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Naval Rivalry As The Main Cause For World War One

1970 words - 8 pages

Naval Rivalry as the Main Cause for World War One

It has been argued that Naval rivalry was the main cause of World War
One, this is because in 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to have the most
powerful and strongest navy in the world as he was extremely
militaristic which worried Britain and consequently caused tension
between the two countries. I believe that to a certain extent that
Naval Rivalry did contribute to the war but in my opinion there were
other factors that triggered off the war. My essay will include all of
these different factors, which are: The Moroccan Crisis’, the Balkans
crisis, The Alliance Systems and the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand.
I will also conclude which I feel is the most important and why.

One of the most significant causes of tension in Europe was the naval
rivalry witch developed after 1990. Britain had the most powerful navy
in the world, this situation began to change when in 1898, and Kaiser
Wilhelm II announced his intention to build a strong and powerful
navy. Kaiser Wilhelm had British blood running in him, as his
grandmother was Queen Victoria who wanted to build a fleet to
commensurate with Germany’s status so Wilhelm felt that he needed to
prove himself to his family and also have a strong navy. He wanted to
project power overseas and to protect Germany’s trade. He believed
that only a fleet could accord Germany her proper ‘place in the sun’,
besides that a fleet could protect Germany’s interests in any future
confrontations with Britain or the US.

The tension rose between the two countries, as Britain felt
threatened. In 1906 the ‘HMS Dreadnought’, the first super battleship
was commissioned. Germany decided to pick up the gauntlet that Britain
had thrown to them and decided to build their own Dreadnoughts. By
1914, Britain had built 29 Dreadnoughts whereas Germany had only built

This naval race consequented in the First World War, as the growing
tension between Germany and Britain was very high, there was an
increase in Anglo-German mistrust and Europe was divided into two
armed camps.

In 1905-06 and 1911 there were two crises in Morocco caused by
Germany’s attempt to block Frances control of the country and to
restrict French power.

While visiting Tangier in 1905 Kaiser Wilhelm II issued a statement of
support for Moroccan independence as the French had plans to control
the country, which caused international panic. The crisis was resolved
at the Algeciras conference in 1906 where Europeanan countries all
voted against Germany and recognised Frances special political
interests in Morocco, which resulted in Germany Humiliated. He had
wanted to be seen as a major power in Africa, instead his views were
rejected, which made him bitter.

The second crisis occurred in 1911 when the French tried to take over

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