The Origins of The First World War
This is an essay on the origins of the First World War. Here I will explain what, when and where it happened, but more importantly why.
The main short-term cause was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip. Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austrian throne and so Austria declared war on Gavrilos' home country Serbia. The Serbs wanted independence from their ruling Austria and Russia had already said that they would help out Serbia if Serbia were invaded. Russia was also keen on expanding its borders and saw it as a way of getting at its rival Austria. When he was assassinated the two main world powers, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente which I will explain about later, fought for each other because of their alliance system. This dragged in everyone so the world was then at war.
However this whole situation had been brewing for a number of years.
In 1870 Germany became united and ambitious, it increased its prestige. It wanted to be a massive world power and France then lost land in Alsace and Lorraine. So 44 years before the war even began two countries hated each other. Nine years later Austria and Germany formed an alliance. Austria was in disarray and needed some strength because of the threat posed by rebels and what was perceived as a helper towards them, the Russians. Italy then joined seeking power and the Triple Alliance was formed. In 1893 France and Russia formed and alliance, they claimed that it was to stop Germany invading but the alliance saw it as a threat. In 1907 the Triple Entente was formed and two major powers were born.
Great Britain was at that time the...