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'"The FirstWorld War was the result of a badly mismanaged Balkan crisis in the summer of1914 rather than the product of long-standing rivalries between the greatpowers."

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Introduction

'"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.' The Balkan Wars between 1912 and 1913 were proven to dramatically increase tension between the major powers in Europe at the time (being such countries like Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary). The Balkan countries wanted to completely drive Turkey out of Europe, thus the formation of the Balkan League (consisting of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece). The tension was already rising due to the development of the Schlieffen Plan by Germany, and of course the ongoing rivalry between the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy). Long-standing rivalries were one of the major causes of the First World War. One of the major rivalries was certainly between France and Germany. This was originally brought about by the war between them in 1870 where the newly unified Germany took Alsace Loraine from the French. Germany also had a rivalry with another third of the Entente, Russia. Germany had created the Schlieffen Plan to initiate if Russia were to mobilise, meaning both France and Russia would be attacked by Germany, thus breaking the encirclement, which they originally had. Serbia and Austria-Hungary also had the incredibly strong rivalry and this was proven by the assassination by Serbians of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo. ...read more.

Middle

This meant that the more powerful that Serbia became, the more agitation there would have been for Serbs to leave Austria-Hungary. Even though these long standing rivalries existed in Europe at the time, many people ask why war had not broken out before. It has to be mentioned that at the beginning of 1914, Germany was indeed on good terms with Britain. Trading was still occurring on a normal scale between the two countries, however they had also 'collided' with one another in the Moroccan Crises. The Balkan Crises previous to 1914, had provided opportunities for war to break out, however this was not the case. In July 1914, Germany believed that it was the perfect time to strike at Serbia. This was due to the fact that they could claim the strike was simply in retaliation to the assassination of the Austria-Hungary's Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28th June that year. However, during the Second Balkan War in 1913, Germany thought that it was unnecessary to involve them in the war, as they believed the Balkan powers would diminish themselves during the war - of course the total opposite to this theory occurred. Serbia achieved a victory - they had expanded their land ownership during 1912-1913 by two, and therefore their confidence increased dramatically in European affairs. War was made much more likely by the badly mismanaged crisis in July 1914, and tension at this point was seriously increasing. Germany had promised unconditional support for Austria-Hungary, and in a sense signed a 'blank cheque' for alliance co-operation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The huge rivalry in Europe consisting of the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente caused huge tension in Europe in the early 20th century, and in my opinion this can not be forgotten. The main conflict between France and Prussia in 1870 and the ongoing feud between France and Germany (after its formation post-1870 Franco-Prussian war) should certainly be highlighted in this case. The majority of the events that occurred around this time revolved around these two countries constantly, and this can certainly be proved by the evidence provided. With Germany devising the Schlieffen Plan in order to break out of the encirclement, and also to finally crush their main rivalry to their alliance system, the Triple Entente, shows that the German powers were not going to take oppositions to their alliance decisions very lightly. The Germans wanted to get rid of the rise in Socialism (which eventually formed communism) in Russia. By achieving a victorious war, this would boost the popularity of Germany, and show Europe that even though a new country, they should not be taken as a weak one. This not only shows how the crisis in July 1914 was so badly mismanaged, in my opinion it is clearly proven by the implementing of the Schlieffen Plan, when Russia fully mobilised its army when only given permission to half mobilise. By directly attacking the encirclement, Germany had signed the piece of paper which would ultimately lead to war - this happened in 1914 because of the consequences of an incredibly badly mismanaged crisis between the Balkans and Western Europe. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michael Layer Page 1 ...read more.

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