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World War I or `` the Great War '' as it became known, occurred due to many causes, some of which are still unknown. The obvious trigger was the assassination of the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne archduke Ferdinand and his married woman Sophie on the twenty-eighth of June 1914. But a great portion of the cause dealt with past differences between the Great Powers and such aggressive principles as Patriotism: the strong feeling of pride and devotion to one '' s state, Imperialism: the domination of one state of the political, economic, and cultural life of another, and Militarism: the glorification of a strong ground forces. In add-on, the economic competition, the arms race and the outstanding confederation system of Europe pushed the continent into the brink of war. In this paper, I will discourse how Nationalism, Imperialism, and Militarism sparked a planetary rivalry between the major powers. Additionally, I will explicate how the assassination of archduke Ferdinand and the action of an person ignited the confrontation, which pushed the European powers to war in the early 1900 '' s. Nationalism is a really powerful force that can adhere people and unify a land for the common good. But at the same clip, patriotism can fuel bitter struggles between proud states. Aggressive patriotism became one of the taking forces that ignited World War One. This is apparent in the three major nationalist movements that fueled the appetite for war: Alsace and Lorraine, Pan-Slavism, and the Balkan provinces. As patriotism grew strong in France and Germany, acrimonious resentment cultivated every bit good. Germany was proud of its turning ground forces and industrial way, and France longed for its place as the major power in Europe. But the Gallic were still acrimonious about their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, and profoundly resented the German business of Alsace and Lorraine provinces. Patriotic Gallic citizens came to seek for revenge against Germany and longed to repossess their lost states.

Causes Effectss And Aftermath Of World War 1 History Essay

World War I was frequently referred to as `` The Great War '' . It began in 1914 and ended in 1918. America witnessed much devastation in this clip period. In these four old ages entirely about 9 million people died and 1000000s more were maimed, crippled, heartache stricken, or psychologically scarred ( Coetzee, 11 ) . World War I is considered by some, the first semisynthetic catastrophe of the 20th century. Many scholars still debate the implicit in causes of World War I. There are many things that contributed to the war. The causes and effects of the war changed the lives of many people. Many of the effects of the war are still apparent in today.

World War I began as a European struggle, merely bit by bit did it develop into a world war ( Ross, 6 ) . The turning tensenesss between the European states were caused by militarism, confederations, imperialism, and patriotism. The first cause, militarism, is known as the trend toward developing military resources, both for national defense and for the protection of colonial involvements. Militarism denoted a rise in military expenditure and it increased in military and naval forces. It put more influence of the military work forces upon the policies of the civilian authorities. Militarism had a preference for force as a solution to jobs. This was one of the chief causes of the First World War. The 2nd cause was there were excessively many confederations which frequently conflicted with one another. Every state was plighting to protect others, making miring common protection schemes. Alliances were made in secret and they produced a batch of misgiving and suspicion among the European powers. Their general suspicion prevented their diplomats to invent a suited solution to many of the crises predating the war. The 3rd cause was imperialism. As fewer countries of the world were left to colonize, states were viing for bing colonies, and seeking to spread out their borders with adjacent states ( Ross, 31 ) . The 4th cause was patriotism. Patriotism is frequently referred to as the love of one 's state. Nationalism involves a strong identification of a group of persons with a political entity. It is frequently the belief that an cultural group has a right to statehood, or that citizenship in a province should be limited to one cultural group. The love of one 's state easy became hatred of other states ( Ross, 29 ) .

The Great War lasted four old ages. After the loss of many lives, the war was eventually over. On the 11th hr of the 11th twenty-four hours of the 11th month of 1918, a cease-fire went into consequence for all battlers. the war may hold been over, the effects, nevertheless, are still seen evident in the world today. In the aftermath of World War I the political, cultural, and societal order of the world was drastically changed in many topographic points, even outside the countries straight involved in the war. New states were formed, old 1s were abolished, international organisations were established, and many new and old thoughts took a house hold in people 's heads. As Europe fell in debt from war costs, inflation plagued the continent. Additionally, the optimism of old decennaries was abandoned and a discouraging, pessimistic outlook on life was adopted after people had experienced the brutality of warfare.

I believe that we are still covering with the effects of World War I today and will in the hereafter. World War I took many lives and changed many people because of it. New wars were formed and as a consequence we are still covering with war today. I think if World War I had non happened so all these other wars would non hold happened. The war we face is a consequence of societal and political struggle of old decennaries and I think these struggles of the past have been carried into today. The first World War proved a turning point in history ; and the second, which would subsequently originate out of its wake, hastened the changes which the first set in motion ( Sellman, 1 ) . A statement by Walter L. George says `` This War has non ended war, and no war can stop war, because war does non sow the spirit of peace, but the spirit of revenge ( Coetzee, 161 ) . ''

Causes World War 1

The confederation system did cause the size of the war as it caused states to be pulled in. First made in the Franco- Prussian war. Alliances held states to some sort of criterion and usually needed something of each participant. The ternary confederation signed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy bound each state to give military support in a instance of war or `` if any one member of the confederation was at war with any two great powers other members would come to aid '' . When the entente was made it did non mean for mutual arrangements for support, though it did let broad assortment of arrangements negotiations to take topographic point, one dialogue would hold been of support in war. But by 1911 A.J.P Taylor said `` the entente was in the procedure of disintegration. '' and was non seen as strong, because of the ternary confederation Germany came to Austria & apos ; s aid volitionally, which plunged Germany into war.

Other causes include Nationalists desiring freedom, doing the Slavs to finally assassinate the duke and doing hate towards to Austrian imperium. Patriotism was besides a major cause of war, it caused jobs particularly in Austria- Hungary and France. This same patriotism had brought Germany together a one state and who took Alsace- Lorraine from the Gallic in 1870- 1871 in the Franco- Prussian war, and in recent times the Moroccan crisis which left the Gallic with hatred as an attitude towards the Germans, the idea of revenge was besides one that was favored by the Gallic nationalists. While this agitation was go oning in France, patriotism was besides doing jobs in the countries of Austria- Hungary, over here the patriots were slavists who wanted freedom from the Austrian imperium, they had been turning more and more restless with Russia promoting these wants of Slavs freedom till all hell broke free when a patriot assassinated the arch-duke which opened the gates to world war 1.

The assassination of the archduke marked the start of the war, this did non affect any confederation merely hate and oppression of the Slavs. The assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand began the unfolding of the events that led to war. Gavrilo Princip wanted to liberate Slavic people from the clutches of the Habsburgs he shot the arch duke and his married woman in Bosnia while on tour. Austria issued a ultimatum about a month subsequently, which Serbia refused to follow by therefore get downing a war between Austria and Serbia. Germany holding to back up Austria because she was eager to use her influence on the Balkan provinces and to maintain Russia from deriving any more. If Austria won which was counted on and forseen, Germany would hold more power and control in these provinces. Russia was on the side of Serbia and encouraged them to contend cognizing that France would come to their assistance if help was needed. Therefore when Austria declared war on Serbia, Russia mobilized which caused Germany to declare war on Russia. France mobilized on the side of Russia, Germany decided to declare war on France which put the Schlieffen program in action doing Britain to declare war on Germany because of the invasion of Belgium. The assassination did non happen because of an confederation or pact, nor did the war with Serbia occur because of an confederation which plunged all of Europe into a war. Gavrilo Princip known to historiographers as `` a adolescent with a gun who started the First world war. ''

Imperialism caused tensenesss between states and had caused some contentions which were serious, in the terminal caused powers to lash out and protect what they had. Imperialism had grown steadily worse by the start of the war, with states contending over land and colonies in Africa and China, this produced the worse crisis which was that of the Moroccan crisis which Germany sought to take control of by strong-arming the Gallic to undermine in. Joining the war was counted as payback for France. The `` arms race '' which furthered the tenseness between major powers, ground forcess began spread outing and around 300 % more was being spent on them a their belief at the clip was victory went to the state with the most ammunition, this brought on what is known as the

05 of 05 Immediate Cause: Character assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The immediate cause of World War I that made the aforesaid points come into play ( confederations, imperialism, militarism, patriotism ) was the blackwash of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. In June 1914, a Serbian-nationalist terrorist group called the Black Hand sent groups to assassinate the Archduke. Their first effort failed when a driver avoided a grenade thrown at their auto. However, subsequently that twenty-four hours a Serbian patriot named Gavrilo Princip assassinated him and his married woman while they were in Sarajevo, Bosnia which was portion of Austria-Hungary. This was in protest to Austria-Hungary holding control of this part. Serbia wanted to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina. This blackwash led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. When Russia began to mobilise due to its confederation with Serbia, Germany declared war on Russia. Thus began the enlargement of the war to include all those involved in the common defense confederations.

The Causes Of World War One.

States throughout Europe made defence understandings that would draw them into conflict, meaning, if one state was attacked, allied states were bound to support them. This was called Alliances. At the start of World War One, Germany and Austria-Hungary allied and became the Ternary Alliance or Central Powers Alliance, when Italy joined in 1882. Fearful of that Alliance ; in 1894, France made an confederation with Russia, and In 1904 France besides made an understanding with Britain called the Entente: non a formal confederation, but a promise to work together. In 1907, Britain made an entente with Russia, organizing the Triple Entente ( France, Russia, and Britain ) . Unfortunately, back so, the Governments and Politicians thought that the build-up of armed forces or confederations would maintain the peace by moving as a warning to any state thought of assailing them, but nowadays we know different.

Alliances helped cause World War One because The Triple Entente alarmed Germany, and she felt surrounded by the confederation ; this made a disquieted, uneasy atmosphere. For illustration, when Britain joined The Triple Entente and France and Russia formed an confederation ( against Germany ) , she was fearful and wanted to be ready for an onslaught, so Germany started constructing up her Empire and Navy. I think this is a valid ground for triping World War One because each state wanted to be one step ahead of the other, and there is ever an terminal to that, in this case- war. Militarism and Alliances are linked because when Germany built up her Empire and Navy, she besides developed her Militarism.

Militarism was a cause of World War One because increased military competition led non merely to the belief that war was coming and when Britain made the HMS Dreadnought in 1906, Germany made a similar conflict ship, increasing tenseness and nerves. For illustration, colonial competition had led to a naval arms race between Britain and Germany ; this had worsened dealingss between both states. This competition no uncertainty turned to jealously and perchance hate, doing it a premier clip to get down a war. I think that this is a good ground to get down war because the competition between the powers led to a edifice up of weapons and an addition in misgiving. Militarism is linked to Nationalism because each state were nationalist about themselves and thought that they were superior, and hence should hold a better ground forces.


On June 28, 1914, a immature Serbian patriot named Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Taking topographic point against a background of escalating tensenesss in the Balkans, the blackwash set off a chain of events that would take to the start of World War I hardly one month subsequently. To many people, the Great War—as it was known at the time—seemed to come out of the blue, as the European continent was basking a long stretch of alone peace and prosperity. In fact, the seeds of the lay waste toing struggle had been planted long earlier Princip fired those fatal bullets.

The war began in the Balkan cockpit of viing patriotisms and ancient cultural competitions. Hopes that it could be contained at that place proved vain. Expansion of the war was fleet. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914 ; Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August. Germany declared war on France on 3 August and invaded Belgium. France was invaded on 4 August. German misdemeanor of Belgian neutrality provided the British with a convenient excuse to come in the war on the side of France and Russia the same evening. Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia on 6 August. France and Great Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary six yearss subsequently.

Fears were more of import than ambitions. Of the powers involved in the eruption of war, merely Serbia had a clear expansionist agenda. The Gallic hoped to retrieve the states of Alsace and Lorraine lost to Germany as a consequence of their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1, but this was regarded as an effort at restitution instead than acquisition. Otherwise, defensive considerations were paramount. The provinces who embarked on the route to war in 1914 wished to preserve what they had. This included non merely their territorial unity but besides their diplomatic confederations and their prestigiousness. These defensive concerns made Europe 's solons take counsel of their frights and submit to the dictatorship of events.

The Austrians feared for the survival of their multi-racial Empire if they did non face the threat of Serb patriotism and Panslavism. The Germans feared the effects to themselves of leting Austria, their closest and merely dependable ally, to be weakened and humiliated. The Russians feared the threat to their prestigiousness and authority as protector of the Slavs if they allowed Austria to get the better of and mortify Serbia. The Gallic feared the superior population Numberss, economic resources, and military strength of their German neighbours. France 's chief defence against the threat of German power was its confederation with Russia. This it was imperative to support. The British feared business of the Low Countries by a hostile power, particularly a hostile power with a big modern navy. But most of all they feared for the long-run security of their Empire if they did non back up France and Russia, their chief imperial challengers, whose good will they had been assiduously cultivating for a decennary.

The procedure of enlargement did non stop in August 1914. Other major combatants took their clip and waited upon events. Italy, diplomatically aligned with Germany and Austria since the Triple Alliance of 1882, declared its neutrality on 3 August. In the undermentioned months it was ardently courted by France and Britain. On 23 May 1915 the Italian authorities succumbed to Allied temptations and declared war on Austria-Hungary in pursuit of territorial aggrandizement in the Trentino. Bulgaria invaded Serbia on 7 October 1915 and sealed that hard-bitten state 's destiny. Serbia was overrun. The route to Constantinople was opened to the Central Powers. Romania prevaricated about which side to fall in, but eventually chose the Allies in August 1916, encouraged by the success of the Russian 'Brusilov Offensive ' . It was a fatal miscalculation. The German response was fleet and decisive. Romania was quickly overwhelmed by two incursive German ground forcess and its rich supplies of wheat and oil did much to maintain Germany in the war for another two old ages. Romania joined Russia as the other Allied power to endure licking in the war.

It was British belligerency, nevertheless, which was cardinal in turning a European struggle into a world war. Britain was the world 's greatest imperial power. The British had global involvements and global quandary. They besides had global friends. Germany found itself at war non merely with Great Britain but besides with the rules of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa and with the greatest British imperial ownership, India. Concern for the defence of India helped convey the British into struggle with the Ottoman Empire in November 1914 and resulted in a major war in the Middle East. Most of import of all, possibly, Britain 's close political, economic, and cultural ties with the United States of America, if they did non guarantee that state 's eventual entry into the war, surely made it possible. The American declaration of war on Germany on 6 April 1917 was a landmark non merely in the history of the United States but besides in that of Europe and the world, conveying to an terminal half a millennium of European domination and ushering in 'the American century ' .

The geographical graduated table of the struggle meant that it was non one war but many. On the Western Front in France and Belgium the Gallic and their British Alliess, reinforced from 1917 onwards by the Americans, were locked in a barbarous conflict of abrasion against the German ground forces. Here the war became characterized by progressively luxuriant and sophisticated trench systems and field fortifications. Dense belts of barbed wire, concrete pillboxes, crossing discharge of machine-gun fire, and roll uping multitudes of quick-firing field and heavy artillery rendered manœuvre virtually impossible. Casualties were tremendous.

The first phase of the war in the west lasted until November 1914. This witnessed Germany 's effort to get the better of France through an enveloping motion round the left flank of the Gallic ground forcess. The program met with initial success. The advance of the German ground forcess through Belgium and northern France was dramatic. The Gallic, reacting with an offensive in Lorraine, suffered an about catastrophic national licking. France was saved by the iron nerve of its commander-in-chief, General J. J. C. Joffre, who had non merely the intelligence but besides the strength of character to untangle himself from the ruin of his programs and order the historic counter-attack against the German right wing, the 'miracle of the Marne ' . The German ground forcess were forced to withdraw and to entrench. Their last effort at a breakthrough was stopped by Gallic and British forces near the little Flemish market town of Ypres in November. By Christmas 1914 trench lines stretched from the Belgian seashore to the Swiss frontier.

Although the events of 1914 did non ensue in a German triumph, they left the Germans in a really strong place. The German ground forces held the strategic initiative. It was free to withdraw to places of tactical advantage and to reenforce them with all the accomplishment and ingenuity of German military technology. Enormous losses had been inflicted on France. Two-fifths of France 's military casualties were incurred in 1914. These included a tenth of the officer corps. German troops occupied a big country of northern France, including a important proportion of Gallic industrial capacity and mineral wealth.

The concluding phase of the war in the west lasted from 21 March until 11 November 1918. This saw Germany one time more effort to accomplish triumph with a knock-out blow and one time more fail. The German onslaughts used sophisticated new artillery and infantry tactics. They enjoyed dramatic success. The British fifth Army on the Somme suffered a major licking. But the British line held in front of Amiens and subsequently to the north in forepart of Ypres. No existent strategic damage was done. By midsummer the German onslaughts had petered out. The German violative broke the trench dead end and returned motion and manœuvre to the strategic agenda. It besides compelled closer Allied military co-operation under a Gallic generalissimo, General Ferdinand Foch. The Allied counter-offensive began in July. At the Battle of Amiens, on 8 August, the British struck the German ground forces a terrible blow. For the remainder of the war in the west the Germans were in retreat.

The war in the east was shaped by German strength, Austrian failing, and Russian finding. German military superiority was evident from the start of the war. The Russians suffered two crushing lickings in 1914, at Tannenberg ( 26-31 August ) and the Masurian Lakes ( 5-15 September ) . These triumphs ensured the security of Germany 's eastern frontiers for the remainder of the war. They besides established the military legend of Field-Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff, who emerged as chief directors of the German war attempt in the fall of 1916. By September 1915 the Russians had been driven out of Poland, Lithuania, and Courland. Austro-German ground forcess occupied Warsaw and the Russian frontier fortresses of Ivangorod, Kovno, Novo-Georgievsk, and Brest-Litovsk.

These lickings proved dearly-won to Russia. They besides proved dearly-won to Austria. Austria had a black war. Italian entry into the war compelled the Austrians to contend an three foreparts: against Serbia in the Balkans ; against Russia in Galicia ; against Italy in the Trentino. This proved excessively much for Austrian strength. Their war attempt was characterized by dependency on Germany. Germans complained that they were shackled to the 'Austrian corpse ' . The war exacerbated the Austro-Hungarian Empire 's many cultural and national tensenesss. By 1918 Austria was weary of the war and desperate for peace. This had a major influence on the German determination to seek a triumph in the west in the spring of 1918.

Perceptions of the Russian war attempt have been overshadowed by the October Revolution of 1917 and by Bolshevik 'revolutionary defeatism ' which acquiesced in the punitory Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ( 14 March 1918 ) and took Russia out of the war. This has obscured the amazing Russian finding to maintain religion with the Franco-British confederation. Without the Russian contribution in the east it is far from certain that Germany could hold been defeated in the west. The unhesitating Russian willingness to help their western Alliess is nowhere more evident than in the 'Brusilov Offensive ' ( June-September 1916 ) , which resulted in the capture of the Bukovina and big parts of Galicia, every bit good as 350,000 Austrian prisoners, but at a cost to Russia which finally proved mortal.

In southern Europe the Italian ground forces fought eleven indecisive conflicts in an effort to free the Austrians from their mountain strongholds beyond the Isonzo river. In October 1917 Austrian reinforcement by seven German divisions resulted in a major Italian licking at Caporetto. The Italians were pushed back beyond the Piave. This licking produced changes in the Italian high command. During 1918 Italy discovered a new integrity of intent and a greater degree of organisation. On 24 October 1918 Italian and British forces recrossed the Piave and split the Austrian ground forcess in two at Vittorio Veneto. Austrian retreat turned into mob and so into surrender.

In the Balkans the Serbs fought the Austrians and Bulgarians, enduring monolithic casualties, including the highest proportion of military mans killed of any belligerent power. In October 1915 a Franco-British ground forces was sent to Macedonia to run against the Bulgarians. It struggled to hold any influence on the war. The Germans mocked it and declared Salonika to be the biggest internment cantonment in Europe, but the Gallic and British finally broke out of the malarial fields into the mountainous vales of the Vardar and Struma rivers before bring downing licking on Bulgaria in the fall of 1918.

In the Middle East British ground forcess fought the Turks in a major struggle with far-reaching effects. Here the war was characterized by the doggedness of Turkish resistance and by the changeless battle against climate, terrain, and disease. The British attempted to knock Turkey out of the war with an onslaught on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915, but were compelled to retreat at the terminal of the twelvemonth, holding failed to interrupt out from their narrow beach-heads in the face of stubborn Turkish resistance, coordinated by a German general, Liman von Sanders. The British besides suffered another mortifying reverse in Mesopotamia when a little ground forces commanded by Major-General C. V. F. Townshend advanced to Ctesiphon but outran its supplies and was compelled to give up at Kut-al-Amara in April 1916. Merely after the appointment of Sir Stanley Maude to the command of British forces in Mesopotamia did Britain 's superior military and economic strength begin to asseverate itself. Maude 's forces captured Baghdad in March 1917, the first distinct British triumph of the war. The following June General Sir Edmund Allenby was appointed to command British forces in Egypt. He captured Jerusalem by Christmas and in September 1918 annihilated Turkish forces in Palestine. Turkey surrendered on 31 October 1918.

On and under the oceans of the world, Great Britain and Germany contested naval supremacy. Surface battles took topographic point in the Pacific, the south Atlantic, and the North Sea. The British by and large had the better of these despite enduring some letdowns, notably at Coronel ( 1 November 1914 ) and Jutland ( 31 May-1 June 1916 ) , the lone major fleet engagement, during which Admiral Sir John Jellicoe failed to present the expected Nelsonic triumph of entire annihilation. Submarine warfare took topographic point in the North Sea, the Black Sea, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic. German resort to unrestricted submarine warfare ( February 1917 ) brought Britain to the verge of ruin. German misdemeanor of international jurisprudence and sinking of American ships besides helped convey the United States into the war on the Allied side. The British naval blockade of Germany, massively reinforced by the Americans from April 1917, played an of import function in German licking.

The geographical graduated table of the struggle made it really hard for political and military leaders to command events. The duties of coalition inhibited strategic independency. Short-run military demands frequently forced the great powers to let lesser provinces a degree of license they would non hold enjoyed in peacetime. Governments ' deliberate arousal of popular passions made suggestions of compromise seem faithless. The ever-rising cost of the military agencies inflated the political terminals. Hopes of a peaceable new world order began to replace old diplomatic abstractions such as 'the balance of power ' . Rationality went out of season. War aims were obscured. Strategies were distorted. Great Britain entered the war on announced rules of international jurisprudence and in defence of the rights of little states. By 1918 the British authorities was prosecuting a In-between Eastern policy of naked imperialism ( in coaction with the Gallic ) , while at the same time promoting the aspirations of Arab patriotism and promising support for the constitution of a Judaic national place in Palestine. It was genuinely a war of illusions.

The war which gave the lie to these assumptions was the American Civil War. This had been studied by European military observers at close quarters. Most, nevertheless, dismissed it. This was peculiarly true of the Prussians. Their ain military experience in the wars against Austria ( 1866 ) and France ( 1870-1 ) seemed more relevant and compelling. These wars were both short. They were besides instrumental. In 1914 the Germans sought to retroflex the success of their Prussian predecessors. They aimed to contend a 'cabinet war ' on the Bismarckian model. To make so they developed a program of breath-taking foolhardiness which depended on the ability of the German ground forces to get the better of France in the 39 yearss allowed for a war in the west.

Strategic behavior of the First World War was dominated by German efforts to accomplish triumph through knock-out blows. Erich von Falkenhayn, German commander-in-chief from September 1914 until August 1916, was about entirely in his belief that Germany could obtain an result to the war satisfactory to its involvements and those of its Alliess without winning nailing triumphs of entire annihilation. His bloody effort to win the war by abrasion at Verdun in 1916 did small to urge the strategy to his fellow countrymen. The preference for knock-out blows remained. It was inherited from German history and was cardinal to Germany 's pre-war planning.

Pre-war German strategy was haunted by the fright of a war on two foreparts, against France in the west and Russia in the east. The possibility of a diplomatic solution to this quandary was hardly considered by the military-dominated German authorities. A military solution was sought alternatively. The German high command decided that the best signifier of defence was attack. They would avoid a war on two foreparts by strike harding out one of their enemies before the other could take the field. The enemy with the slowest military mobilisation was Russia. The Gallic ground forces would be in the field foremost. France was hence chosen to have the first blow. Once France was defeated the German ground forcess would turn east and licking Russia.

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan gave the First World War its indispensable form. This was maintained by the digesting power of the German ground forces, which was, in John Terraine 's phrase, 'the motor of the war ' . The German ground forces was a powerful instrument. It had played a historic function in the emergence of the German province. It enjoyed tremendous prestigiousness. It was able to enroll work forces of endowment and dedication as officers and NCOs. As a consequence it was good trained and good led. It had the political power to command the resources of Germany 's powerful industrial economic system. Germany 's place at the bosom of Europe meant that it could run on interior lines of communicating in a European war. The efficient German railroad network permitted the motion of German military personnels rapidly from forepart to look. The superior speed of the engine over the ship frustrated Allied efforts to utilize their command of the sea to run efficaciously against the fringe of the Central Powers. The power of the German ground forces was the cardinal strategic world of the war. 'We can non trust to win this war until we have defeated the German ground forces, ' wrote the commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. This was a opinion whose effects some Allied political leaders were reluctant to encompass.

The German ground forces suffered from two of import strategic troubles. The first of these was the inability of the German political system to hammer appropriate instruments of strategic control. The 2nd was Great Britain. German authorities rested on the tortured personality of the Kaiser. It was riven by intrigue and indecision. The sort of centralised decision-making constructions which finally evolved in Britain and France ( though non in Russia ) failed to germinate in Germany. When the Kaiser proved incapable of organizing German strategy, he was replaced non by a system but by other persons, apparently more effectual. Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg radiated composure and inspired assurance. This gave him the appearance of a great adult male but without the substance. General Erich Ludendorff was a military technocrat of outstanding endowment, but he was extremely strung and without political opinion. In 1918 his violative strategy brought Germany to ruin.

Germany 's pre-war strategic planning was based wholly on winning a short war. British belligerency made this improbable. The British were a naval instead than a military power. They could non be defeated by the German ground forces, at least non rapidly. The British could, if necessary, hold out even after their Continental Alliess had been defeated. They might even hold chosen to make this. They had in the past and they would once more in the not-too-distant hereafter. The German navy was excessively weak to get the better of the British, but big plenty to do them resentful and leery of German policy ; it ought ne'er to hold been built. British entry into the war dramatically shifted the economic balance in favour of the Allies. Britain was one of the world 's great industrial powers. Seventy-five per cent of the world 's transportation was British built and much of it British owned. London was the world 's greatest money and trade goods market. British access to world supplies of nutrient and recognition and to imperial resources of work force made them a formidable enemy, despite the 'contemptible small ground forces ' which was all they could set into the field on the eruption of war. From about mid-1916 onwards British economic, industrial, and manpower resources began to be to the full mobilized. Germany was forced for the first clip to face the world of material inferiority. Germany had progressively to contend a war of scarcity, the Allies progressively a war of abundance.

Gallic strategy was dominated by the German business of much of northern France and most of Belgium. At its closest point the German line was less than 40 stat mis from Paris. A cautious, defensive strategy was politically unacceptable and psychologically impossible, at least during the first three old ages of the war. During 1914 and 1915 France sacrificed tremendous Numberss of work forces in the effort to evict the Germans. This was followed by the torment of Verdun, where the Germans intentionally attempted to 'bleed France white ' . Gallic frights of military lower status were confirmed. If France was to predominate its Alliess would hold to lend in sort. For the British this was a extremist going from the historic norm and one which has appalled them of all time since.

British scheme became progressively subordinated to the demands of the Franco-British confederation. The British fought the war as they had to, non as they wanted to. The British manner in warfare envisaged a mostly naval war. A naval encirclement would weaken Germany economically. If the German naval forces chose non to interrupt the stranglehold Germany would lose the war. If it did take to contend it would be annihilated. British maritime high quality would be confirmed. Impersonal sentiment would be cowed. Fresh Alliess would be encouraged into the battle. The encirclement would be waged with greater pitilessness. Military operations would be confined to the despatch of a little professional expeditionary force to assist the Gallic. Staying military forces would be employed on the fringe of the Central Powers remote from the German ground forces, where it was believed they would exert a strategic influence out of all proportion to their size.

Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War on 5 August 1914. He doubted whether the Gallic and the Russians were strong plenty to get the better of Germany without monolithic British military reinforcement. He instantly sought to raise a mass citizen ground forces. There was an overpowering popular response to his call to arms. Kitchener envisaged this new British ground forces taking the field in 1917 after the Gallic and Russian ground forcess had rendered the German ground forces ripe for licking. They would be 'the last million work forces ' . They would win the war and make up one's mind the peace. For the British a satisfactory peace would be one which guaranteed the long-run security of the British Empire. This security was threatened as much by Britain 's Alliess, France and Russia, as it was by Germany. It was imperative non merely that the Allies win the war but besides that Britain emerge from it as the dominant power.

Kitchener 's outlooks were disappointed. By 1916 it was the Gallic ground forces which was ripe for licking, non the German. But the duties of the Gallic confederation were ineluctable. The British could non afford to assent in a Gallic licking. Gallic animus and bitterness would replace the valuable common apprehension which had been achieved in the decennary before the war. The Gallic had a great capacity for doing imperial mischievousness. And so did the Russians. If they were abandoned they would hold every ground for making so. There seemed no pick. The ill-trained and ill-equipped British ground forcess would hold to take the field before they were ready and be forced to take a full portion in the abrasion of German military power.

The casualties which this scheme of 'offensive abrasion ' involved were unprecedented in British history. They were besides unacceptable to some British political leaders. Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George ( Prime Minister from December 1916 ) , in peculiar, were opposed to the British ground forces 'chewing barbed wire ' on the Western Front. They looked to utilize it elsewhere, against Germany 's Alliess in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Their efforts to make this were inhibited by the demand to maintain France in the war. This could merely be done in France and by contending the German ground forces. They were besides inhibited by the war 's operational and tactical worlds. These imposed themselves on Gallipoli and in Salonika and in Italy merely as they did on the Western Front.

Attempts to implement an Allied grand scheme enjoyed some success. Allied political and military leaders met on a regular basis. At Chantilly in December 1915 and December 1916 they determined to stretch the German ground forces to its bounds by coincident violative action on the western, eastern, and Italian foreparts. A Supreme Allied War Council was established at Versailles on 27 November 1917, and was given the power to command Allied militias. Franco-British co-operation was particularly near. This was mostly a affair of practical necessity which relied on the common respect and apprehension between Gallic and British commanders-in-chief on the Western Front. The system worked good until the German Spring Offensive of 1918 threatened to split the Allies. Merely so was it replaced by a more formal construction. But non even this attained the levels of joint planning and control which became a feature of Anglo-American co-operation in the Second World War.

The battlegrounds of the First World War were the merchandise of a century of economic, societal, and political change. Europe in 1914 was more populous, more affluent, and more coherently organized than of all time before. The rise of patriotism gave provinces unprecedented legitimacy and authorization. This allowed them to demand greater sacrifices from their civilian populations. Improvements in agribusiness reduced the Numberss needed to work on the land and provided a excess of males of military age. They besides allowed larger and larger ground forcess to be fed and kept in the field for old ages at a clip. Changes in administrative pattern brought approximately by the electric telegraph, the telephone, the typewriter, and the growing of railroads allowed these ground forcess to be assembled and deployed rapidly. Industrial engineering provided new arms of unprecedented destructiveness. Quick-firing rifled cannon, breech-loading magazine rifles, and machine-guns transformed the scope, celerity, truth, and lethality of military firepower. They besides ensured that in any future war, scientists, applied scientists, and mechanics would be every bit of import as soldiers.

These alterations did much to do the First World War the first 'modern war ' . But it did non get down as one. The fact of a firepower revolution was understood in most European ground forcess. The effects of it were non. The experience of the Russo-Japanese War ( 1904-5 ) appeared to offer a human solution to the jobs of the technological battleground. Victory would travel to the side with the best-trained, most disciplined ground forces, commanded by generals of Fe resolution, prepared to keep the violative in the face of immense losses. As a consequence the gap conflicts of the war were closer in construct and executing to those of the Napoleonic epoch than to the conflicts of 1916 onwards.

For much of the war heavy weapon lacked the ability to happen enemy targets, to hit them accurately, and to destruct them efficaciously. Contemporary engineering failed to supply a man-portable radio. Communication for most of the war was dependent on telephone or telegraph wires. These were ever broken by shell-fire and hard to protect. Artillery and foot commanders were seldom in voice communicating and both normally lacked 'real clip ' intelligence of battlefield events ; First World War foot commanders could non easy name down heavy weapon fire when confronted by an enemy obstructor. As a consequence the coordination of foot and heavy weapon was really hard and frequently impossible. Infantry commanding officers were forced to fall back on their ain firepower and this was frequently unequal. The foot normally found itself with excessively much to make, and paid a high monetary value for its failing.

Artillery was non merely a major portion of the job, nevertheless. It was besides a major portion of the solution. During 1918 Allied heavy weapon on the western forepart emerged as a formidable arm. Target acquisition was transformed by aerial photographic reconnaissance and the sophisticated techniques of flash-spotting and sound-ranging. These allowed mathematically predicted fire, or map-shooting. The pre-registration of guns on enemy targets by existent firing was no longer necessary. The possibility of surprise returned to the battleground. Accuracy was greatly improved by keeping runing histories for single guns. Battery commanding officers were supplied with elaborate conditions prognosiss every four hours. Each gun could now be separately calibrated harmonizing to its ain peculiarities and harmonizing to weave speed and way, temperature, and humidity. All types and calibres of guns, including heavy besieging mortars whose steep angle of fire was particularly effectual in trench warfare, became available in virtually limitless Numberss. Weaponries were besides improved. Poison gas shells became available for the first clip in big Numberss. High explosive replaced shrapnel, a lay waste toing anti-personnel arm but mostly uneffective against the earthworks, barbed wire webs, and concrete machine-gun emplacements which the foot had to assail. Instantaneous percussion fuses concentrated the explosive consequence of shells more efficaciously against barbed wire and reduced the cratering of the battleground which had frequently rendered the forward motion of supplies and reinforcements hard if non impossible. Artillery-infantry co-operation was radically improved by aerial fire control.

The tactical utilizations to which this destructive instrument were put besides changed. In 1915, 1916, and for much of 1917 heavy weapon was used chiefly to kill enemy soldiers. It ever did so, sometimes in big Numberss. But it ever spared some, even in front-line trenches. These were frequently plenty, as during the first twenty-four hours of the Battle of the Somme ( 1 July 1916 ) , to bring down black casualties on assailing foot and convey an full offense to a halt. From the fall of 1917 and during 1918, nevertheless, heavy weapon was chiefly used to stamp down enemy defences. Command posts, telephone exchanges, hamlets, supply dumps, forming-up countries, and gun batteries were targeted. Effective usage was made of poison gas, both deadly and lachrymatory, and smoke. The purpose was to disrupt the enemy 's command and control system and maintain his soldiers ' heads down until assailing foot could shut with them and convey their ain firepower to bear.

From the fall of 1916 the Germans took these alterations to their logical decision by establishing a system of 'elastic defence in depth ' . The German forepart line was sited where possible on a reverse incline to do enemy heavy weapon observation hard. A formal front-line trench system was abandoned. The German first line consisted of machine-gunners located in shell-holes, hard to observe from the air. Their occupation was to interrupt an enemy foot assault. This would so be drawn deep into the German place, beyond the back uping fire of its ain guns, where it would be counter-attacked and destroyed by the majority of the German foot and heavy weapon. This system allowed the Germans to last against an Allied work force high quality of more than 3:2 on the Western Front throughout 1917 and to bring down important losses on their enemies.

The German system required intelligent and well-trained every bit good as brave soldiers to do it work. An increasing emphasis was placed on single enterprise, surprise, and speed. In 1918 specially trained ‘stormtroops ' , supported by a hurricane barrage designed to interrupt their enemies ' lines of communicating and their bid and control systems, were ordered to short-circuit points of opposition and progress deep into the enemy 's rear. The success they enjoyed was dramatic, and much greater than anything achieved by the Gallic and British, but it was non plenty. Attacking German foot could non keep the momentum and inflict upon enemy commanders the sort of moral paralysis achieved by German armored forces in 1940. The Allied line held and dog-tired German foot were finally forced back by the roll uping weight and increasing edification of Allied material engineering.

The material solution to the jobs of the First World War battleground, favoured by the western Allies, was non in the gift of soldiers entirely. It depended on the ability of the armes ' host societies to bring forth improved military engineering in ever-greater sums. This, in turn, depended on the effectivity of their political establishments and the quality of their civilian morale. It was a competition at which the broad democracies of France and Great Britain ( and finally the United States of America ) proved more expert than the autocratic governments of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia.

The 'modern war ' fought from 1916 onwards resolved itself merely into a demand for more: more work forces, more arms, more ammunition, more money, more accomplishments, more morale, more nutrient. Some of the demands were contradictory. More work forces meant more work forces for the ground forcess and more work forces for the mills. Balancing the viing demands was ne'er easy. 'Manpower ' ( a word foremost coined in 1915 ) became cardinal to the war attempt of all provinces. The Allies were in a much stronger place than Germany. They had access non merely to their place populations but besides to those of their imperiums. 630,000 Canadians, 412,000 Australians, 136,000 South Africans, and 130,000 New Zealanders served in the British ground forces during the war. Very big Numberss of Indian military personnels ( 800,000 in Mesopotamia entirely ) and a little figure of Africans ( possibly 50,000 ) besides served. ( The British besides employed several hundred thousand Chinese laborers to work on their lines of communicating. ) The Gallic recruited some 600,000 combat military personnels from North and West Africa and a farther 200,000 laborers. And of class there were the Americans. American military personnels arrived in France at the rate of 150,000 a month in 1918. Truly the new world had come in to right the balance of the old.

The British and Gallic were peculiarly successful in mobilising their economic systems. In Britain this had much to make with the work of David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions ( May 1915-July 1916 ) . The grip of the skilled trade unions on industrial procedures was relaxed. Ancient lines of limit were blurred. Womans replaced work forces in the mills. Research and development were given a proper topographic point in industrial scheme. Prodigies of production were achieved. On 10 March 1915, at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the British Expeditionary Force struggled to roll up adequate shells for half an hr 's barrage. In the fall of 1918 its 18-pounder field guns were firing a lower limit of 100,000 unit of ammunitions a twenty-four hours.

Morale was besides a cardinal factor. All sides tried to explicate and warrant the war and used progressively refined techniques of propaganda to keep commitment to the cause. Giving the impression of hardship shared every bit among the categories became a cardinal subject. One of the major menaces to this was the equality of access to nutrient supplies. In Germany this proved progressively hard to keep. Morale deteriorated and industrial efficiency suffered as a consequence. British agribusiness did non execute peculiarly good during the war, but British maritime high quality and fiscal power allowed them to command the agricultural resources of North and South America and Australasia. Food was one of the Allies’ chief war-winning arms. The grade of active opposition to the war was low in most states. But war-weariness set in everyplace by 1917. There were many work stoppages and much industrial agitation. In Russia this was terrible plenty to bring forth a revolution and so a Bolshevik coup d’état which took Russia out of the war in 1918.

The First World War redrew the map of Europe and the Middle East. Four great imperiums, the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, the Habsburg, and the Ottoman, were defeated and collapsed. They were replaced by a figure of weak and sometimes covetous successor provinces. Russia underwent a bloody civil war before the constitution of a Communist Soviet Union which put it beyond the picket of European diplomatic negotiations for a coevals. Germany became a democracy branded at its birth with the stigma of licking, progressively weakened by the load of Allied reparations and by inflation. France recovered the states of Alsace and Lorraine, but continued to be haunted by fright and abhorrence of Germany. Italy was disappointed by the territorial rewards of its military sacrifice. This provided fertile dirt for Mussolini 's Fascists, who had overthrown parliamentary democracy by 1924. The British maintained the unity and independency of Belgium. They besides acquired immense additions in imperial district and imperial duty. But they did non accomplish the security for the Empire which they sought. The white rules were unimpressed by the quality of British military leading. The First World War saw them maturate as independent states seeking progressively to travel their ain manner. The stirrings of rebellion in India were evident every bit shortly as the war ended. In 1922 the British were forced, under American force per unit area, to abandon the Anglo-Japanese confederation, so utile to them in protecting their Far Eastern imperium. They were besides forced to accept naval parity with the Americans and a au naturel high quality over the Nipponese. 'This is non a peace, ' Marshal Foch declared in 1919, 'but an cease-fire for 25 old ages. '


Allied to this turning militarism was an intense patriotism in most of the Great powers. Weltpolitik or the desire for world power position was really popular in Germany. The Gallic desire for retaliation over Alsace and Lorraine was really strong. In Britain Imperialism and support for the Empire was really apparent. This patriotism meant that there was small opposition to war in these states. Many welcomed what they thought would be a short, winning war. For illustration the eruption of war was greeted by heartening crowds in Berlin, Vienna and Paris. As A P J Taylor wrote “the people of Europe leapt volitionally into war.”


Militarism means that the ground forces and military forces are given a high profile by the authorities. The turning European divide had led to an weaponries race between the chief states. The ground forcess of both France and Germany had more than doubled between 1870 and 1914 and there was ferocious competition between Britain and Germany for command of the seas. The British had introduced the ‘Dreadnought’ , an effectual battlewagon, in 1906. The Germans shortly followed suit presenting their ain battlewagons. The German, Von Schlieffen besides drew up a program of action that involved assailing France through Belgium if Russia made an onslaught on Germany. The map below shows how the program was to work.


Patriotism means being a strong supporter of the rights and involvements of one’s state. The Congress of Vienna, held after Napoleon’s exile to Elba, aimed to screen out jobs in Europe. Delegates from Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia ( the winning Alliess ) decided upon a new Europe that left both Germany and Italy as divided provinces. Strong nationalist elements led to the re-unification of Italy in 1861 and Germany in 1871. The colony at the terminal of the Franco-Prussian war left France angry at the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and lament to recover their lost district. Large countries of both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were home to differing nationalist groups, all of whom wanted freedom from the provinces in which they lived.

Bosnian Crisis

In 1908, Austria-Hungary took over the former Turkish state of Bosnia. This enraged Serbians who felt the state should be theirs. Serbia threatened Austria-Hungary with war, Russia, allied to Serbia, mobilized its forces. Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary mobilised its forces and prepared to endanger Russia. War was avoided when Russia backed down. There was, nevertheless, war in the Balkans between 1911 and 1912 when the Balkan provinces drove Turkey out of the country. The provinces so fought each other over which country should belong to which province. Austria-Hungary so intervened and forced Serbia to give up some of its acquisitions. Tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was high.

Unsettled Empires

Russia, ally of the Slavs - and hence of Serbia - had been fighting to keep back all-out revolution of all time since the Nipponese military catastrophe of 1905. In 1914, while the Tsar himself was loath, his authorities saw war with Austria-Hungary as an chance to reconstruct societal order - which so it did, at least until the continuance of perennial Russian military reverses, Rasputin 's intrigue at court and nutrient deficits combined to convey about the long-threatened entire revolution ( which, encouraged by Germany, brought about Russia 's backdown from the war in 1917 ) .

Imperialism as a cause of World War I

Imperialism and imperial competition provided both a cause and context for World War I. Imperialism is a system where a powerful state controls and exploits one or more settlements. In most instances the imperial state, euphemistically referred to as the ‘mother country’ , establishes control over its settlements by coercion – for illustration,  through infiltration and appropriation, political force per unit area, war and military conquering. Once conquered, this district is claimed as a settlement. Colonies are governed and administered by either the imperial state, a puppet authorities or local confederates. A military presence is frequently stationed in the settlement, to keep order, to stamp down dissent and rebellions, and to discourage imperial challengers. Colonies may hold military or geopolitical advantages but their chief intent is economic: they exist chiefly to gain and enrich the imperial power. In most instances this involves the supply of cherished metals or other resources, such as lumber, rubber, rice or other foodstuffs. Colonies can besides be priceless beginnings of inexpensive labor, agricultural land and trading ports.

Prior to World War I the world’s largest, richest and most dominant imperial power was Great Britain. The British Empire famously occupied one one-fourth of the Earth ( “the Sun ne'er sets on Britain” was a celebrated motto of the mid nineteenth century ) . British colonial ownerships in the late 1800s included Canada, India, Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) , Burma, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, several Pacific and Caribbean Islands, South Africa, Rhodesia, Egypt and other parts of Africa. Many of these settlements were acquired with small trouble ; others took more clip, attempt and bloodshed. Britain’s acquisition of South Africa, for illustration, came after dearly-won wars against the Zulus ( native folk ) and Boers ( white farmer-settlers of Dutch extraction ) . British imperialism was focused on keeping and spread outing trade, the importing of natural stuffs and the sale of manufactured goods. Britain’s imperial power was reinforced by her powerful navy, the world’s largest, and a fleet of mercantile ( commercial ) vass.

Another important imperial power was France, Britain’s closest neighbor. Gallic imperial retentions included Indochina ( Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia ) , some Pacific islands and several settlements in west and north-west Africa. The German Empire included Shandong ( a state of China ) , New Guinea, Samoa and other Pacific islands, and several settlements in cardinal and south-west Africa. The Spanish Empire had one time included the Philippines and big parts of South America, though by the early twentieth century Spain’s imperial power was dwindling. Empires closer to place included Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman sultanate. Russia ruled over Finland, Poland and several cardinal Asiatic parts as an imperial power ; its black war against Japan in 1904-5 was an effort to widen Russia’s imperial range further into Korea and northern China. Despite disapprobation of European imperialism in America, the United States besides engaged in a grade of imperium edifice, peculiarly towards the terminal of the 1800s. Here is a list of the more important imperial powers of the early 1900s:

The 2nd half of the 1800s produced a important ‘rush for empire’ . This despairing push for new settlements was fuelled by lifting patriotism, increasing demand for land and dwindling chances at place. Two comparative fledglings to empire-building were the freshly unified states of Germany and Italy. The adult male who helped build the German province in the 1870s, Otto von Bismarck, had showed small involvement in gathering settlements – but Bismarck’s position was non shared by other Germans. Administrations like the Colonial League ( formed 1882 in Berlin ) whipped up support for German imperial enlargement. The kaiser and his advisers formulated their ain imperial designs, most of them focused on Africa. In 1884 Germany acquired Togoland, the Cameroons and South West Africa ( now Namibia ) . Six old ages subsequently a sizeable swathe of East Africa was under German control ; this district was renamed Tanganyika ( now Tanzania ) . This African colonization was good received by the German population – nevertheless it caused jobs in Britain and France. Many in London dreamed of a British-owned railroad running the length of Africa ( “from Cairo to the Cape” ) and German settlements in eastern Africa were an obstruction to this vision.

The scramble for imperium in Africa besides sparked several diplomatic incidents. Two important crises stemmed from events in Morocco in north-west Africa. Though non a Gallic settlement, Morocco’s location placed it within France’s sphere of influence. As Paris sought to set up a associated state in Morocco, the German Kaiser intervened. In 1905 Wilhelm II traveled to the Moroccan city of Tangier, where he delivered a speech back uping the thought of Maroc independency. This antagonised the Gallic authorities and precipitated a series of angry diplomatic responses and hectic imperativeness studies. A 2nd crisis erupted in 1911. As the Gallic were trying to stamp down a rebellion in Morocco, the Germans landed an armed vas, the Panther, at the Moroccan port of Agadir – a landing made without permission, anterior warning or any obvious intent. This incident triggered an even stronger reaction and brought France and Germany to the threshold of war. These Acts of the Apostless of German aggravation were non designed to infringe into Morocco or spread out its imperium, instead to drive a cuneus between France and Britain. In fact it had the opposite consequence, beef uping the Anglo-French confederation and escalating unfavorable judgment of German Weltpolitik and ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in both France and Britain.

Imperial instability was another subscriber to European tensenesss. Critical jobs in the Ottoman Empire also affected the balance of power in eastern Europe. Described by ironists as the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ , the Ottoman sultanate was in rapid political, military and economic diminution by the 2nd half of the 1800s. The Ottomans were defeated in several wars including the Crimean War ( 1853-56 ) , Russo-Turkish War ( 1877-78 ) and First Balkans War ( 1912-13 ) . These lickings, along with lifting patriotism and revolutions in Ottoman-controlled parts, resulted in gradual but important losingss of district. With the Ottoman Empire shrinking and at hazard of complete prostration, Europe’s other imperial powers clamoured to procure district or influence in the part. Austria-Hungary hoped to spread out into the Balkans ; Russia moved to restrict Austrian enlargement while procuring entree to the Black Sea ; Germany wanted to guarantee the security and completion of its Berlin-to-Baghdad railroad. Britain and France besides had colonial and trade involvements in the region. The ‘Eastern question’ – the issue of what would go on in eastern Europe as the Ottomans withdrew – was an of import speaking point of the late nineteenth century. These developments drew the Great Powers of Europe into the Balkan sphere, making chances for competition and increased tensenesss.

1. Imperialism is when a powerful nation-state seizes districts outside its ain boundary lines, transforming and regulating them as settlements. 2. Several European states had imperiums in the late nineteenth century, though the British Empire was by far the largest of these. 3. This period saw a race to get the last districts open for colonization. Much of this occurred in Africa, where Britain, France and Germany wholly competed for new colonial ownerships. 4. This ‘scramble for empire’ fuelled competition and led to several diplomatic incidents, such as two ‘Moroccan crises’ that were mostly precipitated by the German Kaiser. 5. The impairment of another imperial power, the Ottoman Empire, attracted the attending of European powers, who sought district, influence or entree in the Balkans and eastern Europe.

Causes of World War I

Scholars looking at the long-run seek to explicate why two rival sets of powers – Germany and Austria-Hungary on the one manus, and Russia, France, Serbia and Great Britain on the other – had come into struggle by 1914. They look at such factors as political, territorial and economic struggles, militarism, a complex web of confederations and alignments, imperialism, the growing of patriotism, and the power vacuity created by the diminution of the Ottoman Empire. Other of import long-run or structural factors that are frequently studied include unsolved territorial differences, the sensed dislocation of the balance of power in Europe, convoluted and fragmented administration, the weaponries races of the old decennaries, and military planning.

Scholars making short-run analysis focused on summer 1914 ask if the struggle could hold been stopped, or whether it was out of control. The immediate causes lay in determinations made by solons and generals during the July Crisis of 1914. This crisis was triggered by the blackwash of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by an cultural Serb who had been supported by a nationalist organisation in Serbia. The crisis escalated as the struggle between Austria-Hungary and Serbia came to affect Russia, Germany, France, and finally Belgium and Great Britain. Other factors that came into drama during the diplomatic crisis that preceded the war included misperceptions of purpose ( e.g. , the German belief that Britain would stay impersonal ) , fatalism that war was inevitable, and the velocity of the crisis, which was exacerbated by delays and misinterpretations in diplomatic communications.

Consensus on the beginnings of the war remains elusive since historiographers disagree on cardinal factors, and topographic point differing accent on a assortment of factors. This is compounded by altering historical statements over clip, peculiarly the delayed handiness of classified historical archives. The deepest differentiation among historiographers is between those who focus on the actions of Germany and Austria-Hungary as cardinal and those who focus on a wider group of actors. Secondary mistake lines exist between those who believe that Germany intentionally planned a European war, those who believe that the war was finally unplanned but still caused chiefly by Germany and Austria-Hungary taking hazards, and those who believe that either all or some of the other powers, viz. Russia, France, Serbia and Great Britain, played a more important function in doing the war than has been traditionally suggested.

Gallic revanchist foreign policy towards Germany

Some of the distant beginnings of World War I can be seen in the consequences and effects of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870–71 and the coincident Fusion of Germany. Germany had won resolutely and established a powerful Empire, while France went into chaos and military diminution for old ages. A bequest of animus grew between France and Germany following the German appropriation of Alsace-Lorraine. The appropriation caused widespread bitterness in France, giving rise to the desire for retaliation, known as revanchism. Gallic sentiments wanted to revenge military and territorial losingss and the displacement of France as the pre-eminent Continental military power. Gallic licking in the war had sparked political instability, climaxing in a revolution and the formation of the Gallic Third Republic.

British alliance towards France and Russia, 1898–1907: The Triple Entente

Others, most notably Niall Ferguson, argue that Britain chose France and Russia over Germany because Germany was excessively weak an ally to supply an effectual counterweight to the other powers and could non supply Britain with the imperial security achieved by the entente understandings. In the words of British diplomat Arthur Nicolson it was `` far more disadvantageous to us to hold an unfriendly France and Russia than an unfriendly Germany '' . Ferguson argues that the British Government rejected German confederation overtures `` non because Germany began to present a menace to Britain, but, on the contrary because they realized she did non present a menace '' . The impact of the Triple Entente was hence double, to better British dealingss with France and her ally Russia and to bump the importance to Britain of good dealingss with Germany. It was `` non that antagonism toward Germany caused its isolation, but instead that the new system itself channeled and intensified ill will towards the German Empire '' .

The alleged Triple Entente between Britain, France and Russia is frequently compared to the Ternary Alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary and Italy, but historians cautiousness against the comparing. The Entente, in contrast to the Ternary Alliance or the Franco-Russian Alliance, was non an confederation of common defense mechanism and Britain hence felt free to do her ain foreign policy determinations in 1914. As British Foreign Office Official Eyre Crowe minuted: `` The cardinal fact of class is that the Entente is non an confederation. For intents of ultimate emergencies it may be found to hold no substance at all. For the Entente is nil more than a frame of head, a position of general policy which is shared by the authoritiess of two states, but which may be, or go, so obscure as to lose all content. ''

Italo-Turkish War: Abandonment of the Ottomans, 1911–12

The Italo-Turkish War or Turco-Italian War ( Turkish: Trablusgarp Savaşı , `` Tripolitanian War '' ; besides known in Italy as Guerra di Libia, `` Libyan War '' ) was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy in North Africa from September 29, 1911, to October 18, 1912. As a consequence of this struggle, Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet ( state ) , of which the most noteworthy sub-provinces ( sanjaks ) were Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripoli itself. These districts together formed what became known as Italian Libya. The chief significance for the First World War was that this war made it clear that no Great Power appeared to wish to back up the Ottoman Empire any longer and this paved the manner for the Balkan Wars. Christopher Clark stated: `` Italy launched a war of conquering on an African state of the Ottoman Empire, triping a concatenation of timeserving assaults on Ottoman districts across the Balkans. The system of geographical balances that had enabled local struggles to be contained was swept off. ''

Balkan Wars, 1912–13: Growth of Serbian and Russian power

Russia ab initio agreed to avoid territorial alterations, but subsequently in 1912 supported Serbia 's demand for an Albanian port. An international conference was held in London in 1912–1913 where it was agreed to make an independent Albania ; nevertheless both Serbia and Montenegro refused to follow. After an Austrian, and so an international, naval demonstration in early 1912 and Russia 's backdown of support, Serbia backed down. Montenegro was non as compliant and on May 2, the Austrian council of ministers met and decided to give Montenegro a last opportunity to follow and, if it would non, so to fall back to military action. However, seeing the Austrian military preparations, the Montenegrins requested the ultimatum be delayed and complied.

In September 1913, it was learned that Serbia was traveling into Albania and Russia was making nil to keep it, while the Serbian authorities would non vouch to esteem Albania 's territorial unity and suggested there would be some frontier alterations. In October 1913, the council of ministers decided to direct Serbia a warning followed by an ultimatum: that Germany and Italy be notified of some action and asked for support, and that undercover agents be sent to describe if there was an existent backdown. Serbia responded to the warning with rebelliousness and the Ultimatum was dispatched on October 17 and received the undermentioned twenty-four hours. It demanded that Serbia evacuate Albanian district within eight yearss. Serbia complied, and the Kaiser made a congratulatory visit to Vienna to seek to repair some of the harm done earlier in the twelvemonth.

Franco-Russian Alliance alterations: The Balkan origin scenario, 1911–1913

In the last 18 to 24 months before the eruption of the war, this changed. At the terminal of 1911 and peculiarly during the Balkans wars themselves in 1912–13, the Gallic position changed. France now accepted the importance of the Balkans to Russia. Furthermore, France clearly stated that if, as a consequence of a struggle in the Balkans, war were to interrupt out between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, France would stand by Russia. Thus the Franco-Russian confederation changed in character, and by a effect of that Serbia became a security salient for Russia and France. As they bought into the hereafter scenario of a war of Balkan origin, irrespective of who started such a war, the confederation would react however. It would see this struggle as a casus foederis: as a trigger for the confederation. Christopher Clark described this alteration as `` a really of import development in the pre-war system which made the events of 1914 possible '' .

Anglo-German détente, 1912–14

Significantly, the Anglo-German Naval Race was over by 1912. In April 1913, Britain and Germany signed an understanding over the African districts of the Portuguese imperium which was expected to fall in imminently. Furthermore, the Russians were endangering British involvements in Persia and India to the extent that in 1914, there were marks that the British were chilling in their dealingss with Russia and that an apprehension with Germany might be utile. The British were `` profoundly annoyed by St Petersburg 's failure to detect the footings of the understanding struck in 1907 and began to experience an agreement of some sort with Germany might function as a utile restorative. ''

`` Blank Cheque '' — Germany supports Austria-Hungary, 6 July

The benefits were clear but there were hazards, viz. that Russia would step in and this would take to a Continental war. However, this was thought even more improbable since the Russians had non yet finished their French-funded rearmament programme scheduled for completion in 1917. Furthermore, they did non believe that Russia, as an absolute monarchy, would back up regicides, and more loosely “the mood across Europe was so anti-Serbian that even Russia would non intervene.” Personal factors besides weighed to a great extent and the German Kaiser was close to the murdered Franz Ferdinand and was affected by his decease, to the extent that German counsels of restraint vis a vis Serbia in 1913 changed to an aggressive stance.

On the other manus, the military idea that if Russia did step in so St Petersburg clearly desired war and now would be a better clip to contend, when Germany had a guaranteed ally in Austria-Hungary, Russia was non ready and Europe was sympathetic to them. On balance, at this point in the crisis, the Germans anticipated that their support would intend the war would be a localized matter between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. This would be peculiarly true if Austria moved rapidly, `` while the other European powers were still disgusted over the blackwashs and hence likely to be sympathetic to any action Austria-Hungary took” .

Fermeté — France backs Russia, 20–23 July

The Gallic and the Russians agreed their confederation extended to back uping Serbia against Austria, corroborating the already established policy behind the Balkan origin scenario. As Christopher Clark notes `` Poincare had come to prophesy the Gospel of soundness and his words had fallen on ready ears. Firmness in this context meant an adamant resistance to any Austrian step against Serbia. At no point do the beginnings suggest that Poincare or his Russian interlocutors gave any thought whatsoever to what measures Austria-Hungary might lawfully be entitled to take in the wake of the blackwashs '' .

Russia mobilises — The Crisis escalates, 24–25 July

On 24–25 July the Russian Council of Ministers met, and in response to the crisis and despite the fact that she had no confederation with Serbia, agreed to a secret partial mobilization of over one million work forces of the Russian Army and the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. It is deserving emphasizing, since this is a cause of some confusion in general narrations of the war, that this was done prior to the Serbian rejection of the ultimatum, the Austrian declaration of war on 28 July or any military steps taken by Germany. As a diplomatic move this had limited value since the Russians did non do this mobilization populace until 28 July.

In add-on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov believed that war was inevitable and refused to admit that Austria-Hungary had a right to counter steps in the face of Serbian irridentism. On the contrary, Sazonov had aligned himself with the irridentism, and expected the prostration of the Austro-Hungarian imperium. Crucially, the Gallic had provided their clear support for their Russian Alliess for a robust response in their recent province visit merely yearss earlier. Besides in the background was Russian anxiousness of the hereafter of the Turkish straits – `` where Russian control of the Balkans would put St Petersburg in a far better place to forestall unwanted intrusions on the Bosphorus”

Christopher Clark stated `` It would be hard to exaggerate the historical importance of the meetings of 24 and 25 July '' and `` In taking these stairss, Sazonov and his co-workers escalated the crisis and greatly increased the likeliness of a general European war. For one thing, Russian pre-mobilization altered the political chemical science in Serbia, doing it unthinkable that the Belgrade authorities, which had originally given serious consideration to accepting the ultimatum, would endorse down in the face of Austrian force per unit area. It heightened the domestic force per unit area on the Russian administration.it sounded alarm bells in Austria-Hungary. Most significantly of all, these steps drastically raised the force per unit area on Germany, which had so far abstained from military preparations and was still numbering on the localization of function of the Austro-Serbian struggle. ''

German domestic political relations

Leftist parties, particularly the Social Democratic Party of Germany ( SPD ) , made big additions in the 1912 German election. German authorities at the clip was still dominated by the Prussian Junkers who feared the rise of these leftist parties. Fritz Fischer famously argued that they intentionally sought an external war to deflect the population and flog up loyal support for the authorities. Indeed, one German military leader said that a war was `` desirable in order to get away from troubles at place and abroad '' and a Prussian conservative leader even argued that `` a war would beef up patriarchal order '' .


Britain particularly with its huge world-wide British Empire was a chief illustration, although it entered the war subsequently than the other cardinal participants on the issue of Belgium. Britain besides had an `` informal imperium '' based on trade in impersonal states. It grew rich in portion from its success in trade in foreign resources, markets, districts, and people, and Germany was covetous because its much smaller imperium was much poorer. John Darwin argues the British Empire was distinguished by the adaptability of its builders. Darwin says, `` The hallmark of British imperialism was its extraordinary versatility in method, mentality and object. '' The British tried to avoid military action in favor of trust on webs of local elites and business communities who voluntarily collaborated and in bend gained authorization ( and military protection ) from British acknowledgment. France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy all hoped to emulate the British theoretical account, and the United States became a latecomer in 1898. In all states the quest for national prestigiousness strengthened imperial motives. Their defeated aspirations, and British policies of strategic exclusion created tensenesss. Commercial involvements contributed well to competitions during the Scramble for Africa after 1880. Africa became the scene of sharpest struggle between certain Gallic, German and British imperial involvements.

Competitions for non merely settlements, but colonial trade and trade paths developed between the emerging economic powers and the incumbent great powers. Although still argued otherwise harmonizing to historical positions on the way to war, this competition was illustrated in the Berlin-Baghdad Railway, which would hold given German industry entree to Mesopotamia 's suspected `` rich oil Fieldss, and extended asphalt sedimentations '' , every bit good as German trade a southern port in the Persian Gulf. A history of this railway describes the German involvements in countering the British Empire at a planetary level, and Turkey 's involvement in countering their Russian challengers at a regional level. As stated by a modern-day 'man on the land ' at the clip, Jastrow wrote, `` It was felt in England that if, as Napoleon is said to hold remarked, Antwerp in the custodies of a great Continental power was a handgun leveled at the English seashore, Baghdad and the Persian Gulf in the custodies of Germany ( or any other strong power ) would be a 42-centimetre gun pointed at India. '' On the other side, `` Public sentiment in Germany was banqueting on visions of Cairo, Baghdad, and Tehran, and the possibility of hedging the British encirclement through mercantile establishments to the Indian Ocean. '' Britain 's initial strategic exclusion of others from northern entree to a Iranian Gulf port in the creative activity of Kuwait by pact as a protected, subsidised client province showed political acknowledgment of the importance of the issue. On June 15, 1914, Britain and Germany signed an understanding on the issue of the Baghdad Railway, which Britain had earlier signed with Turkey, to open entree to its usage, to add British representation on the Board of the Railway, and curtail entree by rail to the Persian Gulf. The Railway issue did non play a function in the failed July 1914 dialogues, but remains as a concrete illustration of the underlying economic menace to Britain 's dominance in colonial trade, and the competition of German industry.

Germany 's leader Otto von Bismarck disliked the thought of an abroad imperium, but pursued a colonial policy in response to domestic political demands. Bismarck supported Gallic colonisation in Africa because it diverted authorities attending and resources off from Continental Europe and revanchism. After 1890 Bismarck 's replacement, Leo von Caprivi, was the last German Chancellor who was successful in quieting Anglo-German tensenesss. After Caprivi left office in 1894, Germany 's bellicose `` New Course '' in foreign personal businesss was controlled by Kaiser Wilhelm. Bombastic and hotheaded, the Kaiser made untactful dictums on sensitive subjects without confer withing his curates, climaxing in a black Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his power inside the German authorities in 1908. Langer et al. ( 1968 ) emphasize the negative international effects of Wilhelm 's erratic personality:

He believed in force, and the 'survival of the fittest ' in domestic every bit good as foreign political relations. William was non missing in intelligence, but he did miss stableness, masking his deep insecurities by swagman and tough talk. He often fell into depressions and hysterics. William 's personal instability was reflected in hesitations of policy. His actions, at place every bit good as abroad, lacked counsel, and hence frequently bewildered or angered public sentiment. He was non so much concerned with deriving specific aims, as had been the instance with Bismarck, as with asseverating his will. This trait in the swayer of the taking Continental power was one of the chief causes of the uneasiness prevailing in Europe at the turn-of-the-century.

The position of Morocco had been guaranteed by international understanding, and when France attempted to greatly spread out its influence at that place without the assent of all the other signers Germany opposed it motivating the Maroc Crises, the Tangier Crisis of 1905 and the Agadir Crisis of 1911. The purpose of German policy was to drive a cuneus between the British and Gallic, but in both instances produced the opposite consequence and Germany was isolated diplomatically, most notably missing the support of Italy despite Italian rank in the Ternary Alliance. The Gallic associated state over Morocco was established officially in 1912.

Social Darwinism

By the late nineteenth century a new school of idea, subsequently known as Social Darwinism, became popular among intellectuals and political leaders. It emphasized that competition was natural in a biological sense. In nature there was the 'survival of the fittest being ' and so excessively in political geographics the fittest state would win out. Patriotism made it a competition between peoples, states or races instead than kings and elites. Social Darwinism carried a sense of inevitableness to conflict and understate the usage of diplomatic negotiations or international understandings to stop warfare. It tended to laud warfare, taking the enterprise and the warrior male function. Social Darwinism played an of import function across Europe, but J. Leslie has argued that it played a critical and immediate function in the strategic thought of some of import, militant members of the Austro-Hungarian authorities.

Weaponries race

By the 1870s or 1880s all the major powers were fixing for a large-scale war, although none expected one. Britain focused on constructing up its Royal Navy, already stronger than the following two naval forcess combined. Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Russia, and some smaller states, set up muster systems whereby immature work forces would function from 1 to three old ages in the ground forces, so pass the following 20 old ages or so in the militias with one-year summer preparation. Work force from higher societal positions became officers. Each state devised a mobilization system whereby the militias could be called up rapidly and sent to key points by rail. Every twelvemonth the programs were updated and expanded in footings of complexity. Each state stockpiled weaponries and supplies for an ground forces that ran into the 1000000s. Germany in 1874 had a regular professional ground forces of 420,000 with an extra 1.3 million militias. By 1897 the regular ground forces was 545,000 strong and the militias 3.4 million. The Gallic in 1897 had 3.4 million reservists, Austria 2.6 million, and Russia 4.0 million. The assorted national war programs had been perfected by 1914, albeit with Russia and Austria draging in effectivity. Recent wars ( since 1865 ) had typically been short—a affair of months. All the war programs called for a decisive gap and assumed triumph would come after a short war ; no 1 planned for or was ready for the nutrient and weaponries demands of a long deadlock as really happened in 1914–18.

As David Stevenson has put it, `` A self-reinforcing cycle of heightened military preparedness. was an indispensable component in the conjuncture that led to catastrophe. The armaments race. was a necessary stipulation for the eruption of hostilities. '' David Herrmann goes farther, reasoning that the fright that `` Windowss of chance for winning wars '' were shutting, `` the weaponries race did precipitate the First World War. '' If Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been assassinated in 1904 or even in 1911, Herrmann speculates, there might hold been no war. It was `` . the armaments race. and the speculation about at hand or preventative wars '' that made his decease in 1914 the trigger for war.

The overpowering British response proved to Germany that its attempts were improbable to be the Royal Navy. In 1900, the British had a 3.7:1 tonnage advantage over Germany ; in 1910 the ratio was 2.3:1 and in 1914, 2.1:1. Ferguson argues that, `` So decisive was the British triumph in the naval weaponries race that it is difficult to see it as in any meaningful sense a cause of the First World War. '' This ignores the fact that the Kaiserliche Marine had narrowed the spread by about half, and that the Royal Navy had long intended to be stronger than any two possible oppositions ; the United States Navy was in a period of growing, doing the German additions really baleful.

The chief Russian ends included beef uping its function as the protector of Eastern Christians in the Balkans ( such as the Serbians ) . Although Russia enjoyed a flourishing economic system, turning population, and big armed forces, its strategic place was threatened by an spread outing Turkish military trained by German experts utilizing the latest engineering. The start of the war renewed attending of old ends: throw outing the Turks from Constantinople, widening Russian rule into eastern Anatolia and Persian Azerbaijan, and annexing Galicia. These conquerings would guarantee Russian predomination in the Black Sea and entree to the Mediterranean.

Primacy of the violative and war by timetable

For illustration, Russia ordered partial mobilization on 25 July. The policy was intended to be a mobilization against Austria-Hungary merely. However, due to a deficiency of pre-war planning for this type of partial mobilization, the Russians realised by 29 July that partial mobilization was non militarily possible, and as it would interfere with a general mobilization, merely full mobilization could forestall the full operation being botched. The Russians were hence faced with merely two options, to call off mobilization during a crisis or to travel to full mobilization, which they did on 30 July. This full mobilization meant call uping along both the Russian boundary line with Austro-Hungary and the boundary line with Germany.

Christopher Clarke provinces: `` German attempts at mediation – which suggested that Austria should “Halt in Belgrade” and utilize the business of the Serbian capital to guarantee its footings were met – were rendered futile by the velocity of Russian readyings, which threatened to coerce the Germans to take counter–measures before mediation could get down to take consequence '' .. Furthermore, Clarke states: `` The Germans declared war on Russia before the Russians declared war on Germany. But by the clip that happened, the Russian authorities had been traveling military personnels and equipment to the German forepart for a hebdomad. The Russians were the first great power to publish an order of general mobilization and the first Russo-German clang took topographic point on German, non on Russian dirt, following the Russian invasion of East Prussia. That doesn’t mean that the Russians should be ‘blamed’ for the eruption of war. Rather it alerts us to the complexness of the events that brought war about and the restrictions of any thesis that focuses on the blameworthiness of one histrion. ''

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