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Reasons behind Britains decision to participate in World War I - Essay Example

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The Great War I-e World War I started in July 1914 and continued until 1918. On August 4, 1914, at 7.00 pm, United Kingdom’s most respected news source The Daily Mirror published breaking news from the foreign office that Britain is at war with Germany…
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Reasons behind Britains decision to participate in World War I
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Download file to see previous pages The news was a surprise because until then Britain had aptly deployed a diplomatic foreign policy, and had substantially refrained from wars and European predicaments (Turner, 1988, p.23). Britain was referred to as the possessor of “Splendid Isolation,” and, until 1900, it was not a part of any significant military convention with any other states (Woodward, 1967, p.3). The factors that provoked Britain to enter this war has been debated a lot lately and no single factor can be termed as the sole reason behind Britain’s decision to enter the war. This paper is an attempt to unveil those salient factors that pushed Britain to join the Great War. German connection: In early 1500s, Europe entered a modernized era, and nations developed a strategy of "Balance of powers" (Orakhelashvili, 2011, p.123). It was done to eradicate or prevent the evolution of any single state as supremely powerful. However, this equilibrium was drastically shaken due to the occurring of several historically influencing incidents. These include the 16th century Hapsburg Crisis, which resulted in Thirty Years’ War that greatly affected Europe from Hungary to Spain and later broke Hapsburg Monarchy in smaller kingdoms (Kann, 1980, p.45). The period of 1792 to 1815 saw France became a domineering empire on the continent during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. The German Crisis further deteriorated the situation and let Germany gain assertive control all over the Europe, which nullified the strategy of Balance of Powers. Hence, as an outcome of this unsettling scenario, two regions substantially gained the status of separate unified powers namely Germany and Italy. Kaiser Wilhelm II transformed Germany into an aggressive state, and ignored the long followed foreign policy of a status quo. (Wintle, 2002, p.55) Germany wanted to become as strong at sea as Britain, and hence, instead of renewing its treaty with Russia, Germany collaborated with Austria. The fear of Berlin’s resentment compelled Russia and France, two significant neighbouring states located on eastern and western sides of Germany, to come together for an alliance. Thus, the power in Europe was divided into two influential groups Central and Entente, and each group shared equal military strength. In 1879, Germany and Austria-Hungary collated together under a treaty called the Dual Alliance and Italy joined in early 1900s, which converted it into Triple Alliance whereas France and Russia collated and formed Dual Entente in 1892 (Wintle, 2002, p.55). In the last decade of 19th century, Germany started to build its navy, which posed great threat to the world’s most influential and powerful maritime state, I-e Britain. Germany’s naval in-charge Admiral Von Tirpitz formulated a new policy in 1897 targeting Britain’s naval powers and decided to outnumber them on Home Waters by building High-Seas Fleet. The Austrian Ambassador in Berlin wrote: Germany’s already swiftly growing position as a world power into a dominating one. England is now regarded as the most dangerous enemy which, as long as Germany is not sufficiently armed at sea, must be treated with consideration in all ways (cited in: Afflerbach & Stevenson, 2012, p.116). Before the onset of 20th century, Britain and Germany shared friendly ties. However, this transformation of policy clearly projected the intentions of Germans and by 1907, British government realised that the most potential threat posed to its stability, and supremacy was from Germany. Hence, Britain had no other choice but to collaborate with rival nations Russia and France and the mutual alliance became Triple Entente. (Afflerbach & Steve ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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