The Causes Of World War 1

2845 words - 11 pages

The First World War had many causes; the historians probably have not yet discovered and discussed all of them so there might be more causes than what we know now. The spark of the Great War was the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife by a Serbian nationalist on the morning of June 28, 1914, while traveling in a motorcade through Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Archduke was chosen as a target because Serbians feared that after his ascension to the throne, he would continue the persecution of Serbs living within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Serbian terrorist organization, the Black Hand, had trained a small group of teenage operatives to infiltrate Bosnia and carry out the assassination of the Archduke. It is unclear how officially active the Serbian government was in the plot. However, it was uncovered years later that the leader of the Black Hand was also the head of Serbian military intelligence. In order to understand the complexity of the causes of the war, it is very helpful to know what was the opinion of the contemporaries about the causes of the Great War. In the reprint of the article "What Started the War", from August 17, 1915 issue of The Clock magazine published on the Internet the author writes: "It is thought that this war that is been ongoing for over a year, began with the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. However, many other reasons led to this war, some occurring as far back the late 1800's. Nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and the system of alliances were four main factors that pressed the great powers towards this explosive war." According to the article above, the author stresses that the nationalism was one of the primary causes of the war. In the ninetieth and twentieth centuries, especially after the French Revolution nationalism was becoming a powerful force in Europe so people that had the same culture, language wanted their own country. And that was the problem for the government of Austria-Hungary that did not want to lose their power and control. The Slavs in the southern part of the empire were their main concern since they wanted to join up to Serbia.Militarism is the second cause according to the article above, which comes after the nationalism. To understand what the author means by militarism one should be familiar with the situation of the world in the beginning of the century, which was the result of both industrial and democratic revolutions. Britain at that time was the largest empire in the world, and it also had the largest navy. The navy was so big and strong because the Britons needed to protect their empire and maintain the sea routes between the different colonies. The Kaiser William II of Germany hated and envied Britain for having a stronger navy than his. He increased the German navy and built many warships. Britain responded with building more ships and increasing its navy too. This...

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