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What was the cause of world war 1 essay

What were the causes of World War One?

Between 1900 and 1914 there had been three major crises between the great powers. These crises exposed the differences between the powers and reinforced the hostility between them. Two were over Morocco 1905, 1911 and the other was over the Austrian annexation of Bosnia 1908. The move was designed to test the strength of the recent Anglo-French entente. The visit provoked an international crisis, which was resolved in France's favour at the Algeciras Conference, 1906.

The result was to bring France and Britain closer together. Edward VII called the German actions "the most mischievous and uncalled for event which the German Emperor has been engaged in since he came to the throne.

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Germany claimed that the French had ignored the terms of the Algeciras Conference. This provoked a major war scare in Britain until the Germans agreed to leave Morocco to the French in return for rights in the Congo. Many Germans felt that they had been humiliated and that their government had backed down. Austria annexed Bosnia after tricking Russia during negotiations between their respective foreign ministers.

The action outraged Serbia as there was a large Serbian population in Bosnia. There was a crisis among the Great powers and it brought Europe to the brink of war. Russia bowed to German pressure when they supported Austria and they agreed to the annexation. However she was determined not to be humiliated again. The effects of these crises had been a hardening of attitudes and an increase in distrust between the different European powers.

It led to a strengthening of the different alliances: The Eastern Question and The Balkans Throughout the 19th and early 20th century the Ottoman Empire had lost land in the Balkans to the peoples who lived there.

The great powers were also interested in extending their influence in the region. Austrian and Russian relations were poor over their rivalry in the Balkans.

Causes of World War One Essay

Both hoped to expand there at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. Another important factor was the growth of Slav nationalism among the people who lived there, especially Serbia.

Russia encouraged Slav nationalism while Austria worried that this nationalism could undermine her empire. As a result of the Balkan Wars 1912 - 1913 Serbia had doubled in size and there was growing demands for the union of south Slavs Yugoslavism under the leadership of Serbia. Austria had a large south Slav population in the provinces of Slovenia, Croatia, the Banat and Bosnia.

Austria was very alarmed at the growing power of Serbia. She felt Serbia could weaken her own Empire. The Austrians decided that they would have to wage a preventative war against Serbia in order to destroy her growing power. They were waiting for the correct pretext excuse.

When Franz Ferdinand was shot the Austrians saw this as the perfect opportunity to destroy Serbia. But when she attacked Serbia, Russia came to her aid and the war spread. Domestic issues Modern historians have drawn attention to the influence of internal politics on the actions of the Great Powers.

European History

The ruling class in some of these countries hoped that a short victorious war would put an end to class differences and reduce the support for socialism that threatened the existing order. Other domestic issues that the war drew attention from were: The crisis over income tax and the length of military service France The unpopularity of the Tsar Russia. Underlying the assumptions of all the Great Powers during the July Crisis was the belief that if war did break out it would be a short one.

Many in Britain felt that the war would be over by Christmas. Few predicted the bloodiest war so far seen in history that would lead to: He was shot by a Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip.

Causes of the First World War

The Austrians saw the murder as a perfect pretext to crush Serbia. Although the text was approved on the July 19 it was decided to delay its presentation until the state visit of the French President and Prime Minister to Russia was finished. This was done to prevent the French and Russians from co-ordinating their response.

It was presented when the French delegation had left Russia and was at sea. The Serbs agreed to all of the Austrian demands bar one.

The Austrians were so surprised by the humility of the Serbian reply that the foreign minister hid it for 2 days from the Germans. The Russians ordered a partial mobilisation of their troops against Austria in defence of Serbia.