The First World War began in the August of 1914. The War was directly triggered by the assassination of the Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, on June 28th, 1914. However, this event was simply the trigger that set off declarations of war; the actual causes of the war are more complex and are still debated by historians today (“Causes of World War One,”historyonthenet.com). There are many direct and indirect causes to World War One. Of these causes there is Imperialism, Militarism, Alliances, and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. While there are many causes, these are the main ones contributing to World War One. Furthermore, many new ideas and inventions came to during World War One, of the many new ideas and inventions came the idea of trench warfare. There are many contributing factors of World War One.
To start with, Imperialism is a major cause of World War One. Imperialism is when a country increases their power and wealth by bringing additional territories under their control (“Top 5 Causes of World War 1,”about.com). Africa and Asia were the hotspot for imperialism because of the raw materials the area provided. This is a major cause of World War One because it brought on a lot of tension as countries fought over dwindling land. Many of these countries were fighting over pieces of Africa, these countries include; England, India, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy (“Causes of World War I,” library.thinkquest.org). Every country wanted a piece of Africa and this pushed the countries to confrontation. This brings countries even closer to the edge of war with tension in the air and jealousy and greed on each countries mind. This brings me to the next cause of World War One, Militarism.
To continue, Militarism is one of the main causes of World War One. Following the tension of Imperialism an arms race had begun between the main countries and between 1870 and 1914, the armies of France and Germany had more than doubled their sizes (“Causes of World War One’”historyonthenet.com). This increases the already growing tension between the countries and this also puts suspicion in each other’s minds that their neighbors are planning something. Countries developed precise plans for mobilization, including the German Von Shlieffen plan [to attack France before Russia, in the event of war with Russia] (“Causes of World War I,” library.thinkquest.org). The saying “monkey see, monkey do,” comes to mind when thinking about militarism. When one country built up their army, others felt they had to follow in suit. Most of all, this plan drew more countries into the war than was necessary.
Last but not least, Alliances, the last major contributing factor to World War One. In order to obtain protection from other countries, many countries partnered up and became mutual defense alliances. These alliances included: Russia and Serbia, Germany and Austria-Hungary, France and Russia, Britain and France and Belgium, and Japan and Britain (“Top 5 Causes of World War 1,”about.com). Here are names of alliances and some reasons that countries made these alliances; “The Dual Alliance,” made between Austria-Hungary and Germany to protect themselves from Russia, “Austro Serbian Alliance,” mad to stop Russia from gaining control of Serbia, “The Triple Alliance,” between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, to prevent Italy from taking sides with Russia, “Triple Entente of 1914,” between Britain Russia, and France (“Causes of World War One,”historyonthenet.com). There is also the “Triple Entente of 1907” between Russia, France, and Britain, “The Franco-Russian Alliance,” between Russia and France [to protect their selves from Germany and Austria Hungary], “The Entente Cordiale,” Between Britain and France, although it is not a formal alliance, and last there is the “Anglo-Russian Entente,” this was between Britain and Russia (“Causes of World War One,”historyonthenet.com). This is going to drag more countries into the war than necessary. Also, when one country declares on another, because of alliances, it will be like a chain reaction and every country involved in an alliance will eventually be sucked into the war. July 28th, 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, because of the assassination of archduke, Franz Ferdinand (“World War I (1914-1919),”sparknotes.com). Therefore, the way the alliance system worked, this declaration of war dragged many other countries into the war. These countries included; Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France. The events followed in this order; Austria declares war on Serbia, as a result Germany declares war on Russia and France invades Belgium, and Britain declares war on Germany (“World War I (1914-1918),”infoplease.com).
As a result of these factors, World War One is created, along with inventions and ideas for many new things. The spark that set the fire burning for World War One was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on June 28th, 1914, by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist and a member of the Black Hand (“World War I (1914-1918),”infoplease.com). This is the opening of the war, the spark that sets the fire ablaze; mainly this is the direct event that starts World War One. Many new things were invented during world war one, of these things is the idea of Trench Warfare (“World War I (1914-1919),”sparknotes.com). From 1916 to 1917 trench warfare went on in both the east and west. Soldiers built trenches to fight in, striking at each other with machine guns, chemical weapons, and heavy artillery. Soldiers died by the millions and neither side gained any success or advantages.
There are many causes to the event of World War One. Someone once said that with every action there is a reaction. This couldn’t be truer, the actions these countries took have caused the reaction of World War One. This brings me to alliances, alliances should not be made with individual countries, unless it’s one big alliance, like the one we have today. This alliance is called the United Nations, the UN was created to keep peace between the nations and handle national affairs and relations. Also, Militarism and Imperialism are okay long as they are not taken to the extreme as in the event of World War One. But most of all we have learned from the causes of World War One and can prevent this from happening again.
“Causes of World War I.” History on the net. 01 Feb. 2011. 15 Sept. 2011 <http://www.historyonthenet.com>.
Karpilovsky, Suzanne, Maria Fogel, and Olivia Kobelt. “Causes of World War I.” Think Quest. World War Web. 15 Sept. 2011 <http:// library.thinkquest.org>.
Martin, Kelly. “Top 5 Causes of World War 1.” About.com. 2011. The New York Times Company. 15 Sept. 2011 <http://americanhistory.about.com>.
“ World War I (1914-1918).” Info Please. 2007. Pearson Education Inc., Family Education Network. 15 Sept. 2011 <http://www.infoplease.com>.
“World War I (1914-1919).” Spark Notes. 2011. 15 Sept. 2011 <http://www.sparknotes.com>.