Wars are large and complicated affairs. The First World War was the product of many things. Although the war officially began on July 28th, 1914, it had been building up for a while. The beginning of the war was a lot like a domino effect. It started when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. On July 29, Russia ordered a mobilization only against Austria-Hungary in support of Serbia. The Germans threatened war on July 31 if the Russians did not demobilize. France then mobilized. On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, and two days later, on France.
The German invasion of Belgium to attack France, which violated Belgium’s official neutrality, prompted Britain to declare war on Germany. World War I had begun. Nationalism, militarism, and imperialism all prompted the rivalry between nations which led to WWI. Nationalism, the love and support of one’s country, has always existed. At this time, however, it was so prominent, it helped cause the First World War. Since so much pride was devoted to countries, it made the possibilities of peace between past rivals less probable.
People felt great loyalty and were willing to do anything for their country. In history, many wars have been over territorial disputes. A country feels nationalistic, and people’s pride leads to people wanting to expand with more land. A country can feel so strongly about this that they will fight for it. The spark of the world was the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife. They were shot by a Serbian nationalist because of the crisis in the Balkans. The Balkan Peninsula was a mountainous area below Austria-Hungary and consisted of many different ethnic groups.
Each group was very nationalistic and wanted to extend its borders, especially Serbia. Austria-Hungary took over two Balkan Slavic areas. Document 6 describes the tension in this region at the time. Serbia did not want Austria-Hungary to have Bosnia and Herzegovina. The archduke was shot because the Serbians feared that when he came into power he would continue to persecute the Serbs who lived in the Austro-Hungarian borders. The assassination, however, only created more problems. A harsh ultimatum was given to Serbia and when Serbia tried to negotiate the harsh terms, war was declared upon them.
Serbia’s ally, Russia joined right in the war, and soon after many other European countries. Nationalism was also a contributing factor to the alliance system. A country having more people on its side meant they felt more powerful, and more nationalistic. During World War I there were two alliance systems; the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. The Triple Alliance included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The Triple Entente included Great, Britain, France, and Russia. Later on in the war, the United States entered the war on the Triple Entente side, and Russia left.
Members of the Triple Alliance were also known as the Central Powers. This is because the three countries were grouped together in the center of Europe. On each side of them, they had enemies, which is not a good spot to be in if you want to have a war. The Triple Entente became known as the Allies. By the end of the war the Allies had won. The war was officially ended on November 11, 1918 by The Treaty of Versailles. This was supposed to be the treaty to end all wars, but it ultimately just fueled future conflict.
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