• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did the first world war break out in 1914? I will be discussing the six main causes: The alliance system, imperial rivalry, arms race and naval race, the Moroccan crisis, Balkan troubles, and the assassination in Sarajevo.

Extracts from this document...


Why did the First World War break out in 1914? The First World War broke out in August 1914 and had a devastating effect on several countries around central Europe. Millions were killed, cities destroyed, and people separated from their family and friends. In this essay, I will be discussing the six main causes: The alliance system, imperial rivalry, arms race and naval race, the Moroccan crisis, Balkan troubles, and the assassination in Sarajevo. I will also be asking the question, 'well would war have happened if this didn't happen', and doing my best to answer it. The most important cause, I believe is the Alliance system. This was a system of Treaty's between different countries that stated that each country would back up the other in war. Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy had an alliance, and Great Britain, France and Russia had an alliance. The Alliance system was very delicate however, and a tiny event that would not usually mean anything could make the whole thing come crashing down with devastating effect. This tiny event, of course, did happen, and the Alliance system pulled the whole of Europe into the fighting. ...read more.


The fourth most important cause was the Arms and naval race. This was the struggle between Britain and Germany to get more weapons and battle ships than the other country. This resulted in new battle ships being developed and built, and more weapons being made. The Arms race heightened tension between Britain and Germany, and created a distinct divide between the two alliances- the triple alliance and the triple entente- this was not good, as it meant that if war did strike, there would be no one who was on good terms with countries from both alliances. Therefore, there was nobody to try and make peace between both Alliances. Also, because more Ships and weapons were being made, it meant that if a war were started, each country would have more firepower, and therefore was able to cause more devastation and damage to any countries that it was attacking. This meant that more lives would be lost, and more money would have to be spent to repair the damage. Overall, the Naval and Arms Race just increased the magnitude of the destruction caused by the war. The penultimate most significant cause was the trouble in the Balkans. ...read more.


This involved Germany trying to gain the support of the Moroccans, rather than the Moroccans giving support to and being ruled by the French. Kaiser Wilhelm II went to Morocco and made a speech, but the French and British drove them out. Next the Germans placed the warship 'Panther' in Agadir, very close to the key British port in Gibraltar. Naturally, the British did not like this, and very soon, the Germans were moved out again. Overall, the effects of this were that: Germany disliked and distrusted Britain more and more, and France and Britain's alliance was stronger. I do not think that this cause was so important, because it only involved three countries, and did not increase tension majorly. In conclusion, I believe that whilst some causes were not as important as others, they all played their part in causing the 1st world war. I believe that you could only remove one cause for war still to happen, you could probably remove the Moroccan crisis, as this was not so important, or you could remove the murder in Sarajevo, as something else was pretty much guaranteed to happen that would set the war off. Why did the first world war break out in 1914 18/09/11 08:00hrs Alistair Garfoot (School House) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why Did The First World War Break Out in 1914?

    5 star(s)

    Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the competition for colonies was a long-term cause, as it had been going on for many years and it was not an important reason for the outbreak of the war in 1914 because although there were many disputes, it did not trigger

  2. The main cause for WW1 was naval Rivalry. To what extent do you agree ...

    wanted to make Agadir as its naval base which would cut off Britain's access to India so naturally Britain backed France so another conference was called and Britain and France stood firm against Germany so as a result of this a settlement was negotiated that gave France rights to a protector ship over Morocco.

  1. To what extent was the Alliance System responsible for the outbreak of the First ...

    The British formed an Expeditionary Force whose aim was to help French soldiers. However, people had a wrong thought of the mobilization plans and they thought that the side that mobilised quicker and struck first, would win. Besides, they had the wrong idea of returning 'home by Christmas'.

  2. Was The Naval Arms Race The Most Important Cause Of The Outbreak Of WWI?

    That was how the basis of the Alliances started. Germany had taken Alsace and Lorraine from the French in 1870 and they had had disputes over land ever since. France wanted to get revenge. By 1914, France was already allied with Britain and Russia, and Germany was allied with Italy and Austria- Hungary.

  1. World War 1 - The role of the Alliance System

    If France had allies, they would have support if a French-German war occurred. At one point, Germany had to choose between Austria-Hungary and Russia as allies, because of the disagreements between the two. Germany's desire for a navy and an empire seemed like a direct threat to Britain, who prided themselves of their navy and empire.

  2. Why was the Abyssinian crisis a death blow to the league when the Manchurian ...

    There was no question of who was going to win. One of the main reasons for this was that the league was at least seen to do the right thing in the Manchurian crisis as they condemned Japan for invading and although they didn't do anything about it they did, in the end, came to the right decision.

  1. An assessment of the First Moroccan Crisis 1905-06, Bosnian Crisis 1908-09, Second ...

    Soon after the proclamation of annexation, Serbia lodged a vigorous protest with the powers, demanding compensations to assure the independence of Serbia. Serbia looked to Russia for support against the Austrians. So Izvolsky's (Russian foreign minister) unorthodox diplomacy was added to the complexities.

  2. Why did the First World War break out in August 1914?

    This meant that it would be the spark which led up to all the other causes taking place as now numerous different countries had become involved. Good evidence of this is the fact that when Germany declared war on France, the Germans knew that the French would side with the Russians.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work