Roots and Causes of World War I

Abstract

World War I was caused by the imperialistic controversies between the group of Great Powers which had succeeded to conquer the vast territories and resources of underdeveloped overseas countries and the group of the countries which had been late. The latter being unwilling to put up with such conditions and wished to conquer their place under the sun.

Great Powers of that time were also obsessed with the legacy of dying Ottoman Empire. Russians had long fostered the idea of establishing their control over The Turkish Straits. That would allow them to spread their influence over the Mediterranean. Western Powers did their best to prevent the advent of another Mistress of the Seas.

Austria-Hungary which bordered on both Turks and Ottomans was anxious about their numerous Slav subjects which had increasingly strong sentiment against Russia.

Furthermore most of the belligerents sought for solution controversies in their homelands. Bourgeoisies hoped to depress the labor and trade union movement and to put the communities under their total control

Roots and Causes of World War I

Nevertheless it ended more than 90 years ago World War I has still been providing hosts of historians and popular commentators with their daily bread. So as far as even an applicant for a position of academic research writer, pursues making profit on the topic, there is no doubt those who unleashed that conflict pursued making extra profits first and foremost.

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Essay Help on Roots and Causes of World War I

Imperialism is the factor researchers attribute unleashing of that war to. Furthermore it allows confining such a complicated topic within the prescribed volume. As a matter of fact the conflict broke out because of contradictions between incumbent great powers – Great Britain and France – from one hand and emerging ones such as Germany, Italy, Austro-Hungary and Russia from another (Lenin116-122). By the end of the XIX century England and France had succeeded to seize a great deal of overseas colonial acquisitions which were supplying mother countries with cheap rough materials and served the latter as markets for ready made products. Furthermore seemingly inexhaustible resources along with the cheap labor of the colonies allowed English qualified workers to receive worthy wages and not to go striking. Other abovementioned empires had been late for allotment of uncultivated countries so they had no choice but to unleash war for redistribution of the territories and resources.

Since 1871 the most troublesome European power was newly established German Empire – Reich. The proximity of plants to the deposits of minerals as well as developed railway system afforded excellent opportunities for development of German industry as well as for mobility of the army. Having humiliated France to the utmost in 1871 Otto von Bismarck, in spite of his being nicknamed The Iron Chancellor, displayed a great deal of flexibility in relationships with the enemy. The complicated web of alliances was woven to a great extent due to his efforts. The architect of German unity aimed at isolation of France simultaneously providing its colonial overseas aspirations with diplomatic support. Though it was not unlikely, Bismarck hoped to get French colonies after inflicting defeat on France in eventual war. After all being aware of Germany\’s impotence to sustain a fight on two fronts Bismarck sought after guaranty of Russia\’s neutrality in case of eventual conflict with France (Luigi 461)

Nevertheless in spite of all the efforts, Bismarck as well as other European leaders failed to come to an agreement with Russia on Eastern Question i.e. the question of High Porte\’s legacy. Ottoman Empire had been called \”a sick man\” long before World War I. The very existence of that empire had long been maintained artificially by European powers in order to avert Russia from imposing its control on The Turkish Straits and thus to preclude Russians from spread their influence over the Mediterranean. Having defeated Turkey in war of 1877-78 Russia wielded far reaching influence upon newly established Balkan states inhabited predominantly by Orthodox Slavs. Austria-Hungary also inhabited for a grater part by Slavs was seated on the anxious bench thus. Foreseeing spreading Russian influence beyond Danube, Austrians occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878 which formally belonged to Ottoman Empire. 30 years later Austria-Hungary annexed it. Having occupied that country inhabited predominantly by Orthodox Slavs Austrians inevitably encountered strong resentment from Serbia which also claimed its rights to that territory. Such Austrian hawks as Conrad von Hötzendorf believed Serbia should be pacified before it gets strong enough to spread its influence over inhabited by Slavs territories of The Dual Monarchy.

After all it was the controversy over Balkan territories to become a direct cause of the war. On 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip, a member of Serbian nationalist organization Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, an heir to Austro-Hungarian throne who had advocated the ideas of offering wider autonomy for Slavs of Austro-Hungary and reaching compromise with  Kingdom of Serbia ( Morton 191). Austro-Hungary soon delivered Serbia ultimatum made up of unrealizable terms which inevitably lead to involvement of Russia which traditionally backed coreligionist Serbia. Participating in that war consequently led to collapse of retarded tsarist and dual monarchies which had never been at war with one another.

Though there was another hardly the most important reason for unleashing the global conflict. Bourgeoisie of the Great Powers hoped not only to capture the territories and resources which had not been at their disposal but wished to strengthen their control over popular masses of the countries of their own. The war itself is always an excellent pretext for cutting civic rights and freedoms (Fisher). Having won the war all over the world bourgeoisie could have depressed labor and trade union movement throughout the world and eventually assumed the features of Iron Heel as it had been depicted in the famous Jack London’s novel. After all bourgeoisies of the countries which lost the war retained their properties though having been compelled to pay reparations while the ruling classes of the former Russian Empire lost any hold of the means of production. So as we can see that war was unleashed and waged not by one group of countries against another but by the bourgeoisies against the popular masses of the entire world.

Works Cited

Albertini, Luigi. Origins of the War of 1914, Vol II. London:  Oxford University

Press, 1953. Print.

Fischer, Fritz. Germany\’s Aims In the First World War. New York:

W.W. Norton, 1967. Print.

Lenin, Vladimir. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

New York: International Publishers, 1997. Print

Morton, Frederick. Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914.  New York

Scribner. 1989. Print.

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