World War I

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How did industrialization and imperialism play a role in the onset of World War I?

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Historians agree that imperialism was a long-term cause of World War I. Increasing greatly in the nineteenth century, imperialism, or the desire to extend a country’s influence by building an empire, caused tensions between various European countries. There were particularly strong tensions between Britain and Germany, for example. This was because Britain had a much larger empire than Germany and, crucially, allied with France in 1904 in what is known as the Entente Cordiale. Conversely, Germany allied with Austria-Hungary, and so the scene was set for the two opposing sides.

Similarly, industrialization also played a role in causing the war because it enabled these European countries to arm themselves on a massive scale. If you look at the production of the dreadnought battleship, for example, you will see how it caused competition between Germany and Britain (see the reference link provided at the bottom of this post). Moreover, the fact that Britain had produced more dreadnoughts...

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