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To What Extent Was The 1st World War The Result Of The Alliance System?

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Introduction

To What Extent Was The 1st World War The Result Of The Alliance System? The alliance system played a key role in starting the First World War. The alliances increased tension, they restricted states' actions because they were binding and most importantly, they involved more countries into the war; they increased the scale of the war. These are the reasons why the alliances are a key factor in causing the war. However, the alliances themselves didn't cause the war; we must also consider the roles of the other factors, i.e. Germany, Balkans, economic and domestic problems and nationalism/aggressive policies. In the years leading up to the war, many alliances were made. Firstly, Austria and Germany formed the Dual Alliance in 1879; they promised each other neutrality, it was also an anti-Russian alliance. The alliance suggests that they were anticipating future problems, possibly with Russia. In 1882, the Dual Alliance became the Triple Alliance after Italy joined; the alliance became anti-French. France and Russia formed the Franco-Russian alliance in 1891, which marked the end of German direction of the affairs of Europe. Their alliance was initially formed from financial ties in 1888 which became a formal alliance in 1893. ...read more.

Middle

Austria humiliated Russia by annexing Bosnia whist in negotiations with Russia to settle the problem; Russia could do nothing but accept the annexation despite claiming to be the protector of Slav people. The Balkan War in October 1912 began with an attack by the Balkan League, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro on the Ottoman Empire; the Turks were defeated and this worried both Austria and Russia. Austria and Serbia had to cooperate to ensure that Serbia didn't become too large and that Bulgaria didn't get access to the Straits. This crisis however, showed that Austria and Russia could work together; also there was no German intervention to escalate the problem unlike in 1908 and 1914. In the longer term, Bosnian discontent caused terrorism; it was a Bosnian terrorist who assassinated Franz Ferdinand in august 1914. It could be argued that war broke out in 1914 because of rivalry over the Balkans. The decision is really taken in Berlin to use the opportunity in the Balkans to go to war. Also, Russia could not afford to back down this time; they had to intervene against Austria because they backed down the first time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also Serbia could have accepted the ultimatum even though it was unacceptable. Nationalism is a very important factor to consider although all the factors together can be said to have caused the war; there is no one factor that cause war alone. In conclusion, the alliance system was a key factor in causing the war, yet there are other more important factors that also contributed to causing the war. The alliances themselves were very important because they increased the scale of the war significantly, this was not a cause of the war, but it involved many more countries when it could have just remained in the Balkans. The other factors played an important role because they contributed more to actually causing the war; German foreign policy is an example, it created tension with other powers and encouraged alliances to take form. Balkan nationalism is also an important factor because it is basically the reason for the war in the first place. Finally, the alliances were a significant factor, but they are more valid when positioned with the other factors. History IB - 1 - 07/11/04 Adil Hussain Yr12 IB ...read more.

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