BY NATHAN BECK
World War 1 was the first war in history that had most of the world dragged into conflict against one another. There were many causes of WW1 the main one that actually started it was a short term cause, the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austria-Hungary Empire. But there were a lot of long term causes that were building up to war like the arms race with military sections such as navy being built up especially between Britain and Germany. Also Imperialism was a great cause because Germany had only just unified in comparison to the rest of the world they wanted to get themselves on the map in regards to some colies but there wasn't much free space rest in the world, also there was the alliance systems that actually pulled everyone into the war. Nationalism also played a role, basically its patriotism so it cone sides with the alliance system especially to do with Britain and all its colonies such as Australia and Canada, they join the war because of the alliance but also because Britain is basically there mother so even though they were independent they still were going to help out their oldest and greatest ally at that time.
The only short term cause was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28 1914, this act committed by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo; Bosnia was the match that started the fuse that led to war. The reason for this assassination was mainly because he and his group wanted to break free of the Austria-Hungary Empire and have an independent Yugoslavia. This caused the spark of the war because Austria-Hungary found out that Serbia helped to provide some equipment and weapons. So they decided to teach Serbia a lesson by going to war with them and were planning on crushing them but they couldn't because Serbia was allied with Russia but they did anyway pulling there ally, Germany, in and causing the whole conflict to kick off. The death of one royal family member and the actions of one man to commit that murder ended up getting approximately 16 million people killed in the process.
The arms race then ensued when Germany started to build its navy in compaction with Britain use 4,532,000 tonnes of iron and other materials and had 63 separate Dreadnoughts built. Those figures were just for the dreadnoughts that does not include other ships like destroyers and torpedo boats. That shows the pure magnitude of the want that Germany had to out-class and over power the amazing and massive British Navy that had been dominate in the oceans of the world for hundreds of years. There is a reason for the saying "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves." The whole arms race was because Germany wanted to become the world power over Britain and to do that they needed a navy but they couldn't really build massive ships in secret so the British found out and started to up there navy power as well, to stay ahead. One of the main ways they did that was by introducing the HMS Dreadnought; it was a new design that was faster and stronger than any other ship that had been built to date. It was launched on the 10th of February 1906 starting a new class of ships, the Dreadnought class. The whole naval arms race was a product of Germany's imperialism and want to become a major world power but because they had only unified in 1871 they didn't have much of a chance to get many colonies but they got a few and needed a navy to defend them but they had other plans on what to do next.
There was also an arms race on land/ sky but it was no were near as large or cost as much because ships are a lot bigger and more expensive. But ever since wright brothers flew their first plane the military was interested in using them as weapons and they did, Biplanes made their combat debut during WW1 and it was the first time battles had taken to the skies and there was more than just ground forces to consider when planning out tactics. Also it was during but there was also the invention...
Bibliography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_Alliance_(1879) Published on 2 Aug 2014
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Russian_Alliance Published on 23 Aug 2014
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_London_(1839) Published on 23 Aug 2014
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/america_and_world_war_one.htm Published during 2006
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