Nationalism held a huge part in world war1 as it does in many wars. A major part of nationalism in world war1 is shown through Otto van Bismarck. Bismarck was a very tactical man and was great at thinking up strategies. It seemed he would do all he could to promote Germany and make it truly powerful over the rest of Europe by making a group of alliances that wouldn’t give France a chance to rise up to Germany since alone France was weak. Although Bismarck’s will to help Germany as much as possible was strong, the alliance he had made with Austria-Hungry and Russia (the league of three emperors) failed several times. It managed to rebuild itself but fell in 1887. Nationalism is more or less patriotic greed and because of Bismarck’s excessive use of it, it helped to carry on the war. His crewed tactics created long-term problems for European diplomacy. The end of his balancing act most likely caused Europe’s slide to war. Bismarck’s reign over Germany was brought to a halt after Wilhelm the second was crowned Kaiser in 1888. Bismarck resigned in 1890.
Kaiser Wilhelm the second was another example of Nationalism and its cold grasp over world war1. Although he also wanted Germany to be great he worked differently than Bismarck. His public speeches carried Germany’s glory and might. He also proved very popular with the German people. Kaiser Wilhelm the second was a vain impulsive man who believed in Prussian domination over Germany. Wilhelm the second wanted to turn Germany into a large colonial empire and build a large army for her, to protect Germany. Because of his infection with nationalism Kaiser wilhelm the second lost an old friend Russia, who now allied with France bringing new problems to Kaiser Wilhelm the second. During Kaiser Wilhelms reign over Germany, the years 1890-1914 have been seen as a period of anarchy. Nationalism was a very strong force that affected the minds of many political groups. It also caused others. Examples of these are:
The League of three emperors which wasn’t the most stable of the nationalist groups
The dual entente, which was an alliance of France and Russia to crush Germany if they should attack either sides. (This shows what effect nationalism can have on the friendship of countries)
The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was britains desperate attempt to find an alliance to counter the dual entente and to make Britain more Superior.
The Balkan League was probably the largest and most powerful nationalist alliance of its time. There greed through nationalism caused them to nearly drive turkey right out of Europe and to gain a considerable amount of Turkish states causing a great upset between the two groups. Later on this strong alliance came to a halt when the second Balkan war began when Bulgaria started quarreling with Greece and Serbia. Bulgaria felt like she got dealt the smallest hand and wanted more out of the arrangement so she attacked her former allies but Turkey joined in the war against Bulgaria to gain more power for her country from the land she lost in the first war. Bulgaria was defeated easily.
This League was probably one of the largest examples of nationalism in world war1 because of all the greed for each region’s country shown in it. Therefore I conclude with saying that nationalism is contributed in world war 1 by greed through individuals and alliances alike and that nationalism is indeed the main cause of world war1.
The following article on causes of WW1 is an excerpt from H.W Crocker III’s The Yanks Are Coming! A Military History of the United States in World War I. It is available for order now from Amazonand Barnes & Noble.
Listen to the audio of this blog post about World War One – Causes
The first world war began in August 1914. It was directly triggered by the assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, on 28th June 1914 by Bosnian revolutionary, Gavrilo Princip.
This event was, however, simply the trigger that set off declarations of war. The actual causes of the war are more complicated and are still debated by historians today.
Causes of WW1: Alliances
An alliance is an agreement made between two or more countries to give each other help if it is needed. When an alliance is signed, those countries become known as Allies.
A number of alliances had been signed by countries between the years 1879 and 1914. These were important because they meant that some countries had no option but to declare war if one of their allies. declared war first. (the table below reads clockwise from the top left picture)
Causes of WW1: Imperialism
Imperialism is when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to their rule. By 1900 the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. With the rise of industrialism countries needed new markets. The amount of lands ‘owned’ by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who had entered the scramble to acquire colonies late and only had small areas of Africa. Note the contrast in the map below.
Causes of WW1: Militarism
Militarism means that the army and military forces are given a high profile by the government. The growing European divide had led to an arms race between the main countries. The armies of both France and Germany had more than doubled between 1870 and 1914 and there was fierce competition between Britain and Germany for mastery of the seas. The British had introduced the ‘Dreadnought’, an effective battleship, in 1906. The Germans soon followed suit introducing their own battleships. The German, Von Schlieffen also drew up a plan of action that involved attacking France through Belgium if Russia made an attack on Germany. The map below shows how the plan was to work.
Causes of WW1: Nationalism
Nationalism means being a strong supporter of the rights and interests of one’s country. The Congress of Vienna, held after Napoleon’s exile to Elba, aimed to sort out problems in Europe. Delegates from Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia (the winning allies) decided upon a new Europe that left both Germany and Italy as divided states. Strong nationalist elements led to the re-unification of Italy in 1861 and Germany in 1871. The settlement at the end of the Franco-Prussian war left France angry at the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and keen to regain their lost territory. Large areas of both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were home to differing nationalist groups, all of whom wanted freedom from the states in which they lived.
Causes of WW1: Crises
In 1904 Morocco had been given to France by Britain, but the Moroccans wanted their independence. In 1905, Germany announced her support for Moroccan independence. War was narrowly avoided by a conference which allowed France to retain possession of Morocco. However, in 1911, the Germans were again protesting against French possession of Morocco. Britain supported France and Germany was persuaded to back down for part of French Congo.
In 1908, Austria-Hungary took over the former Turkish province of Bosnia. This angered Serbians who felt the province should be theirs. Serbia threatened Austria-Hungary with war, Russia, allied to Serbia, mobilized its forces. Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary mobilised its forces and prepared to threaten Russia. War was avoided when Russia backed down. There was, however, war in the Balkans between 1911 and 1912 when the Balkan states drove Turkey out of the area. The states then fought each other over which area should belong to which state. Austria-Hungary then intervened and forced Serbia to give up some of its acquisitions. Tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was high.
This article on causes of WW1 is from the book The Yanks Are Coming! A Military HIstory of the United States in World War I © 2014 by H.W Crocker III. Please use this data for any reference citations. To order this book, please visit its online sales page at Amazonor Barnes & Noble.
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