What factors led to the outbreak of war in 1914?

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The war that broke out in 1914 was one of the worst, if not the worst, wars in human history. It had left millions dead and a scar burned into European history forever. However, if we do not identify why war broke out in 1914, stopping others wars will be impossible. Clearly, we may never know the answer to this, but many sources give many interpretations. In this essay, I will try to recognise the key factors that led the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 and try to identify the most significant of these causes.

Many historians, such as Martel, believe that it was the attitudes and views of the time that would make the outbreak of war in 1914 inevitable. The fact that everybody at the time thought that were superior to everybody else led
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Many, on the other hand, blame the flaws in the world's alliance systems for the war. Development of political and military alliances caused tension and hostility among nations leading up to World War I. Two major alliance systems developed due to conflicting national interests, which had been evident during the past two decades throughout Europe. These were the 'Triple Alliance' of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the 'Triple Entente' of Britain, France and Russia. Also several smaller countries became indirectly involved in the alliances, which effectively divided Europe into two 'Armed Camps'. Russia pledged to support Serbia in order to prevent further Austrian-Hungarian expansion into the Balkans. Germany stated its support for Austria-Hungary and Britain had given its support for Belgium's independence in 1839. However, historians such as A. J. P. Taylor argue that 'Pre 1914 alliances were so precarious and fragile that they cannot be seen as the major cause of war'. This points to the fact that it should also be stressed that even a formal alliance in 1914 did not guarantee support for war, therefore not being a significant factor.

However while these political and military alliances were in place, some believe that there is actually no direct evidence to indicate that any nation declared war on the basis of alliance systems. There had been
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