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"The First World War was the result of a badly mismanaged Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of long-standing rivalries between the great powers." Assess the truth of this opinion on the causes of the outbreak of World War One.

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Introduction

"The First World War was the result of a badly mismanaged Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of long-standing rivalries between the great powers." Assess the truth of this opinion on the causes of the outbreak of World War One. World War One resulted from a combination of key miscalculations by the Austrians and Germans of just how far a Balkan war would lead and long-standing rivalries, which were a product of the Alliance System, the Eastern Question and the fall of the Turkish empire and rising Serb nationalism, which the Austrians felt they had to deal with, no matter what the consequences were. Other significant factors in causing a war were colonial rivalries, especially Germany whose late arrival on the international scene meant that they couldn't create an empire. This frustration is highlighted at the Moroccan Crises. Military expansion, such as the arms and naval races and rising imperialism meant that there was an expectation of war. ...read more.

Middle

The colonial rivalries nearly spilled into war, as is shown by the First and Second Moroccan Crises. In the First Crisis the Kaiser was angry at the monopoly France had in Morocco and Germany's exclusion. They intervened and Germany tried to colonise the state. A conference was held and Germany tried to humiliate France and split the Entente, but instead they themselves were humiliated. The rivalries helped to create the arms and naval race. An example of this is when the Germans couldn't send military help to the Dutch in 1898, so von Turpitz called for a strong German navy to be built. Germany was ambitious and wanted to become a naval power and would show she was worthy of Britain. However Germanys naval expansion threatened Britain's naval supremacy and thus diminishing Germany's intended friendship with Britain. Britain reacted by building up her navy too and produced her first Dreadnought battleship. These were heavily armed warships, which rendered previous ones obsolete. ...read more.

Conclusion

War was possible, with large numbers of troops ready with equipment. This build up of weapons and armaments also contributed to the high feelings of mistrust to already bad feelings between the powers. Spending on arms was dramatically increased with German spending levels going up by 73% between 1910 and 1914, Britain's by 13%, France's by 10% and Russia's by 39%. These show that the German stance was very militaristic. These high levels of spending are strongly linked with nationalism. Nationalism for the great powers was the desire for prestige and this is a factor in the war. After the Franco-German war (1870-71) France was left with a nationalistic revenge and for the recovery of the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. To prevent an attack by France Germany under the chancellor Bismarck created a web of treaties over many years to isolate France. Germany allied itself with Austria-Hungary (1879) in the Dual alliance. The other type of nationalism ...read more.

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