Causes of World War One
World War One left 9,906,000 soldiers dead, 21,219,000 soldiers wounded and 7,750,000 soldiers missing. It was a conflict between the Allied Powers (France, Russia, Britain, Italy and the United States), and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria Hungary and the Ottoman Empire). The three main causes of the war were the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, widespread militarism and economic imperialism. The first cause of World War One took place on June 28, 1914. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife. Princip belonged to a group called the Black Hand, who wanted Serbia to be independent from Austria Hungary. Austria Hungary demanded Serbia to punish those responsible for the assassination. When Serbia failed to comply, Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Since Serbia was an ally of the Allied Powers, the Allied Powers declared war on Austria Hungary. This, in effect, meant a declaration of war against the Central Powers. Ferdinand’s assassination started a chain reaction that led to both powers declaring war on each other. Widespread militarism was the second cause of World War One. Aristocrats, dictators and military elites had too much control over Russia, Germany and Austria and the war was one consequence of their desire for military power. Britain’s Royal Navy was stronger in terms of the amount of personnel, ships and carrying capacity than both Germany and Austria Hungary’s navies combined. Since aristocrats in Germany and Austria Hungary knew they were losing the arms race, they decided the best way to catch up to Britain’s Royal Navy was to declare war. The third cause of World War One was economic imperialism. Great Britain and France maintained their domestic economies through their control and trade with foreign colonies. Germany and Austria Hungary had very few foreign colonies, and their domestic resources were...
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