What caused World War 1
Comprehensive information about "What caused
World War 1": The causes of World War 1 can be differentiated into
varying sections. To asume that the attack in Sarajevo against Franz
Ferdinand is the decisive point that World War 1 came to be is
overstating the political significance of a regional attack in what was
a backwater of Europe at the time.
Therefore, it's a good idea to divide the war causes
into the following sections:
The following possible causes in each area are listed
What caused World War 1? - Foreign policy -
Before World War 1 began, there were already lots of
tensions between the great powers, triggered by blinkered thinking, a
desire for alliance and all the promises that an expansionist colonial
policy brought with it. Secondly, there was something of a power-vacuum
in the Balkan region of Europe.
Imperialist policies on the part of Germany and
Austria-Hungary provided further tensions. Germany's colonial activities,
particularly in Africa were a source of distrust for both Great Britain
and France. In the 19th century, the three powers had been in stiff
competition with each other to establish colonies worldwide. In Asia,
the USA, Russia and Japan were locked in similar battles.
The inevitable consequence of this was an arms race,
with all the powers trying to make bigger and better weapons.
Another possible cause is Germany's foreign policy.
Germany percieved itself as being encircled by enemies, and felt
threatened as a result. As a result, the German government rejected
talks of agreement on spheres of influence and limitations on developing
new arms (see World War 1 Summary)
This policy of retaining a 'free hand' thus is a
trigger for World War 1. Germany did not desire to be limited, but
rather indulge in an aggressive foreign policy which would increase the
nation's standing on a global stage.
What caused World War 1? - Domestic policy -
Within Germany, the public was supportive of this
nationalist policy. There was a strong public feeling for imperialism
and the need to have the weaponry and army to go with it in order to
enforce this policy – a clear cause for World War 1.
Internal issues in Russia and Austria-Hungary (mainly
bought about due to long-overdue and much-needed political reform) is
also regarded as a cause. All the states involved in World War 1 had a
distinct nationalist atmosphere prior to World War 1.
What caused World War 1? - Political economy -
From an economic perspective, the pursuite of
creating and maintaining profitable markets abroad can be seen as a
cause of World War 1. The industrial-capitalist economy required a
regular flow of cheap goods in order to run and profit.
The dynamic arms race also favoured a healthy
mercantile industry, with armed exports and goods proving to be good for
the coffers of the USA and Australia.
What caused World War 1? - Socio-political policies
In Germany, there was a strong belief that any war
would be quick and over before it even really started (see
World War 1). This can be seen as a cause as the belief that the war
would be 'easy' made it attractive. Additionally, there was a cult of
cultural pessimissm in Germany, which left many young Germans hungry for
Social Darwinism was also a cause of World War 1,
with its subtle undertones of 'survival of the fittest'.
Finally, it must be noted that the listed causes of
World War 1 are in no way complete, but merely provide a glimpse into
the atmosphere of the time. From a scientific point of view, many of
these reasons are controversial and require a more in-depth anaylsis.
What cannot be disputed, however, is that across the
world, people have decided that these are some of the reasons, and
possibly even the most important factors. You can read more here: The
Causes of WW1