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The Causes of World War I.

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Tim Newman Wilmslow High School 11NGJ The Causes of World War I World War I was the result of certain countries aggression towards others and by the rising nationalism of the European nations. Economic and imperial competition and fear of war triggered military alliances and an arms race, which further escalated the tension contributing to the outbreak of war. At the settlement of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the idea of nationalism was ignored to preserve the peace. Germany and Italy were divided into states but nationalist changes and revolutions led to the unification of Italy in 1861 and that of Germany in 1871. Another result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was that France was left furious over the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and revenge was a goal of the French. Nationalism posed a problem for Austria-Hungary and the Balkans, areas made up of many conflicting national groups. The Panslavism of Serbia and Russia's support to its Slavic brother conflicted with Austria-Hungary's Pangermanism. ...read more.


As a result, Britain and France overlooked imperialistic conflict between them and formed the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Russia formed an Entente with Britain in 1907 after they had reached an understanding with Britain's ally Japan and William II had further ignored Russia by supporting Austrian ambitions in the Balkans. The Triple Entente, an informal partnership between Great Britain, France and Russia, now countered the Triple Alliance. International tension greatly increased by the division of Europe into two armed areas. The growing feeling that war may break out led to an arms race, another cause of World War I. Acknowledging that Germany had the best military, the powers of Europe copied the with large reserves and detailed planning. Technological and organizational developments led to the formation of groups with precise plans for mobilization and attack that often could not be reversed once they were begun. The German von Schlieffen Plan to attack France before Russia in the event of war with Russia was one such complicated plan that drew more countries into war than necessary. ...read more.


Immediately following the assassination Germany pledged its full support to Austria-Hungary, pressuring them to declare war on Serbia, while France strengthened its backing of Russia. Convinced that the Serbian government had made plans against them, Austria-Hungary issued Serbia an unfair ultimatum, to which Serbia agreed almost entirely. Unsatisfied, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. On July 29, Russia ordered a partial mobilization only against Austria-Hungary in support of Serbia, which escalated into a full mobilization. The Germans threatened war on July 31 if the Russians did not demobilize. Upon being asked by Germany what it would do in the event of a war between Russia and Germany, France replies that it would act in its own interests and mobilized. On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, and two days later, on France. The German invasion of Belgium to attack France, which violated Belgium's official neutrality, prompted Britain to declare war on Germany. World War I had begun. ...read more.

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