What Caused the First World War?

"If we don't end war, war will end us."
H.G. Wells
Author, science fiction (1866-1946)
“Sometimes you have to pick up the gun to put the gun down.”
Malcolm X
Minister, human rights activist (1925-1965)

The Peace Conference of 1912-1913 in London

London Peace Conference of 1912-13: The Great Powers arbitrate between opponents of the First Balkan War (see Alliances).
Many factors contributed to an atmosphere that facilitated the First World War:

Militarism - the belief that a government’s war machine can solve issues for its benefit if it is adequately powerful. For example, a country uses its military to invade another country to expand its empire (e.g. Germany invades France).

Alliances - where separate political units (e.g. countries) team up to protect and/or extend their interests. Alliances can be physical or ideological. The Triple ENTENTE (Britain, France, Russia: the “Allies”) was pitted against the Triple ALLIANCE (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy: the “Axis”). Note: FIRST BALKAN WAR.

Imperialism - the desire by countries to build overseas empires in order to expand their reach and riches. By the time Germany was ready to do this, all of the best pieces of the pie were already taken by other countries.

Nationalism - when people feel deep loyalty to their nation; nationalism can rally people to an empire’s cause. Example: The Black Hand, a Serbian Nationalist movement, did not like its Austro-Hungarian rulers who were seen as outsiders by many Serbs. See Assassination below.

Industrialism - an economic focus on large-scale mechanized industry rather than agriculture and/or resource harvesting. This factor, taken along with the others, led to an arms race and, ultimately, massive casualty numbers among all First World War belligerents. New industrial technologies led to more efficient war-making tools: dreadnought battleships, long range artillery, tanks, airplanes, submarines/U-boat, machine guns, chemical weapons, zeppelins.

Assassination - Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand, fatally shot both the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife in the attack near Sarajevo city hall on June 28, 1914.


Hmmm... Militarism (M), Alliances (A), Imperialism (I), Nationalism (N), Industrialism (I), Assassination (A)...       M A I N I A... it's not a word, but I can definitely remember that! “MAINIA

Mix those letters up. Create a mnemonic to help you remember the Causes of WWI.

Which mix works best for you? How about AIMAIN or AMIINA ?

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife leave Sarajevo City Hall minutes before the shooting, 28 June 1914.
“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.” (1888)
Otto von Bismarck
German leader (1815-1888)

Unit Home

The Great War Begins. Dominion of Canada. Canada's demographics. Sam Hughes.

Germany Declares War

Western Front Aug.3 to Oct.17, 1914. Schlieffen Plan. Race to the Sea. Stalemate.

The Road to Vimy Ridge

Introduction Homepage

%d bloggers like this: