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The First World War was the result of a badly managed Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of long standing rivalries between the Great Powers

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Introduction

The First World War was the result of a badly managed Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of long standing rivalries between the Great Powers I disagree with the statement that "The First World War was the result of a badly managed Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 rather than the product of a long standing rivalries between the Great Powers" because the First World War was not only caused by the 1914 crisis alone but long term factors too. There were many long-term causes of the First World War. The rivalry between Great Powers is one of them. Before 1914, tension arose between the Great Powers: Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Austria-Hungary over wealth and power. In 1870, France was considered a Great Power but eventually in 1871 Germany united it's 309 states it was split into before 1870 and defeated France. The treaty of Frankfurt, which involved �200 million of reparations and annexing of Alsace-Lorraine, was formed the same year. France felt very bad and crippled, which was Germany's main aim, to make France weak. But after Bismarck's removal in 1890 and Wilhelm coming to power, the Reinsurance Treat was broken up and France took the advantage and formed an alliance with Russia in 1894 so that they can get revenge with Germany. Another cause of the First World War was the Eastern Question and Austro-Russian rivalry over the Balkans. ...read more.

Middle

This indicates that the Balkan crisis was not the only factor that resulted in the First World War. Another long-term cause of the First World War was the development of Alliance systems. Each country had an alliance with another country and also had their own enemies, for example, Russia's ally was France and then later on France had Britain as allies. There were two Alliance systems: one was the Triple Entente, which was made up of Britain, France and Russia. The second one was called the Triple Alliance, which was made up of Germany, Italy and Austria. After the dismissal of Bismarck Germany broke all its relations with France and Russia and this made France and Russia more against Germany. The Dual Alliance Treaty held France, Russia and Germany together, but Wilhelm destroyed the treaty and he thought that he could face a war on two fronts. Therefore he lost the support of France and Russia. So now he needed even more arms and power if he wanted to defeat it's enemies. Another long-term cause of the First World War was the Moroccan crisis. In 1904 Britain and France signed the Entente Cordiale. France was to be the dominant power in Morocco and Britain to be the rulers of Egypt. The signing of the Entente alarmed Germany as they had counted on Britain and France remaining enemies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austria intended to use the murder as a key to war; they only needed the support of Germany. Germany had two things on mind, Chancellor Bethmann-Hollwegg was ready to negotiate peace, whilst Germany's military Chief, General Moltke was ready to give full support for war. On 28th July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The British still said it is a European affair but told Germany that they must respect Belgium's neutrality and use another way to attack France. On 4th August Germany invaded Belgium and at midnight Britain declared war on Germany. Britain wasn't to blame for not saying they would get involved earlier because Germany should have known that they would attack if they took a wrong step. If Germany had known this, they would have supported the Austria to be on their side. The major powers didn't have many conferences to solve the problems and so decisions weren't made and deadlines weren't met. This could have been a key factor leading to war. Countries didn't want conferences because they knew they wouldn't get what they want. The First World War didn't breakout because of the badly managed Balkan crisis in the summer of 1914 but rather the product of long standing rivalries between the Great Powers. The long and short-term factors/causes given show that the Balkan crisis was not the only reason why war broke out. Problems like communication between the Great Powers, the rivalries between them and the naval and arms race could have been the causes of the First World War. Faisal Iqbal ...read more.

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