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To what Extent was the Alliance System a cause of the First World War?

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To what Extent was the Alliance System a cause of the First World War? The Alliance System must, simply because of the tension in Europe it caused, be included as a cause of the war and it can be dated back to the formation of Germany when Bismarck was chancellor and the architect of the system. However, there were other reasons such as Nationalism, Militarism, Imperialism and demographic changes that all played a role in the beginning of the war and it is difficult to decide exactly how much of a role each one played. The Alliance System set up for the first time two main camps in Europe and these were the members of the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. This was a regular occurrence during the Cold War, however at this point in history this kind of divide through Europe was new and caused extremely high tensions between the powers in Europe. The Triple Alliance started with the formation of the Dual Alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany. ...read more.


form of the assassination and secondly, in the form of an intense nationalist spirit in Germany that in turn led to a Militarist way of thinking in Germany. The assassination was the culmination of a long lasting quarrel between the governments of Austria and Serbia which began with the Pig War of 1906 which saw Austria block the flow of Livestock into Serbia. In a cruel twist of fate for the Austrian government the Serbs came out of the crisis stronger than they were with new trade routes to Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Germany. After a period of arguments echoing to and from Austria-Hungary and Serbia, the Serbian reply was to try and end the quarrel with Austria-Hungry, in a surge for Serbian Nationalism, by assassinating Franz-Ferdinand. In normal circumstances, after such an instance, war could have been avoided but due to these stated reasons, amongst others, war became a reality. The second Wave of Nationalism in the build up to WW1 came from Germany. Public feeling was good in Germany at this point in history. ...read more.


However, this confidence was threatened as Germany increased its naval capabilities ten fold even though it had no overseas colonies and an extremely limited coastline. Britain responded with the building of HMS Dreadnought, which instantly became the most powerful ship in the world due to its extensive power and armour. However this had a different result then expected for Britain. Germany built their own dreadnought called the Nassau and the naval race continued. Among other rising tensions in Europe, militarism caused another stir that in its own way contributed to World War One. So to what extent did the Alliance System cause World War One? I think the answer is that every part of what has been mentioned played a role in starting the war, after all World Wars don't just happen overnight, there are months of reasoning behind them. I do not think any one reason played a bigger part than any other in the build up to the war, my opinion is that it was the sheer combined weight of all these elements at the same time that converged to make the first ever World War a reality. James Smith -Upper Sixth Picasso Created on 07/11/02 21:49 Page 1 ...read more.

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