The Alliance System as the Leading Cause of World War i

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Updated: Jun 22, 2022
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The Alliance System as the Leading Cause of World War i essay

World War One, also known as the Great War took place from July 28th, 1914 to November 11th,1918. What caused this war to receive this name is due to the fact that this war involved many countries which led to millions of deaths. Not only were there millions of military deaths. But many ended up dying as well as millions of people ended up being not accounted for. After learning in class and reading about this breathtaking war. It can be said that this war was inevitable. There were too many causes that created the opportunity for this war to occur. There are two types of causes that led to this war. Long term causes and short term causes.

The first long term cause was nationalism. Nationalism is when people inside of a nation become deeply invested in their own country and devote themselves to their country. While having love and support for your own country is good. Nationalism in Europe at this time caused countries in Europe to become too power hungry. The level of competition between nations for territory and influence in markets became too much. The next issue was the large increase is militarism. Before the war started, the demand for new military technology and tactics took off quickly. Once one nation started to build up their military and another country noticed. That other country then demanded for themselves to build up their military. This led to a snowball effect causing multiple nations across Europe to partake in an arms race.

The idea of having a large standing ready to go into war also became a desire by countries at this time. Imperialism is the next long term cause of this war. Imperialism is when a nation is attempting to extend power by obtaining new territory which leads to political or economic gain. Imperialism at this time was being practiced by almost all European countries at this time. The extreme goal of obtaining colonies and expanding power led to mistrust and conflict among the nations. The final long term cause was the alliance system. The original goal of alliances was to maintain peace in Europe. Instead, these alliances did the opposite of what their original purpose was. The fact that most of these alliances were made in secret also didn’t help. While there were many long-term causes, there was only one main short term cause that is recognized to be one of the causes to have started World War One.

This cause was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. While visiting Sarajevo, the Archduke was murdered by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip. After he was murdered, the Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. After discussing both the long-term and short-term causes. It can once again be said that World War One was inevitable. There was simply too much distrust, tension, and greed. Whenever these three things occur, conflict is inevitable. Whether it be between two people or in this case multiple nations. The only way for this war to not have occurred is if there was much more transparency between the nations and more diplomatic actions to avoid fighting. 

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The Alliance System as The Leading Cause of World War I. (2022, Jun 22). Retrieved from