Causes of the First World War Essay

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Causes of the First World War “The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 grew out of a short term crisis in the Balkans, but any attempt to understand its origins must take into account a number of long standing developments.” (McDonough). To discuss this judgement, we must investigate the causes of the First World War, the consequences of these actions, and to what extent were they responsible for the start of the war. A long term and economical cause was colonial rivalry between the major European superpowers. Other long term political causes include the Anglo-German naval race, both of the Moroccan crisis, which all, among other things heightened the tension within Europe, …show more content…
This scramble for colonies, which were thought to be economically beneficial in the future, created competition and international tension between the European powers. For example, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Belgian were all competing for land in Africa so that eventually 90% of her was brought under European rule. “It was seen as a race for wealth, growth, power and survival.” Another example was when Germany annexed a part of France (Alsace Lorraine), leading to fear of revenge by Germany from France, who in turn was afraid of another attack by Germany. This caused the basis of alliance systems, which were believed to provide security by increased power. Also, this elevated the tension between the colonies, causing there to be friction between them where there was none before. Another consequence of this was increased patriotism (jingoism), and the obsession of Europe with the race for more territory. Therefore the colonial rivalry was a long standing development of the war, caused the basis for alliance systems and therefore turned an otherwise local war into a world one.

Germany’s rise to power and her Weltpolitik was also a long term cause for the war. As a result of industrial strength and an excellent army, Germany quickly rose among the European powers. The Franco-Prussian War (1871), which Germany won, made sure that Germany became a major power in the heart of