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How valid is the claim that in 1914 states went to war due to fear rather than motives of gain?

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Introduction

How valid is the claim that in 1914 states went to war due to fear rather than motives of gain? In this essay, I will analyse the reasons why World War I broke out due to fear and motives of gain, and I will evaluate which reason was more of a cause for this global outbreak. Fear was a feeling experienced by all countries in both the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. Fear ultimately causes war between countries due to tension as each states question what will happen in the near future and try to avoid this outcome. On the other hand, motives of gain also create tension as one nations gain may conflict with another's gain. An example being Germany and France as both of these countries had an interest in Morocco. The reason of tension was that only one country could colonise Morocco and these two countries had a violent history. An example such as this shows how fear brought two rival nations together and created further hatred towards them. Historians often believe that the Alliance system was a result of fear. After France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, France feared the constantly increasing power of Germany, as did Britain. ...read more.

Middle

Tension was also created due to motives of gain through nationalism. Austria-Hungary's aim was to gain land and Russia's aim was to encourage Pan-Slavism. Both of these aims conflicted over the region of the Ottoman Empire. But this reason alone would cause a small war and not a total 'World' War. Russia supported the Slavic's and this created the rising power of Serbia. Russia created a new and more powerful Serbia, hoping that they would eventually become Russia's allies. Austria-Hungary saw Serbia as a great threat. They feared Serbia and knew that they couldn't wait for them to get any stronger. This proves that fear brings risk into play. Austria-Hungary could not take any chances with Serbia so they were looking for any reason to launch an attack on the increasing power of Serbia. Austria-Hungary's fear of Serbia was in fact the trigger that sparked the devastating battle of WWI. Fear was a far greater cause as Austria-Hungary knew that they not only had to defeat Serbia, but destroy it. Serbia was quickly gaining power and Austria-Hungary had to put a stop to this before it was too late. Historians often consider Militarism to be one of the main origins of fear in a country. ...read more.

Conclusion

When comparing these two causes, I believe fear was a more supported answer as compared to motives for gain. As stated before, the fear a country had over another country's rise in military power can cause great amounts of tension. A country with greater power threatens the existence of other countries such as the rapid power gained by Germany posed a great threat to three other countries, Russia, Britain and France, who were all one of the great powers of Europe at the time. In the case of a country like Belgium, they had no fear or motives for gain. They were basically a neutral party that was involved because it was invaded by Germany. Belgium's neutrality was supported by the alliance treaty with Britain. In conclusion, the feeling of fear brings great distress and anxiety in a nation. Gain may cause a minor feud between two nations, but unlike gain, fear can cause terror and anxiety in a country and the only way to remove a feeling of fear, is to get rid of it. No one can take a chance on fear as it could threaten the country's very own existence. This point proves the brutal consequences of fear. Although motives for gain can cause war, it cannot cause a war with a high caliber such as the World War. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sheheryar 1 ...read more.

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