Origins of WW1

  • Created by: joshlad
  • Created on: 19-05-15 14:34

Military (long-term cause)

  • Britian had a huge navy and a small, voluntary army as it is an island. Germany had a huge army and started to build its navy in 1898 because it was jealous of Britain's large navy and wanted to overtake British power. Britain saw this as a challenge. The two countries started to engage in an arms race
  • For example, Germany started to build Dreadnoughts in 1906. This made Germany a threat to Britain who responded by building bigger, better Dreadnoughts.
  • The Germans refused to tell Britain how many Dreadnoughts they had.
  • By 1914 Britain had 29 Dreadnoughts compared to Germany's 17 Dreadnoughts.
  • Instead of increasing security and being defensive, the arms race increased tensions between the two countries as each felt the other was preparing for war and felt threatened. It was one of the fuses that ignited WW1

Alliances (long-term cause)

  • Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Hungary and Italy.
  • Triple Entente consisted of Britain, France and Russia.
  • Not military agreements but they ended up involving the military because of tensions.
  • Their purpose was supposed to be defensive and increase security - each country in the alliance promised to defend the other if it was attacked.
  • However, rather than creating security, the Alliances just created more tensions - countries felt threatened by each other
  • It was another fuse that ignited WW1 and it created a background of tension.

Imperialism (long-term cause)

  • Britain had an empire that ruled a quarter of the world.
  • France had a small empire and was angry at Germany for taking land from them (France wanted Alsace and Lorraine back from Germany in particular)
  • Russia was poor but was huge, and had no…


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