John F Bailey
World War I (WWI) was a worldwide war concentrated in Europe that initiated on July 28, 1914 and ended roughly after four years on November 11, 1918. It is called the World War since it involved all the world's great powers which gathered in two opposing coalitions: the Allies were Britain, France and Russia, the second collation was the Central Powers that were an Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Both the coalitions reorganized and extended as more nations entered the war and Italy fought for Allies. Eventually over 70 million soldiers mobilized in one of the biggest wars in history where over 9 million soldiers were killed. This paper discusses the main causes behind such a deadly and long fought war, and sorts out the role of dominant countries by that time.
Forces behind World War I
An alliance is an agreement between two or more countries to give each other help when needed. The countries signing to an alliance are known as Allies. Many alliances had been signed among countries between the years 1879 and 1914. This meant that some countries had no choice but to declare war if one of their allies did. What could have been a country to country war or a regional war became world war because of these alliances.
Imperialism was one another reason cause of WWI. Imperialism is when a country occupies new lands or nations and takes them under their rule. The British Empire had extended over five continents and France had control of big areas of Africa by the 1900’s. The expansion of Britain and France augmented the rivalry with Germany, who had entered the ascent to acquire colonies late and only had minor areas of Africa (Kastelberg, 2005). Hence this rivalry bred the urge for war.
Militarism means that the army and armed forces are given a high profile by the administration. The increasing European divide had led to a weapons race between the main nations. The militaries of both France and Germany had nearly doubled between 1870 and 1914 and there existed aggressive competition between Britain and Germany for controlling the seas. The British had lead the Dreadnought' which was very effective battleship, in 1906. The Germans quickly followed suit presenting their own battleships.
Finally nationalism was another big factor contributing to WWI. It involved strong support of nations for the rights and interests of country (Kastelberg, 2005). Solid nationalist foundations led to the reunion of Italy in 1861 and Germany in 1871. Big areas of both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were home to differing nationalist groups that craved freedom from the states in which they lived.
It was a movement in 19th-century that recognized a common ethnic background among the numerous Slavic peoples of eastern and east central Europe and pursued to unite those peoples for the attainment of common cultural and political goals (Kastelberg, 2005). The Pan-Slav movement initially was formed in the beginning of 19th century by intellectuals and poets of West and South Slav. The Pan-Slavism movement occurred on political nuances, and in June 1848, whereas the Austrian Empire was weakened by revolution, the Czech historian assembled the Prague Slavic Congress. Comprising representatives of all Slav nationalities ruled by the Austrians, the congress was planned to organize supportive efforts among them for the purpose of compelling the Emperor to convert his kingdom into a federation of equal peoples under a democratic Habsburg rule. When struggles were made in the early 20th century to call new Pan-Slav congresses and recover the movement, the nationalistic rivalries among the numerous Slav peoples prevented their effective association.
The Serbs sought no part of Illyrism. Their goal was to unite Croatians and Slovenes and to take them under Serbian rule. Factually Serb energy and political aptitude, afterwards, converted