History
Medema815
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What factors contributed to the start of world war i?

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NickolasKwong

I believe that the factors that led the world to World War 1 were Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarism, Alliances and Assassination, as each played its own role in contributing to the beginning of the Great War. Through the use of military, political and economic power, Imperialism is the extension of a nation’s ability to control other colonies. Throughout the 1910s, Western Europe (particularly Britain) had held the world’s largest imperial empire. I believe that due to jealousy, suspicion and a lack of trust, several other countries such as Russia, Germany, France and the United States tried to keep up. Each nation wanted to build a more powerful and strong empire than Britain had, which created a dangerous race to power. At this point in time, the beginning of a world war was foreseeable, as Imperialism was only one out of the several factors that led to the beginning of war. Another strong factor that led to war was nationalism, which ensured pride and competition among the European countries. Nationalism is the ability to have a strong and powerful sense of pride towards one’s home country and its identification, allowing oneself to think highly of their nation. Throughout the entire European continent, every country felt that their nation was better than others. They believed that their country was stronger and more powerful than any other, seeking national greatness. Nationalism enforced a strong and powerful competition among the major European nations, as each country emphasized their power and accomplishments in comparison with others. Due to an intense level of competition between the countries, the nations created strong and powerful militaries for defensive and offensive purposes. Militarism spread across the European continent, as major nations strongly felt the need to create their own armies. At the time, not only was having a strong military a sign of power, but it gave nations a strong source of pride. This encouraged each country to strive to become the biggest and best, most powerful nation in all of Europe. Although militarism was effective, it did not specifically guarantee safety to a nation. Therefore, countries across Europe decided to make Alliances with each other to guarantee support. The Alliance System began when nations felt the need to protect themselves when it came to other powerful nations, as armies alone were not effective enough to ensure security. I believe that Alliances were not only created for particular nations to protect themselves against others, but to certify peace throughout Europe. Although the idea was thought through, peace among the nations was not ensured. They fought to ensure that when a problem between 2 countries originated, other countries would join in, eventually causing the entire continent to go to war. Despite the large amount of contribution to war, the Alliance System did not officially activate the start of World War 1, as Assassination did. The Assassination of Francis Ferdinand (the archduke of Serbia) and his wife was the final, official contributor to the start of World War 1. In June of 1914, a Serbian gang member of The Black Hand shot Francis and his wife to death. This caused Austria-Hungary to blame Serbia for the death of their archduke, as they declared war on Serbia. As stated above, the 5 contributors to the beginning of World War 1 were Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarism, Alliances and Assassination. Although each factor played its own role effectively, I believe that the official start to the war occurred when Serbian gang member Gavrilo Princip had assassinated Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand, causing Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia. After declaring war on Serbia, the Alliance System came into effect, as different nations throughout the continent began to declare war on each other, protecting their allies. The Powder Keg was taken into effect and World War 1 had officially begun.

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