Underlying causes of war What were the underlying causes of WWI? The underlying causes of WWI were militarism, alliances, nationalism, and colonialism. This paper is going to use documents to help explain why these are the causes. Militarism was a cause of WWI because it glorified the army, making war seem like it was ideal. For example, in document 1 it says, "war is life itself". This is basically saying war is a part of life and should be accepted. Another example would be document 2. The British philosopher named, Bertrand Russell, said, "During this and the following days I discovered to my amazement that the average man and women were delighted at the prospect of war." He is saying that many people are ready for war and want it to happen. Militarism is like social Darwinism, or survival of the fittest. An example of this would be in document 8, which said, "the German nation will either be the hammer or the anvil." This is the German Chancellor giving a speech to the Reichstag and he is saying that we need to attack or be attacked. Another example of militarism being like social Darwinism is in document 7. Document 7 is a graph showing the growth in armaments in 1890 to 1914. The graph showed how when one nation's army grew, the other nation's armies would do the same. This is like social Darwinism because the countries are competing for military dominance. Another underlying cause of WWI were alliances because when alliances are made by certain countries, other countries are threatened and then they make their own alliances to have protection, then the previous alliance feels threatened by the new alliance. An example of this would be document 4, which is a political cartoon. It shows a bunch of men from different countries pointing at one another. They are accusing one another of starting the war. It also shows how countries would gang up on one country so the country getting pressured, gets help from other countries.