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How did World War 1 start?

Updated on September 13, 2012

So almost 100 years after The Great War begun, how did it all actually begin? Well the general notion was that it started over the outrage over the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdiland of Austria and his wife Sophie which was organised by the Serbian nationalist secret society known as the "Black Hand" isn't entirely correct. Emperor Franz Josef was even relieved at the assasination because it got relieved him of an heir than he disliked. Emperor Josef commented on it stating "God will not be mocked, a higher power had put back the order I couldn't maintain".

It was also not just the Emperor that was relieved, the Austrian people did not seem to care much either and the next week they carried on with there normal lives like nothing had happened, it even took the government 3 full weeks to react. So if no one actually cared about the assasination then why would you bother going to war over it? Well as it turns out Austria and Hungary had been looking for any excuse to exercise a "preventative war" against Serbia to take back there territory in the Balkans which was taken in the Balkan wars, until this point they were to scared to do it because of Serbia's treaty with Russia and Hungary and Austria did not have the support of Germany.

Now with the assasination as an excuse Austria and Hungary were able to secure the promise of Germany so they lept into action, they did not expect Russia to get involved as they thought this would likely be a very quick and quiet war if there is such a thing. However they were mistaken and Russia did get involved. With the series of treaties that all other countries around Europe had with each other I will briefly explain how it rose so quickly.

  • Russia who was bound by bound by the treaty with Serbia comes to the aid of Serbia.
  • Germany who then with the recent treaty of Austria and Hungary decides to declare war on Russia.
  • France who had a treaty with Russia is now in the war without choice, so Germany decide to invade Belgium to gain easy access to France.
  • Britain then decided to declare war on Germany which surprises the Germans because there treaty with France was loosely worded and they believed Great Britain would stay out of it, though it was later revealed that Britain had a long standing treaty with Belgium as well.
  • Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa now all enter the war as they were colonies of England at the time.
  • Japan honors a treaty with Britain and joins in as well.
  • Austria and Hungary then declare war on Japan because they declared on Germany.

So at the end of it all, the first world war was started by a little pointless war that was over a little bit of land which was joined from all of the powers of the globe because of treaties that were created around 75 years before. Such a waste to all those lives lost wasn't it?


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