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Historical Essay on WW1

Historians of different countries try to understand the origins of the war when Germany and Austria-Hungary began to fight against Serbia, France, Britain, Russia, and Belgium. Most researchers have not yet reached a consensus on the cause of such a large-scale international conflict. The main factors of World War I include the rise of militarism, imperialism, and nationalism in these countries on the eve of the war as well as Germany's desire to reduce Britain's influence on the path to taking the position of the leader of Europe and the world.

First of all, scientists note that the prevalence of military needs over civilian ones and the emphasis on military achievements in the country's strategic plans called militarism became the main reason for WWI. The military held the posts of ministers and were the main advisers of political leaders; accordingly, it affected domestic policies and led to the increased spending on arms. One of the important points was the military competition or the arms race which led to the increased attention to military technology. Mass media created an environment where war became the main way to solve controversial international issues. Therefore, militarism as the philosophy created ideas that subsequently led to hostilities.

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Nationalism and imperialism also became the causes of WWI. The arms race led to the fact that in the 19th and early 20th centuries the military weaponry of the country was considered the main indicator of both imperial and national power. The proponents of imperialism believed that armaments would protect the country's trade interests and allow influencing their rivals. It was especially noticeable in the UK where the Royal Navy constantly developed to have an impact on India, Asia, and Africa.


The events in European countries took place in parallel with the development of Pan-Slavism (19th century). It was a political and cultural trend that spread among the Slavic peoples and promoted the idea of a political association based on the linguistic, ethnic, and cultural community. The idea of Slavic unity came about through political enslavement in many Slavic countries as well as under the influence of German romanticism and the ideas of the great French Revolution. Moreover, the national renaissance among the Slavs led to an increase in the number of organizations of educated people who expressed the idea of the political unification of the Slavs under the leadership of Russia. Subsequently, the supporters were divided into 2 streams one of which supported the idea of the Slavic Orthodox world led by Russia and another propagated the idea of Polish leadership over the Slavic peoples. The ideas of Pan-Slavism revived on the eve of WWI when congresses were held in the cities of Prague and Sofia to discuss possible inter-Slavic rapprochement in conditions of increasing strength of the German Empire.

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The Rise of Nationalism

The nationalists supported the idea of a strong army and the Navy to defend the Motherland. Politicians thought it was the main way to protect interests at the international level and prevent threats. The Crimean and Franco-Prussian wars have further increased the popularity of militarism and nationalism.

The mass media of different countries constantly discussed the issue of increasing military capabilities in the state. The press portrayed rivals as dangerous and aggressive ones. Consequently, systems such as militarism, imperialism, and nationalism became inseparable from politics and economic management at the state and international levels.

The Alliance System

In 1904 and 1907, Great Britain, the Russian Empire, and the French Republic formed a military-political grouping called the Entente. The creation of the Triple Alliance headed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire became the counterweight to the Entente. Germany sought to destroy the colonial rule of Great Britain. Ententewas were supported during the war by states including the US, the Japanese Empire, the Republic of China, and others.

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The USA in the World War 1

It should be noted that the United States did not want to dissolve in the Entente. The United States first proclaimed its neutrality. The country played the role of the main supplier of industrial products as well as weapons, military equipment, fuel, and food. Germany began to conduct an unlimited undersea war against the United States and towed civilian and cargo ships without warning. Moreover, the US leadership learned that Germany offered Mexico support, which contradicted the strategic plans of Americans. Active work of the "The Readiness Movement" also became the reason for the United States to join the war. Thus, the American government and community subsequently abandoned the policy of isolationism and became an active ally of the countries that were part of the Entente.

It was the participation of American military forces that played an important role in the final battles of World War I. It concerned the latest Ententebattles and the spring fights of the German Army. The Allied armies were exhausted, and Germans were not able to replenish their losses; that is why American assistance played an important role in the final battles.

The Versailles peace treaty signed in June 1919 recognized Germany defeated. Germany was obliged to pay a large reparation to the countries that formed the block of the states of Entente. It should be noted that the US took a rather neutral position on the issue of German reparations. President Welch Wilson explained the vision of an international post-war era and presented them at the Paris Peace Conference. The President stressed the creation of the League of Nations. However, the United States did not enter this organization because of the opposition of the Republicans in the Congress. Since the United States wanted to continue trading with Germany, they treated the country less strictly than other countries after the end of the war.

In conclusion, the growth of nationalism, Pan-Slavism, imperialism, and especially militarism, led to World War I. Militarism spread throughout the countries as a system and philosophy became the main precondition for the arms race among the countries of Europe. Militarism affected all spheres of life, in particular the worldview and the culture of many nations. The media played a decisive role in the development of militarism since they treated the military as heroes. Imperialism also supported the growth of military force in the country to ensure the political and economic interests of the countries. The nationalism promoted the development of troops and the Navy as an opportunity to develop the country and rise to a new level. This philosophy led to the logical formation of political alliances for the achievement of economic and political goals. The formation of alliances between the countries had a significant impact on the course of the war and further history. The creation of the Entente and the Triple Alliance became decisive in the history of the twentieth century. The United States originally had taken a neutral position that was changed under the influence of many events, in particular, the famous Telegram of Zimmerman and the military attacks on the US ships by Germany. The United States tried to restore economic relations with Germany emphasizing the adequate attitude towards Germany and pushed for the creation of the League of Nations.

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