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"What was the most important cause of World War I"?

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"What was the most important cause of World War I"? This essay will examine the many causes of World War I. The causes were: The Great Powers and their rivalry, the Alliance System, the two Morocco incidents, the Bosnian Incident, and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Each cause must be looked at in turn to decide which was the most important cause. The first cause to be looked at is the rivalry between the Great Powers. The Great Powers in 1900 were: Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Britain had the largest empire and also the largest Navy to protect Britain and her trade routes. Britain feared Germany because the Germans were building up a large navy to rival their own, so Britain began to feel threatened and started to make more ships themselves and this resulted in a Naval/Arms race. France had an empire but wanted a larger one. She feared that Germany would take some of her territories from abroad. The French, as well as fearing the Germans, also hated them because they lost Alsace Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War. Russia was the largest power, but was also the least industrialized. ...read more.


Kaiser Wilhelm II promised to support Morocco's independence which upset the French because they wanted to make Morocco part of their empire. Germany was also testing the new friendship between France and Britain. Britain and Russia stood by France and agreed that Germany should have no say in Morocco. This incident is important because it helped form the Triple Entente and also the Germans sensed they were being surrounded and the Kaiser became more resentful. The Bosnian Crisis happened between 1908-1909 and involved Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia and Bosnia. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and it became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But Serbia opposed this because they wanted to include the Slavs in Bosnia with the Slavs in Serbia. But because Serbia was to small to do anything on its own it looked to Russia for help. At first Russia supported Serbia but backed off when Germany said that if Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary they would declare war on them. The Crisis was important because Austria-Hungary now felt that they could rely on Germany's support. The Agadir Crisis happened in 1911 between France, Germany, Britain and Morocco. There was a rebellion against the Sultan of Morocco that was put down with help from the French. ...read more.


Germany declared war on Russia because of their alliance with Austria-Hungary. Germany then declared war on France because France was willing to help Russia because of the Triple Entente. At first Britain did not want to join in but when Germany launched the Schlieffen Plan to get to France through Belgium they entered the war. Britain had signed a treaty to protect Belgium's neutrality in 1839. So by 1914 all the members of the alliance system were at war with one another (besides Italy). The alliance system is the most important cause of World War I, because if the great powers had not promised to defend each other, then when the Archduke was assassinated there probably wouldn't have been a war. And if there were no alliance system then when the three incidents happened, no one would have helped each other. The countries could have just dealt with it by themselves without other countries getting involved. For example in the Bosnian Crisis if there was no alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany, Russia would have supported Serbia and then Bosnia probably wouldn't have become part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but part of Serbia instead. And then the Serbia terrorists who were opposed to Bosnia being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire wouldn't have killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and therefore no World War I. Alicia Spiewak 10.1 ...read more.

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