Was the System of Alliances That Existed in 1914 the Main Cause of the First World War? Essay

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World War I involved all the world's major power nations, which were amassed into two opposing alliances: the Allies which were focalised on the Triple Entente, and the Central Powers which were initially centred on the Triple Alliance. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of history’s most large-scale wars. Over 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of great technological advances in firepower without corresponding advances in mobility [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I]. There are an array of causes which can be attributed to the Great War taking place; however this essay will aim to establish which of these appears to be the dominant factor. On 28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated by a man named Gavrilo Princip (a member of ‘The Black Hand’ – a secretive society formed by members of the Serbian army). This event caused a wave of diplomatic distress. Following this was a period which came to be known as the July Crisis. The July Crisis was a diplomatic juncture between the European powers through July 1914. Soon after the assassination in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary delivered a strict ultimatum to Serbia. Austria-Hungary already held an interest towards war with Serbia, so to ensure that war would follow, the terms of the ultimatum were so severe that rejection was all but guaranteed. One month after the assassination in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Its severity towards causing war was substantial, being the first of numerous acts of war which contributed towards the global conflict. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria] The balance of power was between the major nations consisting of Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany and Russia. Attempts by

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