Causes of WW1. How valid is the claim that in 1914, states went to war due to fear rather than motives for gain.

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 Celeste Ngooi


Question: How valid is the claim that “in 1914, states went to war due to fear rather than motives for gain.

                -Timeline: 1888-1914 (End of Franco-Prussian War)

The European States at that time went to war due to many factors. Such as, territorial gains, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the various Alliances and the Naval Race. However, in the majority of the factors, they have stemmed from fear or have led to fear in the European States leading them to participate in World War 1. Thus, it can be seen that the claim that the states went to war due to fear rather than motives for gain is valid.

 Territorial gains was one of the most important reasons that have led France, Germany, Serbia and Austria-Hungary to participate in the war. France wanted the territory of Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany and desired revenge, this had increased tension between Germany and France. With the Ottoman Empire in decline, it created a power vacuum with many states clamoring to seize control of the states in the now declining Ottoman Empire. In 1904, the Morroccan Crisis occurred, adding to tensions between the European states. Britain had given Morocco to France, however the Moroccans desired their independence. In 1905, Germany announced her support against France for Moroccan independence and in 1911, the Germans were again against France’s possession of Morocco. Along with the fight over Alsace-Lorraine, Germany’s support for Moroccan independence added greatly to tensions between them and France as well as tensions between them and Britain. The Bosnian Crisis in 1908 also added to tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. 

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In 1908, Austria-Hungary officially annexed Bosnia igniting outrage in Serbia and Russia. Austria-Hungary invaded and took over the former Turkish province of Bosnia. This caused tension in Serbia as they felt Bosnia should belong to them.  Austria-Hungary viewed Serbia as a threat. This was largely due to Serbia's desire to unite the Slavic people, including those living in the southern parts of the empire. Serbia then threatened Austria-Hungary with war. Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece declared war in October 1912 seeking to take advantage of the weak situation in the Ottoman Empire. Because of this, the Ottomans lost almost of their ...

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