Friday, March 28, 2008

Causes of The First World War

Causes of The First World War

The first World war bought about a lot of surprise and went on for so much longer than people thought, but there were so many different reasons for the happening of this war, that it should have been foreseen earlier. Some were short-term affects and others were long term. Two alliances - The Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary) and The Triple Entente (Great Britain, Russia and France) fought, but why were these countries with and against each other? These points shall be covered and in this essay I shall also compare the long-term and short-term happenings.

I find that the trigger of World War|would be the event that occurred on the 28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and wife Sophie [who was expecting her fourth] were assassinated. He - shot in the neck and dead some tenminutes later and she in the stomach killing both foetus and mother almost immediately. It was the marriage anniversary for the Archduke and his spouse who were celebrating fourteen years of marital bliss. Gavrilo Princip, member of the anonymous terrorist group - The Black Hand and Bosnian Serb, took the plunge and shot twice at point blanc range from outside a sandwich bar while the archduke’s driver took a wrong turn and got the gears jammed. Coincidence? We will never know, but for a long time, Austria-Hungary and Serbia had disliked each other because Serbia, like Bosnia, wanted to be free from the rule of the Austro-Hungarian empire, they wanted independence. It was because of this that Austria-Hungary was happy to have the chance and blamed Serbia for what had happened to the couple, this was the escalation, using what had happened on the 28th as an excuse, a month later (the 28th July) Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Belgrade [the capital] was attacked - the first fighting.

On the 29th July, the Russian army prepared to help defend Serbia against the Austro-Hungarian attack but on the 30th July, Russia received a message from Germany ordering it not to help Serbia, Russia ignored the message.

On the 1st August 1914, Germany avowed war on Russia and also began moving its army towards France and Belgium. On the 2nd August, the French army was put on war alert, ready to fight any German invasion. The French army was lined up roughly around the border between France and Germany. On the 3rd and 4th August, Germany declared war on France, but in order to avoid the French army, Germany invaded a disengaged Belgium to reach France, this was a clever a idea but the wrong idea, Britain was now involved. Britain instructed Germany to leave Belgium alone, when Germany refused, Britain professed war. The war officially started and the picture finally completed on August 6th 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia. The countries separately becoming involved and anything ensuing in the year 1914 were all short term reasons for the war starting.

For a while before the war jigsaw began to make sense, Germany and Britain had been competing to have the most powerful navy in the world, this created tension in Europe. This was a long-term cause of the first world war and this conflict was unpleasant between the two countries. The alliance systems in actual created a lot of mistrust and suspicion and the fact that they were also set up to prevent war meant that any major political disagreements would inevitably lead to a large rather than a small conflict.

There was colonial rivalry: Germany was envious of the empires made by Britain and France, there were also economic disputes between Britain and Germany, Britain’s lead in world production was being eroded by Germany (and the USA.) The French were very distrustful of the Germans as a result of the war in 1870-1871 that the Germans had won.

There was a strong desire for independence. many people in Europe lived in countries that were part of empires. They didn't all like being ruled by people with different languages and religions and this led to conflicts that could (and did) involve other nations. There was also the matter subject to nationalism.

The fears, ambitions and jealousy between the separate countries had been going on long before 1914 and were all long-term causes of the first world war, it was (as aforementioned) the assassination in Sarajevo that escalated out of the control, it was as though the entire war was a large bonfire, the long-term causes were the sticks in the pile, and the short-term causes were the sparks that lighted the fire, without the stick (long-term causes) there would be nothing to light and the arrangement wouldn’t work, but without the sparks, there is no bonfire!

In conclusion to what I have stated, I believe that the main cause of the war was the incident that happened on the 28th June 1914 but the long-term causes were important in contribution to wards the warfare as well, the recent events and the previous fitted together as a jigsaw to create what we remember at 11:00am on the 11th of November (the eleventh month.)

by ze_sugar_plum_fairy at hotmail dot com



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