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Some historians have argued that the First World War was the logical, perhaps inevitable, outcome of the revolutionary changes of the nineteenth century - Essay Example

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This was a period when Europe was undergoing industrialization hence many changes were being experienced such as civilization and technological advancements…
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Some historians have argued that the First World War was the logical, perhaps inevitable, outcome of the revolutionary changes of the nineteenth century
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Extract of sample "Some historians have argued that the First World War was the logical, perhaps inevitable, outcome of the revolutionary changes of the nineteenth century"

Running Head: WORLD WAR Topic: World War Lecturer: Presentation: Introduction The First World War was the logical, perhaps inevitable, outcome of the revolutionary changes of the nineteenth century. This was a period when Europe was undergoing industrialization hence many changes were being experienced such as civilization and technological advancements. Powerful countries such as Britain and France were expanding their territories to find new markets, modern weapons were being developed, and the spirit of nationalism was great leading to strategic alliances which led to culmination of the war. The peace agreements reached after the WWI led to the rise of Nazi Germany and Japan whose actions led to break out of the WWII.
Some of the causes of the WWI include; imperialism, militarism, nationalism and the alliance system but the paper will discuss the first two factors. Industrial revolution which began in Britain meant local market was not enough for industrial products. Britain thus began looking for markets and labor by colonizing other nations and other countries like France followed suit such that in the nineteenth century, Britain had over five continents while France occupied large areas of Africa (Sammis, 2002). This led to rivalry among nations and scramble for remaining lands especially by Germany leading to formation of alliances in preparation for an inevitable war. For example, Germany allied with Austria so as to get a route to conquer Asia.
Militarism was another long term cause of the war. Countries were engaged in aggressive military preparedness making war inevitable. Great Britain had a very large navy and Germany wanted to outdo it hence engaged in creation of arms and in retaliation, Britain improved its naval base by use of modern technology hence an arms race began that made impending war seem inevitable. For example, Britain built dreadnoughts in 1905-06 to counter Germans arms (Best et al. 2008). The arms race increased the fear of war leading to the alliance system in order to defeat enemies and continued arms race between the allies. For example, arms race between Franco-Prussian and German-Austria hence more innovative weapons like machine guns created that aided the war.
WWI was the most destructive in history due to the scale of the war and use of ferocious weapons and styles. The use of machine guns, modern artillery and rifles, submarines, airplanes, gas, and tanks left many soldiers dead. The use of trench warfare did not help much as it meant total destruction for the soldiers; either kill or be killed (Stone, 2009). As a result, the war left over 15 million soldiers’ dead and 21 million wounded. This was a result of industrialization that gave rise to weapon innovations and a deadly war.
The peaceful agreements reached after the WWI such as the Treaty of Versailles left countries dissatisfied. Coupled with other factors such as the failure of League of Nations, and the policy of Appeasement by some countries like Britain, WWII erupted. German was weakened by the Treaty of Versailles which led to its disarmament and territorial clause leading to loss of land. However, its leader Adolf Hitler took it upon himself to restore the glory of Germany to a world power through militarism and imperialism and disregarding the Treaty (Sammis, 2002). The actions of Nazi Germany that followed contributed to the war. First, Hitler strengthened his army and sent troops to capture Rhineland and no action was taken against it. He also formed allies with other powers such as Italy (Rome-Berlin Axis), Japan (Anti-Comintern Pact), and annexed Austria so as to recover lost lands (Waddington, 2007). It also invaded Czechoslovakia and was allowed cession of Sudetenland by the Munich conference where it promised to ends its imperialism. However, due to weakness of western nations and the League of Nations, and with the help of Soviet Union it captured Poland thus prompting the Second World War.
Japan was also in need of resources for its industries hence resulted to China which was mineral rich. It thus attacked China and captured Manchuria against the will of its people leading to worldwide protests and withdrawal from the league (Best et al. 2008)). The pact with Nazi Germany made Japan powerful and gave it strength to conquer most parts of China but the conflict with Chinese army in 1937 led to war. To evade war with European powers and United States, it waged a war against them leading to another war.
Conclusion
The First World War was a result of the revolutionary changes taking place in Europe in the nineteenth century. Industrialization enabled the growth of industries and technological innovations leading to imperialist policies and militarism which in turn prompted the formation of the alliance system that led to and enlarged the scale of the war. The war was very destructive due to use of ferocious modern weapons, destructive tactics, and the scale of the war. In order to end the war, the Treaty of Versailles was signed leading to dissatisfaction among nations, weakening of Germany, more aggression and imperialism especially by the Nazi Germany and Japan leading to the Second World War.
References
Best, A., Hanhimaki, J., Maiolo, J., Schulze, K (2008) International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond. New York: Routledge.
Sammis, C (2002). Focus on World History: The Twentieth Century. USA: J Weston Walch.
Stone, N (2009). World War One: A Short History. US: Basic Books.
Waddington, L. (2007) “The Anti-comintern and Nazi Anti-Bolshevik Propaganda in the 1930s.” Journal of Contemporary History. 42, 4: 573-594. Read More
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