World War I was the first war where many nations joined hands to fulfil the individual agendas. Both sides had big names and the war lasted a little more than four years. Problems in small pockets were brewing up for some years and military alliances were being formed. So if one nation went to war other allied nations would support them. Some of the alliances were
- Germany and Austria-Hungary alliance formed by the Dual Alliance on 7th October 1879.
- Russia and Serbia alliance which was signed as early as 10th July 1807.
- Japan and Britain alliance called Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed on 30th January 1902.
- France and Russia entered into a treaty of alliance in 1912.
- Britain, France and Russia were the original members Entente Alliance of 1907. Belgium, Romania, Serbia were affiliated members of this alliance.
Some of the changes that were happening in the European countries were in one way or the other reasons for the World War 1.
- Imperialism – More countries wanted to become powerful by adding more territories under their control.
- Militarism – An arms race had begun and sovereignty depended on the military power.
- Nationalism – The desire for the need for own country amongst the ethnics began to escalate.
- Military Alliances – The military alliances that were being forged were a threat to each other.
The Moroccan Crisis
In the year 1904 Morocco was given to France by Britain. Moroccans however wanted independence and they were strongly supported by Germans. But for a few years nothing was done about it. In 1911 the Germans protested against the French possession of Morocco. Britain supported France and Germany was forced to back out. The Moroccan Crisis in the year 1904 followed by the protests in 1911 can be said to be one of the first cause of WW1.
The Serbians also wanted freedom and threatened Austria-Hungary with war. Russia joined hands with Serbia and mobilised its forces, Germany on the other hand allied with Austria-Hungary and mobilised its forces and got ready to threaten Russia. War was avoided because Russia backed down from the scene.
In the years 1911 and 1912 there was war in the Balkans and the Balkan states drove Turkey out of the area and the states fought each other over which area should belong to which state. Austria-Hungary interfered and forced Serbia to give up the land and because of these reasons the Serbia and Austria-Hungary tensions mounted up.
All these tensions in Europe were ripe for the war to break out anytime and the tiny spark was enough for Europe to get into war. The immediate cause was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Hohenberg by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28th 1914. A month later Austria-Hungary pressed an ultimatum to enter Serbia and punish the assassins and also laid down many other demands. Serbia wanted negotiations with Austria-Hungary which was refused, and on July 28th 1914 Emperor Franz Josef declared war on Serbia.
World War 1 saw a different kind of warfare. One on one combat had no place in this war and technology and weapons were used, killing many more people than any war had seen till then. The combat scene took a drastic and dreary turn and it took four years for the world to realize that what was happening was horrendous.