• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was Imperialism the key cause of World War One ?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was Imperialism the key cause of World War One ? The 19th century was witness to some incredibly powerful and far reaching change. By the late 19th century not only had the geo-political face of Europe radically changed, but the forces of Nartionalism, Imperialism and Militarism were influencing events that would ultimately lead up to the outbreak of the Great War. Imperialism can be defined as 'the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies'. This could be taken to include events within Europe itself, as much as those on the edge and outside European boundaries. However, the varied significance of each of these forces' role in causing the Great War, notably the role of Imperialism, can be debated. Imperialism was, in a number of ways, a significant cause of WW1. Much of the change in general European relations can be dated to the implementation of Weltpolitik. As Germany moved towards the more aggressive and expansionistic attitudes under Wilhelm II's chancellors, many European countries began to fear Germany's intentions and feel antagonistic towards her. Britain in particular felt threatened due to the competition created by the naval race. ...read more.

Middle

Britain's status as the number one power was absolutely linked to her empire as much as her industry. The rise of the imperialistic ambitions of European nations before the war can therefore be linked to the force of nationalism. Nationalism also lay at the heart of French hostility towards Germany, having lost Alsace-Lorraine in 1871. Germany's Weltpolitik was also inspired by a desire to make herself as great a world power as Britain. Nationalism was also one of the factors that led to the Dual Alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany. However, the role of nationalism was of most significance in the Balkans. Fearing the strength of Pan-Slavism, and especially the impact it might have on her nationalistically divided empire, Austria-Hungary felt compelled to expand her influence in the region (such as the annexation of Bosnia). This in turn provoked a nationalistic response from the Slavs, supported by their fellow Slavic nation; Russia. The spark that led to WW1 was caused by the nationalistically inspired assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which gave Austria the excuse she needed to 'resolve' the problem of Slav nationalism further. Supported by the nationalistically driven aims of Germany, the ultimatum was nothing but a pretext for war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Much of the mistrust between nations was due to ther aggressive, expansionistic nature of much European nationalism. However, the rise of Militarism, the belief that it is necessary to have strong armed forces and that they should be used in order to win political or economic advantages, was only going to make a difficult job impossible. The growth of military power, both naval and land based, could only be regarded with suspicion and fear. Nevertheless, it was militarism that helped to hamper negotiations, but wasn't the key reason for war. In conclusion, it is clear that imperialism was a significant cause of the war, however, it was the changing geo-political situation post 1871 that set the scene into which the force of nationalism in particular, with the closely linked force of imperialism came into play. The aggressive and expansionistic nature of these forces led to rivalry, and when linked with militarism as well, fear. These factors would lead to the medium and short term causes of the war. However, of the three principal causes, imperialism was the least important, as the roots of New Imperialism lay largely with nationalism, a force when combined with the geo-political challenges of the time, ensured that a peaceful resolution of these rivalries and conflicts was tragically not forthcoming. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. To What Extent Were Hitlers Policies the Cause of World War II?

    The German military was since the days of the Kaiser a source of national pride for the German people; however the restrictions imposed on it by the treaty of Versailles like the banning of an air force and only allowing 100,000 ground troops after World War I were considered humiliating and a source of discontent for the Germans.

  2. What Effect Did World War II have on Eastern Europe?

    As a result, the leader of Romania was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth of England at Buckingham Palace. The relaxed politics would not last. During the late 1970's and continuing until the communist party's overthrow in 1989, political repression increased and more severe tactics were implemented in the communist party's struggle to hold a tab on the citizens9.

  1. To what extent was the arms race the key cause of the Cold War?

    But, it was nuclear power and space dominance that the new superpowers were aiming for, to prove themselves as the only power. The Nuclear Arms race actually began during the Second World War when the USA and Germany each began to research to build an atomic bomb.

  2. To what extent did the Prague spring weaken Moscow(TM)s hold over Czechoslovakia, and Eastern ...

    People had the right to form groups and discuss issues, read foreign literature and even leave the country. Dubcek was even set on making reforms within the government. He wanted a more democratic society. He considered Monstesqieu's separation of government (division of government into three sectors legislative, executive, and judicial).

  1. What was the Effect of Nationalism on World War I?

    The top priority from there was to ensure that if attacked, there would be allies who could threaten the enemy. So, Germany turned to Austria, which could threaten Russia, as the two were already attempting to establish control of the unstable Balkans.

  2. The cold war - the conferences and the start of the cCold War

    The Truman Doctrine is a military doctrine d. The Communists in Greece had tried to takeover in 1944, but the British army had prevented this and Stalin was studiously careful not to intervene in Greece. This was probably in accordance with the Percentage Agreements he had reached with Churchill in 1944 (they were both probably drunk).

  1. Notes on the History and Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    - The US would play a pivotal role in the peace process from this point on, 3. The Occupied Territories and Lebanon Attitudes and policies of the Israeli Labour and Likud parties towards the Occupied Territories Likud: - For hardline Israelis (who form the Likud party)

  2. To what extent did militarism contribute to the origins of the First World War ...

    Germany?s attempt failed as France and Britain ended up allied. After the retirement of Bismarck and the replacement of Wilhelm I by Wilhelm II, the German navy started changing. With the new ambition to transform Germany into a global power, Admiral Alfred von Tripitz initiated the formation of the Navy League.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work