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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

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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" To be able to understand why the events of summer 1914 took place we have to look back at situation in Europe before 1914. The situation consisted of long term (long standing rivalries) and short- term (badly mismanaged crisis) factors. From the 19th century to the early 20th century Britain was the greatest power in the world, France and Russia were also strong except the once formidable power, Austria- Hungary were declining in strength. But then a new power, 'United Germany' was created which in the future could rival that of any other. This struck fear into Britain, as it would upset their philosophy: 'balance of power'. I am of the opinion put forward by such historians as Geiss who believe that WW1 was the result of long standing rivalries and the Balkan crisis was just the trigger point of an inevitable war. I feel that the war was foreseeable and even if the Balkans dispute did not take place, another dispute later on would have caused a war. Leading up to war the alliances brought about tension, causing hostility and uncertainty making war a certain possibility. ...read more.

Middle

Turkey was getting weak and was losing land in the Balkans now being rivals Austria and Russia would compete for land in the territory. Russia being Slavic was now in league with Serbia and would stand up together when against Austria. Pre- summer of 1914, tensions were high as both were pushing for land in south- east Europe. This Long- standing rivalry caused Russia to become involved in the July crisis to help its pan Slav ally: Serbia. It can be seen that Russia may have taken this opportunity to seek revenge over Austria's betrayal in 1854. In general it can be seen that this rivalry helped cause an outbreak of war in 1914 because these two countries differed in opinion of what they wanted to achieve making impossible for them to be allies. In the years leading up to the Great War the rivalry between Britain and Germany was fairly relaxed. Neither had been in any major conflict apart from the arms race, which was very serious. Germany had always admired Britain's empire and navy but not only that it had ambitions to become like Britain. Germany developed a policy called 'weltpolitik'; the word had no precise meaning but was just a term to sum up the expansionist phase of German policy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austria had to act quickly or it would seem like they were not avenging the death but instead playing around. They instead sent an ultimatum 20 days later. This made Austria look as if they were not serious. Anyhow Serbia did not accept all the terms and Russia outlined that Austria were deliberately provoking war (Remak said that the document was designed to be rejected). Austria then began to bomb Belgrade. They attack would not have gone ahead without Germany's full support. Russia being Serbia's ally joined in and refused to be humiliated after the Bosnian crisis of 1908. So for Russia this was about regaining their dignity. Germany then attacked France because the Schleiffen Plan said so. France attacked back looking for revenge and to get back Alsace- Lorraine. Britain then declared war on Germany after feeling threatened when Germany invaded Belgium. Overall war could have been avoided, but a lack of communication between the alliances made the crisis of July 1914 'mismanaged' meaning that the crisis was dealt with incompetently instead of with competence and composure like it previous conflicts had been resolved though conferences and meetings. It can also be determined that long standing rivalries were the cause because even though relations were improved they did not forget their past (alliances were not dissolved even when tensions were at heir peak low); hence the alliances were around for nearly 50 years. ...read more.

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