What Caused World War 1

5 May 2017

What caused World War 1 Many different factors led to the start of the First World War. Like many other historical occurrences, one thing led to another and all of these factors came together to start World War 1. The main causes were militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism, but many more other causes also helped spark the war. The rulers of the countries were all first cousins, with a lot of power that was in need of testing. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked rivalry between Serbia and Austria-Hungary.

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The Schlieffen Plan and growing militarism cause pressure between the countries as each knew the other’s capabilities for war. Nothing really started the first world war, but many things lead to it. Tension had already started to build up between certain European countries before the war. Many countries had already started building up armies and ordering ships. There was also a fair amount of competition between the countries, as the rulers of Great Britain, Germany and Russia were all first cousins.

As you could imagine, they would want to compare their armies, supplies and vehicles with each-others, so it was more a power contest, as whoever had the best developed military system seemed superior. It was also said that some of the cousins actually wanted there to be a war, as to set matters straight. This is one of the initial causes that helped fuel the start of the war. After the Black Hand assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary was displeased with Serbia.

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914, after Serbia did not meet the requirements of an ultimatum. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. As Russia is tied to Serbia by a treaty, Russian forces are sent to Serbia to defend against Austria-Hungary. This was just the beginning. The “official” outbreak of World War 1 was on 01/08/1914 when Germany attacked Russia as an act of defending Austria-Hungary, to whom they had an alliance. As you can see, at this stage, things were already starting to get messy.

France attacks Germany, as France is bound by a treaty to Russia, and Great Britain have no choice other to help France. America declared her neutrality, and so did Italy, but was still bound to Germany and Austria-Hungary by treaty, under specific terms. She ended up joining the allies, France and Great Britain. Germany wanted a way to defeat France while still defending her borders. This is where the Schlieffen Plan was born. France and Britain signed the Entente Cordiale in 1904.

This treaty promised the allied defence against Germany in an event of an attack. When this treaty was signed, Germany started to worry for her survival in if they were to attack France. This is when Germany had to plan a strategy to attack France and defend against Great Britain and Russia. Alfred von Schlieffen, an army chief, conceived a strategy that was able to defeat France while fending off an attack from both nations. This was called the Schlieffen Plan. The plan was to quickly send German troops through Belgium and capture Paris.

By doing son, the allies would not want to fight Germany as France was captured. This plan infuriated the allies and made the war worse. It was put to action on the 2nd of August, 1914. The plan seemed to be going well until Belgian forces started using guerrilla warfare against the German troops. Germany allowed for a week at most for troops to march through Belgium, but Belgium did not like that idea. They were neutral, but did not approve of German soldiers marching through their territory.

So they started using guerrilla tactics. Drive by shootings and poisoning of German soldiers. This delayed them for weeks. Enough for Great Britain and Russian forces to come in to help France. The Schlieffen Plan had not succeeded. These are some of the causes of the First World War. They all came together to spark the start, and one thing came after another. The main causes were Militarism, Imperialism, Nationalism and Alliances. World War One was caused mainly by Militarism.

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