What were the long range and immediate causes of WWI?

Essay by TheMan123High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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From 1871 to 1814, European great powers such as France, Germany or England, but also other European countries, did not encounter any major wars. Indeed, the only military action was taking place in the non Western world with wars of conquest in Africa for instance. Nevertheless, this long period of peace was not as stable as it may seem: some tensions rose between countries in Western Europe, creating new alliances, and several crises in the Balkans could have quickly led to a major war. Finaly, on June 28 1914, the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand from Austria and his wife by a terrorist Organization in Sarajevo was the last straw. As Austria declared war to Serbia on July 28, great powers, like Russia that was determined to fight against Germany and Austria but also France, eager to gain back Alsace Lorraine and later England, defending Belgium's neutrality, joined a war that soon became World War I.

Germany's economical importance intimidated other countries. Indeed, Bismarck, who feared that France and Russia allied against them, signed a defensive alliance with Austria in 1879 and later with Italy named the "Triple Alliance". Indeed, in North Africa, France had dangerous colonial ambitions for Italy, which therefore made the decision to ally with Germany and Austria. Even though German Bismarck had kept a separate treaty with Russia to improve relations, it was soon canceled because considered incompatible with the Germany-Austria alliance. As expected, France and Russia allied together and German foreign policies made the British to improve relations with France. In 1907, a "Triple Entente" was created between the three countries, which goal was to make a consequent opposition to the Triple Alliance of Germany.

A Bosnian crisis started in 1908 when Austria decided to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina, even though the two...