World War 1 was a conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918 and claimed over 9 million casualties. It began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Gavrilo Princip in Bosnia.
The main causes of World War 1 were alliances between countries, militarism, nationalism, imperialism, secret diplomacy, and internationalism. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Gavrilo Princip in Bosnia is widely accepted as the starting point for World War I.
World War I
The alliances between countries caused the war.
These alliances set the stage for World War 1.
Countries like Germany and Austria-Hungary wanted colonies in Africa and Asia, while Britain wanted to protect its Empire and control India.
Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy allied called the Triple Entente because they wanted to counter British power in Europe.
Causes of World War I
- Militarism: The most significant cause of the war was militarism. Militarism was a concept that glorified war and the military and was widely spread through Europe during the 19th century. It pushed nations to be ready for war and led to an arms race. This caused tension between countries and rivalry, as they struggled to outdo each other as the most powerful.
- Imperialism: Imperialism was a motive of making countries stronger and more powerful, which led to tension between countries. Germany and Britain used imperialism to build their empires, which led to tension between them. Many European countries practiced imperialism to build their empires and expand their possessions. This caused tension between the European countries and rivalry, as they struggled to outdo each other as the most powerful nation in Europe.
- Nationalism: Nationalism was also a major cause of World War 1. It made people decide their loyalty based on ethnic or cultural background, instead of shared interests or ideals.
- Secret Diplomacy: It was also called “Secret Sympathies” because countries would secretly negotiate their alliances and tactics to gain an advantage over each other.
- Alliances: Alliances were mutual military agreements between nations, which led to tension and rivalry between countries.
- Arming for War: Countries had spent a lot of money and energy creating huge militaries, which led to a need for bigger and more powerful weapons.
- The assassination of Austrian Archduke: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by the Black Hand organization. This was the spark that set off World War 1, which killed 9 million people. The outburst after World War I was huge because of the death count.
World War I Central Powers:
- Germany-With its military advances, it could defeat Austria and eventually Britain. Britain tried to stop Germany from advancing into Belgium by building a fortress in the country’s north. To counter that, Germany sent troops into Belgium to capture this fortress.
- The Russian Empire -With its military advances, Russia joined many other countries in taking land from their enemies during World War 1 (Russia won the most land by far).
- The Ottoman Empire – The Turks managed to hold on to some of their territories in Europe during World War 1.
- Bulgaria-Bulgaria was a significant force that contributed to the Central Powers’ victory. There was not a lot of fighting in Bulgaria during World War 1, so there were not many casualties. However, Bulgaria remained neutral throughout the war and gained some land from Serbia when it surrendered at the end of World War 1.
Germany had joined the Triple Alliance in 1882 with Austria-Hungary and Italy. The alliance became troubled following the rise of Italian nationalism after unification and an expansionist drive by both Italy and Germany. The Triple Entente was formed as a counter to the Triple Alliance. It consisted of France, Russia, and Britain, who all were determined to stop aggression by Germany or Italy against smaller European countries.
Both alliances were under pressure to join their allies in war. Germany found itself in a dilemma: if it declared neutrality, it would lose prestige and status in Europe, but if it joined the war, morale would decline at home. Many Germans did not want to go to war. When the Kaiser didn’t respond to a declaration of war from Russia, Germany was viewed as an aggressor nation.
The causes of World War I and how the war played out are interesting to see because it shows how complex things can become when countries argue. In the end, two empires fell, while four new countries were established throughout Europe and Asia. There was so much chaos in Europe after the war and the tragedies that people became even more aware of their feelings for one another. In this war, the Allies defeated the Central Powers during four years of armed conflict resulting in Germany’s defeat and the end of World War I and the German Empire. The Great War, in a sense, opened the doors for World War II.