The 19th and 20th centuries saw enormous changes to the world and in particular Europe. Industrialisation brought about competition between countries such as Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary who were looking to have the most successful economy. These Countries became the great powers of Europe and the race for power was to bring about a catastrophic event, the First World War. This essay will examine conflicting evidence that will show who was responsible for the war. The background history will also be explored in order to show the main causes.
It is significant to explore the state of affairs in each of the main countries during the build up to the First World War. The British Empire had grown enormously and included large parts of Africa, all of India, Pakistan, Burma and Malaya (Conflict and Cooperation 1900 -1920s, Online, 2006). London was the financial capital of the world and rapid industrialisation had allowed Britain to have the largest navy fleet in the world (Conflict and Cooperation 1900 -1920s, Online, 2006).
As Britain looked to expand through colonisation so did others, and this along with a drop in industrial growth began to overstretch British resources. As Darby states, "Manufacturing output fell from a 23 percent world share in 1880 to 19 percent in 1913" (Darby G, 2003, p13) .
This decline saw Germany and the U.S.A move ahead of Britain. Germany had industrialised rapidly considering that the unification of all the minor states only occurred in 1870, the Bismarck Era (Darby G, 2003, p7). Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany concentrated on maintaining the unification, using his domestic policies. The Foreign policies at this time were very diplomatic earning Bismarck the title of supreme statesman although when Bismarck stepped down under the rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the foreign...