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By: Nick Aiello, Justin Künzel, Preson Corral, Jake Peckham, and Gian Pancipanci

Nationalism is On the Rise

Nationalism could be defined as extreme pride or patriotism in one's country or ethnic group or the idea one's country is superior to all others. The constant belief that one's country is better than another is never a good idea. These beliefs can lead to friction or tension between two countries that will continue to build up over time and cause hatred between the countries. This is exactly what happened in the Balkan Peninsula at the beginning of the 1910's. The citizens of Serbia and Austria-Hungary felt extreme nationalism towards their own countries, which created large amounts of friction between the two countries. According to Margret MacMillan in an article entitled "The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War," "[In Europe]... the growth of nationalistic feelings...did much to cause ill will among nations who might otherwise have been friends" (MacMillan).  MacMillan refers to the counties of Serbia and Austria-Hungary in the article. If it was not for the feelings of extreme nationalism that led to conflict, these countries may have been allies. But the combination of history and conflict between two countries is always an equation for violence. Tension keeps building and only a single spark is needed to set fire to tensions and create violence, and that spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28 in 1914. The assassination of Franz-Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many in countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention–which would likely involve Russia's ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun. (

Militarism Leads to Tension

  What is militarism? Militarism is the rise of military power to a nation. Now this happens to be the main cause to WW1 because other nations started to question and become more concern about the nation that is militarizing. Most likely the nations are becoming scared because they are staying stagnant while they other nation is increasing their strength.

"It is also important to take notice of the fact that from 1910 to 1914, while France increased her defence expenditure by 10%, Britain by 13%, Russia by 39%, and Germany was the most militaristic as she increased by 73%. Increased war expenditure enabled all the powers to raise more armies and improve their battleships" (The Corner). "Increased military and naval rivalry led not only to the belief that war was coming (The German ruling group felt that only through a war could Germany become a world power. Military preparations strengthened this belief.) and increase in military control of the civilian government (particularly in Germany and Russia) also increased cooperation among the military staff of the countries of the same camp. For example, all the three Entente powers held secret military talks. The British and the French naval authorities agreed that the French navy should be concentrated in the Mediterranean and the British in the North Sea. Germany and Austria also had military agreements. When the First World War was fought, it was to be fought by all powers because they had made the military plan cooperatively. As a result of the armaments race, all the European powers were prepared for a war by 1914" (The Corner).

Russia became worrisome about getting attacked by Germany.  Germany declared War on France. Russia promised protection for France.France then proceeded to urge Russia to began mobilization. France even went as far as funding western Russian mobilization.  The moneywent towards railways being built to transport artillery and troops.  5 million troops were trained and ready to fight for Russia if need be.


"Archduke Franz Ferdinand Assassinated." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web.   07 Jan. 2015

MacMillan, Margret. "The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War." The Brookings    Institution. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.

"World War I." - Militarism. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2015.

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