Austria: The Cause Of World War One

1593 words - 6 pages

The nation responsible for the onset of World War I is Austria-Hungary because of the territorial and political stances with Serbia that provoked the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After Ferdinand's death, Austria-Hungary initiated a call for support to the Germans about the problems in the Balkans, resulting in Germany confirming their assistance by issuing a “Blank Check.” Austria later gave Serbia a list of ultimatums that consisted of extreme demands in hopes of Serbia rejecting it. Since Serbia is a country where Slavic nationalism was idealized, it refused the idea of Austria gaining the right to control the investigation of Franz Ferdinand's assassination and have authority over the state of Serbia and this did in fact compel Serbia to reject the ultimatums. Austria knew that Serbia would not accept this list of ultimatums and therefore sent it as a rational motive to declare a war. Not long after, Austria declared war on Serbia, and Germany, Austria's ally, declared war on Russia, an ally of Serbia.
The underlying causes of World War I can be related back to the conflicts involving Austria-Hungary and the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovia. In 1878, Serbia became independent from the Ottoman nation. With this independence, Serbia anticipated that their region would include the South Slavs in Bosnia and Herzegovia. Slavic nationalists in Serbia were in hopes of seceding from the Austro- Hungarian empire. In 1879, the Congress of Berlin placed Bosnia-Herzegovia under Austrian rule, shattering the nationalist's hopes of gaining that territory. Bosnia did not want to be under rule by a multinational state like Austria and the Austrians were not fond about Serbia promoting Slavic nationalism. The Austrian government stated that “The pitch of hopes of the kingdom on the Save had been raised, and how near she thought herself to the attainment of their aspirations, appeared in the embittered animosity and the deep disappointment which were created in the crazy and deluded country by the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovia and which brought Serbia to the verge of war”(Austrian Red Book, 2012). Serbia was upset of Bosnia being placed under Austrian rule because of their devotion to Slavic nationalism, and Austria was aware of their disappointment and unhappiness. Austria suggested eliminating Pan-Slavism because they were worried about the idea of Serbian terrorists in their country because of Serbia's aggression towards them. Austria was aware that Bosnia favored Slavic nationalism just like Serbia. Austria-Hungary could have avoided intervening in the social and political ideas of getting rid of Slavic nationalism and being oppressive to the Serbian people. By sending an Austrian political figure to Serbia during the turmoil was an unintelligent action for Austria to make because it was a fact that the Archduke's life would be put in danger and that he would most likely be killed. The Austrian government even expressed how the...

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