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world war 1

By Angie2701 Oct 19, 2014 933 Words
To what extent was the alliance system to blame for the outbreak of war in 1914?

The alliance system is an important factor in the outbreak of war in 1914, however it is only one of the causes of the First Word War and many other factors led to the war. These included militarism and nationalism. However the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the most immediate cause. The alliance system in Europe linked countries together in larger groups. Germany’s alliance with Austria- Hungary was responsible for turning the war into a global crisis instead of a local one. Germany pledged to support Austria unconditionally in Austria’s punishment to Serbia for the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Russia sent out a partial mobilization when they heard their ally ( Serbia ) was under threat. This triggered responsive mobilizations against Russia from Austria and Germany. France’s alliance with Russia was then brought into the war. Germanys war plan “The Schlieffen plan” was constructed around the idea that a war with France would mean a war with Russia and vice versa. However Britain debated about entering the war when its ally ( France ) was threatened. They finally decided to join in when Belgian were violated by Germany. Imperialism can also be seen as a cause for the first world war. One example of this would be the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911. France had sent in troops to Morocco in order to help the Sultans government, however, Germany saw this as a threat to Moroccan independence and sent in a naval boat to Agadir. Germany then demanded compensation from France in the form of the entire French Congo. However, Britain stood up and Germany backed down, only receiving small strips of the Congo. Germany was humiliated publicly and diplomatically. This was important as it showed the strength of the entente and Britain had supported France once again. Germany had ambitious expansion plans and wanted a large empire. However, Germany had entered the race for colonization too late and most of Africa was already conquered. Germany would have tried anything in order to expand its empire, even if it meant threatening war. Trouble in the Balkans also led to an increase in tension. Nationalism had a big part in this because the Austrians were afraid that their Slavs would copy the nationalists in the Balkans ( Russian Slavs ) and demand independence. This would destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was clear to the Austrian government that the survival of their empire depended on stamping out nationalism and those who encouraged it. Austria found Slav nationalism most worrying especially because Serbia was the biggest Slav country. Serbia wanted to govern all Slavs sp they hoped to bring the neighbouring land of Bosnia Herzigovina under its control. Without warning Austria joined Bosnia Herzigovina. Russia and Serbia were both angry but the Russians had just finished a devastating war with Japan and could not commit to a war so soon. In 1912 War broke out again in the Balkans this time is was over land that Bulgaria wanted and lost. Serbia became bigger and stronger posing a real threat to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Germany were determined to have the largest navy this upset Great Britain and led to even more tension. The Naval Race made the British extremely nervous as to why Germany needed such a large Navy. Britain depended on their navy for safety because of their trade and Empire. It also protected them from any sort of invasion. British control over the seas were not challenged 8 until 1898. In that year, Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to make Germany a naval power. Naval bases were built and the size of fleet was greatly increased. This was seen as a real challenge to the British and they would do everything necessary to keep control of the seas. In 1904 a new man was put in charge of the British navy. His name was Admiral Sir John Fisher and he was given orders to modernise the British navy because of the German threat. He realised the new designs and new ships were needed so in 1906 he introduced a new type of battle ship called the DreadNought. This modern ship was the biggest, fastest and most powerful ship ever built. Germany felt threatened by this so they too decided to build their own DreadNaught. Many believed that Germany was trying to threaten the Navy and Germany felt that Britain was opposing their ambition to become a greater power. Finally the assassination of The Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the 28th June 1914 was the spark that ignited the explosive situation in Europe. This led to the outbreak of war because Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia in retaliation for the assassination. Russia had an alliance with Serbia and decided to get involved and help them. Germany joined in alongside Austria-Hungary, and France and Britain were brought in because of an alliance with Russia. This is how the First World War began. The alliance system was very important in causing the outbreak of War as it split Europe into two armed camps with each country suspicious of each other. By the end of 1918 Germany could not fight on anymore. America had to come into the war a year earlier and the arrival of these new young men was the last straw for Germany. At the same time Britain had cut off all their food supplies so Germany was starved into surrender. In the end Germany couldn’t take it anymore and asked for a ceasefire and this began at 11am on the 11th November 1918.

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