Causes of World War 1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
We all know about the World War 1, but some of us don't have an accurate idea about why it happen, so in this essay I am going to explain about its causes, and give examples.
Hope you like :)

Submitted: July 30, 2013

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Submitted: July 30, 2013

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The war broke out on the 4th of August 1914 and would last until the 11th of November, 1918. It was a war between the Great Powers of Europe who were divided into the Central Powers and the Entente Powers. This war was significant as it was the greatest war fought with 30 nations resulting in 8.5 million casualties and 21 million wounded. It let to countries being destroyed so countries sought revenge. Many would face unemployment and become vulnerable to diseases e.g. 25 million wiped by Spanish flu. In this essay, one will focus on what the main causes of World War 1 were.

Nationalism is a main cause of World War 1. It means to think your country is the best so you will die for it, which is confident, boastful, and chauvinistic. It leads to anger, hatred, and rivalry. War becomes the only acceptable solution to a problem. E.g. the German Empire in 1870-1, Germany fought France to become a united country. France was defeated, and German after fighting together declared itself a united country under Kaiser Wilhelm. France had to pay reparation and give up Alsace-Lorraine. This angered the French as these were two fertile and rich provinces. They sought revenge for 44 years. Balkan Wars in 1912-1913, Turkey was almost driven out of the Balkans (South-east Europe). The Serbian Prime Minister, warned, ‘The first round is won. Now for the second round-against Austria’. Treaty of San Stefano 1878, Serbia became an independent country. The Serbs were very nationalistic. They wanted to unite the Serbs into one country. Daily Telegraph Article-1908, In a Daily Telegraph interview, Kaiser Wilhelm said that German people disliked Britain, but he like Britain. The British people were angry. Nationalism was a big cause of World War 1. It led to imperialism as a country believes they are superior to others, they feel they have the right to rule it.

Imperialism is another cause of World War 1. It means the desire to build a great empire by ruling and conquering other countries (colonies), which is powerful, and proud. It led to competition, rivalry, and tension. E.g. Boer War 1899-1902, Britain defeated the Boer rebels in South Africa. Kaiser Wilhelm said he supported the Boers. Britain was angry with Germany. Berlin-Baghdad Railway 1903, France and Britain objected to Germany’s plans for a railway from Berlin to Baghdad in the Turkish Empire. They feared that Germany was trying to get control over Turkey. Fashoda incident 1898, English and French forces clashed in the Sudan, almost causing a war. Agadir Crisis 1911, Germany sent a gunboat, The Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir. Kaiser Wilhelm demanded a ‘place in the sun’ for Germany. France and Britain prepared for war. Germany backed down. Bosnia 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed (took over) Bosnia from the Turks. Imperialism can cause Militarism as countries dash over colonies they may need to build a navy or army to protect their interests.

  Militarism is also another cause of World War 1, it means the desire to have a great army and navy, which is also protection, defense, and trade. It can lead countries to become more aggressive as they are prepared to wage war. E.g. the Schlieffen Plan 1905, count von Schlieffen who was a German general devised a plan which prevented the army from being split if attacked from 2 fronts (Eastern + Western). They planned to attack France by marching at high speed through Belgium and taking France in 6 weeks. (Like in 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war). Once Paris fell, the whole army would march back towards Russia who would only then be mobilizing men due to poor transport system. Plan 17- 1913, this was a French plan devised General Joffre which armed to have an all-out attack on Alsace-Lorraine (to regain their lands). Once taken, they would march at high speed crossing the River Rhine to Berlin. Second German Navy Law 1900, Germany planned to increase the German Navy to 38 battleships. Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905, when Japan defeated the Russians, people realized that Russia was militarily weak. HMS Dreadnought 1906, the first Dreadnought warship was launched in Britain. Militarism leads to alliances because if you have weapons, you may feel threatened so you will seek allies.

  Alliance is also another cause of World War 1; it means a system where countries group together for protection or trade. This also means loyal, trade, and strength. It can lead to a great war as you pull your allies in. Also it makes countries more aggressive so they take risks. E.g. Anglo-Japanese Treaty 1902, Britain came to a naval agreement with Japan. Anglo-French Entente Cordiale 1904, A ‘friendly agreement’ between Britain and France. Entente between Britain and Russia 1907, an agreement between Britain and Russia. Alliances can lead to imperialism as you feel you are allowed to a strong country so you feel confident of their support for you to takeover a colony.

  The Balkan was 1911-12, the Balkan league (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria) was formed to defeat Turkey as these nations believed Turkey was weakened, the young Turks 1908 revolution and Italy’s victory in North Africa. They launched on attach in 1912. The consequences are that it was costly and cruel, Turkey was defeated after 50 days, and Turkey had to give up their lands which were shared out amongst the victors, Albania was formed as a new country, and Bulgaria under Foxy Ferdinand will be unhappy and demand more “war spoils”. Murder at Sarajevo 1914, The city of Sarajevo in 1914. The main road- the Appel Quay- can be clearly seen next to the river. Sarajevo was the capital of the province of Bosnia, in Austria-Hungary. Many Serbs lived in Bosnia. A group nicknamed the ‘Black Hand’ wanted Bosnia to be part of Serbia. They started a terrorist was against the Austrians, with bombings and shootings. On 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand (the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary) and his wife Sophie visited Sarajevo. They arrived at the station on 9:28am. It was Franz Ferdinand’s wedding anniversary. It was also Serbia’s National Day. Lined up along the Appel Quay, waiting for the Archduke, were six young men. They were going to try to murder Franz Ferdinand. The Archduke’s motorcade drove along the Appel Quay. Four of the young men did nothing. But one threw a bomb. It missed. The motorcade sped to the Town Hall and the Archduke was safe. He decided to go home immediately, by a different route. At 11 am, the Archduke and his wife left the Town Hall. In the confusion, nobody told the driver of the change of route. The car started back along the Appel Quay, but then the driver went the wrong way. He was told to turn round. By chance, he stopped the car in front of one of the assassins, Gavrilo Princip. Princip fired two shots. The first hit the Archduke’s throat. The second hit Sophie in the stomach. They both died almost immediately. It was 11:30 am. Princip was arrested and beaten up. It led to war.

  Slide to war, (1) Austria-Hungary gave Serbia a harsh ultimatum which Serbia refused to comply with, so Austria-Hungary declared war on the 28th July, 1914. Serbia will seek help from Russia. (2) Russia mobilizes on the 31st July to defend Serbia as feels Austria-Hungary is in the wrong way. (3) Russia’s mobilizations alarms Germany so they had no choice but to implement Schlieffen Plan. Thus, they begin by declaring war on Russia and France on the 1st August, 1914. (4) France declared war to defend itself on the 23rd August, 1914. (5) Britain declares war on Germany who failed to meet their ultimatum as UK was an old ally of Belgium (1839). UK declared war on the 4th of August.

  Now after I have talked about the main causes of World War 1, I think the main cause is Nationalism. Nationalism led to other causes, and also it makes countries more aggressive because they are ready to do anything for their country even if it was death. Nationalism is actually a strong cause because also what I think is that the World War 1 was mostly because of Nationalism, and it even makes countries even stronger and not scared of anything. All what they can think of is to defend their country and be more and more aggressive. 


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