Leading Up to World War I
Being one of the biggest wars, World War I changed the face of the world we live in today. The war did not just start on its own. Many causes such as the European alliances, nationalism and imperialism alongside the assassination of Franz Ferdinand led to the commencement of the first World War.
The European alliances between the major European countries caused the continent to be split into two sides. One was the Triple Entente consisting of Great Britain, France, and Russia. The other, Triple Alliance, consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. These two sides had different views on how the world should be ruled. If Europe did not get divided into two sides with major countries on each side, there would have been no World War. Britain teamed up with France and Russia after fearing Germany’s improved navy and overall military. Every country acted and supported each other if they were allies. If Germany was attacked, Italy and Austria-Hungary were expected to help and vice versa. This also applied to the Triple Entente. Both sides wanted power and at one point, one side had to make a move. This move was made by the Triple Entente side when they assassinated the archduke of Austria-Hungary. This led to the fight. If there was only one alliance, there would have not been such a big war. In this case, there were two which changed history.
Nationalism and Imperialism were also one of the main causes of the first world war. Every country thought of themselves as the most powerful. Every country’s people started to believe that their nations and governments actions were right. Comments and actions taken by governments, politicians, and military leaders engaged the public more. Every person thought their country had the best military and could easily take on other nations which is why they were prepared for war. The British believed their navy was invincible. France hated Germany, Germany hated Britain. Many countries hated each other. The German Kaiser Wilhelm II declared that Germany would become a world power. This was not taken well by the British. The British wanted themselves to become the most powerful. Yugoslavia and the Black Hand organization also expressed nationalism. Austria wanted to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina which affected the Russians badly. Everyone started expressing themselves in their own way. Every country started to take actions which would show they are the most powerful and deserve to rule.
Franz Ferdinand’s relationship with Bosnia-Herzegovina was not good at all. This relationship resulted in hatred against Franz. The serbians, who made up about forty percent of the country at that time, decided to make a plan to assassinate Ferdinand. On June 28th, 1914, a serbian nationalist gunned down Franz. Both Ferdinand and his wife were shot to death. The assassination of the the archduke is considered the main reason for the start of the first World War. The assassination set off the bloodbath. Once Austria-Hungary lost their archduke, it made them angry. This resulted in Austria-Hungary and their allies, to fight back. The assassination set off a rapid chain of events. Many countries, including Austria-Hungary, blamed everything on Serbia. Russia supported Serbia, but Austria-Hungary still declared war on Serbia when they got assurance for support from the Germans. On July 28th Austria-Hungary declared War with the help of the Germans and within a week, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Russia and Serbia lined up to attack back.
All three of these factors were a huge part of the start of the first World War. The alliances divided the war into two sides and basically set up a fight between two sides which disagreed with one another. The reason for the alliances was nationalism and imperialism. Every country wanted to be the most powerful and the greatest. To do that, they had to join forces with one another. Nationalism was also the cause of the actual start of the War. The war started after a Serbia nationalist assassinated the Austro-Hungarian archduke Franz Ferdinand. The assassination was like a bomb ready to explode. Once the archduke was assassinated, everything went off and the battle began.