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Causes and Cons of WW1.docx

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University of Ottawa
Henry Habib

Erik Gagne th November 18 2013 Words: 2641 Student Number: 7412720 What were the Causes and Consequences of World War 1? 1 The world had entered a brief era of peace and prosperity, ending in the year 1914, when the entire world witnessed the devastation of Europe. It was the build up of different factors, which resulted in World War 1, but was simply triggered by the assassination of theAustrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, on the 28 of June 1914 by Bosnian revolutionary, Gavrilo Princip. This event was, however, only the spark that set off the declarations of war, as there were several factors that contributed to the realization of the First World War. World War 1 firstly began as a primarily European conflict. This soon soon escalated into a world war, due to tensions growing between the European countries surrounding militarism, alliances, imperialism and nationalism. This essay will further examine the reasons behind the destruction of Europe’s economy, the death of 37 million men and the reasons why it involved countries from almost every region of the world in the early 90s. This essay will also discuss the short and long-term causes behind the First World War, and thirdly examine the effects and consequences it had on the entire world. On Sunday 28th June 1914, at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to theAustro-Hungarian Throne,Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife. This event was the catalyst that set off declarations of war and resulted in the “Great War”. Tensions had been building up in Europe for decades due to increasing ideologies of nationalism, the growth of imperialism and colonization, increase in militarism, and alliances being secretly formed. Treaties and alliances gave European powers a sense of security before the start of World War 1. They formed these alliances with each other for protection and the guarantee of other member’s part of the alliance would aid the country if attacked. Although alliances provided protection, the 2 system also created certain dangers. If war came, the alliance meant that a number of nations would fight, not only the two originally involved in a dispute.Alliances could force a country to go to war against a nation it had no disagreement with, as well as many alliances being kept secret. 1 In the early 20 century, nationalism, a love and devotion towards a person’s country began to emerge and swept across Europe. Nationalism was the belief that loyalty to a person's nation and its political and economic goals comes before any other public loyalty. This pride for ones country resulted in individual countries believing that they were superior to other countries, and that sacrificing other land, materials and soldiers for the benefit of your own country was a positive thing, for you had to fight for your freedom and pride. This started alliances and unity between countries that had same goals and therefore could fight together. Nationalism encouraged public support for military build-ups and for a country's use of force to achieve its goals. By the late 1800's, Germany had the best-trained army in the world, and in the late 1800s, Germany began developing a naval force that was big enough to challenge the British navy. In 1906, the British navy created the first modern battleship, the Dreadnought. This was the most advanced ship the world had seen, and had greater firepower that any other ship of its 4 time. This triggered the “Arms Race” causing Germany to construct a similar version of the battleship. Advances in technology helped aid in making military forces stronger with machine guns and other new arms to fire more accurately and more rapidly than 1 Gomez, Gomez. "The Political Economic Social and Cultural Consequences of World War I." 2 Joll, James. "The Origins of the First World War (Origins of Modern Wars) 3 “EH Carr. The Twenty Year Crisis 1939” 04 May 2012. November 17 2013.”h 4 Gomez, Gomez. "The Political Economic Social and Cultural Consequences of World War I." 3 th previous weapons, causing greater losses. During the early 20 century, nationalism took hold among people who shared a common language, history, or culture. Most people began to view themselves as members of a nation. War had a major role in achieving nation unification in Italy and Germany, but on the other hand, nationalism weakened the 5 eastern European empires ofAustria-Hungary, Russia, and Ottoman Turkey. Those countries ruled numerous small national groups who had been demanding independence. 6 During this time, the Balkan Peninsula became known as the "Powder Keg of Europe" as the small nations inside of the Peninsula had been causing tensions increasing a risk of war. This rivalry for control of the Balkans contributed to the numerous tensions, which 7 eventually erupted into World War 1. The catalyst to the war, the assassination ofArchduke Franz Ferdinand caused a rift in Europe, the Central Powers against theAllied Powers. When the British Empire, France and Russia declared war against Germany,Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, the colonies and dominions belonging to them were also sent to war. Due 8 to expanding ideologies of imperialism and nationalism, Germany felt that theAllied powers, especially France and Britain had a large amount of colonies, and had the upper hand. Feeling vulnerable, the Central Powers began preparations, and therefore giving birth to militarism during World War 1. In the decade that lead up to the war, the leading countries in Europe needed a strong military to be able to exert their imperial dominance, 5 Goemans, Hein Erich. War and punishment: The causes of war termination and the First World War. 6 Gomez, Gomez. "The Political Economic Social and Cultural Consequences of World War I." th 7 “EH Carr. The Twenty Year Crisis 1939” 04 May 2012. November 17 2013.” 8 Gomez, Gomez. "The Political Economic Social and Cultural Consequences of World War I." 9 Joll, James. "The Origins of the First World War (Origins of Modern Wars) 4 and therefore strong militaries were popular during the period. As a result of this, the European powers wanted to increase their military power and surpass other countries in terms of dominance and arms. As a country increased their military power with expanding armies and weapons, opposing countries would do the same, in order to avoid a country gaining too much power or influence. This became known as the “Arms Race”, and this militarism, helped build a foundation of war, which was in time triggered by the 10 assassination of Franz Ferdinand. By the early 20 century, the British Empire had control over many countries in the world, India, Australia, Canada and it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" due to its numerous colonies and dominions. When the war began all the major European powers had built up significant overseas colonial empires with Britain and France leading the way. The Germans were latecomers to this game and neighboring European countries had colonized most of the countries on theAfrican continent. The Germans were left with some small and commercially marginal colonies, and were displeased with them. There was a great deal of jealousy regarding Germany’s lack of 11 colonies compared to the British and French Empires. Due to this, the 3 Moroccan crises emerged, as Germany was unhappy about its feeble colonies, and wanted one of the larger, more influential and important colonies. In 1904, the last German Emperor, Wilhelm, along with France had interests in Morocco, and called an international conference, where the major powers of Europe met in Spain to decide the fate of Morocco. Wilhelm bargained with France, agreed to recognize the French influence and 10 Goemans, Hein Erich. War and punishment: The causes of war termination and the First World War. 11 Gomez, Gomez. "The Political Economic Social and Cultural Consequences of World War I." 5 its position in Morocco, using this to even the battlefield, demanding that if France were to colonize Morocco, then he would need the resignation of France’s Foreign Minister, Theophile Déclassé. The Second Moroccan Crisis occurred three years before the outbreak of World War 1. This began in 1911 when France had been occupying the city of Fez, Morocco, when Germany sent a warship, with the possible intention of war. Wilhelm used this situation to gain a centralAfrican country, compromising with France. France would become the protectorate of Morocco, as long as France gave 1000
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