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Long and Short Term Causes of WWI

Uploaded by notrealytrilian on May 13, 2001

There were several long-term events that led to the outbreak of World War One. The most prominent factors include: nationalism, militarism, imperialism, the Balkan and Morocco crises, and the alliance system. Ironically, these things were either started in response to, or upheld because of, one of the other factors. The alliance system was one of the last factors to emerge before the war. Consequentially, the contributions of this system to the beginning of the Great War have to be considered. Although the alliance system was a main cause of the First World War, it arose because of several other factors, and did not cause the war single handedly.

Nationalism, the love and support of one's country, has always existed. In this era, however, it was to take part in the creation of one of the most famous wars in history. Since so much pride was devoted to countries, it made the possibilities of peace between past rivals less probable. It also meant that most nations, especially the great powers, would rather fight a war than back down from a rival's diplomatic provocation. In effect, nationalism was also a contributing factor to the alliance system. No country feels comfortable being in a war alone, and with the growing militaries in almost every country, allies provided much comfort.

The supreme present of militarism, "a policy of aggressive military preparedness" , in this period of time gave all countries great reason to feel the heavy weight of an oncoming war. Great Britain's naval policy (to always be twice as big as the next two largest navies put together), along with the predominate feeling of war provided countries with a strong reason to try and create an incredibly strong military force. This led to an arms race, which made the impending war seem inevitable. The military planning in some countries also caused an increased fear of war. Since military machines were being developed, each country was appointing a general staff of experts. The greatest problem with this was that there was a fear that "some chief of staff, in order to maintain the schedule on his 'timetable', might force an order of mobilization and thus precipitate war." These two factors also led, in part, to the alliance system. If two or more countries are allied with each other then they have a better chance of defeating their common enemy if war is declared. They also have...

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Uploaded by:   notrealytrilian

Date:   05/13/2001

Category:   World War I

Length:   4 pages (937 words)

Views:   2940

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