Lecture 36 world war i overseas and at home y causes of world war i: assassination of archduke franz ferdinand. assassinated by gavrilo principe on june 28, 1914. austria send ultimatum to serbia (e. g. demanding an investigation of the event) serbia agrees to all demands except one. austria declares war on serbia: schliffen plan. goes against treaty that was signed to protect belgium s neutrality. causes several nations to declare war on germany; britain (includes. Canada: often blamed on german imperialism; but all of the countries should share the blame, naval race between germany and britain. key to being a great nation was having a great navy: aligned into 2 allies: axis powers: germany, austria-hungary, turkey/ottoman empire y american reaction to the outbreak of war in 1914: viewed the war as europe s mess, wilson asked americans to remain neutral in thoughts and action, woodrow wilson.