Great War Causes

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The major causes of the Great War (1914-1918) were Nationalism, Imperialism, Alliances, and Militarism. These were long-term issues and built tension between nations over the years. The assassination of Arch-Duke Ferdinand was a short-term cause that acted as a trigger that ignited the powder keg of Europe nations and put into motion the complicated set of alliances that forced nations into war. Nationalism is the extreme sense of pride in your nation and the promotion of your national interests at the expense of all others. Nationalism is something that builds up over time over a series of events and therefore is a long-term cause. For example, Germany became very proud of their military after its rapid defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian…show more content…
England already had their Empire, as did Russia, but the Germans were the stragglers in the Empire building effort. The domination or control over a region in terms of political, economic, and culture is the powerful drive behind Imperialism. France and Britain, as naval powers, had long established colonies in Africa and Asia. Germany tried to break into the competition for land, resources, and influence initially in Africa. Germany tried to establish control in areas already dominated by France and Britain, specifically in the Morocco Crises of 1905 and 1911 and tried to drive a wedge between Britain and France as France was imposing a protectorate on Morocco. Instead Britain and France became closer allies and reduced German influence in Africa. By 1914 nearly all of Africa had been divided up between the European powers with the exception of a few independent nations like Ethiopia and Liberia. The long-term effort to build an Empire and establish dominance in a region and the staying power to defend it points to Imperialism as a long-term cause of the Great War. The relationship of Imperialism fought for with the building of military might (Militarism) to seize, control and dominate a region also contributes to a sense of power and national superiority giving rise to…show more content…
As he was the next in line for throne of Austria-Hungary, it was a great shock and international outrage. Franz Josef, the Emperor and Uncle of Franz Ferdinand was upset but did not necessarily want war, his ministers in Vienna did however. Josef gave the Serbians a harsh ultimatum to avoid war. While the Serbians were willing to meet some of the demand, they believed some conditions violated their control and refused these conditions leading to war between Austria and Serbia. After Austria declared war, Russia quickly declared war on Germany after Germany declared their support to Austria. This led to the invocation of the complicated alliances pulling in nearly all of the European nations, and affected those that claimed neutrality. So although the assassination itself was a short-term event, it lit the simmering tensions of Imperialism, Nationalism, and Militarism and tied the fate of nations to the intricate series of alliances that led to the Great

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