The causes of WWI have been highly debated over manydecades. No one can say for sure, butmany can recognize the issues that plagued the world leading up to the war,Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarism and Mutual Alliances. The one thing that is concrete is that thiswas one of the bloodiest wars that took place. Nations had entered war to just defend their alliance, many men wereloss because of those alliances. The egofor power and wealth would lead to more destruction rather thanreclamation. A war that wasunforgettable and so much was lost and the many debatable causes that stillleave people to wonder. Leading up to WWI, militarypowers in Europe had many alliances, it could be argued that if it had not beenfor these alliances WWI might have just been a relatively minor conflictbetween Austria-Hungary and Serbia.
These alliances were mutual defense agreements where the countries wouldagree if either was attacked the other would come to its defense and thatclearly was the purpose of many nations entering the war. The assassination of ArchdukeFerdinand at the hands of the Serbians provoked Austria Hungary to declare waron Serbia and since Russia was an alliance to Austria-Hungary, Russia began tomobilize in their support. This caused atrickling effect of mutual alliances with Germany declaring war on Russia,France mobilizing in their support, and Germany declaring war on France, thisis an example of the trickling effect of the mutual alliances entering warbecause of the defense agreements.
Nationalism was considered a strong causethat preempted the war. A movement ofsuperiority, greed and lack of willingness to negotiate. Each nation wanted to be better than the other,wealth, power and control over their nations.
These types of tensions among nations created a brutal competition andconflict between Europe’s powers, those powers included Russia, Germany, Italyand France. To achieve the status ofbeing the greatest of nations they would have to the best, not onlyeconomically however militarily also, which leads us to militarism, anothercause for war. Many nations had begun todeclare their militarily greatness and nations thought that it made themgreat. Germany, England and othernations tried to build a stronger Navies to achieve power.
These arms races began to create suspicionamongst the nations, feeling feared and somewhat threatened at times thecompetition heated which made war more likely than not. Imperialism also was a cause of WWI, Europeans weregrasping for control of colonies. Europeanswere fighting each other to show off their strength and power in Africa inhopes of gaining control of them.
The war that was considered atotal war with effect in all aspects and in all nations. Socially after the war the impact of fightinghad taken a toll on soldiers that survived. They began to feel resentment towards those that had sent them to thetrenches, some suffered from PTSD, and they had a sense of emptiness anddesolation. The typical art work was depressing and often a depiction of thewar. A positive effect was that womenwere somewhat liberated, they were given the right to vote. The typical artwork was depressing and often depicted war scenes, the consensus of feeling orthe after effects on art, music literature, minorities and unions became knownas the “dada” period.
Politicallyspeaking, after WWI was there were changes made. There were mandates implemented, territorial concessionsmade and independent movements that happened all around the World, including Europe. For example, Germany was required to returnto France and the territory that they had obtained prior to, Alsace Lorraine.
The Austrian-Hungary empire split into independentstates as well as the Ottoman empire. Economically,the war left many scrambling to rebuild, not only their land but also therewealth. Most nations involved were ableto achieve that in a quick manner and recoup their losses, however Germany’ssuffering was not that easily resolved.
Germanywas ordered to reparations for damages sustained in the war, reparations andpolitical tensions that eventually led to an economic depression inGermany. It has been noted that the start of the WWI was with theassassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which is true however we must recognizethat this was just the icing on the cake that preempted the war. The tensions that ensued between many nationslike greed, power, and territory ultimately is what started the war. A war that no one will deny was catastrophic toall nations, socially, politically and economically.