The origins of World War 1

the short and long term causes of the first world war

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  • The Origins of the WW1
    • Long-term causes
      • the arms race
        • 1897
          • the German government started building up an enormous navy to defeat Britain
            • 1900
              • the Germans passed a law ordering a fleet of 41 battleships and 60 cruisers.
                • the British responded by increasing the size of their navy. Introducing a new powerful battleship called the DREADNOUGHT in 1906
                  • the Germans responded by building a similar ship of their own. So the British ordered the SUPER DREADNOUGHT.
                    • other countries also took part in the arms race.
                      • the French increased their forces and by 1914 had an army of nearly 4 million.
                      • the Russians spent a fortune on military railways. people in Germany feared that this mighty force would one day flatten Berlin.
      • the new Kaiser and world power
        • 1888
          • Kaiser  Wilhelm II came to power, making Bismarck retire in 1890.
            • Wilhelm wanted a more aggressive approached to the rest of the world.
              • he ended friendly relationships between Germany and Russia.
                • as a result, other countries began to see Germany as a threat.
      • the two alliances
        • 1879
          • Germany signed a treaty of alliance with Austria-Hungary
            • 1892
              • Wilhelm's clumsy policy encouraged Russia to join forces with France
                • Britain established friendly relations with France in 1904 and with Russia in 1907.
      • the rise of Germany
        • 1871
          • the leaders of Prussia wanted to unite Germany. France attacked to stop this but was defeated leading to the new German Empire .
            • between 1871 and 1914
              • the economy of the new German state went from strength to strength.
                • after 1871
                  • Bismarck - Chancellor of Germany - stopped the German government from getting involved in any more wars.  However France was the sworn enemy of Germany, but Bismarck made sure that France remained isolated.
                    • this all changed when Germany got a new Kaiser- Wilhelm II - and Bismarck lost the chancellorship
    • Short-term causes
      • the killing in Sarajevo
        • 28th of June 1914
          • a Serb (Gavrilo Princip) shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife dead.
            • Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the murder and got ready to attack.
            • the system of alliances led to several other countries becoming involved in the outbreak of war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia
      • the German decision for war
        • 5th of July 1914
          • the Kaiser gave his full backing for an Austrian attack on Serbia.
            • it urged Austria-Hungary to make sure that war broke out.
            • while Britain and Russia tried to get Austria-Hungary to negotiate, Germany told her ally to ignore these attempts to stop the war
      • confusion about the British position
        • August 1914
          • if the British had made clear their determination to fight, the German leaders might have thought again about the war.
            • legally , Britain was not bound to go to war on the side of France and Russia
            • Sir Edward Grey wanted to try to avoid war by negotiating. Talks continued up to 3rd August when Germany attacked France via Belgium. At this point Britain stopped talking and a day later, went to war.
  • as a result, other countries began to see Germany as a threat.


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