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Causes For First World War

First World War Research

Kartik khanna

on 13 November 2011

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Transcript of Causes For First World War

Causes of First World War Germany Rising industrial power Vibrant and dynamic Young Country- formed in 1871 Outstripping British production in 1914
2nd in the World after USA Defeated France in 1871 Franco-Prussian War France Therefore demand for raw materials rising Absolute Monarchy-
Kaiser Wilhelm I (1871-88) Kaiser Wilhelm II (1988-1918) Dominated by chancellor Bismarck (1871-1890) Strong Military +
military tradtion Took Alsace-Lorraine from France Want to become recognised as a great power Rising Population
- very young & forward looking Wanted Germany's 'place in the Sun' Expansionist ambitions Strong mental belief that Germany would decline w/o expansion Africa Balkans Weltpolitik
-after Bismarck Changed European B.O.P Unified Germany in central position in Europe Was in a position of LATENT HEGEMONY Most of European trade flows through Germany H/e was not so powerful that it
could be overly aggressive Wanted to conolidate Germany in Europe, and secure continuing prosperity etc. HAD TO KEEP FRANCE WEAK! Maintain European alliances w/ Russia and Austria-Hungary
- Deny France allies
- Prevent possible two front War
- Keep France internationally isolated
-Maintain European Peace
- Consolidate Germany & ensure economic growth and prosperity Dreikaiserbund (1873-78) Fell apart after Russian successes against Ottoman Empire Congress of Berlin (1878) pulled it apart when Russia humiliated Dual Alliance (1879) Military alliance w/ unstable A-H Tied Germany tightly to A-H
- troubles in Balkans (could drag Germany into a War w/ Russia) Triple Alliance (1882) Italy joined Double Alliance
-Angry at French occupation of Tripoli Kept France Isolated Very strong Military Psyche in Germany "Better a Healthy war than a Morbid peace"
-German Diplomat (1888) Part of the alliance system
-vs Triple Entente Highly organised Military High Command drew up Schlieffen Plan- to knock France out of the War before coming to bear on Russia "War by Timetable" Limited possible responses to crises- had to mobilise army before France etc. -therefore military decisions began to determine political responses to crises. Ottoman Empire Sick man of Europe Ottoman Empire in RAPID DECLINE Imperialism "Expansion is everything"
-Cecil Rhodes Nationalism in Balkans caused Ottoman Empire to lose much of its empire in the Balkans Russia and A-H had ambitions in Balkans
-Russia: Pan-Slavism + access to warm water ports and the Mediterranean
-A-H: Nationalism threatened stability of it's multi-national empire

Germany also had ambitions for the Balkans
-Baghdad Railway would give Germany access to Middle East
-Saw it's alliance with unstable A-H as a way of asserting influence into the Balkans Russian and German aims in Balkans worried Britain
Russia--> worried that Russian access to Middle East (Turkey) and Balkans would threaten Suez and by extension the Empire

Germany--> Same reason + Naval Rivalries + Worry about german access to Midlle East would threaten India Spark for the War National interests in Balkans:
Serbia- newly independant wanted to create a Slavic bloc in the Balkans (Yugoslavia)
Balkan League- 1912 +1913 Balkan Wars de-establised the region VERY UNSTABLE REGION
lots of National interests
lots of unrest and change Serbia was a major threat to A-H's stability
-Nationalist groups within A-H agitating for self-determination
-Serbia (supported by Russia) supported these groups
-Therefore should A-H move against Serbia, war with Russia possible
-Might drag Germany into the War
-Drag France in the War
-Schlieffen Plan- Belgium invaded
-Would drag Britain into the War

-Leads To GENERAL EUROPEAN WAR Nationalism -Reflected the Diplomatic situation in Europe
-France sought overseas prestige to recoup loss in 1871
-Britain wanted to maintain India- Eqypt+ South Africa etc. safeguarded naval routes to India
-Germany seeking to reflect their new status in Europe with overseas prestige (w/ Empires) --> Great Power status requirement
-Military- Overseas troops could help the empire (1m Indian Sepoys fought for Britain) Antagonised Britain (Boer Wars) Colonial rivalries exacerbated Continental rivalries:

Britain vs Germany
-German support for Boers
-German support for France against Britain

France vs Germany
-Morrocco Crises:
-1905: Crisis provoked in order to try and get influence in Morrocco.
H/e Algericas Conference showed that Weltpolitik was weak (Gr forced
to back down)
-1908: Agadir crisis- testing new Triple Entente
Failed- only small portion of Congo given to compensate Germany Britain see Germany as a threat to the Balance of Power (aggressive actions)
Therefore these events cause closer French-British co-operation
1907: Triple Entente (closer to France)
1911: Closer to France- war plans exchanged + alliance w/ Russia considered Russia VERY ECONOMICALLY BACKWARD Military + Industry undeveloped and very outdated H/e large army seen as a big threat by Germany --> Schlieffen Plan Outlet for European tensions? 1905: Russo- Japanese War
-Led to Social upheaval in Russia
-Massive loss of Prestige
-Led to Tsar trying to act more aggressive?
-Prove himself?
-Redeem loses in the East?
-In Balkans? French and Russian Military Alliance
-Threat of Two fronts for Germany
-Gave France an ally against Germany
-Overestimated strength of Russia? Led to isolation of Germany Voelker Berghan: "Military decisions becoming independant of Parliament" Fleet building
-Strengthened Br- Gr rivalry Britain Strategic Overstretch
-Paul Kennedy Focused on Empire- HAD TO KEEP INDIA SAFE
-Expansion in Africa (to keep routes to India Safe)
-Fear of Germany + Russia in Mid-East (India threatened)
-Splendid Isolation- didn't commit in Europe (focus on Empire)
+Prevent any European power achieving European Hegemony (Germany
or Russia)- could threaten Empire/ Britain Funded Balkan League
-Threatened A-H (thus threatened B.O.P) Saw German aggression as primary threat to B.O.P Saw Russia as a primary threat (Great Game + Crimean War)
Allied w/ Russia- curb Russia + help rein in Germany HAD to go to war in order to protect interests:
-Great Power Status (prevent isolation)
-Maintain B.O.P in Europe
-Prevent European Isolation Austria-Hungary 1908 Bosnia Crisis
A-H annex Bosnia & Herzegovina- to quell nationalist feeling in the Empire Germany support A-H
Russia forced to back down from supporting Serbia Serbia- decides to act further?
Germany show that they are willing to support A-H Multi-national empire
Archaic & Outdated Nationalist feelings threaten stability- Serbia a thorn in their side Staffel Plans
-Relied on Germany
-Directed against Serbia and Russia A-H invaded Serbia (28 July) after assassination of Archduke on 28 June 1914 Russia mobilise in response Germany mobilise after Russia refuse to stop

Move against France after they refuse to stay neutral (3rd)

Invade Belgium (Schlieffen Plan)

Britain declare war on Germany (4th) 'Revanche' against Germany NEEDED Ally against Germany
To keep peace in Europe + curb aggressions
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