History Essay: To what extent was the alliance system responsible for the outbreak of the First World War?.
The First World War was one of the biggest mistakes the humanity was ever responsible of. There were millions of lives lost, and even more people were affected, one way or another. Just as the European countries were pulled in, mainly by alliances, one after the other. This is why A.J.P. Taylor called this war a "tragedy of miscalculation". But really, to what extent was this alliance system responsible for the outbreak of the First World War? Throughout this essay, we will be able to observe that, even when the alliance system was one of the most important causes of the outbreak of the war, there are another major causes that contributed to this event, which changed the course of humanity.
Chain reactions- the Alliance System.
The alliance system started in 1882, with the formation of the Triple Alliance by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The other three European powers, Britain, France and Russia, reacted by signing agreements between them, which would finally turn into a Triple Entente in 1907. The main purpose of these treaties was to act as a deterrent to avoid any possible violent confrontation, since to attack a country would immediately mean war with the other members of the alliance. The problem with this system is that, in this case, it did not serve it's purpose, because a minor incident which would have turned into a Third Balkan war ended by gradually becoming an European war, and later, a world war. .
But an important thought on this factor, is that the alliances were not very strong at the time, and the countries in Europe, which were eager to have a war, used the alliances as an excuse to get involved in the conflict. An example is that Britain, who had agreed to protect Belgium's neutrality, had not honored the treaty twice before it was invaded by Germany in 1914.