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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'.

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Introduction

Part B Objective 1 (c.1500 words) '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. (50 marks) I do not agree with the above statement in that I feel that the Balkan crisis was not mismanaged, but actually an excuse for Austria to declare a long awaited war upon Serbia. I also think that the long-standing rivalries were also of equal importance in the reasons for the outbreak of war in 1914. For many years, tension had been building in the Balkans, which was indicated by the number of conflicts over it. The Balkans were a central aspect of international politics and Turkey's hold on the countries were worsening, eventually leading to a war in 1912 between the Balkan League and the Turkish Empire. Previous to 1914 there had been many factors, which caused great anxiety in Europe. Alliances and agreements were of immense importance in the build up to war; these defined the sides of each country. The two main agreements being the Triple Alliance between Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany and the Triple Entente which consisted of an agreement with France and Britain and France and Russia. ...read more.

Middle

Of course it included preposterous demands therefore when Serbia denied the last point it did not come as a surprise at all. This crisis could have been solved by another Balkan war however Germany and Russia interfered influencing a world war to take place. It was due to the fear of Russia that led Germany to draw up its plans for fighting a war on two fronts called the 'Schlieffen Plan' at the time Russia was not industrially developed and it would take them at least eight days to reach France, if Germany were to attack. Time was a vital issue, they couldn't leave it too long since Russia's army were constantly improving. Russia really had no choice but to support Serbia, since it had already suffered a defeat in the Russo-Japanese war previously and they could not be seen to back down yet again if they wanted to remain a strong power. Russia and Serbia did have Pan-Slavism in common as well so by supporting Serbia, allowed Serbia to refuse the Ultimatum. A world war had been on the cards for years just waiting to happen, all of the countries had problems and conflicts, and when it came down to it they were all looking for an excuse to settle these issues. Bound by alliances and prearranged agreements all of the main powers were at war within a matter of days. ...read more.

Conclusion

This treaty was aimed at Russia, (Bismarck's enemy) and also ensured that Austria-Hungary wouldn't side with France. The anti-Ottoman Balkan League of 1912 consisted of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro, Bulgaria went to war with the other three countries and this was the point where Russia and Austria-Hungary agreed that they were not happy with developments and they wanted to keep the status quo. They were unable to control Balkan nationalism and nor could they benefit from Turkish decay. The French fleet moved to the Mediterranean and the British stayed in home waters, the Franco-Russian alliance was renewed and extended to cover war with Austria and Germany and Austria also renewed the Triple Alliance and received Germany's full support. War was eventually avoided as powers cooperated with settlement, war resumed again in February 1913 until May, however everyone was still fully prepared and ready for one. This greatly increased tension between Austria and Serbia. Austria at this point wanted land in the Balkans, they had just formed Albania to causing immense annoyance to the Serbs, and Austria also wanted to crush Serbia once and for all- a war to end all wars. The outbreak of war in 1914 was not purely due to the Balkan crisis or long standing rivalries. The long-term causes were just as important as the short term causes, both played a vital part in the build up to war. It was due to established problems and disagreements that Nicola Hart L6A3 ...read more.

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