This week I was asked to list the causes to WWI. This changed the face of Europe. This war ended old tactics and gave new ones. Let’s look at the geography and alliances of Europe in 1914. We will also look at the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The geography of Europe in 1914 was very different from what we see today. The German Empire was much smaller. Half of present-day Germany was Austria-Hungry. The Ottoman Empire was still present but was fastly declining. All of the superpowers of Europe; France, Germany, Austria-Hungry, United Kingdom, and Spain had colonies all over the world.
The Alliances of Europe didn’t all happen in 1914. We must go back many years. In fact, we have to go back to another war, the Austro-Prussian War. Prussia or Germany fought and defeated Austro-Hungry. After this war, Prussia started making many alliances. It formed the League of 3 Emperors which allied Russia, Austria-Hungry, and Prussia. Then Prussia started building itself internally. Next Prussia formed and a strong alliance with Austria-Hungry. Then Italy joined them which formed the Triple Alliance. By now Prussia was almost at the top of Europe. But the rest of Europe decided to take action. France and Russia formed the Franco-Russian Alliance. Soon Britain allied herself with France and Russia in the Triple Entente. In Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire was almost gone. Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece were taking over the area of the Balkans. Serbia formed an alliance with Russia. Thus the stage was set for war.
The last spark that lit the fire of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria–Hungry. Ferdinand and his wife were killed by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist who, with a group of other Serbians, plotted to overthrow Austria-Hungry. Austria-Hungry declared war on Serbia. Soon most of the nations in Europe were involved in The Great War.
World War was important war in changing the face of Europe. This war cost 16 million lives and is very important to study. I hope you have enjoyed this essay.
Samuel Duarte JM