"Was war inevitable after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand?"

Essay by SebiliyonHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2004

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Wars have been fought over many matters which may seem trivial to some yet have enough importance to others that they would be willing to die for the nationalistic goals of their leaders. The validity of this statement may not be present in every war but was certainly exercised in the First World War. There are claims accusing factors such as the alliances, the many treaties between each country, Germany's foreign policy of "Weltpolitik" and Russia's concern to restore pride within her borders as the causes of this massive conflict. These undoubtedly contributed to the upbringing of war, as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand did. However due to the size of it, it can be easily said that it was a combination of both long and short term causes that each country had within itself, its' leaders and other territories that led to mass warfare, not solely the immediate causes.

The alliances could be seen as an intricate net of secret and somewhat public diplomatic relations that could (and would) cause a minor dispute between two belligerent states to escalate into a multi-national catastrophe. Even so Europe had been nigh to such a disaster years before, notably the Bosnian Crisis of 1909. In this time period war also seemed only a gun-shot away with some of the same countries that were to be at war five years later (Germany/Austria-Hungary and Russia/Serbia). Imanuel Geiss suggested that this could have been "the first move in a programme leading to the eventual partition of Serbia itself." Which was (in the end) one of the effects the Great War had on Serbia.

After the assassination it can be argued that the alliances did determine each country's actions. Austria and Germany were allies so Germany would obviously back Austria in her war against Serbia and...