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Causes Of WWI And Ottoman Empire History Essay

2841 words (11 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilisation of its vast army in her defence, a slow process that would take around six weeks to complete.

Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty, viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary, and after scant warning declared war on Russia on 1 August.

France, bound by treaty to Russia, found itself at war against Germany and, by extension, on Austria-Hungary following a German declaration on 3 August.  Germany was swift in invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route. [2] 

Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a “moral obligation” upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August.  Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty. With Germany’s invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King’s appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium’s defence later that day. [3]   Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary.

With Britain’s entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.

United States President Woodrow Wilson declared a U.S. policy of absolute neutrality, an official stance that would last until 1917 when Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare – which seriously threatened America’s commercial shipping forced the U.S. to finally enter the war on 6 April 1917.

Japan, honouring a military agreement with Britain, declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914. [4]   Two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan.

Italy, although allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary, was able to avoid entering the fray by citing a clause enabling it to evade its obligations to both.  In short, Italy was committed to defend Germany and Austria-Hungary only in the event of a ‘defensive’ war; arguing that their actions were ‘offensive’ she declared instead a policy of neutrality.  The following year, in May 1915, she finally joined the conflict by siding with the Allies against her two former allies.

Quest for raw materials and colonial

Economic competition between Germany and United Kingdom [5] 

Acceleration of the arms race

Interstate blocs

Conflicts of interest on the Balcans between Russia and Austria

France wants to get back Alsos-Loren from The Germany

Changed in world political balance by Germany and Italy

The growth of nationalism across Europe

Unresolved territorial disputes

Intricate system of alliances

The perceived breakdown of the balance of power in Europe

Misperceptions of intent the German belief the United Kingdom would remain neutral

Convoluted and fragmented governance

Delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications

Arms races of the previous decades

Previous military planning

Imperial and colonial rivalry for wealth, power and prestige

Economic and military rivalry in industry and trade

The various categories of explanation for World War I correspond to different historians’ overall methods. Most historians and popular commentators include causes from more than one category of explanation to provide a rounded account of the causes of the war. The deepest distinction among these accounts is that between stories which find it to have been the inevitable and predictable outcome of certain factors, and those which describe it as an arbitrary and unfortunate mistake. In attributing causes for the war, historians and academics had to deal with an unprecedented flood of memoirs and official documents, released as each country involved tried to avoid blame for starting the war. [6] Early releases of information by governments, particularly those released for use by the “Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War” were shown to be incomplete and biased. In addition some documents, especially diplomatic cables between Russia and France, were found to have been doctored. Even in later decades however, when much more information had been released, historians from the same culture have been shown to come to differing conclusions on the causes of the war.

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The causes of World War I, which began in central Europe in July 1914, included many intertwined factors, such as the conflicts and antagonisms of the four decades leading up to the war. Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well. However, the immediate origins of the war lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914, casus belli for which was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, an irredentist Serb.

The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic clashes between the Great Powers over European and colonial issues in the decade before 1914 that had left tensions high. In turn these diplomatic clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867. The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary competed with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties.The topic of the causes of the World War I is one of the most studied in all of world history. Scholars have differed significantly in their interpretations of the event.

Such were the mechanics that brought the world’s major nations into the war at one time or another.  It’s clear from the summary above that the alliance system was as much at fault as anything in bringing about the scale of the conflict.What was intended as a strictly limited war – a brief war – between accuser and accused, Austria-Hungary and Serbia, rapidly escalated into something that was beyond the expectations of even the most warlike ministers in Berlin. [7] 

It’s possible to delve deeply into European history in the quest to unearth the roots of the various alliances that were at play in 1914.  However, for our purposes it serves to date the origins of the core alliances back to Bismarck’s renowned intrigues, as he set about creating a unified Germany from the loose assembly of German confederated states in the 1860s.

Bismarck, first Prime Minister of Prussia and then Chancellor of the German Empire set about the construction of Germany through high politics judiciously assisted by war against Austria and France.Appointed Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Prussia by Kaiser

Wilhelm I in 1862, Bismarck was consumed with a desire to achieve the creation of a German Empire out of the collection of smaller German states largely led by Austria’s influence.His first step was to oust Austria as the prime influence among these German states.  He achieved this by engineering war with Austria in 1866 over disputed territory in the duchy of Holstein.The resulting war lasted just seven weeks – hence its common title ‘The Seven Weeks War’ – and ended with the complete dominance of the supremely efficient Prussian military.

In a peace mediated by the French Emperor, Napoleon III, Bismarck extracted from Austria not only Schleswig and Holstein, but also Hanover, Hesse, Nassau and Frankfurt, creating the North German Federation.  As importantly, Bismarck had successfully displaced Austria in the spheres of influence over the many small German states.Having assembled a united assembly in the north Bismarck determined to achieve the same in the south – and so unite all of the German states under the Prussian banner.First, he needed to engineer a credible reason for war.  Thus, in 1870, Bismarck attempted to place a Hohenzollern prince on the throne in Spain.  Napoleon III, fearful of the prospect of theoretical war on two fronts – for the Hohenzollern prince was a relative of Kaiser Wilhelm I – objected.

Bismarck turned up the diplomatic heat by releasing, on 14 July 1870, a doctored version of a telegram ostensibly from the Kaiser to Bismarck himself, called the Ems Telegram.  The effect of the telegram was to simultaneously insult both France and Prussia over their inability to resolve the dispute over the Spanish throne.Napoleon III, facing civil revolt at home over quite unrelated matters, and receiving encouraging noises from his military commanders, responded by declaring war against Prussia five days later, on 19 July 1870. [8] Once again, as was the case against Austria, the Prussian military machine demolished the French forces.  Napoleon III, who personally led his forces at the lost Battle of Sedan, surrendered and was deposed in the civil war that boiled over in France, resulting in the Third French Republic.

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Bismarck’s creation of a unified Germany was of direct relevance to the outbreak of war some 43 years later, since it resulted in the assembly of the key alliances that later came into play.For, having achieved his life’s aim, Bismarck’s expansionary plans were at an end.  He had secured what he wanted, and his chief desire now was to maintain its stability.  He therefore set about building European alliances aimed at protecting Germany from potentially threatening quarters.He was acutely aware that the French were itching to revenge their defeat at the earliest opportunity – and the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Prussia would prove to be a lasting sore.  Indeed, the French plan for war in 1914, Plan XVII, was largely based around the recapture of Alsace and Lorraine in the shortest possible time – with disastrous consequences.

He began by negotiating, in 1873, the Three Emperors League, which tied Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia to each other’s aid in time of war.  This however only lasted until Russia’s withdrawal five years later in 1878, leaving Bismarck with a new Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary in 1879.This latter treaty promised aid to each other in the event of an attack by Russia, or if Russia aided another power at war with either Germany or Austria-Hungary. Should either nation be attacked by another power, e.g. France, they were to remain – at the very least – benevolently neutral.This alliance, unlike others, endured until war in 1914.  [9] It was this clause that Austria-Hungary invoked in calling Germany to her aid against Russian support for Serbia.

Two years after Germany and Austria-Hungary concluded their agreement, Italy was brought into the fold with the signing of the Triple Alliance in 1881.  Under the provisions of this treaty, Germany and Austria-Hungary promised to assist Italy if she were attacked by France, and vice versa: Italy was bound to lend aid to Germany or Austria-Hungary if France declared war against either.Additionally, should any signatory find itself at war with two powers, the other two were to provide military assistance.  Finally, should any of the three determine to launch a ‘preventative’ war the others would remain neutral.One of the chief aims of the Triple Alliance was to prevent Italy from declaring war against Austria-Hungary, towards whom the Italians were in dispute over territorial matters.

In the event the Triple Alliance was essentially meaningless, for Italy subsequently negotiated a secret treaty with France, under which Italy would remain neutral should Germany attack France – which in the event transpired.In 1914 Italy declared that Germany’s war against France was an ‘aggressive’ one and so entitled Italy to claim neutrality.  A year later, in 1915, Italy did enter the First World War, as an ally of Britain, France and Russia.Austria-Hungary signed an alliance with Romania in 1883, negotiated by Germany, although in the event Romania – after starting World War One as a neutral – eventually joined in with the Allies; as such Austria-Hungary’s treaty with Romania was of no actual significance.

Potentially of greater importance – although it was allowed to lapse three years after its signature – Bismarck, in 1887, agreed to a so-called Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.This document stated that both powers would remain neutral if either were involved in a war with a third.However, should that third power transpire to be France, Russia would not be obliged to provide assistance to Germany. Bismarck’s intention was to avoid the possibility of a two-front war against both France and Russia.A decidedly tangled mesh of alliances; but the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, allowed the Reinsurance Treaty to lapse in 1890. [10] 

The year after the Reinsurance Treaty lapsed Russia allied itself with France.  Both powers agreed to consult with the other should either find itself at war with any other nation, or if indeed the stability of Europe was threatened.This rather loosely worded agreement was solidified in 1892 with the Franco-Russian Military Convention, aimed specifically at counteracting the potential threat posed by the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.In short, should France or Russia be attacked by one of the Triple Alliance signatories – or even should a Triple Alliance power mobilise against either the other power would provide military assistance Meanwhile, Britain was awaking to the emergence of Germany as a great European power – and a colonial power at that.  Kaiser Wilhelm’s successor, Wilhelm II, proved far more ambitious in establishing “a place in the sun” for Germany.  With the effective dismissal of Bismarck the new Kaiser was determined to establish Germany as a great colonial power in the pacific and, most notably, in Africa.Wilhelm, encouraged by naval minister Tirpitz, embarked upon a massive shipbuilding exercise intended to produce a naval fleet the equal of Britain’s, unarguably by far and away the world’s largest. [11] 

Britain, at that time the greatest power of all, took note.  In the early years of the twentieth century, in 1902, she agreed a military alliance with Japan, aimed squarely at limiting German colonial gains in the east.She also responded by commissioning a build-up in her own naval strength, determined to outstrip Germany.  In this she succeeded, building in just 14 months – a record – the enormous Dreadnought battleship, completed in December 1906.  By the time war was declared in 1914 Germany could muster 29 battleships, Britain 49.

Despite her success in the naval race, Germany’s ambitions succeeded at the very least in pulling Britain into the European alliance system – and, it has been argued, brought war that much closer.

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Two years later Britain signed the Entente Cordiale with France.  This 1904 agreement finally resolved numerous leftover colonial squabbles.  More significantly, although it did not commit either to the other’s military aid in time of war, it did offer closer diplomatic co-operation generally.Three years on, in 1907, Russia formed what became known as the Triple Entente by signing an agreement with Britain, the Anglo-Russian Entente.Together the two agreements formed the three-fold alliance that lasted and effectively bound each to the other right up till the outbreak of world war just seven years later.Again, although the two Entente agreements were not militarily binding in any way, they did place a “moral obligation” upon the signatories to aid each other in time of war.

It was chiefly this moral obligation that drew Britain into the war in defence of France, although the British pretext was actually the terms of the largely forgotten 1839 Treaty of LondonN that committed the British to defend Belgian neutrality. In 1912 Britain and France did however conclude a military agreement, the Anglo-French Naval Convention, which promised British protection of France’s coastline from German naval attack, and French defence of the Suez Canal.

Joining of The Ottoman Empire to the World War I

The Ottoman Empire has declared its neutrality. Germany wanted taking advanced of Ottoman Geopolitical position at new fronts to be opened and entering war from using for employee in the caliphate.

The Entente States declared to remove capitulations and to do financial aid for Ottoman Empire not enter to War. Germany’s ships which was Midilli and Yavuzlu bombed to Russian Ports. And Ottoman Empire joined to the World War I.

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