The First World War was the product of years of tension and competition between the Great Powers. There were many separate disputes between the different countries. However these disputes had not led to war. The arms race was a very significant cause to the war, however all this nationalism needed a trigger to ignite the smoldering hostilities and led to the outbreak of the First World War. Two bullets fired in Sarajevo, Bosnia led to the death of over 10 million men in the Great War, 1914-1918.
Nationalism is a strong feeling of support for your country, a sense of pride in the achievements of your country and its status in the world. It can involve a sense of identity, of sharing a common past, a language, a culture and it provides similarity between people. They will unite behind symbols, flags, anthems, figures and characters that are said to share the same qualities. At this period in time nationalist feelings were strong in most European countries and there was a sense of competition between the Great Powers. In this era, however, it was to take part in the creation of one of the most famous wars in history. Since so much pride was devoted to countries, it made the possibilities of peace between past competitors less likely. It also meant that most nations, especially the great powers, would rather fight a war than back down from a rival's diplomatic provocation. In effect, nationalism was also a contributing factor to the alliance system. No country feels comfortable being in a war alone, and with the growing militaries in almost every country, allies provided comfort and support. If two or more countries are allied with each other then they have a better chance of defeating their common enemy if war is declared. They also have a higher probability of winning in a war on more than one front if they have alliances providing support. With nationalism, militarism, and imperialism all showing large presences at the same period in time, a solid ground was formed for the alliance system to build itself on. The Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria was formed, the Triple Alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy was created, and the Triple Entente was created between France, Russia, and Great Britain. Although the Triple Entente was not an official alliance, they all maintained a very close understanding, and were viewed by many as a threat. Nations found themselves dragged into the war by previously existing alliances. Austria-Hungary, unsatisfied with Serbia's response to her demands declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914. Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilisation of its vast army in her defence, a slow process that would take around six weeks to complete. Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty, viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary, and after little warning declared war on Russia on 1 August. France, bound by treaty to Russia, found itself at war against Germany and, by extension, on Austria-Hungary following a German declaration on 3 August. Germany was swift in invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route. Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a "moral obligation" upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty. With Germany's invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King's appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium's defence later that day. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary. With Britain's entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and