History - Causes of World War One

History - Unit One (International Relations)

The Origins of the First World War

Why were there two armed camps in Europe in 1914?

Why did war break out in 1914?

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
History
Unit One ­ International Relations
The Origins of the First World War
Why were there two armed camps in Europe in 1914?
The War to End All Wars
(This section is not needed for the exam; however it is useful to have
some background information.)
World War One was thought to be the `war to end all wars' because it
was so different to previous wars...
Dramatic scale.
At least 65 million men served.
An estimated 10 million people died and 20 million wounded
Most of the great powers in Europe, as well as the USA, Africa and
Asia (because of alliances and overseas troops fighting all
together against the enemies).
Battles everywhere (land, air and sea).
Whoever was left standing at the end would be seen as the
greatest.
It was difficult to win.
Politics was reshaped throughout Europe.
Left everyone in severe economic hardship.
The Alliances
The six most powerful countries in Europe were divided in two:
The Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy), formed
in 1882.
The Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia), formed in 1907.
Treaty of London (Britain and Belgium), formed 1939. This treaty
didn't cause any tension as such, but meant that when Germany
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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
marched through Belgium to attack France, Britain had to defend
Belgium, so was therefore drawn into the war.
Each country was heavily armed and had reasons for distrusting other
countries in Europe.
The Triple Alliance:
o Germany
In a war against France in 1870, Germany took the
most important bit of industrial land (called
Alsace-Lorraine) from France; therefore the joined the
Alliance mainly for protection against revenge
attacks.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
a very strong army, so Austria-Hungary wanted more
protection.
o Italy
Italy's main reason for joining was to build an
overseas empire. As it wasn't a particularly strong or
powerful country, it needed Germany and
Austria-Hungary's support.
The Triple Entente
o Britain
By trying not to get involved in European politics,
Britain's attitude became known as `splendid
isolation'. For most of the 19th century, Russia and
France were regarded as the two most dangerous
rivals.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
in Austria-Hungary's empire and Russia felt it should
have influence over them. As well as building up a
strong army, Russia felt it needed to join the Entente
because it was weak (especially after the lost war
with Japan and an anti-Tsar revolution).…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
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o The French were furious at his interference and a
conference was held in Algeciras in 1906. At this
conference, the Kaiser was humiliated and his views
rejected ­ making him bitter.
o It also highlighted how Britain and France's alliance was
strong and close.
1911
o The French tried to take over Morocco again, and said that
they were prepared to compensate Germany if its trade
suffered as a result.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
The Serbs were forced to back down because the Russians
wouldn't support them.
o The crisis meant that the next time the Austrians did
something to humiliate Serbia it would be much harder for
the Russians to turn a blind eye.
The Arms and Naval Race
Many countries felt that war was inevitable, so they began to make
plans about what to do if and when was did break out.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
1907 -
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
Total 29 17
Why did War Break Out in 1914?
The Schlieffen Plan
This plan was General von Schlieffen's plans for war. The aims were:
1. Attack France first, because Russia will take six weeks to be
ready for war.
2. Attack France by going through Belgium because they were a
neutral country and would not fight.
3.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
From 1912 to 1913 there was a series of local wars. Serbia emerged
from these as the most powerful country in the Balkans. Austria
decided that Serbia would have to be dealt with as Serbia had a strong
army and was a close ally of Russia. It was looking for a good excuse to
crush Serbia.
(Austria had snatched Bosnia from Serbia in 1908, and since then relations between the two
countries have been particularly bad.…read more

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The Origins of the First World War
Unit 1
3rd August 1914 ­ Germany declared war on France. Britain then
promised to defend Belgium neutrally, but Germany still marched
through Belgium as part of the Schlieffen Plan.
4th August 1914 ­ Britain declared war on Germany.
World War One
had begun.…read more

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