The Causes of World War I

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The Causes of World War I World War I has several causes, including four decades of conflict which led up to its actual beginning (McMeekin, 2011). Alliances between countries, nationalism, military structures and imperialism all played significant roles in the conflict, but there were more immediate origins that were also important when it came down to the decision to go to war (Barnes, 1929). During the crisis of 1914 there were decisions made and actions taken by generals and statesmen, including an assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, that pushed a tenuous peace over the edge (Williamson, 1991). The 1914 crisis that started WWI came about after a prolonged struggle between several countries, including Germany, Russia, Italy, France, Austria-Hungary, and Britain (Williamson, 1991). Both colonial and European issues had been ongoing between those countries for many decades, and that had raised the stakes to a level that could not be ignored any longer (McKeekin, 2011). A change in the European balance of power in 1867 was the long-term catalyst for the problems and clashes that ultimate led to the war (Barnes, 1929). On a shorter-term scale, however, there were territorial tensions in the Balkans that were not being dealt with successfully (Barnes, 1929). Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Serbia were all in competition for territory that they did not want to share with others or give to another country, and that pulled the rest of the aforementioned countries

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