World War I

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How did imperialism set the stage for both world wars?

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Imperialism was a leading cause of both World War I and World War II. However, the specifics of how this ideology led to their respective conflicts differ to a certain degree.

For starters, World War I involved a number of imperial powers who had formed a tangled web of alliances with each other. For instance, France and Great Britain had been more or less allies for nearly a century. After the Napoleonic Wars, they had worked out an arrangement in which they would pursue their own imperialistic ventures without stepping on each other's toes. Other imperialistic nations had similar arrangements, such as Austro-Hungary and Germany. In order to protect their mutual interests and keep from competing too directly over imperial power grabs, each major European imperial power had allied with several others. This meant that when war broke out in 1914, all the big powers were pulled into the conflict.

World War II began because Germany and Japan were conquering neighboring lands in their...

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