World war one also known as the great war is to this day considered one of the most gruesome and violent wars. Militarism, nationalism, and the alliances and the assassination all played big parts in the coming of the great war. In Europe most nation’s production and advancements towards military technology went through the roof and everyone wanted the most powerful and dominant country, sparking competition involving jealousy and arrogance. Propaganda being spread through entire nations feeding countries people with lies about the enemy country to get them wild up and to help the country fight and to falsely have courage for your country.
Last but not least was the mixture of the assassination of the duke which officially started WW1 and the alliances between European nations. WW1 was a global war that would not have been possible without the motives from European countries and the assassination and alliances, the immense military preparation of the 19th century, and the European them nationalism.
The world would never be the same on the June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are both shot to death by a Bosnian Serb nationalist during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. According to (“The Archduke Charles Matrimonial Project.” Monarchy And Matrimony, pp. 73–98., and speech during class from mrs Cadeli) While On their way to see the victims of the first bombing, which was the first attempt on assassinating the archduke and his wife their driver made a wrong turn which is understandable without a gps or a map, but him not making that turn marked one of the most historically important days.
The driver not making the correct turn lead them right in front of a coffee which contained a man named Gavrilo Principle. He noticed the car, stepped out of the shop and shot both of them wife in chest and husband in the neck killing them within the hour. Now why did this killing lead to world war 1? Austria and Hungary were furious and with Germany’s support they declared war on Serbia on July 28. Within days Germany declared war on Russia, which happened to be Serbia’s ally and invaded France and Belgium which then caused Britain to declare war on Germany. Now the assassination definitely struck the beginning of the great war but it wasn’t necessary the cause of the war, factors like militarism and nationalism definitely had bigger roles but the assassination was the real kickstart to everything. Why did this all happen because the assassination, when he was shot Serbia was to blame almost instantly and after this the two smaller countries wanted to fight, but before they did they made sure they had backup, Austria instantly sided with Germany and after seeing this Serbia was backed by Britain. Because of all these actions unwinding at this point war was undeniable. Even though the assassination was part of the build up that led to the war like militarism and nationalism it was definitely the kickstart of the war.
Militarism is when a country aggressively pursues the policy of a strong military to defend itself or expand its territory in the name of national interests. Before World War I, militarism led a race between countries that used industrial revolutions resources to mass produce the latest military technology, such as breech loading rifles, artillery, and machine guns. A German historian who served in World War I Alfred Vagts, defined militarism as the “domination of the military man over the civilian, an undue preponderance of military demands, an emphasis on military considerations”. What this quote is saying is that when the military becomes so powerful it outweighs the power of a common citizen. The citizens now with being treated with such a powerful and technologically advanced equipment expect too much out of their nations forcing the nation to retrieve things for the citizens, ultimately leading to war. A powerful state needs a powerful military to protect its interests and support its policies. Strong armies and navies were needed to defend the homeland; to protect imperial and trade interests and to keep enemies at bay. Another problem with militarism is when these nation start a race between each other over who can have the biggest navy, or who has more infantry. Jealousy ultimately became the main factor behind all of this, this graph portrays how each country was pretty evenly matched and if a fight were to break out it would not be a fast one.
Seeing these numbers you think countries would back down from the war idea which they tried but with numbers like these countries got over confident and over aggressive. War was avoided where possible but it could also be used to advance a nation’s political or economic interests. In the 19th century European mind, politics and military power became inseparable, in much the same way that politics and economic management have become inseparable in the modern world. Governments and leaders who failed to maintain armies and navies capable of enforcing the national will were considered weak or incompetent.
Nationalism is an intense form of patriotism or loyalty to one’s country. Nationalists exaggerate the value or importance of their country and place its interests above those of other countries. Nationalism was a force in early 20th century Europe and a significant cause of World War I. Many Europeans mainly citizens of the high power kingdoms in Europe believed in the cultural, economic and military supremacy of their nation. Their over-confidence was fuelled by popular culture and the press. The pages of many newspapers were filled with nationalist influence and ill leading stories, such as rumours about rival nations and their evil intentions. There were also newspapers all over each others countries trying to get people to join. Like my primary source number 1 many high power nations were trying to get everybody to be fully backing them up, the article says, “ WE WANT YOU,” . What this means is all of these high power nations have noticed how some people have had absolute devotion to their country and would surrender everything for it. Because of those people the big nations wanted all of their people to be nationalist basically. Everywhere nationalism could be found, it could be seen in literature, music, theatre and art.
Royals, politicians and diplomats did little to defend nationalism some contributed to it with provocative remarks and rhetoric. Nationalism gave citizens a false confidence in their nation, government and military strength. It convinced them that their country was superior, righteous and without blame. Nationalist ideas demonised rival nations, portraying them as aggressive, scheming, untrustworthy, backward or uncivilised. Nationalist reports convinced many that their country was threatened by the plotting, scheming and uncivilized imperialism of its rivals. Nationalist and militarist rhetoric assured them that if war erupted, their nation would emerge victorious. In concert with its dangerous brothers, imperialism and militarism, nationalism contributed to a continental delusion that suggested a European war was both necessary and winnable.
World war one did indeed eventually end but from learning about what we did in the past we can fix it from happening again in the present. Militarism, nationalism, and the assassination all played big parts in the coming of the great war. Each nation’s military technology went through the roof and everyone wanted the biggest army and navy giving competition between hostile nations. Nationalism spread throughout each nation making the citizens restless and ready to make their country the best. Last but not least was the assassination of the duke which officially started cause and brought the great war to histories doorstep. World war one started with the mixture of imperialism, new alliances that others did not agree with or thought were to powerful, growth in militaries, and lastly nationalism. Why is this so important, it’s so important to today because we learned that thinking you better than everyone else can lead to conflict, a race for who has the most and best of equipment leads to conflict, and lastly killing somebody who is the leader of their country is a bad idea. Even though many lives were lost in a war that could have been prevented we learned a ton from ww1.