The world as we know it spirals into panic as countries engage
-Arturo Fass, Collin Kaminski, Alison Lee, Olivia Worthington, Sammi Zamora
Tipping the Scale
On June 28, 1914 an assassin shot a man and his wife in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The man was Archduke Ferdinand. Archduke Ferdinand was an Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne of the empire. This event was what was believed to be the start of World War I. Europe controls other parts of the world through their vast empire. Many countries are in an intense rivalry with each other in terms of trying to gain wealth. This would lead to them having more advantages in war, and winning wars gave the countries a higher standing amongst other countries. It was later found out that the Serbian government helped plan the assassination on Archduke Ferdinand as the assassin is Nedjelko Cabrinovic. Unless Serbia met a list of high demands, Austria-Hungary was going to attack them. Serbia has refused to meet these standards, Austria-Hungary attacked. Serbia knew they could not handle the Austria-Hungarian army so they have teamed up with Russia. The Russian army consists of about six million people giving them a large advantage against countries they form to face. Meanwhile, Germany is ahead of Great Britain industrially. Germany is unbeatable in war standards as they own a very powerful army. They want to make the most of their strength so are encouraging a war while they are still robust. As a cause, in 1914, 34 days after the assassination, Germany declared war on Russia. As a result, Russia allied with France as Germany is a worthy opponent. During an earlier time, Britain had committed to helping to the French if they were ever attacked by Germany. However, Britain did not join in until the Germans decided to tread through Belgium (Britain agreed to protect the Belgians during an earlier time). By 1917, the United States had sent troops to the Western Front. Overall, 16 million people were killed.
Tensions are rising at a fast pace. Just recently the Ottoman Empire disintegrated and left many smaller nations to become their own. With independence came Nationalism. The growing powers are rising to challenge the established ones. As mutual suspicions force ascending Germany and Great Britain against each other, armories are getting stocked back home.
Prior to the start of the First World War, Russia vowed to protect Serbia in the name of Pan-Slavism and the promise to influence the lands from Istanbul to the Black Sea. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Germany feels obligated to support Austrian-Hungary and challenges Russia ignoring the fact that it would inevitably lead to a war with immense collateral damage. Earlier alliances have brought France and Great Britain to join Russia. A recurring trait of large wars occurring is due to the loyalty of larger nations to the smaller ones. Blind duty makes powerful nations reckless. To an outsider,these alliances and friendships dating back to much older times seem trivial and not worthy of waging war. Initially the French and Russian ties appeared as a threat of destruction to Germany from the eyes of its soldiers. Heating the iron further, mother nations do not let go of their smaller nations. Despite the large risks, pride tips the scale and lead to war for the sake of honor.
Within the Nations
Europe has grown too accustomed to peace; meanwhile, the rise of nationalism is bound to erupt into something catastrophic. According to socialist leader Jean Jaurès, the development of the Balkan conflict is much more than a short-lived, containable conflict, despite the lack of urgency the public feels to address the crisis. Austria-Hungary recently annexed Bosnia, a country largely populated by Serbians. Germany is forcing Russia, Serbia's protector to back down, and consequently, Serbia is furious. The powers disapproved of Italy annexing Tripoli and Cyrenaica back in 1911, though they did nothing to act on Italy's actions. During the Balkans Wars of 1912 and 1913, the powers imposed a settlement but were drawn to opposing sides. The Great Powers cannot maintain peace in their current state.
With the start of the war comes new and dangerous technology. Military planners predict that the new rifles, machine guns, and artillery, which are becoming increasingly more deadly, will make the war move at a more efficient pace.
What could have prevented this?
WWI could have been avoided if it wasn't for the weak leaders. For example, Kaiser Wilhelm had been peaceful in other crises, but his officers viewed him as timid and weak. Therefore, in 1914 his generals had told him that it was time for a preventative war against Russia, but he didn't want to look weak. So when Germany said that they would back Austria-Hungary in war, Wilhelm refused. In Austria-Hungary itself, the war generals finally had the upper hand. The same thing happened with Russia, a weak ruler with too much power. Tsar Nicholas hesitated, but in the end allowed his war party to gain have their way and ordered the general mobilization which allowed the war with Germany. He was influenced by the thought that if he were to not "toughen up," he would not be able to protect his throne, himself, or his family. Britain was distracted by the war with Ireland, and did not focus on Germany, which if thy acted earlier they could have deterred. This allowed the war to gain momentum. Woodrow Wilson could
only watch and decided that there is no reason for the U.S. to engage in the war. We can contrast this behavior to that of John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was influenced by is military and civilians respond severely to the Soviet Union. He decided to stand up against these people and decide to negotiate instead of invading.
Is the Future Safe?
The world has been through many dramatic changes. The most important change our world has undergone is the widespread globalization of many nations. Many state of the art inventions were thought up in inventors minds and built. Many of these inventions include new ways of travel such as the speedy railways and steamships,and telephones and telegraphs. Along with this shift of globalization was the struggle for the interdependence of many of the the world's countries. The people are full of pride in their own ethnic factors and want interdependence from their large country. Although many have received their interdependence and are proud of this achievement, there is a downside. With the many smaller nations comes smaller populations. This results in a easier transmission of radical ideologies which heightens rivalries and fears. In the east, there are many many rivalries. With the uneasy increase rivalries comes the need, as they say, to increase their military. This militarism is only increasing tension as each country is competing for a larger, more prepared, and more efficient army. Put this into the mix with Germany's ego and you get a country with a thirst for supremacy. The power hungry nation is currently increasing their naval army and rumors have surfaced that state this new navy is capable of taking on Britain's notorious navy. It seems that if tensions continue to rise that war can be the only outcome. And to think, this has all resulted from the simple globalization of our new world.
Information summarized from this article: http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2013/rhyme-of-history#
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