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Assess The Importance Of Each Of The Following Factors In Causing The First World War: Nationalism, Alliances And Economic Factors!

1043 words - 4 pages

Dunia MalezaiAssess the importance of each of the following factors in causing the First World War: nationalism, alliances and economic factors! Causes of World War One are complicated. There is no such clarity about which was the main factor in causing the war as all the above mentioned factors are interconnected and equally important. Although Germany has been blamed by many because she invaded Belgium in August 1914 when Britain had promised to protect Belgium but, the street celebrations that accompanied the British and French declaration of war gives historians the impression that the move was popular and politicians tend to go with the popular mood. Nationalism and extreme patriotism were significant contributing factors to the outbreak of World War I. Every one of Europe's Great Powers developed a firm but excessive belief in its own cultural, economic and military supremacy. This over-confidence was the reason of the devastating misconception: that one's own country would win the war in a span of a few months. This arrogance was fuelled by press as European populations became increasingly certain that their nations and governments were right and that their military would win any conflict. As this way of thinking became increasingly popular, the likelihood of war increased. On the one hand, Anti-German writings in Britain focused on a future war with Germany and even a future German invasion. On the other hand, German nationalism was predicated on the belief that Britain sought to deprive Germany of her 'place in the sun'. Therefore, nationalism was the root of much of the rivalry between European nations. For example France was resentful over defeat in Franco-Prussian War 1871 and eager for revenge. Germany was determined to keep Alsace-Lorraine. Ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were struggling to win political independence. And Serbian hopes to absorb all Slavic people into same nation, separate from Austria. Historian Imanuel Geiss argues that "the Bosnian crisis was a kind of dress rehearsal for the First World War". Furthermore, nationalism is much close to imperialism meaning public opinion became excited by colonial affairs and conflicts became issues of prestige with which leaders tried to win points at home. The alliance system was the reason the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in 1914 did not lead to a war of two nations, but a war among many nations around the whole world. Although the actual causes of the war are complicated, the involvement of the several nations to make it a world-war can be blamed on the alliance treaties. The alliance system in Europe was the catalyst that drove the world powers into war. Where the war would've been between two nations (Austria-Hungary and Serbia) because of the assassination of Ferdinand by Serbian Nationalists, the treaties between these two nations with other nations went in to effect, prompting other...

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