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Asses the relative importance of the long-term and short-term causes of WWI

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Asses the relative importance of the long-term and short-term causes of WWI On the 1st August 1914, Germany declared war on his late 19th century ally: Russia. From this day and on, the war that was ahead was no longer a "Balkan conflict" which involved the declining empire of Austria- Hungary and her neighboard Serbia, it was; the beggining of what would be the bloodiest war ever seen before. It is important to highlight that what followed the assasination of Franz Ferdinand in June 28 wasn't just a series of impulsive reactions of the Great Powers, it was a combiation of short and long term causes that determine the course of history. In the matter of who started the war, historians usually blame Germany and her 20th century policies such as Weltpolitik, but what importance does Kaiser Wilhem's policies have without the foundations of alliances (Alliance System) and arrangements made by Otto von Bismarck in the 1870s and 1880s? It is easy to judge the unstable Kaiser, but many are short sighted and dismiss Bismark's role in starting the polarization in Europe. ...read more.


All of this definetly incitated the war as Imperial Rivarly came form long ago and Kaiser Wilhem II seemed to be wanting to bother everyone as he was constantly interferring over issues that had nothing to do with their national security. All of these can be considered factors that affected international relations and certainly worsened them, but can not be classified as direct WWI causes as no one at that point was wanting or in a position to start a war, so they didn't triggered at all the situation as other factors in 1914. The Eastern question, that came all the way from the late 19th century, when the so-called "sick man of Europe", the Ottoman Empire, left a power vacumm in the territory of the Balkans. This old conflict obtains importance because Austria-Hungary saw it as an opportunity to expand and by this; save it's declining empire. Many historians claim that WW1 was determined by a matter of prestige, and Austria- Hungary, being a former powerful Empire was no exception. On the other hand, Russia's desire to obtain this land created tension between these to former allies in the Three Emperor's Alliance back ...read more.


This is another important short-term cause of the war, as it urged Russia to support Serbia and therefore start rearmament. After this, the Russo- German rivalry came into context without being the cause of the conflict, as Graham Draby states in Origins of the First World War; "a long term factor can affect the course of events after a given point without being a cause of how events came to that point." In conclusion, both long- term and short- term causes played key roles in creating the perfect atmosphere for the powder keg to explote. Niether of these can be dismissed by the "war-is-inevitable" school of thought nor by the other extremes. It is possible that the Alliance system has the same importance as the inflexibility of the world leaders at 1914, who ordered mobilization and therefore the attack begun. This is mainly because, as Graham Darby claims ""long-term factors often often come into play once a war has begun ... account for how events unflod and they often have to find resolution". So, WWI is not a straight foward event that has a clear cause and consequence, it envolves a wide range of facts throughout several decades. Carola Vega V= ...read more.

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