Friday, March 28, 2008

Causes of World War One

Causes of World War One

The long-term origins to World War One start back in 1870 with the Franco-Prussian War. In the Franco-Prussian war France lost to Germany which lead to the two countries never being in an alliance with one another. Once the war was over it lead to the forming of the triple Alliance which was one of the main alliances during the first world war. The Triple alliance was made up of the countries - Germany, Austo-Hungery and Italy, and it was first formed because Germany needed help to guard Alsace-Lorrain from France as France wanted to get back its stolen land.

Another of the long-term origins to World War One was Weltpolitic. Weltpolitic was a policy Kaiser Wilhelm the second, who believed that Germany had a right to become a global imperial power and should develop an army and navy to support its colonial objectives. Kaiser Wilhelm's personality and his policy of Weltpolitic were seen as contributing to international tensions. The policy lead Germany to construct a huge navy which lead to domestic problems as the navy cost heaps, It also lead into the start of the Boer wars and the Morrocan Crisis. Many Historians have said, 'Weltpolitic was only a half-hearted policy' (Paul Schroeder), and that it was only inviting the other countries to go to war. Fritz Fischer argued that - 'Germany provoked war and ensured that compromise was impossible in order to achieve Weltpolitic, to economically dominate central Europe, to create an colonial empire and to solve its own internal political and economic problems'. Fischer was an Historian that believed that the majority of the responsibility for the Start of the war relied in Germany.

Another of the long-term origins to World War One was the Morrocan Crisis of 1905 and 1911. In the crisis of 1905 the Kaiser went to Morocco to say he wanted Morocco to be independent, but the French were furious that he should suggest such a thing and they went to a meeting with German officials in Algeciras. From this meeting the Kaiser was embarrassed as his views for Morocco were rejected. In 1907 Britain and France formed an alliance with Russia and was called the triple entente, this was another of the major alliances in the First World War. In the Crisis of 1911 France tried to take over Morocco and to this the Kaiser held another meeting in which France got to take over Morocco and Germany got some land in central Africa.

Another of the long-term origins to World War One was the Balkan wars. The Balkan wars were two consecutive wars among the various countries of the Balkan Peninsula. The first Balkan war in 1908, saw Austria take over the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia and Serbia were not to happy about this bit they backed down when they found that Germany was on Austria's side, One problem was that this gave a lot more confidence to Austria. Later in 1912 there were small Local wars in which Serbia was seen as the most powerful country in the Balkan's, Austria could not handle this and they decided that Serbia needed to be dealt with all they needed was a good excuse. The Third Balkan War started with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife while they were in Sarajevo. It considered as the war that had gone terribly wrong as it is said that the third Balkan war was World War One.

The main Cause to World War One was Militarism, which include the Arms Race and the Schlieffen Plan. Arms Race was a race to build the biggest Army and Navy and Airforce for the Battle ahead. All countries except Britain and Germany were trying to Build the biggest army anyone had every seen where as Britain and Germany were trying to Build up there navy as Germany wanted the Biggest navy so as to beat Britain. In Germany they had a small army but people said that it, Even though one of the smallest, It was the best trained and most powerful out of all armies involved in World War One. In 1900 Russia had the biggest army with 1.1 million but by 1914 it had lost half a million to be an army of 0.8 million, all other countries except Britain had gained a bigger army. Count Alfred von Schlieffen created the Schlieffen plan and it was a plan that was supposed to protect Germany from fighting the war on two fronts. People were told that - 'Under this plan they would quickly attack and defeat France, then turn their forces on Russia which would be slow to get its troops ready for war' (Modern World History, P9). This Plan was a Failure to Germany as it had many Flaws, For example - Britain was not brought into the Equation and France was stronger than what they expected.

Other causes to World War One include Imperialism, Nationalism and Territorial disputes. Imperialism took place in Germany after 1870, which caused an immense increase in the manufactures of the country and a conquest need for markets. Between 1898 and 1914 the economic rivalry in Africa concerning the countries France, Great Britain and Germany almost predicted the out break of World war one as They were arguing over territory, what should be who's. Nationalism was the resulting idea that people of the same ethnic origin, language and political ideas had separate states. In 1871 nationalism took place on Germany making it a independent state and making Germany involved in the tensions of other independent states in Europe, which lead to the start of World War One. Territorial disputes was also an ongoing problem between many states and countries as the leaders of the places wanted more land and didn't know who owned what as land was being taken all the times.

Historians have been debating the causes of World War One Since 1914. Some like Fischer, Berghahn, Albertini, Geiss and Taylor all believed that German was the reason and the Country that caused the war. Fischer believed that - '(Germany) was convinced of its own military strength and was ready to use war to achieve its aims', and, 'The primary goal was to achieve security... they would fight Britain with every means possible'. Fischer shows here that Germany was intent on a war so as to try to better their country. Berghahn believed that - 'war was a necessity for German survival', Which is like the thoughts of Fischer. The other Historians believed along the same lines as Fischer - That Germany was to Blame with the Thoughts of Weltpolitic, Militarism, The Schliffen Plan and Germany's imperial aims in creating the tension in Europe. Other Historians believe that Germany should not take the full responsibility for there were other countries that contributed. For example - 'the first World War was the third Balkan war got out of control', which tells us that Germany didn't have much to do with the start of World War One as the Balkan wars were only to do with the countries in the Balkan's.

by Anonymous Student



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