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The Origins of First World War - Essay Example

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History is replete with many battles and wars. But the First World War was the kind of war which sharply polarized the world community. It was the first big war which saw the use of modern day warfare technology and strategies in a big way. Large scale use of machine guns, battle tanks, air force power, Gaseous material etc…
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The Origins of First World War
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Download file to see previous pages Though, taking a retrospective look, James Joll (1984), argued in his book The Origins of the First World War, that German rulers had 'accepted the war as inevitable' by December 1912 itself. But the Germans preferred to wait for the most opportune time. Historians also say that the imperialistic policies of some European nations also contributed to the simmering discontent amongst other nations. Some countries had highly ambitious plans of establishing their colonies in foreign lands. Similarly, some countries had started arming themselves in a big way, which left the neighboring countries apprehensive for their safety and asking for cover for other nations. This polarized the world community. Therefore militarism was another reason for the outbreak of war. Slav nationalism never allowed the Austrians and Russians a peaceful coexistence. The sea route was earlier used basically for exploring far off places, but Britain and Germany also started using the naval forces for strategic advantages. Another race started in the two blocks to strengthen the naval forces. Though earlier the use of James Joll (1984) argues that;
"The immediate motives which led governments to decide to go to war in 1914 were not directly imperialist, but earlier imperialist policies had contributed to the frame of mind in which decisions were taken. ...
Evans and Strandmann (1990) say that apparently the war started off a clear sky, but most of the nations seem to be well prepared for the war. The authors state that, "Everyone seems to have known exactly what to do, and to have done it with great efficiency. Arrangements to take over the Examination Schools and colleges had been made by the War Office two years earlier."

Though historians find it very difficult to pinpoint one particular event or one particular day when the war trigger was put on. But the events of June 28, 1914 are still remembered as a turning point (Turner, 1970). It is on this day that, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife were assassinated (it was their wedding anniversary) in Sarajevo, Bosnia by a Serbian nationalist student. This province had been under Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1908. After this assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, followed by the Russian Mobilization the next day. Increasing emphasis on militarism led to the development of new weapons. Simultaneously the emergence of trench warfare made the Great War the bloodiest conflict the world had known (The Birmingham Post, 2004)

James Joll prefer to place imperialism, domestic concerns, and the failure of diplomats as the basic reasons for eruption of the full fledged war. In broader terms the origin of First World War can be traced back as the result of a number of reasons. Some such reasons, enlisted by historians, over time are;

The rise of German power after 1870 and its Imperialistic designs: Germany used to be a loose confederation of independent states till 1870. On January 18, 1871, these states united under a Prussian king ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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