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World War One Essay (1 Viewer)



The Causes of World War One

World War One left 9,906,000 soldiers dead, 21,219,000 soldiers wounded and 7,750,000 soldiers missing. It was a worldwide conflict between the Allied Powers of France, Russia, Britain, Italy and the United States versus the Central Powers of Germany, Austria Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. The three causes of the war were the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, widespread militarism and economic imperialism.
The first cause of World War One was that on June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and her wife. Princip was part of the group called the Black Hand, who wanted Serbia to be independent from Austria Hungary. Austria Hungary wanted Serbia to comply with demands to punish those who were responsible for the assassination and when Serbia failed to comply, Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Since Serbia was an ally to the Allied Powers, the Allied Powers declared war on Austria Hungary which meant a declaration of war against the Central Powers. Ferdinand’s assassination acted as a chain reaction that led to both alliances declaring war on each other.
Widespread militarism was the second cause of World War One. Aristocrats, dictators and military elites had too much control over Russia, Germany and Austria and the war was a consequence of their desire for military power. Britain’s Royal Navy was stronger than both Germany and Austria Hungary’s Navy combined in terms of the amount of personnel, ships and carrying capacity. Since aristocrats in Germany and Austria knew that they were losing the arms race, they decided that the only way to ever catch up to Britain’s Royal Navy was to declare war.
The third cause of World War One is economic imperialism. Great Britain and France maintained their domestic economies through their control and trade with foreign colonies. Germany and Austria Hungary barely had any foreign colonies and their domestic resources were rapidly exhausting. In order to maintain their domestic economy, they had to look for more resources and the only way they could achieve that goal was to expand their territory. Germany could not find seek other colonies because there were few colonies left worth settling into. France and Great Britain had most of Africa and Southern Asia like India under their control. The competition for expanding markets to sustain their domestic economies was as a result the third cause of World War One.
Therefore, the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the desire to maintain power and a strong military, and the competition for foreign resources for economical sustainability were the three causes of World War One. David Stevenson, a British historian, said, “A self-reinforcing cycle of heightened military preparedness was an essential element in the conjuncture that led to disaster. The armaments race was a necessary precondition for the outbreak of hostilities." He could not have been closer to the truth.


Very interesting essay. I didn't heard about Gavrilo Princi and Black Hand group. I agree with reasons especially with the economic imperialism, probably it's the main reason.


Senior Member
I do, I believe you have done a good job here. Sure, there are things I would write different but it's not my essay. Good work. Keep it going, there is more coming ?
Oh, put a bit of space in between your paragraphs, makes it easier to read.


Senior Member
I think you covered the main reasons WWI began very well. Here are two lesser know reasons.

1. Deployment Strategies

During this era, a country wishing to wage war upon its neighbors did not have the transportation capacity that many modern armies enjoy today. As such, it was impractical, if not impossible for a small division of troops to march off and wage war on its own and hope to remain well equiped and supplied. Entire armies had to be mobilized in order to wage even the briefest engagement. Austria-Hungary mobilizes its ENTIRE army. With this many troops about to enter the fray, France is compelled to do the same in order to fend them off. It is easy to see how this cycle escalates tensions!

2. Communication Advances

The telegraph came into mainstream use a few years prior to the outbreak of war. Diplomats were were used to taking a few days, if not weeks when sending a message to another nation. The telegraph enable comunication to occur in a matter of hours. Diplomats from both sides were not used to responding this quickly to questions from other nations, so they would not respond immediatly to the query of a potential enemy. The potential enemy would assume that this delay signified a break in diplomatic relations, a sign that war is imminent. Troops would be committed to the attack before a response came back.

I hope you find this interesting and helpful.


Senior Member
The Treaty of Versailles wasn't until 1919 though, so it can hardly be described as a cause of WW1, although it was definitely a contributing factor to WW2.


I think it is a very fine essay. I am going to point out a few things that I saw, but they are more in how each person approaches the topic and not criticism of the essay itself.

First, I think you could go just a little further to explain the complexity of the many alliances between nations at that time. It could go a long way to explaining how a thing such as an assassination could spark a world war.

Second, I think it would also help to discuss the rise in nationalism that was taking place during this time within many of the countries (see Serbia).

However the discussion of Imperialism and Militarism is on the money.

---- Off Topic ---

One fun fact: During the treaty after the war, a little known man named Ho Chi Mien went to France to petition for freedom from France for his country. The French denied him and he went home to plan a revelation to the colonial rule.


i like the fact its short. I usually go on and on when writing/talking about historical events.