History Tends to Repeat

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The idea that history tends to repeat itself is a common belief held by many people in order to describe the nature of the past. Despite how humanity has evolved throughout the years, it seems people always turn back to the essence of the past. A notable example of this belief is the way people described World War 1 when it was waging, as the “war to end all wars.” Of course, the first world war would certainly not be the last war, and humanity continues to fight wars today in the present. In order to properly learn from the past, it is important for one to examine why an event happened in order to prevent it from popping up in the future again; one must analyze its causal chain. The Norton Sampler defines a causal chain as when, “… the effect of one event may become the cause of a subsequent event” (“Chapter Eleven: Cause and Effect.”). A main cause has the greatest power to produce the effect and is both necessary and sufficient, whereas a remote cause is less apparent and more removed in time. (“Chapter Eleven: Cause and Effect.”). Prior to World War 1, the Bosnian crisis of 1908 as a main and remote cause for the effect of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand exemplifies that history is a causal chain.

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The Bosnian Crisis of 1908 caused lasting tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary that would eventually lead to the formation of Serbian nationalist groups, such as the Black Hand, that would conspire against the authority of Austria. The crisis was caused by the annexation of the Balkan provinces Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary. The annexation infuriated Serbia, as it had a geographical and ethnic relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina that Austria-Hungary did not have, and therefore the country believed they should have right to the two provinces. In response, Austria, with its secure ally Germany, “threatened to invade Serbia if that country persisted in its demands” (Britannica). Russia, an ally of Serbia and also a country opposed to Austria, had no choice but to accept Austria-Hungary’s annexation to avoid war. Yet Serbia and Russia would not soon forget this crisis. Serbia’s bitterness towards Austria will only grow as the years pass, and a form of nationalism that promotes separation from Austria will grow in popularity.

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was an effect of the Bosnian crisis of 1908. When politics conflict each other, especially within two geographically related countries, problems tend to arise. Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, enforced trialism, or a triple monarchy, while Serbian ruler Nikola Pasic controlled a parliamentary democracy and a nationalist people. Trialism was a threat to Serbian nationalists who wanted Serbia to be an independent nation, as it would, “… allow Austria to annex Slavic Serbia and the crown of Serbia would be joined to the Dual Monarchy” (“The United States in the First World War.”). Back in 1901, Serbian nationalists had formed a secret organization known as the Black Hand. Under pressure to preserve Serbia’s independence, the Black Hand saw an opportunity to eliminate trialism by pulling it out by its roots. Their solution to the threat of Franz Ferdinand’s politics was simple: assassinate the heir to the throne himself while he was in Serbia to check up on troops. The lasting tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary after the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 influenced the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Had the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina not taken place, there would be no bitterness to resolve, and perhaps the two countries could have dwelled independently and peacefully.

The main and remote cause of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the Bosnian crisis of 1908. In turn, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand will be a main cause of the commencement of World War 1. History is just one infinite causal chain, winding on, one cause and effect after another. Yet the causal chain of history cannot be altered. Only the present can be changed, edited and tinkered with in hopes a tragic event from the past will not repeat itself. Through learning about the causes and effects of the past, perhaps the causes and effects that will stem from the present can be saved from the loophole that is history.

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History Tends To Repeat. (2022, Apr 18). Retrieved June 27, 2022 , from

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