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The political tension's in the late 1800's and early 1900's together with Germany's willingness to go to war, made a European war practically unavoidable.

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Introduction

"We do not say this war is declared yet, but we believe it is inevitable," were the words of a Serbian government official during an interview in 1912. What he, however, did not know was the extent and lasting ramifications of this unavoidable war. While earlier conflicts in the Balkans had been regionally solved, the 1914 crisis was to be different. It was due to the buildup of all social, economic and political tensions between Europe's imperialistic nations and the willingness, especially that of Germany's, to engage in military conflict that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand allowed for the conflict to escalate. While there was strong rivalry between the Imperial powers to obtain their economic interests both sides of the Alliance system saw the benefits of a war they thought they were bound to win. This combined with new nationalist ideas produced throughout the 19th centaury allowed the situation to soar into a ferocious war. The political tension's in the late 1800's and early 1900's together with Germany's willingness to go to war, made a European war practically unavoidable. With the Alliance system in place putting Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary on one side, and France, Great Britain and Russia on the other a war between any of these nations would likely mean the others would get involved. ...read more.

Middle

The economic ambitions of Imperial Europe may also not be forgotten when analyzing the causes of World War I. France and Britain being the predominant forces in Africa left little for Germany, which created many tensions. As seem in the Morocco Crisis in 1905, there was great rivalry between the nations to keep a firm economic grip on their colonies. While in itself the Morocco conflict had little importance on the international stage, it did almost certainly affect public opinion (D. Steward) Wilhelm's militaristic and expiations Germany dating back from Bismarck and the creation of Germany in 1871 had adopted the policy of "Welt Politik", stating that Germany must move from a continental to world power through colonialism and navel expansion. Germany claiming the wanted "their place in the sun" however knew this would be very difficult to achieve without military action, "The war which could - and many say must - result from this situation of conflict would according to the general accepted opinion in our country have the aim of breaking England's world domination in order to lay free the necessary colonial possessions for the central European states who need to expand." ...read more.

Conclusion

The dispute over Alsace-Lorraine coming from the Franco-Prussian war was a major factor in German-French relations. Even within the population, there were conflicts on a social level which certainly added to the inevitability of the war. Strong nationalism caused ever widening social rifts and hostility among many nations which only added to a European conflict. The growing pressure of the social, economic and political issues made European conflict unavoidable. That the war would claim so many casualties and last a long four years was however foreseen by very few people. Europe's military build-up and complex alliance system made a local war almost impossible without the interference of other nations. Even if Germany didn't push and plan for war, they did certainly see the benefits and welcomed the ideas of altering the balance of imperial power in Europe. With a European war close to inevitable, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the perfect spark for a conflict that had been building up for many years. World Count: 1,190 Sources: > The Great War, Sources and Evidence - David Steward, James Frizgerald, Alf Pickard > Challenging History: Europe 1890 - 1990 - John Traynor > Mastering Modern History - Norman Lowe > Imperial Germany: The Riddle of 1914 -John C.G. R�hl > The Great Debate: The Historians' Verdict 1 ...read more.

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