Do you know the History of the World War? World War 1 was the first war that witnessed a whole other level of devastation and suffering. You can imagine the devastation from this point that there were around 1.7 crore deaths in this war. In this war countries like Spain, the colonies of Britain, Japan, The USA, Russia, France etc were included. This war is also known as the great war, the global war, or the war to end all the war. It was considered one of the greatest wars ever and a war of Such scale would not take place for at least 5-6 decades. But after 20 years when the second world war was happening, its name was changed to world war 1.
In this blog, we will talk about how World War I started? Which countries supported each other? What was the aftermath? Which country is to be blamed for this world war 1? But before that, we need to learn the history of that time or the history of World War 1.
The backdrop to World War 1
At the end of the 19th-century, Western countries were ahead of all other countries in terms of Civilization. New inventions were taking place like military, technology, aircraft, fashion etc. With increasing Technological inventions many countries were signing mutual defence treaties. According to these treaties if a country attacks the member country then all other member countries will help the country militarily. There were many alliances and to know the importance of these alliances, read the blog fully.
Now let’s talk about territorial history.
- France Wanted to recapture the “Alsace Lorraine” which she had lost in a humiliating war with Germany.
- On the other hand, Germany Wanted more and more area within its rule.
- Also, great Britain was putting all her efforts into developing and modernising her naval forces.
- The independence of Bulgaria in 1908, Romania in 1881 and Albania in 1912 started the wave of nationalism in other countries.
- On a whole, the political situation in Europe was very unstable and every country was forging alliances at the back of other. From all these events we can say that there was a situation of war.
- Very soon the entire world was divided into two groups; one was allied power and the other one was Central power.
- In Allied power countries like the United States of America, Russia, France and Britain were there. The USA joined the allied power in 1917.
- The central powers mainly included Austro Hungarian Empire, Turkey and Germany.
After this brief background let’s talk about the causes of World War 1.
Causes of World War 1
There were four main reasons for World War 1. All these reasons are mentioned below.
The first main reason was militarism. Arms Race, machine guns, tanks, big army, naval ships were making the world goes militarism. This militarism was supported by increased military weapons production in Britain, USA and Germany.
The Alliance system was the second major reason for the war. As mentioned above there were many alliances formed in Europe in the 19th century. The major alliances were “the triple alliance” of 1882 whose member countries were Germany, Italy and Austro Hungarian Empire. Similarly in 1904 ‘Entente Cordiale’ was formed by France and Great Britain. In 1907 Russia joined this Alliance and it was renamed as ‘Triple Entente.’
The third reason was ‘imperialism’. This means expanding the rule of the kingdom. All great powers like Britain, the USA, and Russia were busy expanding their Colonies. This imperialism was not limited to Europe. It also expanded to Africa. The race of imperialism For Africa is also known as “Scramble For Africa”. The reason imperialism was extended to Africa was that; Africa was unexplored. This was a cheap source of labour. Also, the diamond mines in Africa attracted more and more superpowers to this country. This created severe differences among the countries as all countries were rushing to Africa for those diamonds mines and cheap labour. Finally, to achieve a monopoly in South Africa; war was the only way.
The fourth reason was nationalism. As you have already read the independence of some countries created a wave of nationalism in other countries of Europe. The independent nations were naming their war before independence as the “War of Glory”. Wars were glorified throughout the continent. There were some other reasons for the war as well. Russia and Ottoman Empire were also in conflict for controlling the Strait of the Dardanelles. This connects the Agean sea and the sea of Marmara. It is a gateway to the Mediterranean sea via the Black Sea. This location was very much important for trade.
These were some fundamental reasons for the war but what were the immediate region for this war? how did this was started? Now let’s read the immediate cause of World War 1.
The immediate cause of World War 1
The immediate reason for World War 1 was the assassination of Austro Hungarian Prince Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. Austro Hungarian empire was the second biggest country in Europe after Russia. Its member states were Austria, hungry, Croatia, Italy, Bosnia, Poland etc. Archduke and his wife Sarajevo were travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina where they were assassinated on 28 June 1914. Behind this assassination, Gavrilo Princep of Bosnia was there who was a member of a group called “Black hand”. But Austro Hungarian Empire believed that Serbia was involved in this assassination as the Black hand group originally belonged to Serbia. Now they wanted to attack Serbia and Germany gave its full support to Austro Hungarian Empire. Thus the first world war was started. Now let’s see which country is blamed for this war and for what reason.
Who is to be blamed?
- It’s very hard to analyse whether the above-mentioned assassination led to this world war or not. Some historians still don’t agree with this.
- Many blame Austria as she was the main aggressor against Serbia.
- But also some blame Russia as she was the first country to start full-scale troops mobilization.
- Sometimes Germany is also held guilty as she encouraged Austria to invade Serbia.
- Great Britain supported openly to France. But at the beginning of the war the position of Great Britain was uncertain. According to some historians if Great Britain had supported France earlier then the world war would have been restricted only to eastern Europe. This is because Germany couldn’t have dared to send its troops.
The Austria-Serbia war was expected to remain a localised war just like the Balkan wars, but no one thought that this would extend to such a scale. After the start of the War, it escalated quickly. Now let’s know about the reasons for escalation.
Reasons for escalation of World War
The first reason was the Alliance system which made this war inevitable. According to American diplomat and Historian George Kennan; the alliance system of 1894 between France and Russia sealed the destiny of Europe. A mutual suspicion like the situation was evolving between opposing camps due to this Alliance system. Now there came such a time; where to stop further humiliation the only way was WAR.
The second reason for escalation was the Naval race between Germany and Britain. Germany believed that the sea power is very much important for building up a successful Empire. By 1914 both countries had almost equal naval forces but they wanted to demonstrate their Supremacy.
According to some historians, the third reason is the desire for economic mastery which fueled world war I. German Businessmen and capitalists wanted a war against Great Britain.The Marxists historian are in favour of this reason because major blame for this war goes to the capitalist system. According to German historian Gerhard Ritter; The Schlieffen Plan (1905-06) of Germany was extremely risky. According to this plan, Germany wanted to defeat both Russia and France in one go. Whatever the outcome we can say that this plan was a total disaster for both Germany and Europe.
The fourth reason for the escalation of War was miscalculations. For Austria, the miscalculation was that they thought Russia will not support Serbia if they attack it. On the other hand, while Germany mobilized its troop to Austria no one had thought it would lead to war. The military general also miscalculated by thinking that a full-force attack would give them victory faster.
There were so many miscalculations that Australian historian LCF Turner refers to World War 1 as a “tragedy of Miscalculation”.
- From all these references we can conclude that the major reason for the escalation of World War 1 was to capture more and more territory by different countries. To achieve this some countries used unfair means and acted greedy which made this War the biggest war of that time.
- Not only there was a race for military and racial supremacy but also this war witnessed the most Disastrous Leadership of all time which escalated the war.
- Even today there is no consensus on the question “who is responsible for the war?” If Germany is responsible for its aggressive behaviour then Russia is also responsible for producing more and more arms buildup.
- Now which country we should blame for this World War 1. It wouldn’t be fair to blame a single country. All countries played their part in the war to bring large scale devastation to the world.
Now let’s talk about some social changes that World War 1 brought and also how it effected future.
Changes after World War
World War 1 brought some massive social change. The household woman started going to work to replace their men who never returned from war. It is also said that World War 1 was responsible for the spreading of Spanish flue 1918. It was one of the deadliest Global pandemics which claimed about 52 million lives. Many military Technologies were introduced on a large scale in World War I such as machine guns, tanks, Aerial combat etc. For the 1st time, Radio Communication was used massively during World War 1.
On the whole, world war 1 was such an event whose long-term negative impact is still visible in today’s world.
This was a brief history of World War. We hope that this blog will help you in getting the required data you were searching for. If you liked the post then please comment in the comment box. Also, you can tell us which country you think is most responsible for this world war.
Thank you for reading this blog. If you want more such content you can like our Facebook Page to stay updated. You can also allow the notifications to get notified whenever we post new blog.
Once again thank you for visiting this page and we hope it was worth your time.