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Were the alliances of WWI more likely to cause or to prevent war?

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Introduction

Were the alliances of WWI more likely to cause or to prevent war? Alliances linked nations (groups of people) together from the first tribal wars on. In the early parts of the second millennium, nations were commonly linked through marriage or relation of their leaders. This usually linked two or three nation, but never were entire continents divided into two camps of allies. This allying didn't come about until the 19th and 20th centuries, with the coming to power of the Central powers and the Allies of WWI. But were these alliances that divided a continent and drew intercontinental players more likely to have causes the hell of WWI, or to have prevented it? This question will be answered through an investigation of the alliances of from the time after the Franco Prussian war of 1870 to the outbreak of WWI. A concluding paragraph will answer the question at hand. In 1870, France, under Napoleon the 3rd, declared war on newly united Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm the 2nd, and the military council of Otto von Bismarck. ...read more.

Middle

They also agreed to help each other in the case of Germany attacking. Germany, so strong industrially, so confident militarily, resented the close alliance between her western and eastern neighbors, France and Russia. As a counterweight, she clung to her southern neighbor Austria-Hungry, a partner in need, however cumbersome that partner might be2. With the realization of a future war on two fronts, the German chief of German General Staff Alfred von Schlieffen developed a plan for that war in 1905. It involved the bulk of the German army sweeping to France to defeat them in a quick manor, with the rest of the German army holding off the slow Russians. The Kaiser made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he indicated to the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and to the whole Muslim world, that they could look at Germany as a friend. By the beginning of WWI, the alliances of Germany made up the Central Powers, which included Germany, Austria-Hungry, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. ...read more.

Conclusion

The division of Europe into two armed camps did nothing to ease the tensions and old rivalries of Europe. Countries that entered into these alliances received a somewhat false sense of security, and allowed them to be more bold with unilateral moves, knowing that they would be backed up by their allies. The two camps of Europe did recognize the power of the other one, and did realize what it would mean if they were to go to war. This mutual understanding prevented the war for some time, but left tensions that could be cut with a knife. What the connection of everyone to someone meant was that events such as the assassination of the Austria-Hungarian heir to the throne Francis Ferdinand that would normally cause a localized war drew everyone into it. The alliances may have postponed the war, but did not prevent it. They allowed for there to be, for the first time, a world war, above the scale that was ever seen before. If the alliances were not there, there probably would have been just a war in the Balkans, but it is very hard to tell what might have happened. ...read more.

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