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

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Introduction

´╗┐Why did the First World War break out in August 1914? On the 14th July 1914, a war broke out in the Balkans and within days spread throughout the rest of Europe. This war was expected to have come to an end by Christmas nevertheless dragged on for another four more years. At the time it was known as the ?Great War however today we know it as World War I. But which country was to blame in starting the war? This is a very controversial topic as no one country was to blame; the majority of countries were involved in one way or another. In this essay I will outline the main causes which sparked the commencement of World War I and also analyse the effect and consequences which they had. The first cause of the war was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Ferdinand was heir to the throne of Austro-Hungary. He was assassinated by a Serb fanatic in Sarajevo. This resulted in Austria accusing Serbia of complicity in the murder, gaining the support of the Germans. Austria responded by refusing the accusation and a compromise with the Serbs, war was pronounced on the 28th July. The government of Serbia requested the help of Russia. The assassination had long term effects which would then increase dramatically as a result of countries like Germany and especially Russia getting involved as this was a huge country with an enormous army. ...read more.

Middle

By doing this relations between countries would become unpleasant and war would become inevitable. Militarism played a significant role in the cause of the war. Militarisation was the process of building up a strong army. This was done as countries began to take great pride in their armies. A strong army became a necessity in the Great War as rivalry increased, especially between Britain and Germany. Admiral von Tirpitz, who was a member of the German government in charge of the navy, wrote in his memoirs: ?Building a battle fleet was necessary if we wanted to become a sea power. Sea power was needed to protect trade, as other states had realised long before we did. Our surrounded and threatened position convinced me that no time was to be lost in turning ourselves into a sea power?. From this quotation we can gather how competitive the countries were between each other. ?No time was to be lost in turning ourselves into a sea power?. This shows the level of competition as Von Tirpitz is suggesting that if they lose time they could endanger their army as ?other states had realised long before they did?. I think that it may have involved competition between Britain and Germany as at the time these two countries had the best navies. Furthermore, they were both competing to build the best battleships. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, it goes on to say ?Help to keep your country?s honour?. By doing this it is telling the reader that if he enlists in the army he will not be missing out on anything. Map of the Balkans Also, the Franco Prussian war contributed to the outbreak of the war. It was a war between France and Prussia during the 1870?s. The Prussians defeated the French. Likewise with many of the other factors, it created tension between the countries and more importantly resulted in Europe being divided into two separate alliances. If this war had not have happened then Europe may not have been split up and alliances may not have been formed, meaning the war would have been more at hand since other countries would not have been dragged in. To conclude, I think that all the factors mentioned above played their own role in the lead up to the war. This may have either been a significant or a small role nevertheless encouraged a war. As well as this, each country were at some point responsible for the outbreak of the war. I think that the main long term cause was the alliances formed between countries as the war was now on a bigger scale and each country would be involved if war broke out. On the other hand, the assassination of Ferdinand was the main short-term trigger as this is what sparked the war off by causing a dispute between countries, and moreover giving an excuse for war to start. ...read more.

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