Unit 2 Discussion Board World War 1

Unit 2 Discussion Board World War 1


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Unit 2 Discussion Board World War 1

One war that the United States engaged in before 1918 is World War 1 that was also known as The Great War. World War 1 was fought between 1914 and 1918, with much of the fighting taking place in Western Europe. It was mostly fought by soldiers in trenches, which saw an estimated death of 10 million soldiers and about 20 million injuries. The two most fundamental reasons that saw the start of the war was the rise of nationalism and military allies. The trigger or spark of the war was the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand with his wife Sophie in Serbia. Although no nation, including Austria, was concerned much with the assassination, Austria saw this as an opportunity to engage in a war with Serbia in order to reclaim the Balkan lands lost during the Balkan War (Doak, 2009, p. 34). However, due to treaties and allies among various countries such as Serbia and Russia, Austria needed to form an alliance with Germany since it could not fight Russia alone. It is due to such nationalism and allies among countries that World War 1 occurred.

Before the world war occurred, European countries formed alliances with each other to remain powerful over their enemies. Such allies ensured that other countries would come to aid their affiliates if one of their ally members was attacked. The implication of these alliances was that, in a war between two countries, others would be involved. After the assassination, Austria took some time to rally support from Germany whom they formed a treaty with before proceeding to the war. On the other hand, as Austria sought support from Germany, Serbia gained time to seek support from Russia (Allan, 2008, p. 145). Russia agreed to give support to Serbia but further sought support from France. Thus, Germany declared war on Russia and then France two days after. To attack France, Germany went through Belgium, which brought Britain into war because of a treaty that existed between Britain and Belgium. Such allies brought additional countries into the war.

Most of the countries entered into war because of nationalist interests that saw the citizens of a country support the military operations. Before the war, majority of countries supported the use of military force to attain national goals (Hamilton & Herwig, 2003, p. 175). This led most countries to build up their military power as well as develop sophisticated weapons. Therefore, strong military forces were necessary for countries with interests outside their borders. This further gave confidence of engaging war with other nations. This was the main cause of war considering Austria was not engaging in the war in order to avenge the assassination of the archduke, but rather to pursue its nationalist interests in the Balkan lands that were lost during the Balkan war. The assassination was just a spark that provided an opportunity to start the war (Doak, 2009, p. 35).

Clearly, the assassination was just a mere reason for starting a war that involved the world’s most powerful countries. Countries that were not involved in the conflict joined the war out of support for their allies (Stone, 1966, p. 163). Considering the circumstances of the conflict, it could have been possible to avoid the war. First, historical records indicate that Austrians, including the emperor, were not affected by the death of Archduke Ferdinand since many did not like him. Further, the Archduke was assassinated by Black Hand, a Serbian secret society of nationalists. As such, Serbia as a country did not have anything to do with the assassination. Additionally, before Austria declared the war, it had sent an ultimatum to Serbia who agreed to comply despite the callous nature of the former nation’s demands. However, Austria still declared war on Serbia (Ross, 2003, p. 76). A minor conflict that did not affect other countries in any way caused what became one of the bloodiest wars in history. It could have been easy to avoid it except that nationalist and military allies wanted to enter into war.

The fundamental causes of World War 1 were military allies that saw more and more countries join the war, and nationalism that saw conflicting countries result to military power to achieve its goals. The conflict was minor and did not involve other countries except the two. This should have been resolved with diplomatic efforts instead of having to enter into war considering it was a conflict that few, including Austrians, cared about.


Allan, T. (2008). The Causes of World War I. Newton, K.S: Paw Prints.

Doak, R.S. (2009). Assassination at Sarajevo: The Spark That Started World War I. Bloomington, M.N: Capstone

Hamilton, R. F & Herwig, H. H. (2003). The Origins of World War I. West Nyack, N.Y: Cambridge University Press

Ross, S. (2003). Causes and Consequences of the First World War. Wichita, K.S: Evans Brothers.

Stone, N. (1966). Hungary and the Crisis of July 1914. Journal of Contemporary History, 1 (3): 153-170.