Causes of World War I Essay

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Causes of World War I

The Balkan Peninsula has long been known as the “tinderbox of Europe” because it has been an area of conflict and political unrest for centuries. The countries and people that occupy the peninsula are constantly in chaos and at war with each other. This trend continues today with the problems in Bosnia and the recent international crisis in Kosovo. Throughout history, small local incidents in the Balkan Peninsula have escalated into large international crises. World War I is a perfect example of what started as a regional conflict and grew into an all-out European war. A small local European struggle between Austria-Hungary and Serbia over the territory of Bosnia erupted into a full-blown worldwide conflict
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For instance, by 1891, France and Russia, two nations traditionally opposed to each other and had gone to war twice in the 19th century, allied with one another for protection against the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary (Ross 13). The emergence of Germany as a European power caused other political changes in Europe and offset the balance that had existed in Europe since 1815. Several nations were unclear on how to react to Germany and others disagreed on whether to accept Germany as a dominant power in continental Europe (Ross 29). The other major effect of the unification of Germany was that after the humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, France was fearful of Germany. France also feared that the Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary would form a huge German-speaking empire in Europe. This fear of Germany led to France’s alliance with Russia and its rivalry with Germany, two factors which helped bring about World War I. In addition, the Franco-Prussian War left France wanting revenge against Germany and they saw a European war as an opportunity for payback. The chaos and confusion of the European nations after the unification of Germany dismantled the political stability of Europe that was created at the Congress of Vienna. The inability of Austria-Hungary and Russia to peacefully work out their

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