World War One Essay, Research Paper
For many young men throughout western world, August of 1914 was the most glorious month of their lives, war had broken out in Europe. Throughout Europe, Canada and Australia young men flocked to recruitment stations to sign up to fight for their country and their freedom. Many did not and still do not understand what conditions brought forth the brutality and hard ships resulting from World War 1. Historians have argued for many years on who was responsible for the Great War of 1914 and will continue to debate because of numerous conditions that lead to the warThere are several factors explaining the enthusiasm of World War One. The Idea of political democracy was emerging in Europe following the French revolution and the Napoleonic era, with the idea that people with the same ethnic origin; language and political ideals had the right to independent states. This lead to many small groups within the European nations to look for their sovereignty much like Quebec is doing at present in Canada. These groups believed the only way in which to save the groups culture and language is to attain some sort of political power and control their own destiny. Nationalism was also expanding its’ influence throughout Europe in the early twentieth century. In many schoolhouses young children were taught slogans such as “it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country” (Roman). The Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870’s seemed only to be a rehearsal for what was to come; Germany easily defeated the troops from France and annexed Alsace-Lorraine. In the aftermath of this war the major powers of Europe searched for more controlling power, in this Germany and Austria joined forces in 1879 and soon after became the triple alliance including Italy. On the opposing side Russia, France and England joined forces and created the triple entente in the year 1908.In the early 20th century the spirit of Nationalism was also manifesting itself in another way. The industrial revolution of the time, that started in Great Britain and then followed in France also in Germany in the 1870’s, increased the overall out put of goods by each country. Consequently there was a need for foreign markets, The major area for the European polices of economic expansion was Africa, on that continent wars had broken out between the different factions. Between the years 1898 and 1914 European war had been narrowly missed between France and Great Britain and also between Germany on one side and France and Great Britain the other due to the intense economic rivalry. The Governments of the nations of Europe, between 1872 and 1914, adopted domestic measures that in turn steadily increased the danger of war in Europe. Many countries still held large standing armies, due to each individual country believing its interests were threatened. At the same time the many different countries in Europe steadily increased the size of their armies and their navies, leading to a large distrust of each countries neighbors. It seemed an endless circle, the Germans increased their navy after 1900 influenced by this, and the forces in Great Britain felt it that they to had to increase the numbers of their navy. This thinking came after the war between Russia and Japan where long-range naval guns proved to be a valuable asset to defeating rivals in time of war. Many politicians across Europe and the allied countries were beginning to see the effects of expenditures on armaments long time high, that only had two paths to lead, or to a to either towards war. In national bankruptcy seeing this many Hague Conferences in lobbied for a worldwide disarmament in the years 1899 and 1907. Nothing happened; rivalry was to, the far-gone at the time to attain an end to the massive increase of national defense budgets.
Between the years 1905 and 1914 tension in and surrounding Europe was great. It seemed that any wrong move would cause an international incident and in fact it did. The first of the many happened in Morocco, The Germans Backed the Moroccan independence against France, in return France threatened war on Germany but an agreement was reached before any major conflicts occurred. Another close miss at war also happened in Morocco in 1911 when the Germans sent a warship to protest the French efforts for supremacy in the country. After threats of war from both sides an agreement was reached at a conference at Agadir. Seeing the major powers involvement with the Moroccan affair Italy declared war on Turkey in the same year hoping to attain some power in the North African region. The Balkan wars of 1912-13 increased the desire for Serbia to attain the sections of Austria-Hungary, which contained peoples of Slavic descent. All these factors lead to massive sums of money to be spent on “defensive” purposes in the years 1913 and 1914, not just including the six powers directly involved in the crisis but all the European nations. The next step in the European struggle for power came with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke. The government of Austria-Hungary believed this catastrophic affair to be the work of the Serbians, and it was concluded to suppress any further upbringings the Austria-Hungary military sent expeditions to Serbia. In light of these new issues the government of Austria-Hungary sent a proposal to Serbia, it had a list of 10 specific demands dealing mostly with the suppression of Austria-Hungary. Urged by Great Britain and Russia Serbia accepted all but two conditions, this was unsatisfactory to Austria-Hungary. After the defeat of the ultimatum, Russia declared if Austria-Hungary marched on Serbia it would mobilize against Austria. In a last attempt at peace, Germany rejected a proposal that a conference of Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy settle the dispute.On July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in an attempt to put and end to the greater Serbia movement and Austria-Hungary believed Russia was bluffing. This is the start of World War 1. With Austria-Hungarian movements against Serbia, Russia partially mobilized it’s military against the country. With this Germany warned Russia that continued military action with Austria-Hungary would entail a war with Germany. Russia ignored German warnings and on August 4, 1914 Germany declared war on Russia.Although there are many factors which lead to the massive upheaval of world war one, it is impossible to point the finger at any one group and accuse them of starting the War. It was a combined effort by all groups involved touched off by an emergence of pride in one’s country and the attitude of many young men of “I would rather die then obey your rule”. In my opinion the War of 1914 was started by arrogance, one country believing they were superior to another and trying to prove it by force. Threats by one country to another for war, the death of powerful persons, assassination, huge expenses on military and pride all paved the road for world war one to occur and also lead to 20 million dead and many more wounded. In the year of our Lord 1918, the war was ended.