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How Did Alliances Cause World War 1: Analytical Essay

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Many factors led up to the start of World War 1 in Europe. A lot of these factors were rooted in the deep history of the old powers of Europe including Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Great. The real causes of WWI included politics, secret alliances and deals, imperialism, and nationalistic pride. However, there was one single event that started a chain of events leading up to the war. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

Starting in 1914, the causes of WW1 included long-term factors such as militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism.

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Militarism - Nations were desperate not to be outdone in any area of their military. As a result, nations like Germany, France, and Russia started to conscript large portions of their male population and suddenly everyone was ready and willing to fight. This conscription and arms build-up meant that soon every European state had a huge army at its disposal, these armies were ruining their economies, they had to lose them soon but couldn't just let them go, they were propelled to war to destroy their enemies and give them the security they needed to allow disarmament. Germany began building a large and modernized navy that directly threatened the British. The British, who Germany was still attempting to secure as an ally at the time, were eventually forced into the arms of the French. All this commotion leads to alliances. Alliances- Alliances played a large in WW1, as without them it would have just been a short war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. The system of alliances dragged all of Europe into insignificant conflict, starting with Germany and Russia and then with the British and French a few days later. It was what made a small war a major world conflict. Imperialism - When a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to its rule. By 1900, the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. With the rise of industrialism, countries needed new markets. The amount of land 'owned' by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who had entered the scramble to acquire colonies late and only had small areas of Africa. Nationalism- When people are proud of their countries so much that they believe them to be better than everyone else's. This contributed to the war in 1914 because each country thought they were better than each other and they had a better army. This eventually led to a fight. This is very much linked to another long-term cause of Militarism. To protect themselves from aggression, industrial nations formed alliances with their primary trade partners. These alliances ensured that a minor dispute between the two countries could result in a continental war. This system of alliances was an important short-term cause of World War I.

There were numerous Crises before 1914. There was the First Moroccan Crisis in 1905. Kaiser Wilhelm II visited the Moroccan port of Tangier to denounce the French and their influence there. It provoked an international crisis and was resolved in the Algeciras Conference in 1906, in France's favour. The result brought Britain and France closer together. A Second Moroccan Crisis also occurred in 1911, when the Germans sent a gunboat, named the 'Panther', to the Moroccan port of Agadir. They claimed they did it to protect German Citizens there, suffering under French rule. This provoked a major war scare in Britain and the Germans agreed to leave Morocco to the French so they could keep their rights in the Congo. This was humiliating for Germany. Austria annexing the Balkans was also another short-term factor. The breakup of the Ottoman Empire left these territories open to attack. Austria conquered Bosnia, outraging Serbia due to there being a large Serbian population in Bosnia. Russia supported Bosnia and Serbia and accepted this occupation, but vowed not to be humiliated again. Russia encouraged Slavic nationalism and in the Balkans war of 1912-1913, Serbia doubled in size and felt growing support for a union with all Slavs under the leadership of Serbia.

The immediate cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the hands of a member of a Serbian nationalist group. This action caused Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, which was backed by Russia. Russia's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary motivated other nations that were bound by alliances to enter the war.

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