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Why did Europe go to War in 1914?

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  • Essay length: 1397 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree 1900-1919

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Why did Europe go to War in 1914?

The first world war had many causes with a number of them having had the potential to plunge Europe into war.

The French Revolution and the Napoleonic era had spread throughout most of Europe the idea of political democracy, with the resulting idea that people of the same ethnic origin, language, and political ideals had the right to independent states. This idea was manifested in the unification of Germany in 1848 and Italian Unification. By the end of the 19th Century though the problem of nationalism was still unresolved in may areas of Europe; one particularly prominent nationalistic movement, Pan Slavism could perhaps be described as the spark that started the war; the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in motion a series of events leading to war.

Come 1914 the Austro-Hungarian empire under the ageing Emperor Franz Josef, was patently struggling to maintain coherence of the various diametrically opposed ethnic groups which fell under the Austro-Hungarian umbrella (taken from www.firstworldwar.com). Austria-Hungary argued that

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