• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent can it be said that the First World War was caused by the alliance system?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent can it be said that the First World War was caused by the alliance system? Many historians have debated about the main causes of World War I. The importance of the alliance system, which was developed in Europe in the decades before, as a cause for the war is still an important topic that historians debate today. The alliance system was the division of two armed camps between the European major powers: the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) and the Triple Entente (Britain France and Russia). This system was a major proponent of the war, because it had created unnecessary tensions, was unable to resolve long-term problems, and created expectations among the nations involved. However, it being the sole reason for the cause of the war only goes so far as to an extent. Other problems played a role too, such as imperialism, the arms races, domestic factors and nationalism. The alliance system was a sole factor for the cause of the war for many reasons. It created many unnecessary tensions throughout Europe. The fact that there were two alliances had led countries to frame their foreign policies according to the situation in which they faced. ...read more.


N. Medlicott felt that it 'had made a deadlock and called it peace'. Thus, the example of the lapse of the Reinsurance Treaty is an example which clearly demonstrates that the alliance system is the brainchild of one man - Bismarck - and because he was dismissed, his policies and system had failed, thus unable to resolve long term problems, which is a cause of WWI. The alliance system was only one of the causes among others that had helped contribute to the outbreak of WWI. One such cause was the arms race. The arms race was a cause of WWI because it was a threat to peace which built up tension and fear among the Great Powers. Europe was viewed as an 'armed camp' from 1870-1914 - increased armaments' expenditure by an European power before 1914 was viewed as a threat by its perceived rival, and thus created an atmosphere of mutual fear and suspicion, which played a major part in creating the mood for war in 1914. An example of this would be the tension that was heightened by a naval rivalry (the Anglo-German naval race) ...read more.


The Greater Serbia Movement contributed to the outbreak of war; Serbia wanted to unite with Bosnia and Herzegovina by encouraging the Slavs in the Dual Monarchy to overthrow the Austria-Hungarians, who ruled their country.Historian Mayer argues this as well. It was nationalism that encouraged the Serb assassin Givriolo Princip to shoot Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 - which became an immediate cause of WWI. The example of the Greater Serbia Movement and the assassination of the Archduke clearly demonstrate that nationalism was an explosive force which finally exploded into war following Sarajevo in 1914, thus a major cause of WWI. In conclusion, tt can be said that the alliance system contributed to the growing tensions of the proceeding period. The alliance system had its flaws; it was unable to resolve unnecessary tension, long-term problems that occurred after the dismissal of Bismarck and expectations of its allies when a country launched into war. Nonetheless, the system's influence on the cause of the war was only to a certain extent because there were other vital reasons as well, such as domestic factors, imperial rivalry, the arms race and nationalism. All of these contributed to the outbreak of the Great War - the alliance system was simply only one of the many of them. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachel Wong October 30, 2005 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why Did The First World War Break Out in 1914?

    5 star(s)

    He was violently ill, but did not die and was imprisoned. One bullet hit Franz Ferdinand in the coat collar, severed his jugular vein and stopped in his spine. As the car sped across the Lateiner Bridge, a stream of blood shot from the Archduke's mouth.

  2. To what extent was the Alliance System responsible for the outbreak of the First ...

    independence among minorities in different countries, especially in Austria-Hungary and the desire of independent nations for dominance and prestige. In Austria-Hungary there were almost a dozen different minorities living there who wanted their independence and this lead to a series of national struggles.

  1. To what extent was Germany responsible for causing the First World War?

    Germany was very aggressive in the build-up to the war and disrespectful of the longer-established countries of the Triple Alliance. However, I do not think that she could be solely responsible with four other major powers involved.

  2. Was The Naval Arms Race The Most Important Cause Of The Outbreak Of WWI?

    Kaiser Wilhelm tried to build the German's navy because he always wanted since he was a little boy to have the most powerful navy in the world. He had always been very interested in ships and therefore had the knowledge to be a very powerful naval officer, which he eventually became.

  1. The Long Fuse by Laurence Lafore - Chapter Three: The Europe of the Armed ...

    The nation at this point was the leading industrial power known for its efficiency, good education, and strong economy. Germans were feeling quite self-satisfied. They began to dream of extending their empire and becoming the leading nation in Europe. German Dreams and German Diplomacy Various nationalistic groups in Germany at

  2. World War 1 - The role of the Alliance System

    At one point, Serbia threatened Austria-Hungary with war, when Austria-Hungary took the former Turkish province of Bosnia. Russia supported their allies in their threat, and mobilised forces, Germany did the same to protect its allies. War was avoided by Russia backing down.

  1. Explain the importance of the war in the air to the final outcome of ...

    Examples of reconnaissance such as at Mons in the war of movement at the start, or spotting a gap in German lines on the Marne helped the Allies.

  2. What was the most important reason for the outbreak of the First World War: ...

    Germany then also declared war on France on 3rd August 1914 to prevent attack from two fronts. Germany then declared war on Belgium following The Schlieffen Plan. As Britain had an alliance with Belgium, Britain decided to declare war on Germany on 4th August 1914.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work