The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was of Archduke , heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. ( to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo's Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)
Ferdinand's death at the hands of the , a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world's first global war.
Such were the mechanics that brought the world's major nations into the war at one time or another. It's clear from the summary above that the alliance system was as much at fault as anything in bringing about the scale of the conflict.
A major historical debate still rages about who has the ultimate responsibility for the outbreak of war. Germany and Austria are usually regarded as the main culprits. However unlike World War Two there is no one easily identifiable bad guy!
Today, we begin the second part of our story with our first discussion in Unit II - Responding to International and Domestic Crises. In this unit, we will continue our story line - how the power of the federal government grows as the United States responds to a series of crises both inside and outside our boundaries - two world wars, the crash of the stock market, and the Great Depression.
First, he needed to engineer a credible reason for war. Thus, in 1870, Bismarck attempted to place a Hohenzollern prince on the throne in Spain. Napoleon III, fearful of the prospect of theoretical war on two fronts - for the Hohenzollern prince was a relative of Kaiser Wilhelm I - objected.
Because of the nature of the Alliances most countries had war plans that involved rapid movement of troops when war broke out. This made it very difficult to stop mobilisation of troops once it had begun and gave the military in each country a very important role in any decision-making. For example the Kaiser lost control of events and said to his generals when they made the decision to mobilise "Gentlemen, you will regret this."
Conclusions about Organic Weakness #3 - how shifting and entangling alliances led to war: The consequence of these alliances was the division of two divided and armed camps that existed in Europe by 1914. Thus, one offense against any Euroean nations might ultimately draw in that nation's ally, and that ally's ally, or allies. The alliances gave smaller powers - like those in the Balkans - an opportunity to begin a crisis that could become a world war.
Goal #1: To understand the of Europe in the 19th Century and how five organic weaknesses in Europe led to the first large-scale global war - World War I
Yellow journalism was rampant thoughout the late 19th Century world. For the first time, more people were literate than illiterate - which encouraged the growth of mass-circulation newspapers. In Europe and the United States, journalists learned that bad news, crises, alliances, and wars stimulated and sometimes even created circulation. According to W. Scripps, a turn of the century American entrepreneur and founder of a $50 million newspaper conglomerate:
The direct cause of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. However historians feel that a number of factors contributed to the rivalry between the Great powers that allowed war on such a wide-scale to break out.
Austria-Hungary signed an alliance with Romania in 1883, negotiated by Germany, although in the event Romania - after starting World War One as a neutral - eventually ; as such Austria-Hungary's treaty with Romania was of no actual significance.
Historians have suggested many reasons why World War Two broke out in 1939. However, have you realised that the World War II was the culmination of the inter-war period, and that your whole course of study has been building up to understanding it?
On 28 June 1914 a Serbian shot an Austrian. Within six weeks many of the countries of Europe had become involved in a war that was to cause the deaths of 10,000,000 soldiers. Why did this happen?