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Fundamental Causes Leading To Conflict In Europe (Tensions In Europe)

503 words - 3 pages

The fundamental causes of conflict were rooted deeply in the European history of the previous century, particularly in the political and economic policies that prevailed on the Continent after 1871, the year that marked the emergence of Germany as a great world power. Nationalism was strong in both Germany and France. Germans were proud of their new empire's military power and industrial leadership. France longed to regain its position as Europe's leading power. The underlying causes of World War I were the spirit of intense nationalism that permeated Europe throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, the political and economic rivalry among the nations, and the establishment and maintenance in Europe after 1871 of large ...view middle of the document...

By 1900, Germany's new, modern factories increasingly outproduced Britain's older ones. Britain had strong economic reasons to oppose Germany in any conflict. Germany thought that other great powers did not give them enough respect.Imperialism also divided European nations. In 1905 and again in 1911, competition for colonies brought France and Germany to the brink of war. Germany wanted to keep France from imposing a protectorate on the Muslim kingdom of Morocco. Although diplomats kept the peace, Germany gained some territory in central Africa. As a result of the Moroccan crises, Britain and France began to form closer ties against Germany.As international tensions grew, the great powers expanded their armies and navies. The result was an arms race that further increased suspicions and made war more likely. The fiercest competition was the naval rivalry between Britain and Germany. To protect its vast overseas empire, Britain had built the world's most respected navy. When Germany began to acquire colonies, it began to build up its own navy. Fear of war gave military leaders more influence. On matters of peace and war, governments turned to military leaders for advice. German generals and British admirals enjoyed great respect and got more funds to build up their forces. As militarism and arms race fed each other, tensions grew.Some of the consequences of these tensions were other states were drawn into alliances. Germany signed a treaty with the Ottoman empire, while Britain drew close to Japan. Rather than easing tensions, the growth of rival alliance systems made governments increasingly nervous. A local conflict could easily mushroom into general war. In 1914, that threat became a horrifying reality.

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