Evaluate the relative importance of imperialism, the arms race and the failure of diplomacy in causing the First World War
In 1914, the people of this world experienced, some more than others, one of the most terrible and bloody wars in the history of mankind so far. World War One, then entitled the Great War, set off as a result of a disagreement between the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Serbia. To the outsider, the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, appeared to be the cause of the events that led to a European and, ultimately, a world war. Although the assassination triggered the events that led to war, the true causes of the Great War were much deeper and much more complicated than a gunshot and the death of a statesman. In order to fully comprehend the causes of the First World War, and in order to sooner or later verify responsibility for the war, the state of affairs before its origin, including the events and intellectual climate in the preceding century, must be recognized and acknowledged as very important components in the determining of events that led to unfriendliness and mobilization. In this essay I will clarify and try to evaluate the relative importance of each of these following components: imperialism, the arms race and the failure of diplomacy in causing the First World War.
The disputes between the different countries before and after they joined the alliances were about nationalism. From 1870-1914 the French wanted Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany. Russia wanted to gain ports on the coast, Serbia wanted independence in the Balkans and Austria-Hungary was worried about nationalism within its empire.
This nationalism led to imperialism. France and Germany were rival empires, so were Russia and Austria- Hungary and Serbia and Austria-Hungary. Britain also wished to expand its empire abroad through colonization.
This increased struggle for coloni