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Three Main Causes of World War I

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Three Main Causes of World War I

While we are always reminded of the negative effects of war, it is not everyday that we learn to understand the deeper factors of war that can turn a small conflict into an international outbreak. World War I was said to have been sparked by the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand but there are various deeper reasons that contributed to the commencement of the Great War. These factors include militarism, imperialism and the alliance systems.

The first reason for the eruption of World War I was militarism. Militarism is the act of building up armies for threats against other countries Ð'- taking over new territory Ð'- and protection from other countries who decide to invade. In the 1900's, the two strongest countries Ð'- Germany and Britain Ð'- decided to create a Naval Race. While Germany had a stronger Ð''ground' army, Britain had better naval protection with Dreadknought class ships. Because of this advantage, Germany decided to outdo Britain and build their own Dreadknought class battleships. As both countries tried to build more battleships than the other, tensions rose and tempers flared. When Germany and Britain finally stopped building their battleships, they had nothing to do but wait. Neither country wanted to be responsible for purposely starting a conflict between the countries, but both wanted to prove their strength and power through war. When a Serbian assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Britain were finally able to show off their marvelous defense at the expense of millions of innocent people. It is clear that militarism exposed the worst qualities of the German and British Empires, which set the stage for one of the worst wars to ever be experienced by humankind.

Another cause of the Great War was widespread imperialism. While imperialism was not uncommon at the turn of the century, it was not until after, that it created enormous problems for European countries and beyond. Countries such as Britain and Germany discovered that having several different countries under control of their Empire, provided boundless economic opportunities; they had unlimited access to raw materials and manufactured goods and received enormous profits for exportations. It was not simply the act of being faithful to one's Empire that caused the war; it was the concepts of security, strength, the prosperity of the economy and power, brought on by imperialism, that corrupted the minds of many. The Empiring Government would have the responsibility to provide security to the smaller, weaker countries it had control over. This was achieved by strength through armies and naval protection, which gave the Empire a boost of confidence. As the Empire would have total control over the countries it protected, it would be provided with a false sense of absolute power. All these example led to the sense of invincibility in the Empires. This sense of invincibility grew into a desire to prove oneself as more powerful than anyone else who dare challenge, and of course, there was no better method than war. When the Archduke was assassinated, the Empires were finally given the opportunity to prove their worth through war. While most of the countries under control of the Empires had never fought in a large war, the power of their Empires instilled hope and determination, where a victory was sure to occur. While hope and determination are wonderful, they were rooted from power, which only leads to self-destruction. Imperialism was the cause of this self-destruction, which is otherwise known as



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