Historians disagree about what 'caused' the First World War, but most trace it in some degree to the growing power of Germany.
The 'balance of power' between the nations of Europe became unstable. This led them to form military alliances:. The countries of Europe found that the alliances they had formed dragged them into war. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand subtitled. The German attack was forced back at the Battle of the Marne in September Much of the war was characterized by stagnant trench warfare and massive loss of life in failed attacks; over eight million people were killed in battle. Italy later joined the Entente. Many other countries played smaller parts on both sides.
European politics in the early twentieth century were a dichotomy: many politicians thought war had been banished by progress while others, influenced partly by a fierce arms race, felt war was inevitable.
In Germany, this belief went further: the war should happen sooner rather than later, while they still as they believed had an advantage over their perceived major enemy, Russia. As Russia and France were allied, Germany feared an attack from both sides. To mitigate this threat, the Germans developed the Schlieffen Plan , a swift looping attack on France designed to knock it out early, allowing for concentration on Russia. Austro-Hungary asked for German support and was promised a 'blank cheque'; they declared war on Serbia on July 28th.
What followed was a sort of domino effect as more and more nations joined the fight. Russia mobilized to support Serbia, so Germany declared war on Russia; France then declared war on Germany. Declarations continued until much of Europe was at war with each other.
There was widespread public support. After the swift German invasion of France was stopped at the Marne, 'the race to the sea' followed as each side tried to outflank each other ever closer to the English Channel. This left the entire Western Front divided by over miles of trenches, around which the war stagnated. William Burn. Robert Logan. Ettie Rout. Archibald Baxter.
Alexander Godley. James Allen. Ormond Burton. Andrew Hamilton Russell. George Butler. Nugent Welch. William Massey. Samuel Frickleton. Charles Begg. Bernard Freyberg. Walter Nash. See 12 more related biographies First World War glossary and list of abbreviations.
Causes of World War One
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Introduction and Overview to World War I
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