The Causes of World War I

Major Event/Epoch in American History

Time Period/Date(s)

Description and Significance of the People/Event(s) to American History

1) The evolution of the causes of World War I.

From 1914 to 1918

There are several reasons underlying the start and escalation of the World War I. The reasons are as discussed below: The immediate cause of the War was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – Hungary in 1914 (Wynn 2010). He was assassinated together with his wife while in Bosnia in protest to having control over the region by the Serbians. Serbia wanted to take control of the area. This led to the war between Serbia and Austria – Hungary, Germany and Russia thus the development of the World War.

The mutual European Defense Alliance was another major cause. Incase a country was attacked then the allies would retaliate to defend their counterparts. For example when Austria – Hungary announced war on Serbia, Russia fought to defend Serbia (Kennedy 2004). Germany then declared war on Russia. France came in to attack Germany through Belgium thus pulling Britain right into the war. Japan also came in followed by the US.

The term Imperialism simply refers to the power of a country to bring under its control additional territories. This the super powers achieved through their colonies which was majorly within Africa and Asia. They obtained raw materials which they could use in their countries development. Due to this rising competition, the scramble for partitioning these areas led to the aggravating of the war since they wanted much larger empires.

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Towards the beginning of the twentieth century, the rush for arms took the centre stage. Germany’s build up in military was at an advanced stage. Britain and Germany had well established navies (Kennedy 2004). Russia also came into the competition for the supremacy in military establishments. The involvement in the military took a public policy and it generally encouraged the countries to go to war.

Nationalism is the belief by Nations that they will benefit from independent actions rather than the collective approach. Nations emphasize on national rather than international goals. The Bosnians wanted to be part of Serbia rather than Austria – Hungary. The nationalism of the various countries in Europe contributed both to the beginning and extension of the war. Each nation wanted to exercise power and dominance over the other.

The most important reason that caused the War was the issue of the European Alliances (Null 2009). The Great powers became worried about the Triple Alliance’s strength. Due to fear for the Germans, Austria and Italy joined hands. Although the European Alliances helped their members during times of attack, it still escalated the War. France collaborated with Russia in case they are attacked. Since the Britons were worried of not being in any alliance, they forged an alliance with France for safety (Null 2009).

An example is that incase Germany would have not allied with Austria, the war might have not occurred since the whole of Europe would have not been driven to the war between Britain and Germany. World War 1 basically spread through national Alliances

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