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World War I - Essay Example

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There are four major causes of World War I. They are alliances, imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. The term alliance means the agreement between two countries to help each other if needed…
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World War I
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Download file to see previous pages The first one was between Germany and Austria-Hungary, known as the Dual Alliance. It was followed by the Austro-Serbian Alliance of 1881. Similarly, there was the triple alliance of 1882, the triple entente and Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907, and Entente Cordiale between France and Britain (Tucker 4). Thus, it was impossible for any of these nations to stay away from war if any of their allies declared war. The next important reason was imperialism. The term imperialism means one country taking over another land or territory and imposing its own rule in the new land. The beginning of twentieth century saw the spread of British Empire into all continents. Similarly, France had considerable control over much of Africa. As industrialization set in, countries started aggressively looking for more markets to sell their products. As Germany entered the competition, there was increased rivalry and enmity. In addition, increased militarism also had its role. The term militarism means the increased importance given to military by governments. In fact, as a result of the European divide, nations were aggressively engaged in arms race. To illustrate, both France and Germany considerably increased their military size and rivalry rose over sea turf. In order to retain their dominance at sea, Britain introduced their battleship called ‘Dreadnought’. Germans followed suit by introducing their own battleships. In addition, Germany even prepared a plan to attack France through Belgium in case Russia attacked them. Thus, militarism played its role in starting World War I. Another important reason was the rising nationalism. Some examples of this rising feeling were the re-unification of Italy and Germany. While France was angry at the loss of territory to Germany, many areas of Serbia and Austria-Hungary were disturbed by different nationalist groups. In fact, the US was engaged in trade with most of the nations involved in the world war. However, there was higher trade with Britain and France. Thus, at that time, the US had huge economic investment with both these nations. If they lost the war, they would not be able to pay back the debt, which meant a collapse of the US economy. Secondly, both the nations were purchasing arms from US on credit. So, it was necessary for the US to see that the nations were able to pay for it. Moreover, President wanted to make the world open to democracy. Thus, there arose the general idea that France and Britain were fighting against a threat to democracy. However, one of the most important reasons is the German use of submarine warfare and the sinking of the ship Lusitania killing more than hundred Americans. Furthermore, a telegram from the German foreign secretary to the German Ambassador to Mexico was intercepted, translated and sent to America by the British. The telegraph was meant to create an alliance between Germany and Mexico. Under Title 1, section 3 of the Espionage Act, one who makes false reports or false statements could be given even twenty years imprisonment if it was found that the same was done to interfere with the operation of the military. Secondly, under title 12, postmaster general got the legal power to declare a material as un-mailable if it urged treason, or forcible resistance of the law. That means freedom of speech was seriously hampered by this. Another very serious issue was the power given to the president to censor publication of material if found harmful for the nation or useful to the enemy. It all meant that right to speech was impaired by the act. The Seditions Act added a large number of more actions in the prohibited list. It was claimed that ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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