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What were the causes of the First World War?

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What were the causes of the First World War? The First World War broke out in 1914, originally involving Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia. There were many reasons why the war started; some were long term causes related with the tensions between the countries of Europe, such as the conflicts between Britain and Germany and Russia and Austria-Hungary. However there was one short term cause which invoked all the existing tensions to break out in war, the assassination of the Archduke and Prince of Austria, Franz Ferdinand. There were five Great Powers in Europe in 1914, Britain, France, Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. There were many existing conflicts and tensions between these countries. Britain, for one, was becoming increasingly powerful and Germany was determined to catch up with her power by building more factories and having a bigger navy and was also aiming to have a worldwide empire. Both countries were also competing to control the European sea-trade. Furthermore, Germany was not only afraid of Britain's gain in power but also that she was becoming encircled by enemy alliances, such as France, Britain and Russia. ...read more.


The great powers were divided into two alliances according to their current relationships with each other. First of all, Britain joined with France because they were both enemies with Germany; France sought revenge and Britain wanted to stay the most powerful country in Europe. Russia united with them to make the Triple Entente because Russia wanted more help on becoming allies with Serbia. Germany coupled with Austria-Hungary to Germany could prevent herself from becoming surrounded by an enemy alliance and Austria-Hungary required help in becoming allies with the Balkans, Serbia in particular. Italy joined them to create the Triple Alliance because although she wasn't considered a Great Power, she thought that Germany and Austria-Hungary were more powerful than the Triple Entente. In 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrillo Princip, the leader of a gang of Serbians, whilst on a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia. Bosnia belonged to the Austria-Hungary Empire, however a lot of the Bosnians didn't want to be a part of Austria-Hungary, but instead wanted to be joined with their neighbours, Serbia. The Serbians too wanted to unite with their adjoining country, so Gavrillo Princip and his gang of Serbians decided to assassinate the future king of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, to make the country they hated realise what was wrong. ...read more.


On the day after the assassination, Austria-Hungary blamed the killing of the Archduke on Serbia. The next day Russia got ready it's army to fight Austria-Hungary in order to aid Serbia in their fight against their enemies. On the 31st of July Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia because they were responsible for killing the Archduke. A few days after, Germany heard about the Russians getting ready for war, and as an act of support for Austria-Hungary, the Germans declared war on Russia. The day after, the 3rd of August, France prepared their army for battle as Germany planned to fight France before Russia. The Germans declared war on France the same day. The Germans also invaded Belgium, but the Britain's ordered them to leave because Belgium was a neutral country and they therefore had no right o be there. However the Germans didn't leave and Britain declared war on Germany. Then finally, on the 12th of August 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia. There were many different causes of the First World War, some from previous tensions and conflicts, others from events closer to the start of the war. The most significant cause was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as it set the war into motion and finalised the alliances and fighting sides. Helena Paver 9G ...read more.

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