A number of events took place from the period of time between 1870 and 1914 that can be considered causes of World War I. Nations took part in ideas such as militarism and imperialism, actions that made tensions between the major powers of Europe almost unbearable for more than two decades. Also, Europeans became more suspicious of each other after the formation of a two-way alliance system that united almost every country as a friend, or a foe. Each country, with its growing military capabilities, was anxious to try out its power on its neighbors. Then, on June 28, 1914, a Serbian Terrorist by the name of Gavrilo Princip pushed it all over the edge with the assassination of the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. From there, all of the events and occurrences of the past years broke out. First with Austria, then Germany, then Russia, until a war that covered almost the whole world was in effect.
For twenty years, the nations of Europe had been making alliances. They thought the alliances would help promote peace with each other. Each country would be protected by its allies in case of attack, making it difficult for one country to wage war on another. The two alliances that made up mostly all of Europe were the Triple Alliance, composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, as well as the Triple Entente composed of Britain, France, and Russia. The danger of these alliances was that a conflict between two opposing countries could draw all the other European powers into a fight. This is just what happened when the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia led to World War I. Militarism also played its part of the build-up to the war. All the countries with extra funds competed for larger armies and navies. The standing armies of France and Germany doubled in size between 1870 and 1914. The more one nation built up its army and navy, the more other nations felt they had to do the same.