The long term and short term causes of World War 1 and how each player became involved in the Great War

Essay by run_e_1High School, 10th gradeA-, May 2008

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In 1914 World War I began. There were several causes of this war, and they could be divided into long and short term causes. The long term causes were imperialism, alliances, nationalism and militarism. The short term cause, which acted as a trigger to the Great War was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. (Humanities Alive 4, pp 4-5) All the long term causes of the Great War were significant but perhaps the most noteworthy was militarism, which is the development of large and powerful military forces.

In the early 20th century Germany had the strongest and largest army in the world. Britain dominated the oceans, and both countries were working furiously to better each other in both aspects. (Humanities Alive 4, pp 5) The contest between the countries with large military forces built up conflict and tension, breeding mistrust and hatred between the nations and alliances. This conflict was greatest between Britain and Germany and both counties had no reservations about going to war with the other.

There was great suspicion between the two. This brought the two countries and their alliances one step closer to war. The other larger nations in Europe were intent on increasing their military strength though conscription and also through new warfare technologies as well. (Humanities Alive 4, pp 5) This put the whole of Europe on edge and ready to fight and go to war. This frenzy for building up military force was encouraged by nationalism, the development of loyalty to your country.

Nationalism began to develop in Europe in the 1800's and helped to form alliances between countries that had a similar culture and spoke the same languages. Nationalism also created conflict between countries that had very different customs and beliefs. Nationalism caused many large disputes between countries that could have been...