of the powers joined in the fray like middle-schoolers on a moon-bounce.
In 1914, when the war broke out, Europe was divided into the Allied (Britain, France, and Russia) and the Central (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) powers. So when the archduke was killed, Austria-Hungary gave Serbia an ultimatum: apologize or face war. So Serbia had a chat with it’s big brother, Russia, who assured Serbia that he “had his back.” Austria-Hungary, faced with this threat of invasion, asked its recently formed and more industrially developed ally...
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