World War I also know as the Great War was a global war fought between then global powers. It lasted for a span of 4 years from 1914 to 1918. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the world which was then called “the war to end all wars”. It mobilised millions of military personnel. 70 million military contingents was mobilised in the world out of which 60 million were from Europe alone.
The World War I was a turning point for geopolitics in the twentieth century. It led to the fall of many imperial dynasties like German, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. It also resulted in revolutions in other parts of the world.
Outbreak of the World War I
- It was a tumultuous period for most parts of the European continent. Tensions mounted around the Balkan region of Southeast Europe before the actual outbreak of the war.
- The countries or the dynasties which were involved in this war were earlier allies. Like the Soviet, Ottoman Empire and the man European countries. But due to the political tensions and instability in the Balkans which are Bosnia, Serbia, and Herzegovina have created a lot of disagreements among these allies.
- In the year 1914 a Bosnian Serb a nationalist, assassinated an Austro-Hungarian heir which angered the Hungarians and they have warned Serbia which the country did not pay heed to. The defiant reply dint go well with the Austro-Hungarians and hence both the countries decided to see each other in the battle field.
- Many of the respective allies of both the countries got themselves involved in this war. Hence an ill managed bilateral friction resulted in a global war which was participated by almost the entire Europe.
Causes of World War I
Peripherally World War I looks like a political and diplomatic failure in just the European countries. But there are many underlying factors which have been brewing for decades prior to the outbreak of the actual War. Some of the accepted causes of the Great War are:
Assassination of Franz Ferdinand
- As mentioned in Britannica the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir of the Bosnian Serb was the tipping point of the outbreak of World War I.
- Soon after Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia their respective allied countries sided with each other and made it into a global war. Russia sided with Bosnia owing to its previous alliance and similarly Germany sided with Austro-Hungary.
- During this time Britain declared war on Germany as it invaded its neutral Belgium. Great Britain also signed an agreement to protect Belgium and France.
Diplomatic clash between the great powers
- As soon as the powers in Europe, Russia and Great Britain joined their allies and became a part of World War I clashes between the other great powers namely Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Austria, Hungary, and Russia.
- The fight over many European colonial issues that were plaguing Europe back then for decades prior to the outbreak of the great war.
- This imbalance of power and sense of uncertainty prevailing across Europe led to many public clashes as well.
- Some of the historians state that origins of the Great War can be dated back to Franco-Prussian War which was fought in the year 1870-1871 and also the eventual unification Germany.
- The war won by Germany which benefited a lot territoriality whereas France fell into a decline territorial and also in terms of its military might. This feeling of animosity continued for decades after the war between those two countries.
- After many years France improved financially and also amped up its military might. The anti German sentiment remained in the French people. The territorial and military power of Germany intimidated the French.
World War I
As mentioned in BBC website after the countries in and around Europe took side with their respective allies they formed into two groups. Namely
- The Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.
- The Triple Entente: British, France, Russia Bosnia.
All these countries gathered their troops to fight their enemies. The troops included the army and also their navy might. They called upon man civilians to fight in the war.
The outbreak of the war widely greeted with jubilance and enthusiasm by the people in Europe. The Germany had the military might that no other country involved in the war had. Though their number was small the military was more efficient because of the years of training given to them. The numerical superiority of The Great Britain was taken over by the German naval might as well.
Results of World War I
Since the war was fought between many European powers of that time over territorial disagreements it has resulted in some change in territorial line within Europe. Some of the Path breaking changes that have resulted are:
- The war resulted in killing of millions of soldiers from both the groups and also many civilians were forced to move out of Europe.
- The economies of participating countries have taken a beating and all of them started borrowing money.
- The United States of America rose to power by lending money to these nations and also became industrially powerful and leading creditor in the world.
- Japan also benefited out of the war and improved its industrial power over the years.
- Man argue that the Great Depression was also the result of the World War I
The Final Thought
The War that was fought between the powers of that time has been eventually reduced to mere borrowers from the non participating countries. The change it brought about and the effect it had on the rest of the countries gave it the name “The Great War”. Many countries have come together and discussed ways in which the economies can be revived and most importantly to ensure peace and security of nations worldwide. This war led to a lot of debate over the cause and results of the war. A lot of War literature has been published during these times.