World War I

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How did World War I turn into a global war?

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Nona Stiltner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There were a number of catalysts, political realities, nation-state alliances, and series of cause and effect events that resulted in the enormous size, scope, and scale of World War I. Decades of historical context is important to understand when looking at how so many countries became involved in fighting in World War I. Since the year 1871, Germany had been growing in power and influence in Central Europe.

As the emerging nation-state began forming strategic alliances with Austria-Hungary and Italy, many Western European nations, as well as Russia, became concerned with Germany's growing consolidation of power and political alliances. As such, France and Russia entered into political alliance, and while France and Britain were consistently on the verge of aggression, the two nations entered in a political agreement to protect themselves from the growing power of the German bloc.

By 1904, these political alliances between countries were firmly in place. In the midst of these...

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