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WHY DID WAR BREAK OUT IN 1914? The Great War in 1914-18 began in August 1914. The causes of the war has been debated by politicians and historians ever since. One of a few things they have seemed to agree on is that the war was a result of many different complex factors working together. In Europe in 1014 it seemed very tense, this happened to spark off a war, this was then a result of millions killed.

The war was fought between rival alliances of European powers: In 1878, Germany and Austria - Hungary formed an alliance9 the dual alliance) that gave them great strength in the centre of Europe. In 1892, the French and the Russians formed their own strong alliance (the dual entente) that meant Germany had an unfriendly power on each side. Soon afterwards, Germanys most powerful soldier, general stiffen, drew up a plan that would allow Germany to beat France very quickly in any future war. This would then free most German troops to fight Russia in the east. By the early 1900s, the alliances had developed. The dual alliance had become the triple alliance with Italy (although Italy stayed out of the war in 1914). In 1907, Britain joined Russia and France to form the triple entente. Britain was much less committed to this alliance than Russia or France.

The advantages of these alliances was that it gave the great powers a sense of security. The downside was that if the powers stuck blindly to their alliances, then a small-scale local dispute involving one power might drag the other powers in and turn into a major war. The experience of the early 1900s seems to suggest this would not happen. For example:

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In 1905 and 1911, there were disputes between the powers over colonies in North Africa. In 1908, Austria - Hungary took over the province of Bosnia, which contained many Serbs. Serbia and her ally Russia were furious, but there was no war as a result. In 1912-13, there were series of wars in the Balkans. Serbia emerged from these wars as the main victor and appeared to be possible threat to Austria - Hungary. Even so, there was no major war.

Unfortunately, this changed in 1914. The assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand was the trigger that set off the ...

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