‘the First World War Started More by Accident Than by Design'. Discuss.

2522 Words11 Pages
‘The First World War started more by accident than by design'. Discuss.
To some extent it is correct to state that the First World War started more by accident than by design. However, it can be argued that many nations within Europe had planned for war and some even pushed for war. Despite this, those nations never wished for a full scale ‘World War'. They were hoping for a war on a much smaller scale, for example, the earlier Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913. In this essay I will discuss both sides of the argument; an accidental war and the planned war. I will then conclude the essay with which side of the argument I believe holds the strongest position.
There are many different angles to be looked at on the origins of the First World
…show more content…
Britain did not have a war strategy like France, Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. Britain certainly did not desire war and was only keen to protect her vast overseas empire. Britain only joined the war after it broke out and campaigned to its people that it was coming to the aid of Belgium, making it a moral war.
The neutral kingdom of Belgium could never plan for war. Its troops were grounded in defence of Antwerp when the Germans invaded.
Serbia had a very straightforward war plan. They would increase their army divisions upon the declaration of war and would strike against Austria-Hungary when they knew what Austria's plans were.
It is obvious that many countries had rigid war plans that were to be used for a possible and perhaps inevitable war. This goes some way to show that the First World War was in fact more of a design rather than just an accident.
Accidental war?
However, the causes of the First World War are complex and include many factors. The war did not just happen due to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand or because of these war plans. The origins of the war can be traced back to the problems of the last four decades leading up to 1914 and the changes in Europe since 1870.
One particular factor was the unifications of Germany and Italy as single nations. Nationalism had spread through Europe during the 1860's and 70's. It was

More about ‘the First World War Started More by Accident Than by Design'. Discuss.

Get Access