Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Causes of WW 1

World War I (WWI) was supposed to be the war to end all wars but unfortunately it wasn't to be. But, I digress; for today I will be explaining the reasons for the bloody conflict. For example, before the war tensions had began to rise when the divided states in what is now Germany banded together and solidified into a nation. The city states and small kingdoms in Italy soon followed suit. Both of these actions were backed by a growing and then a strong sense of nationalism which was based on their belief that collectively they could run things better than the current rulers. These unified nations needed to make a place for themselves in the universe by establishing a power base. Therefore many nations banded together to form alliances and groups. They formed coalitions that carried over to pacts in war. Germany took the two closest countries (Austria-Hungry, and Russia) and made them allies because of their natural distrust of France and in an attempt to cut France off from the rest of Europe. Germany convinced its Austria-Hungarian and Russian partners that France was a potential threat. That paranoid group was called the Three Emperor's League. Next Germany increased its group of "friends" by taking advantage of France's Imperialistic ideas. This was achieved when France occupied Tunisia grabbing more land and resources to fill its needs. Since Tunisia is close to Italy and Italy's government already didn't like France, they were easy to convince that France was a threat. Germany convinced them that they would protect Italy from France should they go to war, but only if it became an ally of Germany. Later on Germany came to put Russia lower in its list of notable super powers. The leader of Germany, Bismark, got replaced by Kaiser William II who was responsible for the exclusion of Russia from the alliances. Seizing its chance, France forged an alliance with the newly neutral Russia. France and Britian finally stopped their rivalry and worked together to expand the alliance: France, Russia and Britain.

But to insure that the army that did go to war would win, both sides developed better arms. For example, on all sides artillery was improved. Another thing worth mentioning is the first use of mustard gas. As a result WWI developed better mines, more powerful grenades, bi-planes for scouting and bombing, bolt-action rifles, the Maxim machine gun, and flares.

There were two crises for control one in Moracco and one in Bosnia. When France wanted Moracco, that meant that not only Germany but its alliances had to go to war, too. Everyone made a compromise to avoid war. However, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian empire was killed in Bosnia by a Serbian nationalist, who was affliated with an organization called the Black Hand. Directly afterwards Germany as a sign of its grief and friendship said they would back Austria all the way. As a result of this backing Austria felt stronger and decleard war on Serbia. This conflict involved Austria-Hungary, Russia, Germany, Britain and France. It seemed as though they whold western world was at war, hence the name World War I.