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How and Why did the First World War start?

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How and why did the First World War start? World War One lasted four years, from 1914 to 1918. Over fifteen million casualties were created because of it. This includes over approximately ten million deaths. Along with that, four empires were affectively destroyed. So how and why did it start? There were many reasons both long and short term. Altogether they prepared time bombs, ready to explode into a destructive war zone throughout the world. During the war, one country dropped out of the fighting, one joined in and another switched sides. Ruler of Germany and Grandson to Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm II loved the army. He became Emperor at the age of 29 despite being partially deaf and finding it hard to balance. He envied the British Military and devoted himself to making his military defence better, especially the navy. He was determined to beat Britain's navy. When Britain launched the first Dreadnought ship, it put increased pressure on Wilhelm. He encouraged the Grand Admiral Tirpitz to build ships that could compete with the Dreadnought. ...read more.


The trip was successful and Britain was at peace with France. Altogether, Russia, Britain and France created the Triple Entente. Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy joined to form the Triple Alliance. So, over 15 years or more there had been a clearer and growing division in Europe creating effectively two major powers - the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. This was a time bomb waiting for a spark to set off a war. On the 28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was murdered. He was Austria-Hungarian and was visiting Serbia by invitation. He knew the trip was dangerous due to the conflicts between Austria-Hungary and Serbia but went anyway. He was taken by car through the streets to the City Hall. There were huge safety precautions for the visit. Police lined the streets and suspects for murdering him were arrested before the visit. There were also several hundred Serbian soldiers kept in their barracks. However, members of the Black Hand gang were also lined along the streets. These were Serbian extremists that feared the connection between Austria-Hungary and Serbia would be bad for the country. ...read more.


When Franz Ferdinand was murdered Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for his death. On July 28th Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. As Germany had an alliance with Austria-Hungary, they fought as well. Italy also joined with Germany and Austria-Hungary, as they were part of the Triple Alliance. To help Serbia, Russia put its forces along the German and Austrian borders. Germany then declared war on Russia and its ally - France. In order to get to France, Germany needed to invade Belgium. However, Britain had agreed to protect Belgium from taking sides and declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 4th August 1914. On April 26th 1915, Italy changed sides. European colonies and the British Empire were dragged in from all over the world to join the First World War. Numerous countries were dragged in through colonies, allies and alliances. Within years, there was a colossal division worldwide - over twenty different countries were involved in some way or another. On a long-term basis, World War One started due to rivalry for colonies, the arms race and the alliance system. On a short-term basis, Franz Ferdinand's murder started the war. However, Germany was held responsible for the war and was fined a huge amount for reparations and gave back territory to countries worldwide. ...read more.

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