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It was the alliance system in Europe that led to the outbreak of war in 1914

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Introduction

It was the alliance system in Europe that led to the outbreak of war in 1914 Introduction In 1914, most of the major powers in the world were European powers. However during that period of time, there were many causes of friction that threatened to upset the peace of Europe. The major causes of friction were colonial rivalry, the arms race and the alliance system. Britain at that time was the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. The British Empire covered about a quarter of the world's population and she was a wealthy trading nation. The British navy was the most powerful in the world and although, the army was small, it was extremely efficient. Germany was politically ambitious and aggressive. They felt that they should have a greater part as a world leader and wanted more colonies, this threatened Britain's position as the largest colonial power. Germany had a large and efficient army and she also had a productive agriculture and her manufacturing industries were second only to the USA. France was an industralised country, but not as much as Germany or Britain. She had a fair amount of colonies in Africa and the Far East. France had a large army and navy however one reason why they were less productive than Germany was because of the lack of natural resources and a smaller population compared to the other great powers at that time. ...read more.

Middle

The general idea was to gain more land to have new markets and resources. The European powers were interested in taking over China too. Some examples of colonial rivalry were the Moroccan Crisis in 1905. Germany attempted to expand her empire in Africa and Morocco was one of the few areas that were not controlled by a European power. However France was interested in taking over Morocco. The Germans demanded an international conference to determine the independence of Morocco. Germany was diplomatically outmanoeuvred at the conference and France was assured of her rights in Morocco. Another example would be the Agadir Crisis in 1911. The French government had sent troops to Morocco to put down a rebellion against the Sultan. Germany sent a gunboat to the Moroccan port, as she believed that France wanted to take over Morocco. Germany demanded compensation and was given some parts of French Congo. After that, the Germans agreed to the French control in Morocco. Causes (2) Another cause of war was the Arms Race. It started in 1896, when Germany started on her policy of Weltpolitik she aimed to expand her navy so that if there was a war, Britain dared not attack her. There was intense competition of building ships between Britain and Germany. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although there has been disputes with France over Morocco, both crisis has been solved without the means of force, therefore it is highly unlikely that imperial rivalry was the reason why the war begun. The arms race between European powers although increased a lot of tension between the two camps in Europe, was still not a strong enough reason to suggest that it caused the war, however even if the Germans had intended to start a war with the British through its navy, naval rivalry was definitely not a reason to become a cause of friction between both countries as it was evident from the fact that the British navy far outstripped those of the Germans. I believe that the Alliance system was the most important factor as this alliance was extremely dangerous, this is because if a dispute broke out between a member of each of the alliance and this may lead to one attacking the other, then members if the alliance would be dragged into the war because they pledged to assist on another if a war occurred and this would lead to a full-scale war across Europe. Both Germany and France created alliances so as to prevent war by making the cost of the war to high, ironically, the alliance system itself led to the war. http://www.thecorner.org/hist/wwi/alliance.htm Alliance System / System of alliances The First World War 1914-1918 Vyuyen Brendon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I World War I ...read more.

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