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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.

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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.

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