Reasons for the 1914 War

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Reasons for the 1914 War

Why did the great powers go to war in 1914?

The Great War of 1914-1918 started in August 1914. Most historians and politicians have been debating the causes of this war ever since 1914. The four major reasons why this war started are Imperialism, Militarism, Nationalism, and Alliances.

As stated above, Militarism was a major cause of the war. This implies the governments and people’s desire for their country to maintain strong military capabilities as well as being ready to defend nation’s interests was at peak (Bridge, Roy, and Roger Bullen, 10). A good example for this route cause is between Britain and Germany. These countries had begun establishing their military powers in attempts to protect and promote their national interests.

Another cause of war tensions was Alliances. Alliances refer to agreements establishing between two or more nations to offer each other assistance in case it is required. The main aim of forming these alliances was defending each other in case an enemy attacked them (Morrow, 12). A good example for these Alliances is the 1870s Belgium Neutrality when Britain offered to protect Belgium in 1867 since this was their closest neighbor country faced with many ports invasion.


The third long-term cause for this war was Imperialism. Most countries around the globe competed over control of colonies so as to acquire resources, land, and influence (Woodward 80). For example, Germany made attempts to take control over African lands, a place that France and Britain had already created. Due to this, France and Britain rallied together in the conflict against Germany.

Finally, Nationalism made the great power to start the 1914 war. In Nationalism, most people are not patriotic to their countries. In particular, Germany was greatly proud of the military power that they had acquired after the Franco-Prussian War. As a new unified country after 1871, the Germans felt unstoppable as a super power, and this made the country go to war.

Work Cited

Bridge, Roy, and Roger Bullen. The Great Powers and the European States System 1814-1914. Routledge, 2014. Pp. 6-10

Morrow, John. The Great War: an imperial history. Routledge, 2016. Pp. 8-16

Woodward, Llewellyn. Great Britain and the War of 1914-1918 (RLE The First World War). Routledge, 2017. Pp. 66-80

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