many questions were laid upon humanity. Yet the main question that lingers in our minds today “was World War I inevitable?” A question which has many sides about the War to End All Wars”. Though in my opinion, if certain encumbrances were avoided, the start of the first savage war in the 20th century could have been eluded.
The spark of the Great War was the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914, while traveling in a motorcade through Sarajevo. If that assassination had never taken place WWI would have never started. Though there were many other reasons led to this war, some occurring as far back the late 1800’s. Nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and the system of alliances were four main factors that pressed the great powers towards this explosive war. In the ninetieth and twentieth centuries, especially after the French Revolution nationalism was becoming a powerful force in Europe so people that had the same culture, language wanted their own country. And that was the problem for the government of Austria-Hungary that did not want to lose their power and control. The Slavs in the southern part of the empire were their main concern since they wanted to join up to Serbia. Militarism is the second cause. To understand what militarism is, one should be familiar with the situation of the world in the beginning of the century, which was the result of both industrial and democratic revolutions. Britain at that time was the largest empire in the world, and it also had the largest navy. The navy was so big and strong because the Britons needed to protect their empire and maintain the sea routes between the different colonies. The Kaiser William II of Germany hated and envied Britain for having a stronger navy than his. He increased the German navy and built many warships. Britain responded with building more ships and increasing its navy too. This started a race for building more and better warships and it created tension and competition between those two countries. Imperialism and the system of alliances are the last two major causes of the War.
On July 28, 1914 Austria declared war against Serbia. Russia responded by partially mobilizing against Austria as a ‘protector of Slavs’, and Germany insisted that Russia immediately demobilize. Russia refused to do so, and on August 1 and 3 declared war on Russia and France. In order for Germany to accomplish its Schlieffen Plan, Germany occupied Belgium. By August most of Belgium was under German occupation and the Schlieffen Plan appeared to be going well, but it brought Britain into the war because they had made a treaty with Belgium before, and Schlieffen Plan involved the invasion of neutral Belgium. The integrity of this war, wouldn’t have been so overwhelming if the German’s didn’t take matters into there own hands and break the rules by stampeding through Belgium. Germans had the first submarines and used them to blockade Britain by sinking British ships. The sinking of Lusitania is the famous example of the submarine warfare during the World War I. The Lusitania had civilians on board, where 100 passengers were American citizens. After sinking Lusitania a letter was sent to the German Government by President Wilson to warn the German government against killing Americans citizens. Two sides were facing each other across the no man’s land of mud, shell holes and barbed wires.
The two biggest and horrifying battles of the World War I are the
Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. Over million soldiers were killed on both sides only in a single battle of Somme during 1916. The second biggest battle of Verdun was fought at the cost of the French Army, and it is often compared to a sausage machine, because 315,000 Frenchman died. The human kind had never sees such battles throughout the whole history, with so many losses, which was quite shockfull experience for the soldiers who fought the First World War. This war resulted shortages in practically
everything, and rising prices. By the end of 1916 America was still not involved in the war.
Fateful year of 1917 marked the beginning of the modern world. Several
important events took place in 1917. First and the most important event was the Russian Revolution and the rise of a Communist Power in the World. The same year America enters the war against Germany. Two great non-European leaders with two different ideas of what is good for humanity emerge, and the European History becomes a World History. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, was helped by some German agents to be able to go to Russia in a sealed train. Germans helped Lenin, because they knew that if the Revolution
occurs, the war with Russia would eventually finish. As a matter of fact Lenin and the Bolsheviks takes over the country on November 7, 1917. Everything that was planned by Germans came true and Russians made peace with Germany.
In March of 1918 Russia signed a treaty in Brest-Litovsk which put a
formal end to the war and agreed to stop fighting. The war that was supposed to be over by Christmas seemed endless; however, in 1918, after great Franco-American Offensive Germany gave up. It happened on November 11, after 4 years and over 8 million military deaths on both sides. Germany agreed to President Wilson’s 14 points, issued in January 1918 where Germany agreed no to have secret treaties with other countries, most
importantly to end submarine warfare and to free the seas.