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Investigating The Causes Of The Outbreak Of World War I

2483 words - 10 pages

Investigating the Causes of the Outbreak of World War I ‘“The First World War was the result of a badly mismanaged Balkan
crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of long-standing
rivalries between the great powers.”

The Balkan Wars between 1912 and 1913 were proven to dramatically
increase tension between the major powers in Europe at the time (being
such countries like Britain, France, Germany, Russia,
Austria-Hungary). The Balkan countries wanted to completely drive
Turkey out of Europe, thus the formation of the Balkan League
(consisting of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece). The tension
was already rising due to the development of the Schlieffen Plan by
Germany, and of course the ongoing rivalry between the Triple Entente
(Britain, France, Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany,
Austria-Hungary, Italy).

Long-standing rivalries were one of the major causes of the First
World War. One of the major rivalries was certainly between France and
Germany. This was originally brought about by the war between them in
1870 where the newly unified Germany took Alsace Loraine from the
French. Germany also had a rivalry with another third of the Entente,
Russia. Germany had created the Schlieffen Plan to initiate if Russia
were to mobilise, meaning both France and Russia would be attacked by
Germany, thus breaking the encirclement, which they originally had.

Serbia and Austria-Hungary also had the incredibly strong rivalry and
this was proven by the assassination by Serbians of the Archduke
Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo. The rivalry over the Balkan
area at this time was also very strong, with Germany and
Austria-Hungary uniting, creating a ‘super power’ in order to conquer
the Balkans - in 1879, the Dual Alliance had been formed between the
two countries in order to accomplish this. Serbian nationalism was
beginning to grow in Serbia, which consequently were starting to cause
unrest in rivalries such as Austria-Hungary.

Even though not completely related to the First World War, the
Anglo-German naval rivalry did increase tension – one cause for
quarrel between the alliances was to do with the size and power of
their armed forces, especially their navies. In 1900 when as part of
Germany’s policy of Weltpolitik, the government built forty-one
battleships and sixty cruisers. Britain also decided to increase their
naval force at this time, and in 1906 built the battleship, HMS
Dreadnought. The Germans were obviously concerned about this increase
in naval power in the Triple Entente, which resulted in Germany
designing a rival warship, the Rheinland. People in Britain were
actually worried that...

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