World War I Was Inevitable History Essay

1890 words (8 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 History Reference this


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Imperial, territorial, and economic rivalries led to the “Great War” between the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey) and the Allies (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Romania, Montenegro, Portugal, Italy, and Japan). About 10 million combatants killed, 20 million wounded.

Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand and wife assassinated in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip (June 28). Austria declares war on Serbia (July 28). Germany declares war on Russia (Aug. 1), on France (Aug. 3), invades Belgium (Aug. 4). Britain declares war on Germany (Aug. 4). Germans defeat Russians in Battle of Tannenberg on Eastern Front (Aug.). First Battle of the Marne (Sept.). German drive stopped 25 miles from Paris. By end of year, war on the Western Front is “positional” in the trenches.


WWI was inevitable mainly because of Germany. Due to her militarism, the power vacuum in the Balkans, colonial rivalry, nationalism, and most important THE SYSTEM OF ALLIANCE.! The latter was the most important because of the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. When A.H. declared War to Serbia, Russia started to mobilize her army. When this happened Germany created the Blank Cheque. After this France joined. Later on Gr. Br ,would join because of the invasion to Belgium.

Inevitability of war

The Inevitability of war was due to the many reasons, as some of the inevitability occurs are –

June 28, 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria assassinated

July 5, 1914 Germany issues A-H “blank check”

pledging military assistance if A-H goes to war against Russia

July 23, 1914 Austria issues Serbia an ultimatum

July 28, 1914 A-H declares war on Serbia

July 29, 1914 Russia orders full mobilization of its troops

August 1,1914 Germany declares war on Russia

August 2, 1914 Germany demands Belgium declare access to German troops

These all were unavoidable and uncontrollable circumstances which lead to the WORLD WAR I.






Colonial Rivalries

Economic Rivalries

Pre-war Crises

Immediate Cause of the War (June 1914 )



Militarism denoted a rise in military expenditure, an increase in military and naval forces, more influence of the military men upon the policies of the civilian government, and a preference for force as a solution to problems. Militarism was one of the main causes of the First World War.

Germany was competing with the UK to build battleships.

The British feared an attack on their Empire

Germany was competing with Russia and France to expand their armies 1880-1914


By 1914 all the major powers were linked by a system of alliances.

The alliances made it more likely that a war would start.

Once started, the alliances made it more likely to spread

Alliance System as a cause of the War

The alliance systems were a cause of the First World War.

The alliances were made in secret and so produced much distrust and suspicion among the European powers. Their general suspicion prevented their diplomats to devise a suitable solution to many of the crises preceding the war.

The alliances were always made on a war-footing and so heightened the war tension and led to an arms race among the European powers


All the great powers were competing for colonies / territory.

The British feared Germany in Africa.

The Austrians feared Serbia / Russia in the Balkans


This was an age when all nations wanted to assert their power and independence.

In Europe Slavs, aided by Serbia and Russia, wanted to be free of Austrian rule.

Serbia’s national flag

There were two kinds of nationalism in 19th Century Europe:

(i) the desire of subject peoples for independence –

It led to a series of national struggles for independence among the Balkan peoples. Other powers got involved and caused much instability.

As the powers try to dominate each other in Europe, their rivalries may be regarded as one of the causes of the First World War.

Colonial Rivalries

After 1870, the European nations began to acquire colonies in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Their imperialistic activities accelerated from 1880 onwards. Between 1895 and 1905 imperialistic expansion reached its climax.

Colonial rivalry was a cause of the First World War.

Colonial rivalry led to strained relations among the European powers. In Africa, all the European powers except Austria and Russia had colonies there. Thus there were many clashes among France, Britain, Germany and Italy.

Colonial rivalry led to strained relations among the European powers. In Africa, all the European powers except Austria and Russia had colonies there.

Thus colonial rivalry had little to do with the outbreak of the First World War.

Economic Rivalries

There were also economic struggles between Germany and France. In 1870 France had already lost two of her coal producing provinces–Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. From 1871 onwards, France had to import coal from other countries. Thus France had to compete with Germany in Morocco because the place was rich in mineral resources.

Undoubtedly economic rivalries played a considerable part in creating international tensions in the 43 years before the First World War. As a matter of fact, the economic rivalries have been much exaggerated.

Thus economic rivalries played a minor part in causing the First World War.

Pre-war Crises

International Crises (1905-1913)

Early in the twentieth century, the European powers had formed themselves into two rival groups: the TRIPLE ENTENTE versus the TRIPLE ALLIANCE. The policies of these groups began to clash in many parts of the world. Altogether there were four important clashes from 1905 to 1913: two arising out of the Moroccan question, and two concerning disputes in the Balkans. Whenever a clash arose, the two groups seemed to be on the point of war.

First Moroccan Crisis 1905-06

Bosnian Crisis 1908-09

Second Moroccan Crisis 1911

Balkan Wars 1912-13


Immediate Cause of the War (June 1914 )

The First World War finally broke out in the second half of 1914 because of an ‘accident’ in Bosnia.

Sarajevo Assassination

Outbreak of War – July/August 1914

1. The Assassination of Francis Ferdinand at Sarajevo (June 1914)

The final event which led to the outbreak of the First World War took place on June 28, 1914. On that day, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife were shot dead by a young Serbian nationalist of the Black Hand at Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital .


The Serbian Black Hand had to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand because he wanted to convert the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (the Dual Monarchy) into a Triple Monarchy by the inclusion of Serbia. Although the Serbs might gain a certain degree of autonomy within the Triple Monarchy, their long cherished wish of creating a united Serbian state would be dashed to the ground.

2. Outbreak of War – July 1914

After the formation of the Dual Alliance between Russia and France in 1893, Germany feared attack on two fronts–France in the west and Russia in the east. The result was the Schlieffen Plan (this was the war plan for Germany during the First World War).


America’s policy of insisting on neutral rights while also trying to broker a peace resulted in tensions with both Berlin and London. US president Woodrow Wilson repeatedly warned that he would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, and the Germans repeatedly promised to stop. In January 1917 the German military decided that unrestricted submarine warfare was the best gamble to choke British supplies before the American troops could arrive in large numbers. A proposal to Mexico to join the war was exposed in February, bringing war closer. After further U-boat attacks on American merchant ships, Wilson requested that Congress declare war on Germany, which it did on April 6, 1917 . The House approved the war resolution 373-50, the Senate 82-6, with opposition coming mostly from German American districts. Wilson hoped war could be avoided with Austria-Hungary; however, when it kept its loyalty to Germany, the US declared war on Austria-Hungary in December 1917.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, a number of destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and several submarines to the Azores and to Bantry Bay, Ireland to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U.S. Marines were also dispatched to France. However, it would be some time before the United States would be able to contribute significant manpower to the Western and Italian fronts.

Course of the War 1914-18

Two sides of the war

In the First World War, the Allies, which made up of 27 states including France, Britain, Russia, Italy , the United States, Rumania, Greece, Serbia and Japan, fought against the Central Powers including Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Italy and the Allies

Italy refused to support Germany and Austria on the ground that Austria was the aggressor. Her real purpose in staying out was to bargain for territory. Because her irredentist claims were directed against Austria, only one outcome was possible.

World War I Inevitable

The First World War has established an unforgettable memoir in the history books. World War 1 was a massacre of human life and an important event that determined the present state of the modern world. Yes, World War 1 was inevitable. The foundation of the causes of World War 1 can be traced back to several factors that were building up international tension to the ultimate result of war. In the 1900s, the European countries were extremely competitive in extending their influence around the world. Their competitive nature was motivated by the encouragement of nationalism within countries, the entangled alliances between nations, the arms race and the battle to acquire colonies around the world contributed to the small disputes that lead to war.

Results of the World War I

The First World War lasted for four years and three months. It began on August 4, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918. It involved sixty sovereign states, overthrew four Empires (German Empire, Hapsburg Empire, Turkish Empire, Russian Empire), gave birth to seven new nations, took ten million combatant lives (another 30 million were wounded), and cost about £ 35,000 million.

Paris Peace Conference 1919

The Peace Treaties

Criticism of the Versailles Settlement

General Effects of the First World War

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