Assess Critically Three Causes of World War One

694 Words Sep 17th, 2010 3 Pages
Assess critically three causes of the First World War The First World War began in Europe in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. This trigger action caused the involvement of Germany, Russia, Serbia and Austria-Hungary. However, the war itself was caused by nationalism, alliances and Germany’s fear of encirclement. Nationalism was the central cause of World War One because, due to the nationalism of the Slavs, the Balkan states became a powder keg. Austria-Hungary made the Serbs fear annexation while the Slavs inside the country wanted a Pan-Slavic State. The assassination of the Archduke occurred due to the Serbs nationalism, to warn Austria-Hungary to stay away from Serbia. However, it had …show more content…
However, the alliances would never have become relevant if the Slavs nationalism in Austria-Hungary hadn’t made a war inevitable that soon made the alliances come into effect. Germany rushed to Austria-Hungary’s aid and Russia came to help Serbia so soon most countries in Europe had to assist their allies. A last cause that is very significant is Germany’s fear of encirclement and the other countries fear of Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II feared encirclement by Russia and France for a very long time because, not only did France want revenge for the land losses in the Franco-Prussian War but they were also allied with Russia. This meant that Germany faced the serious risk of a two front war. Yet, what Germany didn’t know, was that the other European countries feared it just as much or even more than it feared them. Germany had the biggest army and a lot of economic power during the time just before the war. These fears helped cause the war because they made Germany build up it’s army and other European countries be in a constant state of war preparation. However, these fears were tightly connected to nationalism because if all these countries hadn’t been nationalistic and wanted territory and, in France’s case, revenge, the war would probably not have started out the way it did. Considering these three causes it is clear to see that nationalism was the main cause but the alliances and Germany’s fear played a major role in the outbreak of World War One.