The Causes of World War One

Topics: World War I, World War II, German Empire Pages: 20 (6057 words) Published: September 25, 2011
The Causes of World War One

In this module you will learn:

1.FOUR new words
2.SIX factors which underlay the outbreak of the First World War [ANIMAL] 3.TWO rival alliances
4.SEVEN countries
5.EIGHT crises which preceded the war [BiG FaT BABA]
6.The story of the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand
7.FOUR steps by which the murder of Franz Ferdinand led to the outbreak war [ARSE], including. 8.THIRTEEN key dates in the ‘slide to war’.

You must do the following written work:

A cloze exercise on the Background to War
FIVE explanations of how the five background factors made war easier. •A cloze exercise on the Crises preceding the war.
An analysis of the Crises pre-1914: Nationalism/ Imperialism/ Militarism/ Alliances •A 200-word description of the murder of Franz Ferdinand. •A cloze exercise on the Four Steps to War
A description of the Schlieffen Plan
An explanation of the slide to war, July-August 1914

Have you read:
Ferriby and McCabe, Modern World History for AQA, sections 1.1 and 1.2 •Ben Walsh, Modern World History, Chapter 1
Peter Moss, History Alive 4, chapter 2.
Greg Hetherton, Britain and the Great War, section 2
Christopher Culpin, Making History, chapter 2.
LE Snellgrove, The Modern World since 1870, chapters 6-7. •Tony Howarth, Twentieth Century History, Chapter 4.

Background to the War [ANIMAL]

We have conquered for ourselves a place in the sun. It will now be my task to see to it that this place in the sun shall remain our undisputed possession, in order that the sun's rays may fall fruitfully upon our activity and trade in foreign parts... The more Germans go out upon the waters, whether it be in journeys across the ocean, or in the service of the battle flag, so much the better it will be for us. A speech by Kaiser Wilhelm to the German Regatta Association, 1901.

The argument which follows suggests that Europe in 1914 was RIPE for war to break out - that the causes of World War One went back long before 1914, and had so set Europe at odds that it only needed a tiny spark to push all Europe into war. You will need to understand, not only WHAT the situation was in 1910-14, but HOW each element made war more likely...

1. Awful governments
Not only were many of the governments of Europe autocracies (ruled by one man), they had stupid and corrupt governments. Very few of the countries of Europe were democracies - it is hard for a democracy to go to war because the people (not just an individual ruler) need to agree to go to war. Remember also that in these days there was no idea of going to war for the 'right' reasons - many people in those days thought it was alright to go to war simply to win more power and territory for the ruler. In such a Europe, outbreak of war was less of an issue than - say - the recent war in Iraq.

2. Nationalism
EVERYONE was nationalist in those days, and this helped cause war in two ways: a. It made the people of countries like Britain, Germany and France more bellicose (warlike). French politicians like Clemenceau and Poincare (who had been around in 1870) HATED the Germans. People were enraged when someone insulted their country. b. It made the races ruled by Turkey (such as the Romanians and the Bulgarians) and by Austria-Hungary (such as the Serbs) want to be free. In the Balkans this was called ‘Panslavism’ because the people who wanted to be free were all Slav races. The most nationalistic of all were the Serbs – Serbia had became an independent country by the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, but in 1900 many Serbs were still ruled by Turkey and Austria-Hungary, and Serbia was determined to rule over them all. This led to rebellions and terrorism which destablised the Balkans.

Did You Know?
Kaiser Wilhelm had a withered arm and suffered a slight paralysis which made him unsteady on his feet. To overcome this, his teachers bullied him;...
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