What factors led to the outbreak of war in 1914?

Essay by blackkatHigh School, 12th grade February 2006

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The war that broke out in 1914 was one of the worst, if not the worst, wars in human history. It had left millions dead and a scar burned into European history forever. However, if we do not identify why war broke out in 1914, stopping others wars will be impossible. Clearly, we may never know the answer to this, but many sources give many interpretations. In this essay, I will try to recognise the key factors that led the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 and try to identify the most significant of these causes.

Many historians, such as Martel, believe that it was the attitudes and views of the time that would make the outbreak of war in 1914 inevitable. The fact that everybody at the time thought that were superior to everybody else led to confidence on a national level. Everyone expected to win any future war, and war was seen as very attractive for any country, as there seemed to be far more reasons to join a war than not to.

At the turn of the twentieth century, everyone seemed to anticipate a war so that they could show the world how strong and powerful they were. This meant that people also began to adopt a very complacent view on war, believing that if there ever were a war, their country would, no doubt, win easily. This nationalism and patriotism was further encouraged by national leaders, policies and jingoism and without the internet or other world-based source of information, the only place people could look for what was going on in the world was the media of their own country. This made it even easier for governments to keep up popular nationalism up to the war. A sense of xenophobia led to a racial distrust...