If we have a look in the deep past, we shall find there are many causes of World War 1. But the event that triggered the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, in July, 1914. During the period of Industrial Revolution, that is, from the 18th to the 19th century, Europe underwent drastic changes.
The race for being the biggest and fastest economy in the world was the reason behind all the crisis and tension in Europe. The rising tensions over the Balkan region led to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Austria and Hungary fought over the territory with Serbia and Russia, to have greater influence in the region.
The strategic geographical as well as economic position of the Balkan region was the main reason behind the fight. This fight sucked in the remaining Great Powers into the conflict through different treaties and alliances. The details are given in the following paragraphs.
Serbia emerged as the victor in the Balkans, and as a result, expanded its territory. It was unacceptable for Austria to see Serbia emerge as a power in Europe. Therefore, in order to curb their power, Austria threatened war on them, if they acquired the port from the Turks. Also, Austria gained support from the Germans to drive Serbia back.
England, on the other hand, threatened the German embassy to pull out of the conflict. This was because the German and Austria-Hungary alliance was in itself a big threat for Great Britain. In such a manner, alliances made by the Great Powers was seen as one of the main reasons for this conflict.
During the latter half of the 19th century, it was seen that nations, like Great Britain, France, and Portugal were acquiring lots of wealth from foreign colonies, markets, etc. The major colonies for these nations included India, Africa, and Australia.
Other European powers, like Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Russia wished to do the same, but the British policies of strategic exclusion stopped them from doing so. Thus, the tension and the fear that Great Britain is using this wealth to increase their arms power caused more friction between the nations.
There was a rat race on between these superjacent nations to settle colonies, indulge in colonial trade, and seek new sea routes, hoping for new territories to be ahead in the race. This was another reason that led to a bloody battle.
Militarism (Arms Race)
The entire of Europe was under latent hostility because of the rising tensions and growth of neighboring nations. This fear led to increase in acquiring more and more arms by nations to have a stronger defensive side.
These Great Nations were growing too fast, and along with this rise, rose everyone's military and navy power. This rise in military strength produced a class of professional and powerful military officers, who actually added fuel to the war to make their nations more powerful.
- A set of alliances were formed all over Europe. Most of them joined the alliance to save their backs in case of an attack, as everyone knew that a world war was pertinent.
- Germany and Austria-Hungary tied up to sign a treaty in 1879 forming the Dual Alliance.
- Italy joined the German and Austrian alliance in 1882, and this gave rise to the Triple Alliance
- France and Russian Alliance was formed in 1894.
- The Triple Entente alliance was formed between Great Britain, France, and Russia as an answer to the Triple Alliance.
The war 1 left an ugly scar on the face of the earth. This ugly memory still gives us a spine chilling feeling. It did not end differences between nations, as a war never does. In fact, it set up the stage for the next big event, probably the most violent of them all - the World War II.
The reason, everyone was moving towards the next world war, as the treaties and pacts made by the victorious nations were deemed unjust. The Treaty of Versailles was one of the so-called peace treaties signed, which, according to some, was totally biased.
As you can see, the palpable tension between two nations, Austria-Hungary and Siberia roped in other nations to declare war too. The after effects led to the death of thousands and left millions homeless.
Nothing good ever comes out of a war, but it did teach a lesson to all that wars destroy the economy of the world. However, this lesson was soon forgotten and we are all aware of the repercussions of World War 2.