The Causes of World War 1

Essay by specialK255High School, 10th grade June 2004

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Bismarck is reported as having said towards the end of his life "If ever there is another war in Europe it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans". While it is humanities greatest wish for war never to be fought, there are times when such a wish is impossible. Arguably, World War 1 was one of those times. Without a doubt, the events beginning around the turn of the century and until 1914 had every effect on starting the war. Ranging from establishing new nations, and high profile assassinations, the first fourteen years of the twentieth century in Europe were those of great turmoil - politcally and militarily.

Establishing just cause and responsibility for the Great War however, is not such a clear cut task. It cannot be denied that nearly every involved country in Europe was at least partially responsible for the War, though which country bears the greatest responsibility is a near impossibility to determine.

World War 1 involved many countries, with little or no clear cut definition of good, bad, or evil, which only serves to complicate the matter further. The purpose of this essay is not to determine who is evil or good. That is a choice that one has to make on their own. All this look at the Causes of World War 1 is trying to do is present the facts in an unbiased manner, to provide an accurate base on which to make one's judgements.

While the war didn't officially begin until 1914, the events which triggered it were set in motion nearly one hundred years prior to the first declarations by the 1815 Congress of Vienna. The defeat of Napoleon and the French brought about the beginning of the Congress of Vienne. The Congress was called in order...