Nationalism Before World War I Term Paper

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World War I

Causes and Consequences of World War I

World War 1

(Causes, America's Contribution to the War, Role of President Woodrow Wilson, Treaty of Versailles Failure)

The First World War (1914-1918) or the Great War was fought between the Allies and the Central Powers. The Allies included 27 countries of which Russia, the United States of America, France, Japan and Britain are the most prominent. The Central Powers consisted of Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary as the chief combatants. It is the greatest and most atrocious war brawled till date.


There were a number of causes that initiated the brutality of World War I Major causes include imperialism, nationalism, materialism and alliance systems. However, the immediate cause of the beginning of the War was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Royal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia. As he was killed by a Serbian nationalist in June 1914, war was declared on Serbia by Austria-Hungary. Later, Germany and Russia got involved in war as they were the allies of Austria-Hungary and Serbia respectively. To capture a clearer picture of the World War I, we must analyze the prominent causes mentioned above.

Alliances -- When two or more countries settle on helping and assisting each other in the time of need, it is called an 'alliance'. The alliances were one of the major reasons why the First World War started and continued for 4 years. There were a number of alliances signed before the Great War by almost every country of Europe. Even if a nation did not want to participate in the War, they had no other option than to aid and support their allies. Japan, Britain, United States, Germany, Russia and Belgium did not intend to involve themselves in the War. However, due to their alliances with the involved nations, they entered in the War afterwards.

Imperialism -- When an area is invaded and ruled by a country, it is said to be imperialized by that country. Due to the growth of industrialism by the 19th century, there was a constant race and rivalry among the European nations (mainly France, Germany and Britain) for the acquirement of new markets. The three countries wanted to take over lands in Asia and Africa because of the availability of raw materials in those areas. They knew that the expansion of their countries would make them the most powerful and superior authorities on the face of the earth. This escalating competition for industrial expansion was one of the major reasons that shoved them and their allies into the greatest war ever fought (World War One- Causes, 2011, para. 5).

Militarism -- When a government prefers to expand its armies and spends a large amount of money in this regard, it is stated as militarism. The European nations, particularly Britain and Germany, started increasing their military expenses and forces by the 20th century. This expansion of arms and ammunition was initiated in order to prove their superiority on the world. Other nations were also concerned and busy in building up their armies at the same time. Thus, this arms competition also led the world to the Great War (World War One -- Causes, 2011, para. 6).

Nationalism -- When a nation strongly believes and advocates its well-being and rights, that nation is said to be nationalistic. In simple words, it is the desire of a nation to prove its national superiority over other nations. Most of the European countries had great pride in their powers and influences on the world. It was the pre-war time when the Slavs inhabiting the Ottoman Empire and Austria woke up and got stimulated by their nationalistic beliefs and feelings. They decided to be a fraction of Serbia. Russia came forward for its Slav brothers to help them promote their national values and characteristics. Seeing this, the German-speaking states also rose up to attain a separate identity as a nation. Thus, a Pan-Slavism movement started which instigated the happenings of World War I (World War I, 2009, p. 52617) .

The United States of America's Contribution to the War

The United States did not take any interest to involve itself in the Great War. It did not participate in the War for the first two and a half years. The Allies expected America to provide them with war material and manpower necessary to achieve success in the War. President Woodrow Wilson made it crystal-clear to the world that America would…[continue]

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