Causes of World War I

World War I was a very bloody war, resulting in the deaths of many, and was nicknamed “War to end all wars”. However, the start of World War I can proved how an assassination can be taken too far.

It all started with the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His wife and him were killed on June 28, 1914. He was killed by a man named Gavrilo Princip, who was one of the 6 Serbian civilians who planned it. Franz was killed in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Austria-Hungary started annexing the country, despite it wanting to remain neutral. So many countries got sucked into this due to alliances.

The Austro-Prussian War was one of the first battles that broke out, and it lasted 10 weeks. The war’s sole purpose was to see which of the German states would become dominant. Prussia ended up reigning supreme, winning this war, and attracting allies. Prussia later became allies with Russia and Austria-Hungary. This allowed Prussia to grow without worrying about war from its strong neighbors.

The Prussian emperor, Otto Von Bismarck, was determined to creat as many alliances as possible, so Prussia’s growth wouldn’t be halted. So, he arranged the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, which later turned into the Triple Alliance with the addition of the weak Italy. Prussia eventually grew so much, the only country that it hadn’t overtaken was Britain, but that was only through manufacturing.

France and Russia were neighbors to Prussia, and witnessing Prussia’s rapid growth, they felt threatened. Despite being former enemies, they formed an alliance in 1894. While this treaty started to balance the power of the Triple Alliance, they needed more allies in order to match it.

Russia and France’s treaty eventually becoming a crowd of three, Great Britain being thrown into the mix, despite its want to stay out of politics. But as Prussia started snatching up any remaining colonies, it started threatening Britain’s colonies. Britain wasn’t having any of it, and formed an alliance with the two countries who were most likely to go to war with Prussia.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, an area called the Balkans were getting smashed between Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the dying Ottoman Empire. In 1913, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro allied against the Ottoman Empire, pushing it out of Europe, and splitting up the territory.

During this, Serbia formed a pseudo-alliance with Russia, which promised to aid it if Serbia was attacked by Austria-Hungary. Then, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand happened.

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