The cause s of World War I began long before The European nations had very tense relations long before the actual war began. There were three main causes that led up the beginning of WWI, Alliances, Militarism, Imperialism and Nationalism The first was the various alliances between the European powers. Although there were 8 separate alliances between 1879 and 1914, the two main alliances were the The Triple Alliance, and The Triple Entente.
The Triple Alliance was made between Germany, Austria-Hungry and Italy. The purpose of this alliance was to strengthen them against attack from Russia and keep Italy from forming a separate alliance with Russia. The Triple Entente was an alliance made between Russia, France and England. The purpose of this alliance was to protect them from the growing power of Germany. Thus these alliances created a strong feeling of mistrust and suspicions between the nations.
Militarism simply means the army and navies of a nation are given top priority by the governments of each European country. In Europe militarism would lead to an arms race among the nations. The arms race would include the increase of the army, the navy and the creation of new and better weapons. Thus as each country would increase their army or navy the other would attempt to match them.
In Europe the arms race would involve the following: Between 1870 and 1914 the size of their armies had doubled in size. The British developed the largest battle ship on the sea called a “Dreadnought” in By 1914 the European nations had over 6, soldiers ready for combat. By 1914 the European nations had over 430 warships ready for battle.
In Germany tensions were high enough that a plan was created for the invasion of France as they believed war would come. The Schlieffen plan required that the German troops move very quickly to surround France and take Paris. This plan was designed to take Paris and France quickly so that after France’s defeat the German troops could be transferred north to fight the Russians who no doubt go to war with Germany.
Imperialism is when a country is powerful enough to either take over other countries or force them to submit to their will. Before World War I began both England and France had acquired new lands and territory in Africa and India and this open many new trade markets for them. Germany was becoming a strong nation and needed new markets of it own and began taking new lands in Africa increasing the tension between Germany and France and England who still had more colonies than Germany.
After Napoleons Defeat the winning nations,(England, Austria, Prussia and Russia) held a meeting in Vienna, called the Congress of Vienna. At this congress they divided up both Germany and Italy into different states. This did not go over very well with the people who had a strong sense of nationalism created by Napoleons reforms. These people would form various nationalist groups and would fight for freedom from the newly created states.
These new nationalist groups in an effort to gain their own independence would often create tension between the various European powers. This tension would develop when different nations would support one side over the other. These tensions could develop into a national crisis such and the Moroccan Crisis, the Bosnian Crisis and The Annexation of Bosnia- Herzegovina Crisis
In 1904 Morocco had been given to France by England. In 1905 Germany offered its support of Moroccan independence. In 1911 Germany again protested Frances control of Morocco but this time England supported France and Germany was forced to back down created even greater tension between Germany and England and France.
In 1908 Austria-Hungry took over the Turkish province of Bosnia. The Serbian people were very angry with this and wanted their on independence. Serbia threatened war with Austria-Hungry. Russia sided with Serbia which caused Germany to side with Austria-Hungry. Both side began to mobilize for war until Russia backed down. Also after a war in which Serbia drove out Turkey, Austria –Hungry forced Serbia to give up some its new conqured territory. This would create extreamly high tension between the Serbian state and Austrian- Hungry.
In the Congress of Berlin, the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were given to Austria. The Serbs living in Bosnia- Herzegovina were very upset and so was Russia. The Annexation almost led to a major war but Russia agreed to back down and war was narrowly avoided. The support for Serbian Nationalism began to grow greatly and the Austrians feared their new support and growing power.
On June 28 th 1914, while on a state visit to Sarajevo was shot along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. This was the only excuse the Austrians needed for war. On July 5 the Germans offered their support to Austria in the event of war. On July 23 rd the Austrians gave a written ultimatum to avoid war, the Serbs agreed to all but one minor point. On July 28 th the Austrians rejected the Serbs reply. On July 28 th the Russians began mobilizing the troops against Austria
The Austrian Declaration of War Vienna 28 July 1914 The Royal Serbian Government not having answered in a satisfactory manner the note of July 23, 1914, presented by the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade, the Imperial and Royal Government are themselves compelled to see to the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and, with this object, to have recourse to force of arms. Austria-Hungary consequently considers herself henceforward in state of war with Serbia. Count Berchtold
The Point of No Return: The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Austria blamed Serbia for Ferdinand’s death and declared war on Serbia. Germany pledged their support for Austria - Hungary. · example of Pan-German nationalism Russia pledged their support for Serbia. · example of Pan-Slavic nationalism
The Point of No Return: The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Germany declares war on Russia. France pledges their support for Russia. Germany declares war on France. Germany invades Belgium on the way to France. Great Britain supports Belgium and declares war on Germany.
On July 30 th the Austrians shelled Belgrade. On July 31 st the Germans gave a written ultimatum to both Russia and France to stop all military mobilization and for France to give a written promise not to mobilize in any way and to hand over all her border forts. On August 1 st Germany declares war on Russia. On August 3 rd Germany declares war on France. On August 3 rd England sends an ultimatum to Germany to stop their invasion of France. On August 4 th England declares war on Germany. World War I begins.
World War I Allied Powers: Central Powers: Great Britain France Russia Italy Germany Austria-Hungary Ottoman Empire