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World War 1 Essay

1273 words - 5 pages

World War 1 was known as the Great War. It was the first war in which all of the world's major powers fought against each other. This war was also the first modern war with new weapons and war machines designed for more effective to kill people. There were also new tactics and strategies used to in this war. World War 1 was one of the bloodiest wars ever fought, but nobody could have foreseen that this war would lead to the bloodiest war of all. There were several causes of World War 1. The first cause of World War 1 was nationalism which is having great pride in one's country and cultural background. Nationalism was very prevalent in the 19th century in Europe. Belgium won its independence from the Netherlands in1830. Italy became unified in 1861 and Germany in1871. However by the end of the 19th century the problem of nationalism was not resolved in some areas of Europe. In the Balkans, Panslavism was a very strong nationalistic movement. Southern Austria-Hungary was mainly inhabited by people who supported Panslavism and this caused major tensions that lead to the war. Imperialism played a part in the road to war. After the Industrial Revolution in Europe many of the countries expanded their foreign markets in Africa and colonial interests frequently clashed. As a result of these tensions many European nations made new domestic and foreign policies which steadily increased the chance of war. Militarism was a another major cause of the war. Because of growing tensions in Europe many countries had large standing armies which they kept replenished by peacetime conscriptions (Encarta 98). Many countries also built up their navies. Huge long range guns had proved to be an effective weapon in the Russo-Japanese War. Great Britain followed German naval expansion in 1900 and developed a fleet under Admiral Sir John Fisher. The European countries did not expand their militaries just to fight, but also made sure that if war came they would not be alone in fighting it. Thus two very powerful military alliances were formed. The Triple Alliance was formed between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and the Triple Entente which consisted of Great Britain, France, and Russia. Shifts within these alliances would also add tension to an already volatile situation. All the elements for a war were together all it needed now was a spark to ignite it. That spark came when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the thrown of Austria-Hungry, was assassinated in the Slavic country of Serbia by Gavrilo Princip a Serbian Nationist. The Austro-Hungarian government suspecting that the Serbian government knew of Princip's plan, which they did, issued a ten point ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia agreed to eight of the ten points, but Austria-Hungary did not accept this and on July 28, 1914 declared war on Serbia. Russia responded by partially mobilizing against Austria-Hungary (Encarta 98). Germany warned Russia that continued mobilization would bring them into the conflict. Russia...

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