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Was World War one inevitable?

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Introduction

WAS WORLD WAR ONE INEVITABLE? Alex Nathan February 2002 There are many different views on why World War 1 started, and whether it was always going to happen. Some thought it was Germany's ambition that brought about the war, some thought that Austria's desire to crush Serbia started it, but a clear answer has never been found. World War 1 was called the war to end all wars. When the news came to the people of the countries involved in 1914, the majority seemed happy and excited that they were at war. The triple alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) was at war with the triple entente (France, Russia and Britain). Before the war, Britain and Russia had tried to settle the rising tension in Europe with peaceful negotiations, but Kaiser Wilhelm and his Austria-Hungary alliance declined these offers. Germany gave Austria-Hungary the "blank cheque" or in other words the go-ahead to declare war on Serbia, and France gave Russia, who had signed a military agreement with Serbia, the go-ahead to defend the Serbs. This, adding to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914, all combined to mark the start of the second biggest war in the last century. But the question is, was this war inevitable? This essay will argue that World War 1 was inevitable because of the tension between the Balkan countries and the great powers, as well as the alliance systems. ...read more.

Middle

Germany had France and Britain to contend with. Soon 90 per cent of Africa was under European rule, but Germany still felt hard done by, as they had got the least. The Germans were not as successful as Britain, France or Russia in using imperialism to gain respect back in Europe. Germany was left with a little of Africa and a few Pacific islands. This lead to German jealousy. Then there was the problem with the Balkans. The Balkan countries had defeated the Turks and led to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878. Austria was interested in the Balkans because it desperately wanted to expand its empire. The countries in the Austrian Empire had seen what the Balkan states had done to the Turks, and the Austrians were worried that they would have a rebellion on their hands. The Austrians also wanted Bulgaria free from Tsarist rule. Germany had given Austria more confidence in provoking Serbia by signing a military agreement with them. Germany said that they would back Austria whatever. Russia was interested in the Balkans too. They wanted a warm water port and to protect Serbia (who had the same basic orthodox religion as Russia) from Austria, stunting the Austrian expansion. Serbia wanted to kick Austria out of Bosnia and join up with the Bosnians. But the other Balkan countries all wanted to rule themselves and grab land from neighbouring countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source: I.Geiss (ed.), July 1914, London, 1967. Cited in The origins of the first and second World Wars - (Frank McDonough) But German generals and private companies wanted war. The companies because they would reap the profits, especially the ones that made weapons and other products useful in war-time situations. The officials wanted war because they thought; what is the point of having all this naval force and all these weapons if we don't use them? The war had started and Germany had invaded Belgium on route to France. Britain had to join in. So the first World War was started and it seemed it was always going to. In conclusion, this essay finds that there were too many troubles and conflicts growing in Europe at the time for there not to be a war of some sort. The war in the end turned out to be on a near-global scale with the USA sending in some troops in the last year. From the evidence I think that war was always going to happen, but could have been avoided on such a large scale. For example, if the Austro-Hungarian and German alliance had agreed to British and Russian ideas of peaceful discussion, the war could have turned out completely differently. It could have ended up a war between just Austria and Serbia, or just Russia and Germany, or many other combinations of events. So, this essay finds that, yes, World War 1 was inevitable, but not on a global scale. ...read more.

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