Underlying Causes of World War I
It may seem like wars start abruptly, with little cause, but usually there is a bigger story. New policies, lack of equality, military influence, and too much government involvement usually stir up the peace initially. These turn the country or area into a ‘powder keg’, ready to explode into war at the smallest spark. Although the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand was the spark of World War I, policies at the time like nationalism and militarism were the underlying causes of the war.
Nationalism influenced people’s thoughts about war, twisting their minds to believe that their government and military was supreme and would win a war quickly. Because “most European countries, with the
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With a strong military always at hand, European countries were prepared to jump into war at any time. The newly-popular belief was that a country’s power was measured by its ability to wage war against another, which started the militarism system in most European countries. Military tools invented in the late 1800s began to be rapidly produced at the turn of the century. Hence, European spending on military forces skyrocketed from 1900-1914, the time leading up to World War I. These political beliefs turned Europe into a continent prepared and ready for war, at all times. But this war would introduce new weapons and strategies that no one had ever seen before, catching militaries unprepared. Chemical warfare, developed in Germany, would be introduced, killing thousands on both sides in the war and trench warfare would be instated, taking over the borders of countries. With new technologies and countries eager to use them, at the slightest mishap, such as the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, a major war could begin like World War I. Even by themselves, nationalism and militarism could stir up pro-war thoughts. But combine the two, and war becomes almost certain. With pride in both their nation and their military, countries and their people became over-confident in their abilities. World War I was started by European countries who thought they were well-prepared and would win quickly, when in reality,