World War I- The Great War- Who and What Caused It?

Essay by MoSePh8High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2004

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With dead bodies strewn about, and memories of gruesome battles still fresh in their minds, Europe wondered: Who caused this war? With the Triple Entente victorious over the Triple Alliance, and Germany being the most aggressive member of the Alliance, British, French, and Russian fingers all pointed to Germany, pinning upon them responsibility for the war, and demanding compensation for all loss and damage. They made this official in the Treaty of Versailles, which states that Germany is solely responsible for starting the war. However, this is simply not true, because many other a factor also contributed to the outbreak of war.

One of these factors is nationalism. Nationalism is a pride for one's roots, even if, as Machiavelli said, the country which they are from is no longer in existence. Nationalism was very strong, and it raged in the souls of many, particularly in the Balkan Peninsula. One Serbian nationalist group, the Black Hand, were so strongly against Austria-Hungary that when the heir to the throne of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was in Sarajevo he was shot and killed, along with his wife Sophie.

Austria- Hungary was of course angry and presented an ultimatum to Serbia stating that the Royal Serbian Government was not doing enough to suppress anti-Austro-Hungarian movements in their country, and that they must condemn and stop all such activity as well as propaganda promoting it. Also, Austria-Hungary stated that they would help suppress the movement (Document 3). This of course angered Serbia, who refused to comply.

With it's refusal, Serbia appealed to Russia for help, and the Russian government said that if Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, Russia would help (Document 7- Q1). Russia was allied with Britain and France, forming the Triple Entente, while Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy (who...