Causes of World War I Term Paper

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WWI was also the first time that toxins such as mustard gas were used and this created panic and death in many different countries, significantly raising the death toll from the war and also making it more difficult for the country to stay organized and on-track when it came to supporting the troops that were fighting (Marston, 1981).

Italy was another of the allies that joined up to retaliate against Germany. If it were not for the issue with the Balkans, it is likely that WWI would have never taken place, but other countries objected so strongly to the way that Germany handled the problem that they felt they must become involved. When Italy had finally been pushed far enough, it "decided to retaliate" and officially joined the war (Marston, 1981).

For Italy, going into the war meant protecting itself and its allies. It had generally enjoyed a good relationship with most other countries, including Great Britain, France, and the United States, and therefore it wanted to keep this relationship strong and healthy if possible. One of the best ways to do this was to join in with the other countries in their fight against Germany and the problems that country was causing for others.

Italy faced basically the same hardships as the other countries that were involved in the war. Namely, there were a lot of individuals killed in the war, and the threat of chemical warfare was very high, which made it dangerous not just for the troops but for innocents as well. Stories of WWI tell of women and children being used as human shields, and being mercilessly killed and tortured.

Japan was another country that belonged to the allied forces and chose to join up with other countries to help defeat Germany. All of the countries that joined the War believed that they were doing the right thing and that Germany must be stopped. Without the War, Germany might have continued to grow in strength and would have taken over as much as it could. This would have been unfortunate for many other nations that were already struggling, because they would not have been strong enough on their own to stop Germany from invading, taking over, and basically doing whatever it wanted (Rothberg & Moltke, 1986).

By going into the War, Japan was not only siding with its allies, but was protecting its own interests as well. Japan is not a large country, but it does have a lot of natural resources that other countries would likely use to their advantage in a war or take-over situation. This would be devastating for Japan in many ways, and therefore the country knew that they needed to side with their allies and join the war if they hoped to get protection from Germany by way of other countries (Rothberg & Moltke, 1986).

Like other countries, however, Japan faced hardships during and after the war. Most of these were similar to the problems that other countries had, such as a high death toll and wide-spread panic and concern where biological warfare was concerned. Many people throughout several countries were concerned that thousands of people would be killed, including many innocent people, when it came to toxins, nerve gases, and other weapons that were unexpected and could be easily hidden. Since Japan had such as large population, the potential for destruction and devastation was very high (Rothberg & Moltke, 1986).

The United States tried to stay away from the War, but it finally became involved late in the game. United States troops worked with the other countries to force Germany to back off from the problems that it was causing, remove troops from other countries, and give restitution to many of the countries that it had wronged through its actions. The Treaty would have given much to all of the countries, including the United States, but it was not to be. Eventually, the United States Senate rejected the treaty of Versailles because it was fearful of becoming involved in European wars. In addition, the treaty was rejected because there was a great deal of Republican resentment when it came to Wilson's close wins of the elections of 1912 and 1916. Because of this, the United States chose not to enter into the League of Nations, which weakened it very much (Americanization, 1925).

Critique of Source Material

Most of the information that is found within the sources that were discussed in the previous section appears to be accurate. This is significant because many people that work with history do not always realize that there can be many differences in what is seen and the opinions that are given based on 'facts' that have been researched and collected. In other words, there does not necessarily have to be a consensus of opinion on a particular aspect of history. However, it seems as though there is a general consensus seen here in the literature that was studied and what it has to say regarding World War I, the Treaty of Versailles, and other issues.

All of the information and opinions that were seen in the comparison of the literature also appear to indicate that there were many reasons why WWI actually got started. For each country that got involved with the war, there was a new and different reason, and these reasons were not the same.

For some countries, it was the fear of a strong military force invading and causing them problems. For other countries, it was the idea that another country was being harmed and they could not allow this state of affairs to continue. In other words, the answer to the question of what started WWI is not something that can simply be answered. This is why it became necessary to look at several different causes based on each country that was involved with the war, to establish an understanding of the war that was clearer and more complete. Many people still do not have a good understanding of the actual causes of WWI, and this stops them from having an opinion of the issue that is backed up by factual and significant information that is worthwhile to themselves and others.


Americanization (1925). Dept. Veterans of Foreign Wars of U.S., America: Great crises in our history told by its makers.

Barnes, Harry Elmer. (1970). The genesis of the world war: an introduction to the problem of war guilt. Howard Fertig, Inc.

Marston, F.S. (1981). The peace conference of 1919: organization and procedure Greenwood Press, 1981.

Rothberg, Gunter E., Moltke, Schlieffen (1986). The Doctrine of Strategic Envelopment. In Makers of modern strategy from Machiavelli to the nuclear age. Peter Paret ed.

President Woodrow Wilson belonged to the Democratic party.

World War I was often referred to as 'The Great War.' It is assumed that, at the time, it was not thought that there would be another world war.

Wilson stated in that area for the Paris Peace Conference.

This was a very significant statement, as there have been many serious Presidential mistakes made throughout history.

While many historians argue and speculate on what caused WWI, there must be different perspectives from different countries, because several countries had to be involved in the war before it could actually be considered to be a World War.

Many countries believed that they needed protection from Germany, because it…

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