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The First World War began between July 1994 and November 11, 1918. World War I is also referred to as the Great War or the war to end all wars. It was one of the most influential occurrences of the twentieth century. WW1 was the first of the absolute wars in virtually any country in the world, whether indirectly or directly. WW1 was the first mechanized war in the world where, as early as the early years, the man fought war using swords and arms, WW1 saw the advent of new technologies such as machines, warships, bigger battleships, fighter jets, mustard gas, and long-range field guns, among other tactics. The death resulting from the war was high at the same time level of destruction was so appalling that made it achieve a status that no other wars had achieved. The WW1 was longer, bloodier, and more destructive to both property and human life. Before the outbreak of the war the relationship among many of the European countries in and outside especially the Balkan region, Far East and African had worsened. The WW1 saw the formation of different alliances of the European countries ready to go to battle. This paper discusses in details about the cause of the WW1, the number of people that died, it also goes head to provide the reason behind the war as well as the countries that participated in the war, and who won the war (Sondhaus 1-49).
There are different cause of the WW1 which consist of the long-term causes and the short-term causes. The primary short-term cause of the WW1 was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This factor is attributed as the immediate cause of the WW1. This was the final event that triggers the war. The Archduke Francis Ferdinand heir to the Austrian throne and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist of the Black Hand at a place called Sarajevo in Bosnian. The fact behind the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was because he wanted to convert the Austria-Hungarian Monarchy to become a triple monarchy including Serbia. The killing of the heir led to demonstration and protest in Austria-Hungary of having control over this region. Despite the fact that there was no hard evidence that the Serbia government was involved in the assassination the state of Austro-Hungarian took this as a chance to affect its rule on Serbia. On July 23, the Austria-Hungarian government issued ultimate demands to the Serbia government. These requirements were formulated to impose harsh measure to the Serbia government which in return rejected the claims. As the result of the assassination, it made the state of Austria-Hungary declare war on the state of Serbia. On the other hand, Russia started to mobilize its forces because it was in an alliance with Serbia. This turn of an event made Germany also to declare war on the state of Russia
The second cause of the WW1 was the formation of the alliances. Alliance in simple terms refers to an agreement that is undertaken by two or more state to offer each other help in times of need. As time progressed in Europe countries entered into defense agreements that would pull them into battle. Most of the countries in the European nations depended on the formed alliances to ensure their security and to identify those that had mutual interest to their own. Agreements were made with different countries all over the European, with some them signed between the period of 1879 and 1914. The major alliances that were formed before WW1 were the Triple Alliance, and Triple Entente. The Triple Entente comprised of the Great Britain, France, and Russia. On the other hand, the Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. These alliances were formed with the aim to counteract one another. When the war started the triple alliances changed their name to Central Powers. One of the Triple Alliance pull out it was not to their best of interest hence the Pentral Powers comprised of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The triple entente also changed to Allied forces with a reasonable growth in some state with Belgium, Serbia, French, Italy, Japan, US. Portuguese, Romania, Greece and more other that were providing financial and military aid (Howard 33).
Nationalism was also a cause of the WW1. Nationalism can be outlined as an extreme form of patriotism shown by the eager of superiority over other countries. Every monarchy in various states wanted to see their state and empire rise and flourish. Much of the war was laid on the desire of the Slavic people who lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cease from being part of the Austria-Hungary but join part of Serbia. Germany was also extremely proud of their power in a military that they had acquired after the Franco-Prussian war. The French on the other side had undergone humiliation by the defeat by the Germanys; they realized it to be more important to regain their glory. This feeling of nationalism led to their fast militarism between the two nations. Other reason for nationalism was displayed by Britain whereby in the late 19th century it was in domination position and was the leading nation in terms of economic and colonial field. The position of Britain made other nation like Germany and France to feel jealously and wanted to overpower it. In addition the Germany unification upset the equilibrium of power in Europe that led to colonial rivalry and the formation of alliance. Another factor was the aim of the Russia hopes to be able to extend her influence in the Balkans and turned out as an advocate of the Slav nationalism (Haythornthwaite 1-49)
Imperialism is another cause of the outbreak of the WW1. Imperialism can be defined as the grab for colonies. It also refers to the establishment of dominance required to secure another country. By the time of 19th century, the industrial revolution had spread to all parts of Europe. People in these countries were demanding for their nations to acquire more colonies for their economic growth. The colonies were critical due to the following: there were a source of raw materials, market for manufactured goods, outlet for surplus, strategic reason, and prestige to the mother country. This led to the rivalry of power in the name of acquiring colonies in areas like China and Africa, brought about some crises that speeded the tension among the already hostile forces. Germany was on the race of acquiring more colonies after the unification. This created the Moroccan crises and the Balkan crises. The Moroccan crisis was a dispute between France and Germany over the control of Morocco that broke out in 1905. This led to an Algeciras conference in 1906. The meeting resulted in the formation of unity by other nation against Germany. On the other hand, Germany was determined to take revenge on France. The Balkan crisis was one of the worse troubles in Europe. In the 19th century state like Ottoman Empire, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria gained their independence. The Balkan were still in the total mess with disagreement over borders and conflict with Turkey. The Russia and Austria-Hungary were equal power and were keen to acquire some advantages. The Balkan were in turmoil between 1908 and 1914. The Austria-Hungary took advantage of the situation to take over Herzegovina and Bosnia despite protest from Russia. The first Balkan war of 1912 where the Balkan forces comprised of Greece, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Serbia were able to defeat the Turks. There was disagreement on the division of the soil, and in 1913 another Balkan war broke out where Bulgaria was defeated by a combination of Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Turkey. There brought about more problems. Austria-Hungary was worried about the Serbian power gain. Turkey, on the other hand, turned to Germany for support. Bulgaria took revenge against Serbia, while Russia was more concerned with the intention of Austria-Hungary in the area.
Militarism which is also known as the arms race was also the cause of the world war one. The formation of the different alliance was also accompanied with armaments race between the various blocs. After the formation of the partnership, each side saw it necessary to build up their stockpile of weapons and armies so as to acquire more power over their enemy. The military buildup brought about suspicion and fear between the two blocks, with each side not willing to stop with the militarization in the fear that the other hand could become stronger. During that time the Germany army was the most powerful force in Europe. The Germany army was well equipped and well trained. Like the rest of the European forces apart from the Britain army the soldiers built on compulsory military or conscription. For example, Germany army was 866,000 in 1914, after the completion of the mobilization period it rose to 5 million. The French, Russian, and Austria-Hungarians deployed the similar system. Britain on their hand unlike the other central European power did not have a larger compulsory army. Britain depended on her navy forces which were one of the powerful in European to safeguard herself and her colonies. But the French and the Germany come up with war plans in preparation for the outbreak of the war. France formulated the notorious plan17 while the Germanys made the Schlieffen plan spearheaded by Alfred von Schlieffen.
The reason for the WW1 was activated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo with the killing of the Ferdinand of Austro-Hungarian Empire by a member of the black hand of Serbian society. Austria backed with the support of Germany gave Serbia a long list of demands that Serbia was required to meet. On the contrary, the official of the Austria-Hungary had been waiting for this opportunity in the fear that some of the Serbian groups were carrying out their activities in Bosnia to be able to weaken Serbian. The Serbia state decline to meet the demands that have been the request by Austria-Hungary. The reason for the state of war was when Serbia rejected the application and Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This turn of the event quickly turned the war into a world war in the following ways. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia which was an ally of the Serbia responded quickly with the quick mobilization of its forces. The ally of Austria-Hungary which was Germany also responded by mobilization of its troops. The first phase of the war was faster formed with a general war breaking out between an alliance of the great Austria-Hungary and Germany against Serbia, France, and Russia. After the declaration within the first month, there was combat which consisted of bold attacks on both fronts. Germany was the first country to attack Belgium which was later followed by attacks on France. In another part of the eastern Russia made its attacks on both Germany and Austria-Hungary. The other side of south Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. As a result of the battle of the Marne, those on the western front became entrenched in the central France and went on to the same was the unit the end of the war. In the year 1914, the Ottoman Empire was thrown into the war as a result of the Germany tricks to Turkey that Russia had attacked them. The turn of the events quickly transformed the war to a world war because many of the countries were participating in it. The world war became a global war conflict because of other several reasons. The first reason is that many countries were involved in the war around the world. The use of different alliance made the war to spread in a fast manner. The two most important partnerships at the time of the war were the central power and the allied powers. Much emphasis is put on the main alliance in each alliance there were other smaller countries allied on each side. Another reason why it turned into a world war is the fact that all the alliances were far reaching. That implied that the dispute that existed between Serbia and Austria-Hungary could bring Germany and Russia and France and Britain. The conflict that arose out of the assassination draws many powers into common with each power aligning itself with power to get ready for the war. In this case, both Austria-Hungary and Serbia had already formed an alliance that involved many countries of the world. Another reason why the war turned into a world war was too that many of these countries had empires. The fact is that for example, French had an African empire this implies that France took a lot of soldiers from this realm to come and fight. In Europe many counties had acquired empire in Africa, most of the countries went for soldiers from these colonies to come and assist in the war. Another reason why this war turned into a global war was to the fact that most of the countries had the hope that they could benefit out of the war. The countries had hopes that if they participate in this war they interest could be looked into and addressed. Some of the countries hope to acquire more colonies in Africa and other parts of the world as well as the expansions of their territories. The war created chances to prospects and access to resources that is why many nations wanted to involve themselves in it. It was also with the aim of coming up with a stronger alliance to build high authority regards to the world relation and operation (Friedman 5-20).
Many people died as a result of the war. The figure put it at 38 million of people who comprise of the military and the civilian casualties. The total number of individuals who died stand at 17 million and about 20 million wounded. The total figures of death comprise of around 11 million military personnel and about seven million civilians. The allies about 10 million people were killed, while the central powers about 7 million people were killed. The total number comes to about 17 million of people who loosed their lives during the world war one.
Many countries were involved in the world war one. These countries were grouped based on which side there supporting in the war. The two sides were aligned either on the edge of the central powers or the side of the allied forces. Many countries took the team based on their personal interest and protection in the first place. The countries that were under the triple alliance comprised of Germany Italy and Austria-Hungary but later their changed their name to include new for countries to central powers. The Central powers the countries that fought the war includes the following; Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Germany. Italy left the central authority to join other forces. The countries that fought in the war under the triple entente Britain, France, Russia, Japan there were later joined by Italy. Other countries like US with time acceded to the fight when there realized that their interest had been violated in the course of the war. The battle fought in different areas the Europe, Africa, and Asia.
World War was fought based on the blocks that were formed; it is wrong to say that the war was won my one country. The two sides in the war were the allied powers and the central powers. These alliances were made up many countries. The Allies' forces comprised of Britain, France, and Russian. Other counties in the allies’ power were Japan, Greece, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and several other states. Therefore we cannot conclude that the war was won by one single country. In the World War 1, the Allied powers ended up as the winners. The primary states that were part of the Allied power were the United Kingdom, France, and United state. The state of Russia started the war but pulled up due to the Russian revolution. In summary, the Allied powers won the war.
In summary, WW1 was one other greatest war that has ever been witnessed in the world despite other different wars that have taken place. The various cause of the WW1 comprises of factors such as nationalism, imperialism, militarization, and the immediate cause of the war was the assassination of the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne. These factors played a crucial role in the outbreak of the WW1. During the WW1 it also witnesses different formation of the alliance by a different state to get their self-read for the war. Some of the major union consisted of the central powers and the Allied power with most of the European countries in one of them. Some reasons that turned the war into a world war were such as the acquisition of empires outside the European nation that came to fight as well as the formation of the alliance that made the war to spread faster. Many nations participated in the war; some of the major powers include Britain France, Germany, Russian, Italy, Serbia, and Austria-Hungary among other countries. WW1 caused much loss that includes the human and property loss. Around 17 million people lose their lives in the war. At the end of the war, the allied power emerged as the winner of the WW1.
Friedman, Norman. Naval weapons of World War One. S. Yorkshire: Seaforth Pub, 2011.
Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The World War One source book. London: Brockhampton Press, 1994.
Howard, Michael. The First World War. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2003.
Sondhaus, Lawrence. World War I : the global revolution. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
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