World War I: The Hegemonic War

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On June 28 1914, the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist. By August 4th 1914, all of Europe was at war. Understanding how and why this war happened is one of the greatest historical questions of our time. Within a matter of days, the war was in a full scale war. November 11 1918 marked the end of the war. Soon after, the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire all ceased to exist. In 1914, Britain and France were the European hegemonic powers. They were the political and economic rulers of the World. Germany’s goal was to overthrow this balance and come out as the single European hegemon. According to x, “Ultimately, World War I was a fight over bipolarity,…show more content…
The theory of hegemonic war provides insight into how the world ended up at war. While it does not provide specific reasons as to why each state acted the way they did, it provides a framework for understanding how and why large scale world wars happen. A new environment of industrialization and nationalistic warfare led to lack of control over the masses. The world reverted back to unrestrained clash of societies from pre modern era. Only mutual exhaustion and intervention of US ended the war. The central idea of hegemonic war is incompatibility between crucial elements of the existing system. It is characterized by a final transformation of structure of international system and internal composition of societies. At the end of the war, the Treaty of Versailles established collective security established in the League of Nations. However, it failed to reflect new balance of power so no new political order was established in Europe and the world ultimately ended up in WWII only thirty years…show more content…
The argument follows that one cannot ignore the importance of individuals in International Politics. The goals, abilities, and missteps of individuals are crucial to the intentions, capabilities, and strategies of a state. Individuals in power affect the actions of their own state and the reactions of other nations. For example, the change in power from Otto Von Bismarck to Wilhelm II in Germany shows how the change in the individual in power leads to change in foreign policy/alliances, and shows role individuals play in success or failure of diplomacy. Bismarck was much more focused on preserving the status quo, taking a defensive role, and maintaining restrained alliances. However, Wilhelm encouraged alliance’s aggression, acted as an expansionist, and ultimately wanted Germany to become a European hegemon. Would Germany still have acted aggressively and began the war if Bismarck was still in

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