Leading Up to Ww1 Essay

Submitted By jbob04553
Words: 1236
Pages: 5

Leading up to World War I, there was a great deal of tension in Europe. One of the most explosive moments before the war arrived when Slavs wanted to break away from Austria to join the unified Slavic nation of Serbia, It was after the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that the terms for doing so led to a disagreement between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, which eventually led to the mobilization of allied armies on both sides. Instead of helping, the Allied Forces’ involvement only created more tension as the countries began declaring war on each other. The combination of Serbia’s fight for separation, the domino effect of mobilization, and previously created alliances together instigated the outbreak of World War I. Throughout this time, as the ideal of nationalism spread like wild fire all across Europe, the Serbs grasped onto this ideal for themselves, creating tension between them and the Austro-Hungarian government and finally leading to war. By 1914, the Slavic citizens of Austria had gained enough of a sense of nationalism to decide that they wanted to leave Austria and move to Serbia, a self-governing Slavic nation. As predicted in “The Origins of the First World War” by Bernadotte Schmitt, the Serbs… would detach their kinsmen from Habsburg rule and establish a unified independent Yugoslav state,” this occurred. In his 1998 article, “Origins of the World War,” Fay writes, “Serbia felt a natural and justifiable impulse to do what so many other countries has done in the nineteenth century — to bring under one national Government all the disconnected Serb people.” After Serbia was created, a group called the “Black Hand” assassinated the archduke of Austria. Some of the members included government officials of the Serbian government, which gave Austria the excuse that they were looking for to create an ultimatum with threats of war. The Austrian government stated that if followed the ultimatum would prevent war. Unfortunately, these rules included submissiveness to Austrian officials and the suppression of all propaganda against Austria, which of course only created significant limits on the Serbs’ freedom. Austria knew that Serbia would decline such absurd terms, yet because the ultimatum gave the appearance of a good faith effort on its part, Austria believed it would appear validated when it declared war on the “rebellious” Serbs. In response, the Serbs, fueled by their nationalistic ideals, appealed to Russia for aid, setting the stage for war. Mobilization across Europe led to even more chaos, bringing the countries rapidly into war by creating a domino effect.. Many European countries, aware of the increasing discord across the continent, began to mobilize their armies once other countries began to do so. Germany was an ally to Austria at the time of the Austro-Serbian war and therefore came to Austria’s aid. As Fay writes, “Germany would fulfill the obligations of the alliance…Germany [had to] share the great responsibility of Austria” (19). Almost immediately after Germany had prepared its army to join the war, it heard news of Russia’s mobilization. Germany responded by giving Russia 12 hours to suspend the mobilization and threatening them with talks of mobilization of their own army. Nevertheless, Russia failed to yield, and Germany insisted that a military solution was the necessary response. In declaring war on Russia, Germany created an even bigger problem than there was to start with, because it made a large-scale war inevitable. Militarization, which was a common idea at the time, meant that there were now huge armies that added to the fight and created far more bloodshed. To make matters ever more complicated, Germany was determined to go through Belgium in order to attack France. Belgium, however, refused, and then delayed offers of help from Britain to help defend their land in an effort to remain neutral as long as possible. Only after Germany decided to attack did Belgium,