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World war 1 causes

Updated on February 2, 2012

Causes of WW1 and the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand

The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered of the alliance systems and eventually started the First World War. It was not the only cause; there were lots of reasons why World War 1 started. I don’t think the assassination was the most significant cause. I think that the war would have been triggered of sooner of later because of all the friction between the countries.

Britain had the biggest empire economic power and military in Europe. Britain saw Germany as a threat. This suspicion was increased as Germany started to increase its navy. To protect their empire Britain increased their naval fleet and introduced a new type of war ship – A Dreadnought. The Austria / Hungary Empire splitting up, areas were becoming independent with the help of Russia. They needed help from another country so they formed an alliance with Germany.

France had lost a war recently against Germany losing Alsace and Lorraine. So it built up its defences on it borders. Germany wanted to be a more powerful country. They were worried that France might attack; this was because they had lost two areas to Germany in a recent war. All these countries were nationalists and wanted their countries to be the most powerful and free from foreign rule.

France feared more attacks and so they set up an alliance with Russia. Germany kept increasing in power France Britain and Russia became nervous so they formed an alliance – the Triple Entente was formed.  Germany felt encircled by the triple entente so Germany and its ally Austria/Hungry joined with Italy to form the triple alliance.

Austria was becoming weaker it was splitting up. The Austrian empire wanted to expand and have control of the Balkans. In 1901 Austrians took over Bosnia now the only country in its way was Serbia. Serbia used to be part of the Austrian empire but had split away and became independent. The Austrians’ wanted to attack Serbia but Serbia had an alliance with Russia.

the Archduke ad his wife
the Archduke ad his wife | Source


All together was a lot of tension in Europe and all it needed was something to set it all of and there would be war. This happened when Archduke Franz Ferdinand (an heir to the Hungary Austria Empire) was assassinated in Bosnia on a visit to inspect its army.

He was with his wife Sophie who was pregnant. They were visiting land that had been taken over by the Austria hungry empire on a Serbia’s national day. The people of Serbia were insulted.

7 Serbs who lived in Bosnia planned to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand. They were situated along a road, Appel Quay, with weapons from a group called the Black Hand.

The archduke was driven down the road surrounded by body guards. One of the men through a bomb at his car but missed and was arrested. The Archduke was appalled and terrified and soon after the attack cancelled his trip. They decided to go back a different route so they got in the car and set of but no one had told the driver. Meanwhile Gavrilo Princip one of the people who planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand had set of disappointed to get something to eat. He saw the car with Ferdinand in it.

The body guards noticed they were going the wrong way and told the driver to stop and turn around. The car stopped right in front of Princip who with two shots killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife.

The Austrian empire blames Serbia for the attack and sends them a list of demands. Serbia does not accept the demands. Austria with the help of Germany declares war on Austria who was an ally of Russia. Germany with backing of Italy then becomes at war with Russia and France. Germany invades Belgium so Britain declares war on Germany. Starting the First World War.

I think that the assignation was one of the most important causes of the world war 1 as it triggered it all off. I do not think it was the most significant cause because sooner of later something else would have started the war. I think the most significant cause was the alliance systems.



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