"The Great War"

Essay by jamiej April 2004

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World War 1

"The Great War"

World War 1 was to be the war that ended all wars at the time. But it was not. Around 10 million people lost their lives. The cause of the war for which these millions of people died can be compared to a domino effect . One country's desire to expand engulfed an entire world in war.

We cannot begin to examine the war without first detailing the causes for the conflict. The outbreak of World War 1 was like a domino effect in some senses. Not one single event sent the countries of Europe to war, it was more of a series of events, alliances, and ideas that plunged Europe into war.

The most popular answer to the question "What caused World War 1" would be the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo. This single event did not spark war immediately but rather set off the "powder keg" of European tensions.

Emporer Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary did not care much for Ferdinand. Instead Austria-Hungary used this event as a perfect moment to try to assert it's power over the entire Balkans. Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia and demanded a response within 48 hours. Serbia agreed to most of the demands save two minor conditions. This surprised the Austro-Hungarians as they fully expected Serbia to reject their demands and use that as a sound pretext to war. Austria-Hungary even sought Germany's word that it would help in a conflict and the Germans responded enthusiastically, even encouraging war. Germany also wanted to expand it's empire and saw this as a perfect opportunity. On the 28th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This would set in motion a series of events that dragged the world...