America and the Great War (Causes of Ww1)

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America and the Great War (Causes of WW1)

Imperialism - 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.

Militarism - The growing European split 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.

Nationalism - The Congress of Vienna, held after Napoleon's exile to Elba, was used to sort out problems in Europe. Delegates from Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia decided on 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.

Pan-Slavism - Another core issue was Pan-Slavism. Pan-Slavism was the faction to increase the power of the Slavs. It was assumed that countries populated by a majority of Slavic people would rise up in a force of nationalism and create their own Slavic nations. The key problem with this assumption was that Slavic people were usually already under rule of someone else, and the notion to rise up and...