Category Archives: Causes of WWI

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Imperialism

Category : Causes of WWI

cartoon--imperialism-1885-grangerImperialism is when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subjects to their rule. Imperialists in Europe were mainly strong nations in Europe, especially Britain, France, and also Russia in Asia. These countries were heading to raw materials for technology and economic improvements.

As a newly developed country, Germany had less colonies then Britain, which was a strong country for already hundreds of years. Since the new resources (amount of country to be colonized) were limited, Germany found out that wherever they were trying to expand their territory, either Britain or France has already colonized the country that Germany wanted. As the chancellor of Germany at that time Bernhard von Bülow said in his speech: “ We do not want to put anyone in our shadow, but we also demand our place in the sun.” (GHDI – Document), Germany demanded more lands for colonies.

Because of the desire of gaining more land for European countries, competition started forming between these countries and the tension between them increased.

Here is a graph showing countries all over the world being colonized by European countries.world1914r


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Assasination

Category : Causes of WWI

The assassination of Archduke France Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was definitely the most immediate cause of WWI. Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife Sophia were assassinated by a young man named Gavrilo Princip who was in a Serbian terrorist group, The Black Hand. He was murdered when he was visiting Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovnia (Assassination of Franz Ferdinand, historyonthenet).

After he was killed, Austria-Hungary send an Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his Wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenbergultimatum to Serbia to ask for compensation, if not Austria-Hungary will immediately start war with Serbia. However, Serbia didn’t agree with the ultimatum so in July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

Since Russia was allied to Serbia, Russia helped Serbia to mobilize Austria-Hungary’s border. By the time Austria-Hungary was in the alliance with Germany, so Germany soon declared war on Russia to help Austria-Hungary. Since then the war began to expand because both of the two allies were involved.
headline assasination-2


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Nationalism

Category : Causes of WWI

There were mainly two kinds of nationalism in 20th century Europe before WWI. (World War I Nationalism, Funfront)

One of them was the desire of subjected people for their independence. For example the Slavic people in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to be no longer controlled by Austria-Hungary but be part of Serbia (The Top 5 Causes That Led to World War I, About.com Education). The desire of gaining independence caused Serbia to ally with Russia and Russia later helped Serbia to fight with Austria-Hungary. Since Austria-Hungary was friend of Germany, later Germany get involved in the war with Serbia and Russia. The involvement of more countries let to the instability to the current peace in Europe that eventually led to war.

nationalism_picture
The other kind of nationalism at that time was the desire of strong nations for dominance and prestige, (World War I Nationalism, Funfront) like Germany. After Germany was united after Franco-Prussian war it became one of the countries which had the strongest economic and military power in Europe. The desire to expand territories could never be stopped and this desire definitely reflected on more battles caused by Germany. Germany became more aggressive after it became stronger that it wanted to build up its influence in every part of the globe, because of that, Germany had lots more serious conflicts with other major powers in Europe (World War I Nationalism, Funfront).
These were the two main kinds of nationalism that were also a cause of WWI.


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Alliances

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Category : Causes of WWI

Alliance is an agreement between two or more countries, which contains promises of helping each other when the countries in the alliance are being attacked (Alliances, Alphahistory)

Before the war, Germany’s army has grown so fast, which already broke the ialliancesmage of European countries keeping a balance force. This situation has seriously given threat to British superiority since Britain was supporting a continental balance of power policy so Britain was standing on the side against Germany. On the other side, after winning the Franco-Prussian war, Germany saw France as a major enemy because it was afraid of France’s possible revenge. For purpose of
strengthen Germany’s force and isolate France, Germany chancellor Otto van Bismarck created an alliance with Austria-Hungry, which was the country fighting with Russia for the control of Balkans. Later in 1882, for military help Italy has also joined the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungry. The alliance formed between Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungry was called the Triple Alliance.

As a response to the formation of Triple Alliance, France first signed agreements with 1378292_origRussian in1894 to defend. Soon, the threat of the increasing on naval power in Germany caused Britain to sign entente with France and Russia in 1907 to against Triple Alliance.

Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy) and Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia) were the two main alliances formed before the war. (World War I Alliance, Funfront)


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Naval race between Britain and Germany

Militarism

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Category : Causes of WWI

Militarism was one of the main causes that eventually led to WWI. Before the war European countries kept expanding their army and invent new weapons to prepare for war. Because of that at that time there were army races between these countries and there was a great growth on the total amount of expenditure on military powers (World War I Militarism, Funfront).

The following is a chart presenting the total amount of expenditure on military powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Britain, France and Russia (in million £ )

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1914
94 130 154 268 289 398

 

 

Thanks to its strong army and technology, in this race Germany was in an outstanding place, but it still desired more on seas. As a result Germany had decided to have a naval race with Britain to get the control of sea supremacy. During the naval race British had built a battle ship Dreadnought, which was really strong for naval force. As the first Dreadnought was produced, the naval race became more intense and since then the European countries started practicing more for the preparation of the war and the governNaval race between Britain and Germanyment leaders paid more attention to organization and mobilization of military force.

Moreover, Russia and Austria-Hungry were also increasing their military force. They were competing for one reason which was the control right of Balkans because both of them wanted these abundant island with profitable geographic location.


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