Causes of World War 1

Long and short term causes of WW1

Long Term causes

Major powers had got war plans which they were eager to try out.

They has all been spending heavily on weapons before the war.

France was keen to get revenge on Germany because they had defeated France in late C19th. France lost a lot of land in this battle and was keen to get it back.

Germany was growing in strength, but still envious of Britain&France's colonies round the world.

People within a certain country were encouraged to dislike foreign rivals by media.

All major countries were linked together by Alliances, involing promises to help if the country was at war : Britian / France / Russia = Allies, Germany / Austria-Hungary / Italy = Central Powers

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Short Term causes

28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to Austrian Throne) and his wife Countess Sophie were assassinated in the city of Sarajevo (Bosnia) by member of a terrorist group named The Black Hand. His name was Gavrilo Princip and he was a 19 year old Serb with the aim to drive Austrians out of Bosnia and for Bosnia to be ruled by Serbia.

Austria declared war on Serbia as a punishment, leading to several more countries being dragged in by a series of alliences.

Britain declared war of Germany on 4th August 1914.

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The Two sides

ALLIES - Britain, France, Empire Countries eg. Austrialia, New Zeland, Canada, India

Russia (up to 1917)

USA (after 1917)

CENTRAL POWERS - Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey

Italy (after 1915)

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Key Areas of Fighting

Western Front - Along the border of France, Belgium and Germany

Eastern Front - Along the border between Germany and Russia

South-East Europe - Along the border of Turkey and mainland Europe

Colonies - eg. Africa where British and German settlers confronted each other

North Sea / Atlantic Ocean - Involving battleships and submarines

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Effects of the War

Up to 50,000,000 men became involved in the fighting.

30 different countries were dragged into the war

10,000,000 fighting men were killed and another 20,000,000 were injured

9,000,000 civilians died due to being caught up in fighting, starvation or disease

As a country, Britain experienced relativly little damage

  • London was bombed
  • The east coast was shelled by battleships
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Outcome of WW1

Central Powers surrendered and the war was officially ended on the 11th November 1918.

There were several causes for the Allied victory:

  • The Americans joined the Allies, bringing additional men and equipment
  • The Allies blockaded German ports, reducing thousands of Germans to starvation level
  • The Allies developed tanks which could break through lines
  • Germans failed to press home their advantage at key points during the war
  • Germany was weakened by flu epidemics and threats of mutiny (a rebellion)
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