The Root Causes of World War I

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The Root Causes of World War I

World War One was a major war that involved all major militaries of the world. While all the continents were involved in the war directly or indirectly, the effects of the war affected all countries across the globe. Historians have attempted to compile the causes of The World War I and many agree that the war was a result of a chain of events and causes. Thus, the factors that contributed to the war included technical and military factors, tensions in international relations among other specific factors. Causes of World War I can fall under five major topics.

World War I still remains to be a significant event of the 20th century whether it was caused by arms race, high-pitched nationalism, ethnocentrism or imperialism. The epicentre of the war was in central Europe and it lasted for four years from 1914. The actual cause of the war is still a matter of debate among historians. Nonetheless, ideologies such as imperialism, nationalism, increased militarisation, antagonism and heightened diplomatic tensions are among the major causes of the war.

The world had been experiencing a long period of political tensions with many countries facing economic difficulties that also had caused a development of economic tensions. When the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, the act sparked an immediate need for nations to relieve their tensions by going to war. Archduke Ferdinand was the immediate heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, which was struggling economically and politically (Hillgruber, p. 98). Austro-Hungarian Empire had annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina causing discontent and controversy since Serbia was also dragged into the controversy since it wanted to unite with the two annexed provinces. As the empire was drawn into war with Serbia, it acquired authority over the provinces after defeating Serbia. Serbia was embittered and sought to avenge the loss by plotting to assassinate the archduke. There was no internationally recognised legal institution or law and this made it difficult for the differing European nations to reach a resolution. There had been resolutions at The Hague in 1899 and 1907 but they had not yielded the expected results.

The Empire used the assassination of its archduke as a ripe opportunity to settle long standing rivalry with Serbia. Germany also supported the empire by declaring war on Serbia. As more countries were gradually dragged into the war by joining either side, it marked the beginning of the Great War or World War I. Some historians have pointed out that the assassination alone could not have been the main cause of the war considering the length of time it lasted. Therefore, the warring countries had other intentions (Strachan, p. 55).

The world faced intractable difficulties in terms of ideology and geopolitics in the early 1900’s. The differing ideological and geopolitical tensions created conflicts that made war to be unavoidable.  Before the War, Europe had two major armed alliances. On one side was Central Power while Entente Powers on the other. The second consisted of Italy, Britain, Russia and France. This was backed b.............

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