Short Term Causes Of World War 1

What were the long and short term causes of World War I?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on Europe. The Industrial Revolution was an important component of many of the other causes of the Great War. Industrialism created a system of uneven wealth in Europe. The nations that industrialized gained an economic advantage over those that did not. The industrialized...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on Europe. The Industrial Revolution was an important component of many of the other causes of the Great War. Industrialism created a system of uneven wealth in Europe. The nations that industrialized gained an economic advantage over those that did not. The industrialized nations competed for scarce resources in an effort to become more powerful than their rivals.

In a quest for these scarce resources, industrial powers sought to establish colonies in order to fuel their industries. By the late 1800's, this theater was on the continent of Africa. Disputes over boundaries and lands in Africa threatened to plunge Europe into war during this period. This rivalry for resources, economic prosperity, and nationalist glory ultimately led to World War I.  In an effort to protect themselves from aggression, industrial nations formed alliances with their primary trade partners. These alliances insured that a minor dispute between two countries could result in a continental war.  This system of alliances was an important short term cause of World War I.  

The immediate cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the hands of a member of a Serbian separatist group. This action caused Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, which was backed by Russia. Russia's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary motivated other nations that were bound by alliances to enter the war.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team