Many history teachers refer to the turbulent situation that preceded the First World War by the popular acronym MANIA. Each of the letters refers to a different aspect of the situation all of which interacted to create a volatile atmosphere which helped a little spark turn into what was called at the time “the war to end all wars” or even The Great War. The acronym literally represents the five causes of the war, those being militarism of the time, the variety of alliance systems, surging nationalism, the rise of imperialism at the time, and the direct cause of any confrontation the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The assassination began a series of actions, that one could easily say occurred because of the twisted web of alliances and problems that had a simple action turn into the most horrific war in history up until that point. Each one of the aspects in their own right could have led to war but with each one occurring in conjunction with the other created a situation so volatile that with one action all hell broke loose in Europe, and moved onto a global stage.
Working its way back into the 1880’s the alliance system created a twisted web of allies and enemies in Europe. The idea behind the alliances was for defense, it gave each country the ability to understand that if they go to war they have an ally to join them. The foreign prime minister of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, wanted to focus on staying friendly with Russia. However, Kaiser Wilhelm instead set up an alliance with Austria Hungary in the Dual Alliance of 1879. This alliance became the Triple Alliance of 1882 when Italy joined in. Following the Kaiser’s ignorance towards Russia left France with its own opportunity so it set up the Franco-Russian Entente. This minor treaty held that both sides would consult each other when it was threatened by an outside force. This evolved in 1892 into a military contract which itself further developed into a full blown alliance. In 1904 Britain and France created a treaty, the Entente Cordiale, which was not used as a military alliance but settled past differences and tried to prevent any violent outbreaks. In 1907 the last and most important treaty was made, that being the Anglo-Russian Entente which also put away any past difference but also linked Russia with Britain and France which in effect created the Triple Entente, or the allied powers. The countries of Europe felt that these alliances would prevent any major wars, without looking at the big picture they didn’t realize that these alliances would result in all countries going to war if any battles occurred. The theory of the alliances was that if the countries were tightly linked together then all disturbances could easily be solved peacefully. When the war broke out in the summer of 1914 several different alliances had to go into play. Several different alliances had to be asked to join, the French had to assist the Russians, and the British were brought in as well. On the other side Germany and Austria had to work together; Italy actually declared neutrality and left Germany and Austria to only have each other. Eventually Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire would join in with Germany. The alliances of Europe created to defined sides, the very sides that would fight each other in the Great War. Those sides were the Central Powers, of which included Germany and Austria, and the Entente powers, of France Britain and Russia.
Surging nationalism had begun just earlier in time prior to outbreak of war and it was a major cause to why the Great War had even begun. It is first the idea of empowering the people that created a very hawkish public. With a war hawk majority growing with the countries, the possibility for war increases as the people believe they are far superior and even the simplest issues could lead to war. For example, the British sang a song called The Land of Hope and Glory, “Land of Hope and Glory, mother of the free….God who made thee mightier,...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document