|Summary of evidence-World War I
The alliances and secret treaties formed between European countries in the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century contributed a lot in World War One. First of all, there was the Dual Alliance in 1879 between Germany and Austria-Hungary. This treaty was subject of many amendments and became the Triple Alliance in 1882. (From World War One Primary Sources by Tom and Sara Pendergast page 54). France, who lost Alsace-Laurraine to Germany after the Settlement of Franco-Prussian War and wanted to revenge, allied with Russia to form the Franco-Russian alliance in 1870 with Czar Nicholas II. Britain had an agreement with France and Russia according to the Entente Cordiale in 1904 and the Anglo-Russian entente in 1907. (From World War One, page 54.) Nations and states predicted a small skirmish and never expected that these alliances would lead to a major European War. The alliance system majorly caused The Great War because it aggravated the tension between the opposing countries and made rivalry and competition between European countries more and more dominant in World War One.
The Balkan Crisis was a crisis that was going on since the 19th century. As we know, the Balkan area was ruled by the Turks. Many of the Balkan countries were independent such as, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and Bulgaria. However, the dependant Balkan countries desired to no longer be a part of the Turkish or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to be a part of Serbia because of the large amount of Serbs in Bosnia. Russia supported Serbia's desire and Austria suppressed it, as it desired Bosnia and Herzegovina to still be a part of it.
(From TK Chung, The corner.)
The tension between Austria-Hungary and Turkey verses Serbia and Balkan countries arose and lead to the two Balkan Wars which made the tension between the opposing Balkan countries worse and which aggravated the crisis in the Balkan. This crisis thus contributed in the trigger of the War as it created tension between states and as it resulted in the formation of the Black Hand in Bosnia that killed Franz Ferdinand which will be discussed further on through the summary.
Both France and Germany thrived to have Morocco, that was rich in minerals. However, France was given a free hand to Morocco and was practically ruling Morocco. Germany tried to take Morocco away from France but failed with the support of Britain to the French and agreed to take the French Congo instead. The Moroccan crisis provoked the tension between France and Germany as well as the opposing parties and alliances of World War One which made the possibility of a World War to be more likely. As an outcome of the Franco-Prussian war settlement, France lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany which made the France-Germany tension even worse and which gained France another motif to ally against Germany.
The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Serbia was the immediate reason of World War One. The Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was in Serbia with his wife when he got assassinated by a Bosnian that belongs to the Black Hand, a secret Bosnian association trained to kill Austrian officers.(from Steven W. Sowards, 25 Lectures on the Balkan causes of World War I). The Austrians sent an ultimatum to Serbia completely blaming them about the assassination and demanding them to abolish all political parties and military members that are in any way opposing to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Serbs strongly refuted the ultimatum and so Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Austria declared war on Serbia in the 28th of July 1914. Germany, supporting Austria declared as a result war on Russia on August 1st 1914 which lead to the declare of France war on Germany on the 3rd of August of that same year. World War One was officially triggered.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the industrial revolution was rising. Countries felt the urge to more and more raw material such as natural and industrial resources and thus the need of new markets to install these resources in and the need of factories to industrialize more. Thus, countries such as France and Germany wanted more territory and wanted to colonize more countries in order to gain new territories to install these markets. This is why France and Germany desired more and more land and were competing in terms of imperialism and colonization of Africa. This desire for new territories created more and more tension between the European states which also predicted a possible European War.
(Martin Kelly, American History) This desire of colonizing more territories that arose to countries was another reason of the Great War, as nations felt the urge to colonize more territories to have more resources to use in their economy.
According to statistics by Niall Ferguson in The Pity of War, Russia's army was the one containing the most soldiers as it counted 1 445 000 soldiers in 1914 and the number increased reaching 3 400 000 soldiers through the war. France's army started with 827 000 and increased to 1 800 000. In 1914, Germany counted 761 000 soldiers and this number increased attaining 2 147 000. France's and Germany's army doubled in size between 1870 and 1914. A competitive naval competition was going on between opposing parties and Britain had the most powerful navy especially after creating the "Dreadnought" in 1906 by Admiral Sir John Fisher. (From Niall Ferguson, The First World War an Eyewitness history by Joe H. Kirschberger.) This arms race that was going on in nations in Europe predicted that there was thrive to power especially to military power foreshadowing a war that was going to happen.
In the outbreak of World War I, people were strongly attached to their nation. Civilians were enthusiastic about World War One; they were supporting their countries and were eager to be recruited in the army. They were optimistic about the War. The men never expected the war would go on for years. According to French soldier in John Keegan's The First World War French citizens were singing "La Marseillaise" and were crying "Vive la France, vive l'armée". Governments were shunning propaganda to persuade people to join and serve in the army. Recruiting posters, newspaper reports that detailed the atrocities committed by the enemy in addition to the press censorship that imposed on the reader a certain view of what was going on back then in concordance with the government's opinion encouraged people more and more and made them want to be recruited. (From The First World War an eyewitness history by Joe Kirchberger) This evidence shows the enthusiasm of people towards the war and their desire to have a war which would be evidence that will lead us to the trigger of World War One.
The First World War an eyewitness history, by Joe H. Kirchberger, Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-publication data, 2002 Gale Group Thomson learning, New York, USA.
World War I, Primary sources by Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, Library of Congress cataloguing-in-publication Data, 2002 Gale group Thomson learning, New York USA.
IB history pages, The Great War, Causes, by Suzan Karpilovsky, Maria Fogel and Olivia Kobelt. http://www.cusd.chico.k12.ca.us/~bsilva/projects/great_war/causes.htmhttp://www.cusd.chico.k12.ca.us/~bsilva/projects/great_war/causes.htm
American History, Top 5 causes of World War I, by Martin Kelly. http://americanhistory.about.com/od/worldwari/tp/causes-of-world-war-1.htmhttp://americanhistory.about.com/od/worldwari/tp/causes-of-world-war-1.htm
By Steven W. Sowards, http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect15.htmhttp://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect15.htm
By T. K. Chung, http://www.thecorner.org/images/thecorner-aboutsite.jpghttp://www.thecorner.org/images/thecorner-aboutsite.jpg .