Long term causes of WW1
Though WW1 began in 1914, its causes can be traced back to tensions and suspicious, which had developed over a great number of years. The path to war involved nationalism, militarism, imperialism and alliances.
Nationalism is a strong loyalty for your own country and the belief that its needs are more important than those of other countries. By the beginning of the twentieth century, European nationalism had become aggressive. Nations turned against each other as they strived to become more powerful and important than the countries around them.
Imperialism saw the nations of Europe compete with each other to establish large empires. The countries, which made up these empires, known as colonies, provided raw materials, land for expansion, markets for, manufactured goods, and military and trading bases for the European powers that controlled them. In times of war, colonies were expected to help fight for their colonial powers. This helped make the 1914-18 conflict a ‘world’ war.
Militarism is a policy of developing powerful weapons and military forces to be used in defence or to attack other nations if this supports the national interests. In this lead-up to WW1 all of the Great Powers of Europe were involved in increasing the strength of their armies and navies. This ‘arms race’, as it became known, greatly increased tensions between the nations of Europe.
Alliances are economic or military agreements between two or more nations. In this lead up to WW1 the Great Powers of Europe came to form two very powerful alliances, which became extremely hostile towards each other. The Triple Alliances of 1882 saw Germany, Austria, and Italy sign an alliance in which all three nations agreed to support each other in time of war. The Triple Entente of 1907 saw France, Russia and Great Britain form a defensive pact aimed solely against the power of the Triple Alliance. The effect of these two...