World War 1 is actually much more complicated than a simple list of causes. While there was a chain of events that directly led to the fighting, the actual root causes are much deeper and are part of continued rivalry between countries. This essay is an overview of the most popular reasons as to what the root causes of World War 1 were. In 1914 the most powerful European countries had empires that spread around the globe. The largest empires were owned by France and Britain. Britain and France had been united countries for years and had a lot of time to build these empires. When Germany became united in the 1870’s they came to desperately wanting an overseas empire. This started the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’ in the 1880’s. And so a rivalry started between the empires over world power. The arms race was about building up armed forces on land and was also about sea power. It had an impact on the Alliance System as allied countries could share responsibilities, for example if Britain allied with France, Britain could defend the North Sea and the English Channel, while France could defend the Mediterranean.
Over time, countries throughout Europe made mutual defence agreements that would pull them into battle. So if one country was attacked, allied countries were bound to defend them. Before World War 1, the following alliances existed: • Russia and Serbia
• Germany and Austria-Hungary
• France and Russia
• Britain and France and Belgium
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the attack caused a knock on effect and so Russia got involved to defend Serbia. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia. France was then drawn in against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Germany attacked France through Belgium pulling Britain into war. Later, Italy would enter on the side of the allies. Italy was part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria but hated Austrians for having an empire in their country. When the war started they didn’t join on...
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