General Causes of WWI

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1 General Causes of WWI

2 The Causes in a Nutshell A- Alliance: European nations signed secret treaties that created a system of alliances pitting nation versus nation. N - Nationalism: There were intense feelings of nationalism on the part of subjugated nationalities. These feelings would eventually lead to rash acts. I - Imperialism: Competition to develop vast empires caused tension and conflict. M - Militarism: Nations built huge armies to defend themselves and help to gain these empires. It was a natural feeling for them to want to use these militaries. A - Anarchy: There was no international organization to help them deal with their problems. L - Leadership: It was poor. Just look at the system they set up...quite poor indeed.

3 Cause #1: Kaiser Wilhelm II Grandson of Queen Victoria He was born with a weak left arm which became something he needed to compensate for He joins the military at 18 and excels He is full of complexes and insecurities that are fueled by a love of the military Bismark had created a series of alliances between Germany, France, Britain, Russia and Austro-Hungary. These alliances created a tenuous balance of power Kaiser Wilhelm upset this delicate balance by boasting & threatening the other nations with talk of German greatness. This alienated France, Russia and Britain. Only Austro-Hungary remained loyal and that country was unstable

4 Cause #2: Social Problems Industrialization produced a huge disparity between haves and have nots. Power rested with the few haves and the many have nots wanted more. In Britain women suffragettes used civil disobedience to demand political rights. The British government s reaction was cruel and harsh. Women were jailed and force fed. The populations in many industrial nations became angry and frustrated and began to lose faith in their governments. Socialism was an idea that promised equality and prosperity, but for Radicals, revolution seemed the only way to bring about change Socialist convention attempted to stave off war in Serbia a country alternately controlled by Russia and Austro-Hungary.

5 Cause #3: Shifts in world power Imperialism brought new countries into the world picture (the U.S. & Germany) Imperialism led to an arms race. Military growth became a part of the economic growth experienced by industrial nations. Nationalism (strong identification to one s country) creates new loyalties to country and a sense of entitlement to all the world has to offer.

6 Cause #4: Russia and the Czar Nicholas II Marries Alexandria, a German princess. She was a staunch monarchist who believed in maintaining the absolute power of the monarchy. This made her unsupportive of socialist reforms. He is related to British and German royalty by both blood and marriage Alexi, his only son, was a hemophiliac and sickly. Rasputin became the family healer and advisor, but he gave really bad advice. The royal family lived at their country palace, isolated and completely out of touch with the people and the revolution brewing under their noses. The Russian masses (largely impoverished) had begun to consider the socialist ideals of greater equality. This growing instability would lead to revolution in 1917.

7 Cause #5: German Arrogance German nationalism, arrogance and a belief in German superiority gave rise to imperialist goals Socialist Democratic Party represented workers (proletariat) who were vocal, angry & volatile. This working class wanted to share in Germany s new wealth, something most believed could be achieved through military conquest.

8 Cause #6: The Balkans Ethnic Slavs were determined to rid themselves of A-H control and unite Serbia The Black Hand was terrorist group that killed the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, during their visit to Sarajevo in July 12, 1914 A-H Empire insists on punishing the Serbs A-H declares war on Serbia (allied with Russia) (Allied w/germany) (Allied w/italy) (Allied w/britain) (Allied w/france) WWI is ignited by a single event (assassination of Ferdinand) which pulls in 60 countries united through a system of secret and known alliances (Triple Alliance = G, A-H, I and Triple Entente R, GB, F).

9 Cause #7: General Rationale Germany used the recent events as an excuse to mobilize her war machine Many in Europe saw war as a much needed and beneficial thing The assassination of Jarey (a famous French Socialist and pacifist). He had worked to organize reform and peace in Serbia at the Socialist Convention of France sees his death as a reason to fight Germany. This is ironic because the death of a peaceful man became a cause for violence. Honor must be defended. WWI was a product of old values and a colonial understanding of international conflict. War brought an end to Socialist Movements world wide, an end to monarchy governments and marked the beginning of a violent century.

10 Alliances on the Eve of WWI

11 Political Governments 1914

12

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