The Causes and Effects of World War

What were the causes and effects of World War I? The answer
to this seemingly simple question is not elementary. There was more to
the onset of the war then the event of an Austrian prince being
murdered in Serbia, as is what most people consider to be the cause of
World War I. Furthermore, the effects of the war were not just
concentrated to a post-war era lasting for a generation of Westerners.
No, the effects of the war were widespread throughout the world and
can be traced to generations after the war.
It is not a rare occasion that when a person is asked what the
causes of World War I were, that they answer with the simple comment
of an Austrian Prince being shot in Serbia. However the assignation of
the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie , in Sarajevo was
not the main cause of the Great War. Rather, it was the breaking
point for Austria in its dealings with Serbia. The truth of the matter
is that several factors played a role in the outbreak of the
catastrophic war the engulfed the nations of Europe for over four
years. World War I truly was the result of building aggressions among
the countries of Europe which was backed by the rise of nationalism.
To add to the disastrous pot, there was also imperial competition
along with the fear of war prompting military alliances and an arms
race. All of these increased the escalating tensions that lead to the
outbreak of a world war. (Mckay, pg. 904)
Two opposing alliances developed by the Bismarckian diplomacy
after the Franco- Prussian War was one of the major causes of the war.
In order to diplomatically isolate France, Bismarck formed the Three
Emperorís League in 1872, which was an alliance between Germany,
Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Then in 1882 , Bismarck took advantage of
Italian resentment toward France and formed the Triple Alliance
between Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungry. In 1890 Bismarck was
dismissed from his office and France took the opportunity to gain an
ally, therefore , in 1891 the Franco- Russian Entente was formed. Then
in 1904 Britain and France put aside their conflicts and formed the
Entente Cordiale. As a result , the Triple Entente , a coalition
between Great Britain, France , and Russia, countered the Triple
Alliance. Now Europe was divided up into two armed camps.(World Book
Encyclopedia, WXYZ, pg. 367)
Nationalism also played a major role in developing tensions in
Europe; for it had been causing dissatisfaction since the Congress of
Vienna in 1815. In that settlement the preservment of peace was chosen
over nationalism, therefore, Germany and Italy were left as divided
states, though they did unify in the future. The Franco- Prussian War
in 1871 resulted in the Franceís loss of the province of Alasce-
Lorraine to Germany, and the French looked forward to regaining their
lands. Then there was Austria- Hungary which controlled many lands
that their neighbors felt belonged to them. Serbia wanted Bosnia and
Hercegovina, Italy wanted the Trentino and Trieste regions, and the
Czechs and Solvaks wanted independence from Austria- Hungrey. There
was also Russia which had problems within itís own boundaries; for
Russia contained many different nationalities and many were also
seeking independence in the name of nationalism. ( World Book
Encyclopedia, WXYZ, pg. 366)
Another major conflict that caused the outbreak of the Great
War was what is known as the arms race. With the hostile divisions of
the nations of Europe there came the expansion of armies and navies.
Furthermore, the great powers came to copy Germanyís military
organization and efficiency, which called for universal registration
for military duty, large reserves and detailed planning. Efforts were
made for universal disarmament, but the " international rivalry caused
the arms race to continue to feed on itself. " (Karpilovsky, World
Wide Web)
Imperial competition also played a major rule in the act of
increasing the ever growing tensions among the divided countries of
Europe. In Africa there were two crises in Morocco. The first time, in
1905, Germany full heartedly supported Moroccoís call for independence
from France, and with the British defending the French war was only
avoided because of an international conference which