Why did a conflict between European nations involve the world in World War I?
European nations had economic and political influence in every corner of the globe. At the outbreak of World War I, virtually every major European country controlled colonies in Africa, and when the war broke out on the European continent, several struggles also took place in Africa, both between German and British forces and their African proxies. Major fighting took place in Togo, South Africa, and Cameroon. In the Pacific, Japan took the outbreak of war as an opportunity to expand its influence by seizing German island colonies like the Marshall Islands and the Marianas and mainland colonies like Tsingtao in China. Fighting also took place on a greater scale in the Levant and Mesopotamia, where the British and French sought to drive out Ottoman forces and expand their influence in the region. In short, because of the rapid pace of European imperialist expansion throughout the nineteenth century, the war that broke out in 1914 was truly a global war.