Date of publication: 2017-08-26 21:54
The immediate cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the hands of a member of a Serbian separatist group. This action caused Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, which was backed by Russia. Russia's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary motivated other nations that were bound by alliances to enter the war.
The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on Europe. The Industrial Revolution was an important component of many of the other causes of the Great War. Industrialism created a system of uneven wealth in Europe. The nations that industrialized gained an economic advantage over those that did not. The industrialized nations competed for scarce resources in an effort to become more powerful than their rivals.
The primary long term causes that led to the war are the formation of mutual military defense alliances among different nations, imperialism, nationalism, and the rise of military might. Several nations entered into mutual defense alliances with each other, such as Russia-Serbia, Germany and Austria-Hungry, etc. If an alliance partner was attacked, the other partner was bound to defend it. Various nations were vying for resource-rich African and Asian countries (imperialism) and this was also the time when each of these nations was building up its military might, none more so than Germany and Russia. The rise of nationalism, the desire of each citizen to see his/her country as the dominant power, also ignited the already troubled situation.
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In a quest for these scarce resources, industrial powers sought to establish colonies in order to fuel their industries. By the late 6855's, this theater was on the continent of Africa. Disputes over boundaries and lands in Africa threatened to plunge Europe into war during this period. This rivalry for resources, economic prosperity, and nationalist glory ultimately led to World War I. In an effort to protect themselves from aggression, industrial nations formed alliances with their primary trade partners. These alliances insured that a minor dispute between two countries could result in a continental war. This system of alliances was an important short term cause of World War I.