Events in Europe strike the beginning of World War I. It began in Balkans in late July, 1914. The European super powers have been in political, territorial, and economic conflicts for four decades, all leading up to this war. Additional causes were militarism, creation of alliances, imperialism, and nationalism. The immediate start of the war lays in the decision taken by statesmen and generals after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie by Gavrilo Princip, by an ethnic Serb and Yugoslav nationalist from the group Young Bosnia. This assassin was supported by the Black Hand, a nationalist organization in Serbia.
Imperialism is when a country increases their power and wealth by bringing additional territories under their control. Before World War 1, Africa and parts of Asia were points of contention amongst the European countries. This was especially true because of the raw materials these areas could provide. The increasing competition and desire for greater empires led to an increase in confrontation that helped push the world into World War I.
As the world entered the 20th century, an arms race had begun. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in military buildup. Great Britain and Germany both greatly increased their navies in this time period. In Germany and Russia particularly, the military establishment began to have a greater influence on public policy. This increase in militarism helped push the countries involved to war.
Assassination of Archduke Franz FerdinandThe immediate cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. In June 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated him and his wife while they were in Sarajevo, Bosnia which was part of Austria-Hungary. This was in protest to Austria-Hungary having control of this region. Serbia wanted to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina. This assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. When Russia began to mobilize due to its alliance with Serbia, Germany declared war on Russia. Thus began the expansion of the war to include all those involved in the mutual defense alliances.