Austria-Hungary was a prime player in the development of World War I and was responsible for starting the first real conflict of the Great War. However, even before the Great War, Austria-Hungary was a major power in the European continent and had been embroiled in the Holy Roman Empire. The country was originally just Austria but was recreated into a Dual Monarchy by the Hapsburgs and was renamed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This empire was ousted by the Germans and began fighting with the Russians who had expansionary goals. These conflicts continued when the Ottoman Empire’s influence and power began to weaken. It didn’t help any of this that the Serbians were supportive of secret terrorist organizations in Bosnia which had a substantial Slavic population, who at the time felt oppressed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Even before the assassination of the heir Franz Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary had been prepping for a conflict between them and the Serbian empire for some time. Despite the fact that the heir was not the most beloved by his government, they still used his assassination as a reason to issue an ultimatum to the Serbians stating that the assassins must be brought to justice as well as the group known as the Black Hand. After Serbia rejected only small clauses of the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary saw this as the opportunity they had been waiting for and declared war on Serbia. However, before the declaration of war on Serbia by Austria-Hungary, these two countries along with Russia, Germany, France, and Britain engaged in several diplomatic attempts known as the July Crisis. During these procedures is where the Austria-Hungarians delivered the ultimatum and where it became apparent to the other world powers that war was inevitable. By declaring war on Serbia, Austro-Hungary drew Germany and Russia into the conflict with Germany being the ally and Russia became the enemy.
Germany was more than willing to enter into the war and had secretly been pushing Austria-Hungary to fight the Serbians. France was allied to Russia who in turn was allied to the Serbian government which was what sparked the French to begin fighting the German and Austrian-Hungarian forces. Britain and a loose treaty with the French at the time and this put an obligation on the British to defend French should the Germans attack. With random alliances in this mix, including the nations of Italy, Japan, and the United States, the two sides of World War I were born.
Reasons for Responding
Each of the countries had their individual reason for entering the war and together they created the First World War. Austria-Hungary could be argued to be the main reason World War I broke out in the first place. However, this was not without some type of aggression from the other powers including Germany and Russia who also played major roles in the Great War. Germany was a key instigator of the war because of how much they pushed Austria-Hungary to...