In 1914, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was murdered in cold-blood by a Serbian patriot. Tensions rose in Europe, alliances were reinforced, and the militaries of European nations such as Russia and Germany were mobilized and ready to fight. Soon after, World War 1 began. World War 1 started due to competitive imperialism, existing rival alliances, and threatening growth of militarism.
European competition for imperialistic power grew tensions between nations and eventually led to the outbreak of World War 1. The race for control of land has lasted for centuries, and in the 20th century England was the biggest of the world leaders in land domination. Document E demonizes England by illustrating their government as power hungry and aggressive. The political cartoon shows them reaching out and grabbing land all over the world, and a lot of other countries saw this as wrong and therefore disliked England. Their frequent acquisitions of new land angered those nations that thought it was wrong and so it influenced the outbreak of the war. According to Document F, England had the highest colonial land area and population. This imperialistic power posed a threat to smaller empires such as Germany. England was only growing, and since they had so much more land than everyone else they could profit greatly and grow more quickly than others. The only way to stop this growth would be war in an effort to weaken this great empire. So the competitiveness in imperialism grew tensions because nations felt threatened and angered by others and sought to fight and weaken stronger countries.
Strong alliances in European existed before the war that forced more nations to become belligerent and ready to fight with the result that the war broke out. As seen in Document A, most of the countries in Europe belonged to either the Central Powers or Allied Powers. With there only being two alliances, each respectively significant, in Europe, one could assume there would be a rivalry between each of them, and at least some camaraderie within their own alliances. After the the killing of the Archduke, this camaraderie came to action. Document B illustrates how countries made threats against each other in defense of the countries they are aligned with. In Document B, Serbia is in the front of the picture because they were blamed for the murder of the Archduke. After Serbia comes Austria, who was greatly angered by the attack, and next was Russia, who came to defend their ally of Serbia. Similar events of defending allies repeated in a chain reaction until all of these rival nations in Europe were on the verge of war. Therefore, the strong alliances forced countries to defend some and threaten others which created strong resentment and anger that would force the continent into war.
Finally, the militaristic growth of nations became too big of a threat that war, in return, became imminent and began. Document C shows a graph that gives crucial data about the growth of the militaries of the warring nations prior to the war. From the years 1890 to 1914, most of the European nations nearly tripled their original military spending from 1890. This increase in military shows a competitive race to be the strongest country militarily. Growth resembles that governments believe military power is extremely important and they want to keep up with each other. Competition like this leads to resentment and eventually a test of power, war.
In Document D, the speech given explains the growth of England, Russia, and France and how Germany needs to work to stay on top. The speech explains the importance of military power in order to defend themselves. The point of view in this speech is from Germanys congress, which is important because it reveals how Germany felt threatened and felt they needed to grow stronger. The metaphor at the end of the speech means that Germany will either hit a nation, or be hit, which was said due to the high competition of military power growth. The metaphor therefore confirms that war was inevitable and going to start due to that same high competition. So, in conclusion, military growth made nations feel threatened and made them prepare themselves for war which in turn helped to start the war.
The Great War erupted after years of competition in imperialism, alliances and rivalries building up in Europe, and a race for military power. The nations who had the biggest empires and the most military spending eventually became victorious in World War 1. Germany was indeed correct to feel threatened by those nations, such as France and Britain, and they were defeated in the Great War.
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