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Who started world war I?

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Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,601
5
76
Originally posted by: mugs
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is what set it off, but really I think they were all just looking for an excuse to fight.
Yeah thats what it seems like.

Originally posted by: waggy
anyway sounds like a crappy homework question.
Nope, i just cant be bothered reading the entire article and need a summing up of it.
 

BeauJangles

Lifer
Aug 26, 2001
13,941
1
0
World War I is extremely complicated. You have a number of factors involved in its outbreak, many of which date back fifty or sixty years. First, Germany defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, took Alsace and Lorraine, and declared an independent, united German empire. Despite being unified, Germany lacked the overseas colonies of her competitors and lacked secure access to the sea and to trade. Their engagement in Weltpolitik or a global strategy designed to bring glory tot he German empire, basically resulted in the acquisition of lackluster colonies.

Second, Austria-Hungry, which for years had been a stable, dependable power was finally being hit by waves of nationalism and discontent. The country, while not completely unstable by 1914, was clearly in a lot of trouble. Its close relationship with Germany, as the only great power which hadn't shunned the country certainly caused concern for the Germans. Feeling as though their only ally was about to plunge down the drain, and being surrounded by countries which wanted nothing more than to see her dismantled, it would have been extremely difficult for the Germans to sit by and let Austria-Hungary collapse.

Meanwhile, France and Russia's close alliance, particularly over issues concerning Germany further fueled the belief within the country that they were surrounded on all sides. On top of that, recent French military reforms, as well as Russian military prowess rising fed the fear that the German empire was about to be eclipsed by her rivals.

In 1914, Germany certainly felt as though she was at the peak of her power. The Balkans disaster (assassination of Ferdinand) must have been viewed with trepidation within Germany because of the rising fears of nationalism. Their "blank check" issued to Austria reflected their desire to see Austria-Hungry remain united. The great miscalculation was that the Russians also had a vested interest in the Balkans.

Like the Germans, the Russians had no clear port access to the high seas. Their best bet, they thought, was to gain control of the Balkans and, with Austria-Hungary's war in Serbia, they saw two Great Powers (Germany / Austria) infringing on their sphere influence, perhaps even actively trying to deny the Russians the warm-water port they had desired for so long.

Meanwhile, the Germans realized that if they went to war they would have to fight both Russia and France (because of their pledges of support). They calculated that it would take the Russians six weeks to fully mobilize their forces and deploy them to the front. The length of time, they felt, hinged on the poor infrastructure of the Russian Empire. Hence, they decided they would eliminate the French as quickly as possible (less than six weeks with the infamous Schlieffen Plan) then wheel Eastward to meet the Russians.

Something else that is key to remember - every nation thought the next great war would be over very fast. They thought each nation would mobilize as quickly as possible and send their forces out into a few very bloody, but brief, battles and then the war would be over. They believed that the nation capable of striking first would be at a huge advantage and that for each day they delayed in mobilization the enemy gained an even greater advantage. Hence, all nations were eager to mobilize first and all nations saw mobilization by an enemy as a declaration of war.

Hence, the question is a complicated one. Germany is certainly the aggressor, but the other great powers also share the blame for 'boxing in' Germany. Russia shares blame for panicking over the Balkans and all the generals are partly to blame for their eagerness to mobilize. You can't simply place one nation or person at fault, because the situation was rife with complexities.

edit: if this is homework, do your own work! Second, the Kaiser is the German Emperor or King and, no, he is not to blame. Nobody is.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,254
11,680
136
Originally posted by: Soviet

Originally posted by: waggy
anyway sounds like a crappy homework question.
Nope, i just cant be bothered reading the entire article and need a summing up of it.
You want a simple answer where one really doesn't exist.
 

Turin39789

Lifer
Nov 21, 2000
12,219
5
81
Originally posted by: OdiN
Originally posted by: michaelsslave
franz ferdinand didnt start it, the guy who killed franz did
It was more than just the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. That was more of the spark that blew up the powder keg.
Yea, a bunch of big countries were having issues with expansion and materials as the industrial revolution was continuing, so they found a little fight, turned it into a big mess to show how strong they were and then divided up the middle east amongst themselves. Truman decided to push for a league of nations instead of getting america and it's business a big enough piece of the pie, so congress rebelled and beat his butt up.


edit- left a t off of butt, corrected
 

RichUK

Lifer
Feb 14, 2005
10,318
672
126
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
<snip>
You seem to have omitted one of the most impacting facts from the first World War, the fact that 10 million people died.
 

BeauJangles

Lifer
Aug 26, 2001
13,941
1
0
Originally posted by: RichUK
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
<snip>
You seem to have omitted one of the most impacting facts from the first World War, the fact that 10 million people died.
huh? He asked who started World War I, not what its impact was.

 

RichUK

Lifer
Feb 14, 2005
10,318
672
126
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
Originally posted by: RichUK
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
<snip>
You seem to have omitted one of the most impacting facts from the first World War, the fact that 10 million people died.
huh? He asked who started World War I, not what its impact was.
Oh, I thought you were trying to give him a brief overview of the events throughout the first World War. I only skimmed your post, sorry.

EDIT: Damn typos.

 

Firebot

Golden Member
Jul 10, 2005
1,476
1
0
A rich guy was killed in Austria-Hungary, Austria-Hungary didn't like it so they declared war on Serbia, Russia's czar was sleeping with a Serbian woman and wanted to show her his bravado so he declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire wanted dibs on more empire territory so they joined in, Germany just really hated the French and marched in saying that Serbia and France are almost the same in the war against terror, Britain said 'OH NO YOU DID-NT" and declared war once France was attacked even though Germany thought the British hated the French too. Canada being a slave country fought as a British colony, the US decided to wait a few years until a bunch of people died to swoop in and take credit for winning the war. Russia had a brain fart thinking that socialism was the way to salvation and proceeds to kill each other, Germany said 'this isn't going so good' and surrendered.

Treaty of Versailles is signed, making sure that the Germans are mad enough to try and take over the world a 2nd time at a later date.
 

HannibalX

Diamond Member
May 12, 2000
9,361
2
0
Originally posted by: Firebot
A rich guy was killed in Austria-Hungary, Austria-Hungary didn't like it so they declared war on Serbia, Russia's czar was sleeping with a Serbian woman and wanted to show her his bravado so he declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire wanted dibs on more empire territory so they joined in, Germany just really hated the French and marched in saying that Serbia and France are almost the same in the war against terror, Britain said 'OH NO YOU DID-NT" and declared war once France was attacked even though Germany thought the British hated the French too. Canada being a slave country fought as a British colony, the US decided to wait a few years until a bunch of people died to swoop in and take credit for winning the war. Russia had a brain fart thinking that socialism was the way to salvation and proceeds to kill each other, Germany said 'this isn't going so good' and surrendered.

Treaty of Versailles is signed, making sure that the Germans are mad enough to try and take over the world a 2nd time at a later date.
/thread
 

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,601
5
76
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
World War I is extremely complicated. You have a number of factors involved in its outbreak, many of which date back fifty or sixty years. First, Germany defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, took Alsace and Lorraine, and declared an independent, united German empire. Despite being unified, Germany lacked the overseas colonies of her competitors and lacked secure access to the sea and to trade. Their engagement in Weltpolitik or a global strategy designed to bring glory tot he German empire, basically resulted in the acquisition of lackluster colonies.

Second, Austria-Hungry, which for years had been a stable, dependable power was finally being hit by waves of nationalism and discontent. The country, while not completely unstable by 1914, was clearly in a lot of trouble. Its close relationship with Germany, as the only great power which hadn't shunned the country certainly caused concern for the Germans. Feeling as though their only ally was about to plunge down the drain, and being surrounded by countries which wanted nothing more than to see her dismantled, it would have been extremely difficult for the Germans to sit by and let Austria-Hungary collapse.

Meanwhile, France and Russia's close alliance, particularly over issues concerning Germany further fueled the belief within the country that they were surrounded on all sides. On top of that, recent French military reforms, as well as Russian military prowess rising fed the fear that the German empire was about to be eclipsed by her rivals.

In 1914, Germany certainly felt as though she was at the peak of her power. The Balkans disaster (assassination of Ferdinand) must have been viewed with trepidation within Germany because of the rising fears of nationalism. Their "blank check" issued to Austria reflected their desire to see Austria-Hungry remain united. The great miscalculation was that the Russians also had a vested interest in the Balkans.

Like the Germans, the Russians had no clear port access to the high seas. Their best bet, they thought, was to gain control of the Balkans and, with Austria-Hungary's war in Serbia, they saw two Great Powers (Germany / Austria) infringing on their sphere influence, perhaps even actively trying to deny the Russians the warm-water port they had desired for so long.

Meanwhile, the Germans realized that if they went to war they would have to fight both Russia and France (because of their pledges of support). They calculated that it would take the Russians six weeks to fully mobilize their forces and deploy them to the front. The length of time, they felt, hinged on the poor infrastructure of the Russian Empire. Hence, they decided they would eliminate the French as quickly as possible (less than six weeks with the infamous Schlieffen Plan) then wheel Eastward to meet the Russians.

Something else that is key to remember - every nation thought the next great war would be over very fast. They thought each nation would mobilize as quickly as possible and send their forces out into a few very bloody, but brief, battles and then the war would be over. They believed that the nation capable of striking first would be at a huge advantage and that for each day they delayed in mobilization the enemy gained an even greater advantage. Hence, all nations were eager to mobilize first and all nations saw mobilization by an enemy as a declaration of war.

Hence, the question is a complicated one. Germany is certainly the aggressor, but the other great powers also share the blame for 'boxing in' Germany. Russia shares blame for panicking over the Balkans and all the generals are partly to blame for their eagerness to mobilize. You can't simply place one nation or person at fault, because the situation was rife with complexities.

edit: if this is homework, do your own work! Second, the Kaiser is the German Emperor or King and, no, he is not to blame. Nobody is.
Ok sweet, that explains it, thanks :thumbsup:

Nah its not homework, im in university we dont get much homework. I was asked to find out about the dangers of hydrogen as a fuel with regard to a hydrogen economy and through wikipedia i got to the hindenburg, and from that i clicked on the world war I page because i know what world war II was about but knew nothing about I. So since ive got the cold and im lazy anyways i decided i would ask here for a generalisation :D
 

BeauJangles

Lifer
Aug 26, 2001
13,941
1
0
Originally posted by: Soviet
Ok sweet, that explains it, thanks :thumbsup:

Nah its not homework, im in university we dont get much homework. I was asked to find out about the dangers of hydrogen as a fuel with regard to a hydrogen economy and through wikipedia i got to the hindenburg, and from that i clicked on the world war I page because i know what world war II was about but knew nothing about I. So since ive got the cold and im lazy anyways i decided i would ask here for a generalisation :D
No problem. The topic is really interesting and quite deep. There are a number of very well thought-out books on the issue.
 

silverpig

Lifer
Jul 29, 2001
27,708
9
81
Lots of reasons.

1. Nationalism. Everyone thought they were better/deserved more.
2. Militarism. There were several quotas on sizes of militaries and navies, and maximum tonnage per ship etc that were constantly broken and re-written as nations (mainly Germany and England) tried to out-do each other.
3a. Alliances. England/France/Russia - Triple Entente. They allied for protection. Germany/Austria-Hungary/Italy - Triple Alliance. Again, allied for protection.
3b. Russia considered Serbia to be it's long lost little brother. Archduke assassinated -> Austria pissed at Serbia -> Austria declares war. Russia defends little brother so now Austria-Hungary is at war with Russia. France and England then join in along with Germany and Italy because of the alliances and there ya go.
 

soydios

Platinum Member
Mar 12, 2006
2,708
0
0
Serbia wasn't behaving as the Austria-Hungarian empire wanted. one faction wanted to invade Serbia and set everything back as they wanted, while Franz Ferdinand was in the faction that wanted a diplomatic solution. Franz's assassination, ironically yet predictably, was used by the war mongrel faction to declare war on Serbia. after that, all the alliances dragged the rest of Europe into war. Germany got blamed by the propaganda machine.
 

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,563
3
0
Originally posted by: BlinderBomber
World War I is extremely complicated. You have a number of factors involved in its outbreak, many of which date back fifty or sixty years. First, Germany defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, took Alsace and Lorraine, and declared an independent, united German empire. Despite being unified, Germany lacked the overseas colonies of her competitors and lacked secure access to the sea and to trade. Their engagement in Weltpolitik or a global strategy designed to bring glory tot he German empire, basically resulted in the acquisition of lackluster colonies.

Second, Austria-Hungry, which for years had been a stable, dependable power was finally being hit by waves of nationalism and discontent. The country, while not completely unstable by 1914, was clearly in a lot of trouble. Its close relationship with Germany, as the only great power which hadn't shunned the country certainly caused concern for the Germans. Feeling as though their only ally was about to plunge down the drain, and being surrounded by countries which wanted nothing more than to see her dismantled, it would have been extremely difficult for the Germans to sit by and let Austria-Hungary collapse.

Meanwhile, France and Russia's close alliance, particularly over issues concerning Germany further fueled the belief within the country that they were surrounded on all sides. On top of that, recent French military reforms, as well as Russian military prowess rising fed the fear that the German empire was about to be eclipsed by her rivals.

In 1914, Germany certainly felt as though she was at the peak of her power. The Balkans disaster (assassination of Ferdinand) must have been viewed with trepidation within Germany because of the rising fears of nationalism. Their "blank check" issued to Austria reflected their desire to see Austria-Hungry remain united. The great miscalculation was that the Russians also had a vested interest in the Balkans.

Like the Germans, the Russians had no clear port access to the high seas. Their best bet, they thought, was to gain control of the Balkans and, with Austria-Hungary's war in Serbia, they saw two Great Powers (Germany / Austria) infringing on their sphere influence, perhaps even actively trying to deny the Russians the warm-water port they had desired for so long.

Meanwhile, the Germans realized that if they went to war they would have to fight both Russia and France (because of their pledges of support). They calculated that it would take the Russians six weeks to fully mobilize their forces and deploy them to the front. The length of time, they felt, hinged on the poor infrastructure of the Russian Empire. Hence, they decided they would eliminate the French as quickly as possible (less than six weeks with the infamous Schlieffen Plan) then wheel Eastward to meet the Russians.

Something else that is key to remember - every nation thought the next great war would be over very fast. They thought each nation would mobilize as quickly as possible and send their forces out into a few very bloody, but brief, battles and then the war would be over. They believed that the nation capable of striking first would be at a huge advantage and that for each day they delayed in mobilization the enemy gained an even greater advantage. Hence, all nations were eager to mobilize first and all nations saw mobilization by an enemy as a declaration of war.

Hence, the question is a complicated one. Germany is certainly the aggressor, but the other great powers also share the blame for 'boxing in' Germany. Russia shares blame for panicking over the Balkans and all the generals are partly to blame for their eagerness to mobilize. You can't simply place one nation or person at fault, because the situation was rife with complexities.

edit: if this is homework, do your own work! Second, the Kaiser is the German Emperor or King and, no, he is not to blame. Nobody is.

Wow. Someone who actually studied the causes.

I also have done some real studying on the causes of the war.
Your points on the timetables of mobilization are quite accurate. In fact, some people say the railroads started it, because that was what determined the timetables.

However, I am of the school that it was the lack of communication that started it. The complex treaties and interactions between the countries were all successfully negotiated to result in a peaceful settlement, but the time it took to communicate decisions that were made between the powers was so slow that new actions were being taken that negated the compromises.
Hence, Woodrow Wilsons call for a League of Nations, where all the parties could meet on neutral ground and swiftly communicate compromises.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
19,091
2,685
126
Originally posted by: RichUK
Someone got shot, then loads of people got shot, then the mighty English stepped in, got mired in a stalemate along with the French until the USA entered the war & tipped the balance of power in favor of the good guys.


Fixed!!! ;)





Originally posted by: Firebot
A rich guy was killed in Austria-Hungary, Austria-Hungary didn't like it so they declared war on Serbia, Russia's czar was sleeping with a Serbian woman and wanted to show her his bravado so he declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire wanted dibs on more empire territory so they joined in, Germany just really hated the French and marched in saying that Serbia and France are almost the same in the war against terror, Britain said 'OH NO YOU DID-NT" and declared war once France was attacked even though Germany thought the British hated the French too. Canada being a slave country fought as a British colony, the US decided to wait a few years until a bunch of people died to swoop in and take credit for winning the war. Russia had a brain fart thinking that socialism was the way to salvation and proceeds to kill each other, Germany said 'this isn't going so good' and surrendered.

Treaty of Versailles is signed, making sure that the Germans are mad enough to try and take over the world a 2nd time at a later date.




Actually I like this explanation best as well.
 

BeauJangles

Lifer
Aug 26, 2001
13,941
1
0
Originally posted by: techs


Wow. Someone who actually studied the causes.

I also have done some real studying on the causes of the war.
Your points on the timetables of mobilization are quite accurate. In fact, some people say the railroads started it, because that was what determined the timetables.

However, I am of the school that it was the lack of communication that started it. The complex treaties and interactions between the countries were all successfully negotiated to result in a peaceful settlement, but the time it took to communicate decisions that were made between the powers was so slow that new actions were being taken that negated the compromises.
Hence, Woodrow Wilsons call for a League of Nations, where all the parties could meet on neutral ground and swiftly communicate compromises.
I just don't think there could have been a negotiated settlement to the issues that plagued Europe in 1914. There was no way Germany would have received her demands from the other powers. There is no way Austria-Hungary could have been held together. Even if war was averted in 1914, Germany's lack of a true GP ally would have precipitated another war.

edit: I wrote my MA thesis on World War I, granted it was on 1916-1918 and the aftermath into the 1920s, but I still took a close look at the beginning of the war. I'm hoping that when I do my PhD it will be on WW1 as well.
 

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