Corbin nation having extreme confidence in their governments

Corbin 1

Brandon Corbin

Challenge III

Stacey Smith


World War I

     World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global conflict which took
place from 1914 to 1918. The war was fought by two major alliances: The Allied
Powers, which included Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan,
and the United States who fought against the Central Powers, which consisted of
Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. By the end of the war, due
to “new military technologies and the horrors of trench warfare”, the total
number of casualties, both military and civilian, was about 37 million: 16
million dead and 21 million wounded. There were both long-term and immediate
factors that led to the beginning of war; including imperialism, nationalism,
the arms race, and the assassination of Archduke Frances Ferdinand,
who was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

was a great amount of tension between the countries of Europe for more than
fifty years before conflict broke out. One of the causes of this tension was
imperialism. After the increase in manufacturing caused by the Industrial Revolution,
Great Britain, Germany, and France needed foreign markets for raw materials.
These countries competed for economic development in Africa, China, India, and
the Middle East. Although Britain and France resolved


their differences in Africa,
several crises before the war involved Germany against Britain and France in
North Africa. In the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, which was quickly
deteriorating, was of interest to Austria-Hungary, the Balkans, and Russia, who
sought territory. This led to even more conflicts. Each European country’s
desire for power and expansion was one of the main causes of World War I.

     Another factor that contributed to the
rivalry in Europe that eventually led to war was nationalism. Nationalism is an
extreme form of patriotism and loyalty to one’s country. Nationalists ideals
dominated European thought throughout the 20th century, which
resulted in the citizens of each nation having extreme confidence in their
governments and military power. These ideas made each nation’s citizens believe
that “their country was fair, righteous, and without blame,” and also convinced
them that they were being threatened by the “… imperialism of its rivals.” Although
there were many nationalist movements throughout Europe, no nationalist movement
had a greater impact in the outbreak of the war than Slavic groups in the
Balkans. Many Slavic people in Eastern Europe believed that they should have
their own nation. Slavic nationalism was particularly strong in Serbia where
many young Serbians joined radical nationalist groups such as the Black Hand. These
groups sought to create a “unified state for all Slavic people”, free from
Austria-Hungary’s influence. “It was this pan-Slavic nationalism that inspired
the assassination of Archduke Frances Ferdinand… an event that led directly to
the outbreak of World War I.”                                                                                                                                                                                 



     The growing feeling that war may break out
led to an arms race, which was another cause of World War I. Acknowledging that
Germany had the best military, the powers of Europe copied them with large
reserves and detailed planning. Technological and organizational developments
led to the formation of groups with precise plans for mobilization and attack
that often could not be reversed once they were begun. The German von
Schlieffen Plan to attack France before Russia in the event of war with Russia
was one such complicated plan that drew more countries into war than necessary.
Armies and navies were greatly expanded. The standing armies of France and
Germany doubled in size between 1870 and 1914. Naval expansion was also extremely
competitive, particularly between Great Britain and Germany. By 1889, the
British had established the principle that in order to maintain naval
superiority in the event of war they would have to have a navy two and a half
times as large as the second-largest navy. This made the British launch the
Dreadnought, invented by Admiral Sir John Fisher, in 1906. As Britain made many
more battleships, Germany increased their naval production speed, including
Dreadnought production. Although efforts for worldwide disarmament were made at
The Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, rivalry caused the arms race to

     Europe had reached its breaking point when
on June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian
throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist
belonging to an organization known as the Black Hand. Immediately following the
assassination, Germany pledged its full support to Austria-Hungary, pressuring
them to declare war on Serbia, while France strengthened its backing of Russia.
Convinced that the Serbian


government had made plans
against them, Austria-Hungary issued Serbia an unfair ultimatum, to which Serbia
agreed almost entirely. Unsatisfied, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on
July 28th, 1914. On July 29th, Russia ordered a partial
mobilization only against Austria-Hungary in support of Serbia, which escalated
into a full mobilization. The Germans threatened war on July 31st if
the Russians did not demobilize. Upon being asked by Germany what it would do
in the event of a war between Russia and Germany, France replied that it would
act in its own interests and mobilized. On August 1st, Germany declared
war on Russia, and two days later, on France. The German invasion of Belgium to
attack France, violated Belgium’s official neutrality, which prompted Britain to
declare war on Germany. World War I had officially begun.

were many factors that led to the start of World War I. Economic and imperial
competition and fear of war triggered military alliances and an arms race,
which further escalated the tension between the nations of Europe. Nationalism
in the 20th century dominated the European spirit and led to each
nation resenting the others. The event that led to the outbreak of war however,
was the assassination of the heir of Austria-Hungry, Archduke Frances Ferdinand.
This single event caused a chain reaction that plunged most of Europe into war
within weeks and marked the beginning of one of the most horrific wars in history.
The events of the First World
War have the changed geographic, political, and social aspects of the world


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