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Conditions Of Soldiers During WWI History Essay

WWI was a horrible war. Battles were fought and lost and conditions for soldiers were not well looked after, but what most people overlook is how the war actually started. The event of one death released the pressure that had been building for a long time between Britain and Germany. One thing, lead to another thing, lead to another and before long the worst war the world had ever seen by mankind kicked off.

The pressure build-up eventsThis assessment focuses on the build-up of pressure between Britain and Germany and the cause of the release of pressure. The war was started by a few different things all seem completely irrelevant to each other at first but when you get down to it closer you can see how closely related they are.


Cause 3 - The death of Franz Ferdinand. This caused country after country to become involved.

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Cause 4 - The Schlieffen Plan. This plan by Germany was the final straw that got Britain involved.

The pressure release events

Cause 2 - Alliances. This linked groups of countries together which would cause a chain reaction in starting the war.

Cause 1 - The arms race. This built up competitiveness between Britain and Germany.

Cause: The Arms Race

The first cause of WWI is the Arms Race. This was a battle of the army and navy between Britain and Germany.

HMS DreadnoughtOriginally Britain wanted a large navy to protect its empire. It had a massive empire across the world so it needed ships to be able to go to the rest of its empire and to protect it. Also because Britain is an island without any competing countries connected to it, the first line of defence was the navy and ships at sea.

The only problem with this was that Germany also wanted a large empire. Because Britain had such a large empire they couldn't protect it all. Because they were suffering from imperial overstretch they didn't have the money to protect all the empire so it was a fairly easy target if a country wanted to attack.

Britain was becoming increasingly concerned about Germany due to the fact Germany's army and navy was rapidly increasing and was becoming far larger than the British army and navy but everything changed in 1906. The Dreadnought was developed by Britain. The Dreadnought was much stronger and faster than previous ships used by Britain and Germany, but soon after Britain released their first Dreadnought (Called HMS Dreadnought) Germany decided to copy Britain's ships and then they started to produce their own HMS Dreadnoughts.

By the first quarter of 1914 Britain had developed the Resolution Dreadnought which was slightly faster (With a top speed of 21 knots) and tougher than the original Dreadnoughts (20.9 knots). On the other hand Germany had done far better developing the Dreadnoughts. Their first Dreadnought, Nassau (With top speed of 19 knots), was far slower than the original British dreadnoughts but by the end of the arms race they had a seriously fast ship, Bayern, that was much faster than the British dreadnoughts at 22 knots.

Alex's Analysis Box

The arms race helped build up the tension between Britain and Germany. This helped cause WWI in the long term because the arms race also included a few other countries including Russia so it helped to build up tension between a few of the countries in Europe which will just make things worse when something sets all the tension off.

Cause: Alliances

Countries started to form alliances to help protect themselves in case of an attack. This became a major part of starting WWI because as soon as 1 country became involved, another country had to become involved, followed by another.

Alliances that effected WWI

Alex's Analysis Box

The Alliances was sure to cause many problems. With all the alliances in effect all it needed was a spark from 1 country being forced to start a war and then other countries would be forced to follow. I this cause of WWI is one of the most important causes because without it only a couple countries would end up getting involved then it wouldn't be a world war. Because of this loads of countries got involved which caused the world war.

Cause: Death of Franz Ferdinand

The death of Franz Ferdinand was, some may argue, the spark that caused the explosion of WWI. From 1 small death country after country released their long time build up and WWI was started.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of AustriaThe assassination of Franz Ferdinand was at first looking to be quick and easy. Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, to celebrate their 14th Wedding Anniversary were to drive down the streets in an open topped limousine. The seven inexperienced assassins were lined up along the streets armed with guns and bombs ready to kill Franz Ferdinand. The first assassin, Mehmed Mehmedbaši, could not get a clear line of shoot so he decided not to shoot in fear of alerting the authorities of the operation so the car passed safely past him.

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Further down the road the second assassin, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, threw a bomb at the car. He missed Franz Ferdinand and the driver sped up in panic. The bomb ended up hitting the car behind Franz Ferdinand and blowing it up. The assassin took a cyanide pill and jumped in the River Miljacka. He survived though, the cyanide had no effect and the river was only 4 inches deep and he was dragged out by an angry crowd. The car safely passed the rest of the assassins unharmed as they looked on it in shock.

Later on Franz Ferdinand decided he wanted to see the injuries of Cabrinovic's bomb and went to the hospital to check the injuries. Unfortunately the driver accidently took a wrong turn down. As the driver realised this and backed up they somehow happened to pass Gavrilo Princip, one of the assassins. He realised his opportunity, walked up to the car and with 2 shots Franz Ferdinand and his wife were dead. Princip, like Cabrinovic took a cyanide pill but like his, it was ineffective.

Gavrilo PrincipThey were both arrested and beaten by police officers. They later died in prison of tuberculosis.

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the spark for the powder keg in Europe that was ready to blow. Events very quickly went out of control and WWI was started.

Alex's Analysis Box

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the main spark for WWI. This along with the alliances could start a war, with the other causes on top it helped to create one of the biggest wars ever seen. It is surprising that such a small event could kick of a worldwide disaster and it would not have done anything without all the alliances, it would have just caused outrage in a few countries.

Cause: The Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan was a plan by the Germans created in the early 20th century for a war where they would have to fight France on the west and Russia on the East.

This plan nearly made the Germans win in the first month of WWI but, because of a couple modifications made before the war and the Russians moving faster than the Germans at originally anticipated, it ended up causing WWI to go on a lot longer than originally planned.

Map of the Schlieffen PlanThe Schlieffen plan said that to get to France, if they go through Belgium to get there it would be easier for the army to get across because Belgium is very flat and they don't have a very large army, as a result it shouldn't take long to get through Belgium. If they quickly attack France and then go back across Germany to attack Russia they would just have to worry about Britain.

Alex's Analysis Box

The Schlieffen plan was a good idea in theory but when taken into action it didn't quite work out as planned. The Germans were a bit unprepared in the sense that they didn't come up with alternatives plan's just in the event that something goes wrong, like it did. Unfortunately, when Germany actually carried the plan out it didn't quite go to plan. As soon as they attacked Belgium, the Belgians were braver than they had originally expected. The Belgians were not going to give up there country without a fight. Not much longer after Germany attacked Belgium, the British sent over their Expeditionary Force to France and Belgium which the Germans had not been expecting. Also Russia sorted themselves out quicker than Germany thought they would, due to the masses of train lines Russia had built. So all of a sudden they were being attacked by France and Britain from the West and Russia from the East.


After the Schlieffen plan had failed all the pressure in Europe exploded into WWI. Britain and Germany fought each other on sea with their Dreadnoughts and on land with their armies. Russia continued to attack on the East and France on the West and Britain in France and Belgium, soon after far more countries ended up involved due to all the alliances. This includes:

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