The immediate cause to World War I was the assassination at Sarajevo on 28th June 1914 where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated. The enmity which was brimming in many countries broke its boundaries and each of the nations took sides and it became a Wold War I.
Why the Assassination?
Serbians were the ones who wanted to assassinate the Archduke. Francis Joseph, the Emperor of Austria was the king of Hungary; he had dual monarchy. Francis Joseph was an old man and the heir Prince Archduke Franz Ferdinand wanted to create a “Triple monarchy” by including Serbia under its flag. Serbians on the other hand wanted to create a united Serbia which was now not possible as the plans of bringing Serbia under Austria was afoot. Bosnia a country near Serbia too wanted independence from Austria. There was a group in Bosnia called the Black Hand Gang which was planning to break free from Austria. Thus there were two states which wanted independence and were plotting against Austria’s heir prince. It is believed that Serbia supplied weapons and supported the Black Gang in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
In Other Parts
- In 1893 a Dual Alliance between Russia and France was signed.
- Germany feared the attack of France and Russia upon its soil.
- The chief of German’s General Staff named Count Schlieffen drew up the Schlieffen Plan.
- Schlieffen Plan was to attack France and with its army take over neutral Belgium and then attack Russia with a stronger force.
- Britain had promised Belgium that if anyone attacked her, Britain would come for support.
- Serbia had sought the help of Russia in case of trouble.
- Many alliances were formed and in case of war there were chances of it becoming a big battlefield than just wars between two states.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand wanted to prove that it had control over Bosnia. So he visited Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, on June 28th 1914 with his wife in spite of being warned not to travel. A hand grenade was thrown on the entourage, yet he continued his travel. At one point he wanted to visit the injured soldier but even before he could do it Gavrilo Princip a member of the Black Hand Gang shot both the Archduke and his wife. Though it happened in Bosnia, Serbia was blamed for this.
Austria set few conditions on Serbia of which most of it was accepted. So Serbia declared that it was a diplomatic move and thought it had managed to avoid war. But on July 28th Austria declared war on Serbia. Serbia could have been defeated easily but Russia came to support and Russia had a big army and Austria knew it could not match Russia’s power. So Austria sought the help of Germany. When Germany joined France was provoked into the war. On August 14th Germany invaded Belgium. Britain, France and Russia came to the support of Belgium based of the alliances formed earlier. Now it was war where most countries in Europe and Russia were fighting each other and it became a world war.