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Why Did The First World War Break Out in 1914?

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Why Did The First World War Break Out in 1914? The First World War was the most terrible war ever known due to the number of deaths that took place each day on the gory battlefields of the war. Altogether eight million soldiers lost their lives fighting in the trenches. The system of trenches stretched across Europe from the English Channel to Switzerland and soldiers faced their foe across a few hundred metres of churned up ground with barbed wire known as 'No Man's Land'. The grounds in and around the trenches were turned into a huge ocean of mud because of the rain and exploding bullets. It was impossible to attack the other side's trenches effectively because they were so greatly secured. Twenty million people were wounded and there was an extensive destruction, which ravaged cities and their civilian populations. The First World War lasted for four whole years and broke out in 1914 due to a number of reasons. The reasons that led the nations of Europe and later the world to go to war in 1914 are complex, and it is impossible to say the war started because of one single cause. There are a series of events, which derived in the early 19th century, which engulfed most of Europe by 4th August 1914. Some causes of the war were long-term whereas others were short term. One reason for the outbreak of the war in 1914 was the competition for colonies between the European countries, especially Germany who wanted a large empire and colonies like Britain. In 1800 both Britain and France had large empires and these continued to grow in the nineteenth century. Italy and Germany both became united countries for the first time in the 1870s and they also wanted to have overseas empires. The German endeavour to become a world power with its own remote empire was the personal ambition of the young Kaiser Wilhelm II who came to power in Germany in 1888. ...read more.


Also the Triple Entente surrounded the Triple Alliance therefore they had a greater chance of winning because they could attack the Triple Alliance from three places at once, which is basically the reason the suspicion in the Triple Alliance grew. As you can see from all the evidence above it would only have taken a small trigger to set the stage for war with guns blazing high in the sky like the sound of fireworks high above but without the same joy, immense and agonised violence, moans turning into ear-piercing yells and pitiful sobs and a chain reaction throughout Europe. The small spark that set the whole war off was when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian Throne and his wife, Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. There had been much hatred of the Austrian rule in Bosnia, especially amongst the Serbs who wanted to join with Serbia. There had been six attempts altogether by the Serbs to take the lives of the Austrian Royal Family between 1910 and 1914 and they finally succeeded on June 29, 1914. The Archduke had ignored warnings of a possible assassination plot "Some young Serb might put a live rather than a blank cartridge in his gun and fire it," and his wife's Sophie's advice who had begged him not to go to Sarajevo because of the threats of assassination. Unfortunately, Archduke did not heed his wife's advice. He decided to accept the invitation of Bosnia's governor, General Oskar Potoirek, to inspect the army manoeuvres being held outside Sarajevo. The Archduke's role as Inspector General of the Army made the visit logical. It had also been four years since an important Hapsburg had made a goodwill visit to Bosnia. He toured the capital on the anniversary of the 1389 battle of Kosovo, St. Vitus's Day. This battle was a mortifying memory for all Serbs, in which the Turks, ending Serbia's independence as a nation, defeated Serbia. ...read more.


competition for colonies led to the naval race because Britain were afraid that Germany would become too powerful and dominate Europe, as the size of the German army and navy was increasing and it was Germany's desire to dominate Europe. This then led to Britain's rivalry with Germany which led to the alliances been formed for protection, which then led to Germany being anxious about being surrounded by France and Russia and forming the Schlieffen Plan. Also the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand led to the behaviour of Austria towards Serbia because Austria blamed Serbia of the assassination, therefore those two reasons were also linked. I have also come to the conclusion that I think the most important reason was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I think this because although all the other causes led to another thing such as the two alliances being formed led to suspicion between the main countries growing but they didn't actually spark the war off. I think if the Archduke hadn't been assassinated then perhaps there wouldn't have been a First World War, as this triggered off the war and started a chain reaction throughout Europe and later involving the United States of America. Also if the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated then Austria wouldn't have blamed Serbia for anything and Serbia wouldn't have turned to Russia for help etc. However all the other causes of the war such as the alliance system helped make the war a European War and later a World War instead of a war between Austria and Serbia. I think all the reasons together, long or short term, added up to make a war and it would only have been a matter of time before a war started. Therefore I think that the First World War broke out due to all the causes because it is impossible to say it broke out due to one reason but the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered the war off. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is an incredibly detailed account that demonstrates excellent understanding and offers useful analysis to explain why the war breaks out. At one point, the author drifts into narrating events, which weakens the answer, but it is a very strong response overall. 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 01/12/2012

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