Critically asses three major causes of the First World War

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There are many causes to the First World War, many of which are results of complex developments which took place for a number of years before the war, such as the conflict over the Balkans and the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The most obvious cause may be the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. However, upon close examination of the events leading up to World War One, we shall see that this was merely the spark that set off the chain of events leading up to the Great War. One of the main causes of the war was the system of alliances between countries at that time. Alliances such as the Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, and the Triple Entente between Great Britain, Russia and France,…show more content…
These treaties would have of course not been possible if diplomatic negotiations had been as open and publicised as they are today. It may be argued that these treaties were not binding, for example Italy remained neutral during the war, and that the Triple Entente by no means forced any of its members to take up arms if war involving one of them should arise. However, I do not think the treaties themselves are overly important. Rather, I think that the climate created by these treaties, and the actions taken as a result, are important, and even crucial, to the start of the First World War. Also, if we are to extend this argument, no treaty is truly binding and all treaties can be broken. Thus I think alliances still did constitute one of the main causes of the First World War. Another major cause of the 'War to End All Wars ' was militarism. Militarism was prevalent in Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century. War was viewed by many in a positive light: it was seen as 'noble ', glorious and even desirable. Nowadays war might be viewed as morally wrong, and justifiable only in cases of dire necessity or for self-defence, however at that time war was seen as a perfectly acceptable means for a country to pursue its goals or ambitions, or as a way to enforce its national policy. For example the outbreak of war was greeted by cheering crowds in Berlin, Vienna and Paris. As A.J.P Taylor wrote,

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