The Causes of the First World War
Chardai C Guthrie
Seaford Senior High School
The Causes of the First World War
The First World War was a war between the great European empires and was fought from 1914 until 1918. The alliances were the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) and the Triple Entene (Britain, Russia, and France). The war was caused by a chain of events that built up more tension and rivalry throughout the years. There were many causes as to why the war built up but the three main causes were, imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. Imperial Rivalry
Imperialism was a strong belief and practice that meant maintaining and keeping a large and wealthy empire. Nations want to expand and better their own and do this by gaining new territories, which can be through military action and exploration. War took off because of an extreme jealousy and resentment from the late contributors to empire expansion. That rivalry and jealousy led to their military improvement, alliances, and nationalism. The British Empire had had over five continents and France controlled the largest area of Africa. The increase of demand for more lands for raw materials also increased rivalry between with Germany because they started taking over new land later and only had small parts of Africa (Imperialism as a cause of World War 1, n.d). A rivalry between Germany and France increased when Morocco, a not yet French colony, came into view of both the German and France. Germany wanted to discontinue Paris’ attempt the gain Morocco and prevent it from being taken over. Kaiser Wilhelm, in 1905, gave a speech in Tangier, supporting Moroccan independence. Angered by the German, the French then set out and created diplomatic press reports. The move of the Germans bringing an armed vessel to a Moroccan port unexpected almost made Germany and France break out in war. The German’s goal was to break France and Britain, not to gain and expand its empire but in face did the opposite (Imperialism as a cause of World War 1, n.d). Austro-Hungarian and Serbia is also a good example of imperialism. On the 23rd of July, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian terrorist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Austro-Hungary realized that Serbia was the weaker nation and then issued an ultimatum, like, “The Royal Serbian Government [is]… to suppress any publication that incited to hatred and contempt of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the general tendency of which is directed against its territorial integrity” (Imperialism in World War 1, n.d). The ultimatum stated that Serbia repudiate their self-governing and be under Austro-Hungary power. Militarism
The culture of militarism spread far throughout numerous parts of Europe. Militarism changed the atmosphere of the war, it made violent, tense hostile. It is argued that Germany had much to be blamed for militarism. The German culture of it was the strongest. The German army was dominated and formed by Prussian aristocrats, Prussia being the most powerful and strong German state, politically and in military terms. Since Germany had such an advanced and sufficient army, the other countries became worried and feared that they could easily be attacked and defeated. This meant that they had to improve their military and organize similar armies and training. Great Britain having control of the seas quickly became an issue for Germany, seeing as it puts a wedge between their plan to colonize and expand. Money was given to the German army by the German people, aiding them in building numerous battleships. Building all these ships and maintenance was also an issue with both Great Britain and Germany. Great Britain made numerous offers to not build any ships in the year the Germans would build none, Germany refused every time (A School History of the Great War – Chapter 3, n.d).
The most significant improvement in military terms were, caliber, range and accuracy and the portability of heavy weapons. In...
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