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Was World War I a preventable war, or were the nations of Europe committed to fighting...

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kayla94 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM via web

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Was World War I a preventable war, or were the nations of Europe committed to fighting even before the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand?

Need help with an essay outline:

Was World War I a preventable war, or were the nations of Europe committed to fighting even before the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand? Can you envision a realistic scenario by which the outbreak of war might have been averted?

Thank you so much! This is going to end up being a full blown essay, but for now I just need the key facts to form my outline. The Internet has so much info, but it is very hard to narrow it down to what was "really" important. Thank you so much!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 13, 2011 at 6:14 PM (Answer #2)

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There are a lot of things that you could put in here, but what I would suggest is that you should look at the major forces that were pushing towards war.  I think that you could argue it either way (that it was or was not inevitable) but whichever way, you do need to discuss the forces that were making the war more likely.  I would include:

  • Imperialism.  I would talk about how Germany was longing for an empire that would rival that of England.  I would talk, for example, about the things that Germany did to interfere in other countries' empires.  One such thing could be the Moroccan crisis set off by the Kaiser in 1905.
  • Nationalism.  Here I would talk about the cracks that were showing in the Austro-Hungarian Empire because of its multinational nature.  I would talk about how Serbia was trying to exploit these cracks and how Austria was looking for any excuse to hit back at Serbia.
  • Militarism.  I would talk about the glorification of military virtues in various countries.  I would also talk about the arms race that was going on with Germany building up its navy.

I think I would argue overall that these forces were too strong and too numerous for war to be prevented, but that's up to you.  Those are the things I would examine in an essay of the sort you are discussing.

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