World War I, a time of massive killings and destruction, was not the product of a single, immediate event. Rather, multiple long-term causes, including the effects of Nationalism, produced the war. While liberals believed that a peaceful Europe would emerge from using national lines to organize Europe, the opposite happened. There was no cooperation amongst Europe's great powers; instead, there was competition and significant rivalries. Conflict over industrial and commercial interests was significant. With this competition came the formation of two alliances, which only increased the already rising tension. Increasing conflict and discontent severely tested the different governments. Regardless, these different European states significantly cherished their alliances and protected each other no matter the consequences.
Each European state believed that it was its own entity without any higher body of authority. With this, each nation consistently showcased self-motivation for personal interest and success. Thus, the war was becoming more and more possible as each European state had self-serving interests and goals that wanted to reach. Different European leaders viewed the war as an excellent opportunity to achieve such goals and authority. Along with Nationalism, socialist labor movements are considered a long-term cause of the war. They were more potent and violent in their efforts as achieving their goals was the central focus. With the fear of revolution on the mind of many Europeans, the decision to start the war was a way of controlling severe destruction. A third long-term cause of the war was the significant impact of militarism. With the size of mass armies increasing significantly in size, tensions continued to rise. Similarly, the inevitability of the war predicted its destructiveness. As the practice of conscription continued, the size of all European states' armies increased. Since young working-class males could not participate in the army since their physical state was not adequate for the army, leaders shifted to recruiting peasants. With more massive armies came an increase in the number of military leaders who lacked flexibility in their plans and ultimately, power.
Francis Ferdinand, the Austrian Archduke, and his wife, Sophia, were assassinated in the summer of 1914. As a result., Austrian officials chose to use force in warning Serbia that the murder was wrong and would not go unnoticed. With the support of their allies, Austria served Serbia with a demanding ultimatum at the end of July. When Serbia chose to reject some of the demands, Austria subsequently declared war on Serbia. This declaration led different European states in each alliance to declare war on a European power from the other alliance. While the decisions made in 1914 were influential in starting the war, they were not the ultimate cause of the war. Instead, they were the final straw in what was a long-time coming war. With an extensive history of conflict and discontent between the different nations, the foundation for war was already present. The assassination and subsequent ultimatum initiated the war.
Serbia played a significant role in the start of World War I. Before the assassination of Francis Ferdinand; there was already a considerable rivalry between Serbia and Austria. Serbia, in support of its ally Russia, focused on creating an independent Slavic state in the Balkans while Austria prioritized preventing that from happening. With this building sense of mutual discontent and mistrust between the two nations, it is not surprising that the assassination took place shortly after in the summer of 1914. Therefore, Serbia played a significant role in the start of World War I as they ultimately took a direct shot at Austria's empire without attempting to be discrete. Further, they illustrated just how important the two alliances were when they stood by Russia through this more focused conflict. Finally, by choosing not to meet all of Austria's demands, they kept to their goals, a common thought by all the nations. They firmly believed that the war would provide them with the opportunity to achieve such goals. With Russia helping Serbia when Austria declared war, and Germany subsequently joining the conflict, World War I truly began.
World War I, a significant event in history, was a fight long in the making as the conflict and hatred amongst the different European nations were long-term. From the effects of Nationalism, internal dissent, and militarism, the building of the reason behind the war was not immediate; instead, it took some time. The assassination of Francis Ferdinand by Serbia and Austria's immediate response initiated the fight that all involved nations had wanted for a long time. With each nation's strong desire for authority and success, the war would not be easy, nor would it be without many casualties and ultimate destruction.