On Sunday 28th June, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, part of a Serbian Terrorist Group, called the Black Hand at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovnia. This event and the tension between Europe was a trigger that set off declarations of war and resulted in World War 1. Tensions had been building up in Europe for decades through Nationalism, Imperialism, Militarism, and Alliances, and these tensions had reach such a point that an event was needed to break these tensions.
This was the assassination of the Archduke. Therefore the assassination, Nationalism, Militarism, Imperialism and Alliances were causes of World War One. NATIONALISM Around the 1900, there was a love and devotion that started to occur towards a persons country. Instead of belonging to different dukes or kings, people started to have nationalism or patriotism towards their country, a sort of pride towards their country.
This pride in one’s country resulted in countries thinking that they were superior than other countries, and that sacrificing other land, countries or people for the benefit of your own country was a good thing, because your country is “better” and therefore has more rights. This started alliances and unity between countries whom had same goals and therefore could fight together. For example in the case of the unity between Britain and France, they united because they both believed they were fighting external aggression that threatened their security (From a growing industrialized now unified Germany.
) In purpose of defeating Germany If needed, and alliance was formed, because in reality, the Nationalism in Russia and Britain was that we are better than Germany, and therefore together we can be superior to it. In Germany though, there were two trains of thought. The prevailing thought line was Germany needed to enter the war as soon as possible, because they were being surrounded by aggressors such as France, Britain and Russia. The German people also bought into this notion, as this nationalism that started to exist into Germany soon turned into jealousy.
When countries start assuming that they are better than others, jealousy forms between these countries and this in return turns into tension. Nationalism in Germany had turned into jealousy when Britain and France, turned Allies, and therefore Germany made allies with countries. This in return increased tensions between opposing countries until the assignation of the Archduke. MILITARISM In the decade that lead up to the war, most of the main powers needed a strong military to be able to exert their imperial dominance, and therefore strong militaries were popular during the period.
As a result of that, European powers wanted to increase their military power and outdo other countries in terms of Military power and dominance. As a country increased their military power with larger armies and more weapons, others countries would do the same, in order to avoid the balance of power tipping to far one way, and this in turn increased the prospects of World War One. This became known as the Arms Race, and this Militarism, helped build a foundation of war which was triggered by the assassination. IMPERIALISM
By 1921, Britain had control over many countries in the world : India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, in fact at the peak of its power, it was often said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous colonies. This is known as imperialism and as means when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to their rule. Many countries such as the British Empire were at the peak of their industrial revolution and their developments of industries were huge.
When industrialism occurs, countries need foreign markets to sell their increase in goods. When the war began all the major European powers had built up significant overseas colonial empires with Britain and France leading the way. The Germans were latecomers to this game and all the good countries were already taken. The Germans were left with some small and commercially marginal colonies. German nationalists found this hard to bear. There was a great deal of jealousy in Germany in regard to the British and French empires.
Furthermore, Britain in particular, used its navy and merchant navy to dominate overseas trade, which also provided a source of irritation to the Germans. The Germans embarked on a program of massive naval spending in order to create a navy capable of challenging Britain’s domination of the sea. This caused considerable concern in Britain and tensions between the Germans and the Britain. Once the trigger was fired, the assassination of the Archduke, Imperialism directly led to a naval arms race between the two countries. ALLIANCES
An alliance is an agreement made between two or more countries to give each other help if it is needed. This was the main reason that World War One turned from a Balkan War to World War One, involving more than just the countries in Europe. When a country declared war, allies had no option but to declare war, and allies of those countries had to declare war to. Therefore, a chain reaction occurred when war was declared. On 1st August 1914, when war was declared by Germany, the two main Alliances came into play: The Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente.
Because Germany declared war on Russia, Russia’s allies because of the Triple Entente entered the War. They included France and Britain. Now during this the Triple Alliance came into play and the allies of Germany, which included Italy and the Austria-Hungary Empire, were at war against each other. Also in cases such as Britain, countries that were part of the British Empire, such as Australia and India, being part of the British Empire had a duty to assist Britain in the war. As you can see these alliances caused this war, instead of being contained in Europe, to spread and become an International affair.
If there were no alliances during World War One, each country would have been fighting for themselves, and therefore the War would have been contained in the countries who wanted to go to war, but in this case, these alliances resulted in compulsory attendance in war as an alliance and this caused such a devastating war. Conclusion The assassination was the trigger, for what were causes of tensions brooding in Europe. Once the trigger occurred; Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarism and Alliances all played their part in shaping one of the world most devastating Wars. The assassination triggered countries to go to war, and
then allies to go to war, and then colonies to go to war, such as the British Empire sending Australia to war and then result in jealousies between countries through imperialism and nationalism, Germany feeling that Russia and Britain had colonized to many countries and that it had a upper right hand, with people from various countries feeling that their country is the best and therefore should there power through such things as their military power, therefore bringing in militarism. As you can see all these points are twisted and they together form the cause of why such a war like World War One occurred and why it was so devastating