Causes Of Ww1 Essay, Research Paper
Essay on the Causes of WW1
Was Germany was the blame for the outbreak of WW1?
This is a perfectly legitimate question. But though this question is important, it is also immensely difficult to answer. This essay will attempt to pinpoint some of the reasons why the origins of the First World War defy simple, straightforward answers. It is widely believed that this war was caused by Germany. Germany was accountable for many previous causes but there are many other reasons that led to this war, some occurring as far back to the late 1800 s. The main factors are, nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and the system of alliances. The alliance system was one of the important factors, which contributed to the war. It arose only because of several other factors, and did not cause the war single headedly.
Nationalism, the love and support of one’s country, has always existed. In this era, however, it was to take part in the creation of one of the most famous wars in history. Since so much pride was devoted to countries, it made the possibilities of peace between past rivals less probable. It also meant that most nations, especially the great powers, would rather fight a war than back down from a rival’s diplomatic provocation. In effect, nationalism was also a contributing factor to the alliance system. No country feels comfortable being in a war alone, and with the growing militaries in almost every country, allies provided much comfort. Throughout the 1800’s many groups driven by nationalism, tried to unite by governments controlled by their own people. Such strong feelings towards one country made nationalists chauvinistic towards other nations. Nationalism led European nations to compete for the largest army and navy, or the greatest industrial development. It also gave groups of subject peoples the idea of forming independent nations of their own. Nationalism often caused anxiety among nations in Europe. In effect, nationalism was also a contributing factor to the alliance system. No country feels comfortable being in a war alone, and with the growing militaries in almost every country, allies provided much comfort. If two or more countries are allied with each other then they have a better chance of defeating their common enemy if war is declared. They also have a higher probability of winning in a war on more than one front if they have alliances providing support.
This led to an arms race, which made the impending war seem inevitable. The military planning in some countries also caused an increased fear of war. As a result of such tensions, between 1871 and 1914 the nations of Europe adopted domestic measures and foreign policies that in turn steadily increased the danger of war. Because Britain had a great navy, Germany wanted a great navy too. Germany and France competed for larger armies. The more one nation built up its army and navy, the more other nations felt they had to do the same. Militarism controlled the thinking of many European leaders before the war. These leaders thought that only the use of force could solve problems among nations. These leaders also thought that a country with a strong military usually got what it wanted, and weaker countries usually lost. As international rivalries, each country in Europe made their armed forces stronger and larger.
Another cause was Imperialism in which European nations ruled smaller countries, called colonies, and competed with each other to amass more colonies. Imperialism led countries to have conflicting national interests, which also led to war, as each country thought that they were right and wanted to convert other cultures to be more like their own. This not only played a large part in the creation of the alliance system, but it also created enemies for many countries, which led to solid grounds for war. Both France and Britain had many colonies in Africa and Asia. Now Germany and Italy decided they wanted a colonial empire too. France and Germany were on the brink of war several times when they argued about claims to Morocco. They made up a temporary compromise that didn t really satisfy both countries.
With nationalism, militarism, and imperialism all showing large presences at the same period in time, a solid ground was formed for the alliance system to build itself on. During the late 1800 s the system of alliances was a big factor that lead to the start of the war. If two or more countries are allied with each other then they have a better chance of defeating their common enemy if war is declared. They also have a higher probability of winning in a war on more than one front if they have alliances providing support. Germany was afraid that France would seek revenge for its defeat to Germany back in 1871. She then decided to keep France isolated and without allies, especially with Russia. She wanted to do this in case of a war so Germany wouldn t have to defend both its east and west boundaries. The French needed to be allies with Russia, so they did as much as they could to see that it happened. For Twenty years, the nations of Europe had been making alliances. It was thought the alliances would promote peace. Each country would be protected by others in case of war, making it foolish for one country to wage war on another. In the summer of 1914 there were two alliances. The Triple Alliance composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, stood opposed to the Triple Entente composed of Britain, France, and Russia.
The danger of these alliances was that an argument between two countries could draw all the other nations into a fight. This is just what happened when a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia led to World War 1.
As all these things began to build up the spark that set off the explosion and led to the war was the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. On July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a lengthy list of demands, with a 48-hour period in which to comply. This conciliation was rejected. Austria reacted on July 28 by declaring war on Serbia. The Russians prepared to defend Serbia. On July 31 the Germans sent a warning to Russia to stop mobilizing its army for war. The Russians ignored the warning, and Germany declared war on Russia on August 1. France came to the aid of its Russian ally by declaring war on Germany. The British hesitated, but when the Germans marched into Belgium, they declared war on Germany on Aug 4.
World War I had begun.
The origins of the First World War constitute a highly difficult and complex topic. Thus, the alliance system was holds the greatest responsibility for the breakout of a world war. However, the alliance system might have never occurred had it not been for nationalism, militarism, and imperialism, the coordination of alliances and the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Germany was not exclusively the blame for the outbreak of WW1, but was a recipe of the immediate causes and long term causes. Germany was accountable for many previous causes, however it is clearly shown that each country took part in the anticipated WW1.