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What caused war in 1914?

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What caused war in 1914? There were many causes for the war in 1914, some of which were long term causes, and one that was a short term cause. In this essay I will explain some of the factors that contributed to the start of the First World War. The immediate cause and the trigger of war was the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. On June 28th 1914, Franz Ferdinand was visiting the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia. Many Serbians lived in Bosnia and did not like being ruled by Austria. As a protest against Austrian rule, a group of Serbians decided to assassinate the Archduke. As he was driving around Sarajevo in his car, a young Serbian student shot him dead from point blank range. Austria then blamed Serbia for the killing and declared war on Serbia. Austria may have merely been looking for an excuse for a preventive war, a war to help their country survive, as there were many tensions between Austria and Serbia. ...read more.


Russia wanted the land because of the amount of Slavs living there, these people had the same ethnic background as the Russians, and so Russia wanted this land. Austrians felt the need for the land because the Balkans was on Austria's border and they didn't want surrounding countries to not be on their side. There was rivalry between Britain and Germany because of the naval race between the two countries. Germany wanted to build on their navy and Britain was very concerned by their naval plans. Germany had no reason to expand their navy as they didn't have a very big empire so they didn't need ships for that, also, unlike Britain, they had a very small coastline so they didn't need ships to defend that. Britain thought that Germany must be building their navy for aggression. Germany felt that Britain was overreacting to their plans; they claimed that they needed a big navy to protect their growing trade. ...read more.


Britain feared that Germany would attack their naval base in Gibraltar and so prepared for confrontation. In the end Germany withdrew their warship and the situation was sorted out peacefully; however the naval race was sped up as a result of the crisis. Another thing that caused tension within Europe was the Alliance systems. During the run up to the war there were two alliances in Europe - Britain, Russia and France were the triple entente. Germany felt encircled by this alliance so they joined with Austria-Hungary and Italy to form the triple alliance. Alliances were formed for defensive reasons, in a group the countries felt more protected. The only problem with being allied was that if a fellow country were in a conflict, you may need to get involved. Some Historians feel that the amount of tension, suspicion and rivalry which existed in pre-war Europe was bound to lead to war. They believe that had the assassination not taken place another event would probably have caused an inevitable war. ...read more.

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