As I proposed last week, I wanted to focus on something that related to the politics and the circumstances that lead to the war. To specify what that entails I am going to focus on the alliances and the military technology build up that lead to the war. Primarily these were the two major factors that lead to the breakout of World War I. As a stated in my last post, the assignation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is largely credited for the start of the war but in reality it only just sparked already looming tensions. During the early 1900’s Europe was beginning to divide itself into different alliances that many say attributed to the war’s outbreak in 1914. Countries wold align and if for any reason, such as World War I, a nation was to be attacked by another their allies must either aid in protection or join in retaliation. For the first time the use of air support was available and heavily used. We also bore witness to the use of biological warfare, such as mustard gas, that frankly no one ever thought of before. Countries had stock piled all these weapons and created massive alliances that if any small skirmish was to occur, the entire European continent would be involved in total war.
The early 1900’s lead way to a new type pf warfare. Countries began to align with one another. There were two pivotal alliances that were involved in the war and those will be the two that I focus on. England, France and Russia became allies and formed the Triple Entente, while Germany, Austria and Italy made their coalition, what would be called the Triple Alliance. If for any reason one was to be threatened the rest were required to come to the others aid. When war did eventually break out, Russia came to the aid of Serbia, thus France also came to the aid of Serbia. Belgium was invaded by Germany and in conjunction with their pact and England, the British Crown joined the Belgians. Germany aided Austria but Italy decided to remain neutral and were not loyal to the pact. Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire would shortly join Germany and Austria in battle. The two articles, The Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance 1880-1914: a Collective Goods Approach and The Origins of World War I both state that the aggression during this time was primarily between Germany and France. Conybeare states that the Triple Alliance formation was directed towards France for fear that France would eventually engage in battle with Germany or any of Germany’s allies.
The second influence that propelled the war and maybe the most important factor was the military stock pile is or the arms race. For the first time new technology was being use that previously was unfathomable. The three keys advancements were the creation of tanks, the use of biological warfare such as mustard gas and the ability to use the air as a new battle field. War in Europe was imminent and countries knew it. Germany became known as the largest stock piler of weapons during this time and also was technologically far more advanced than any other country at the time. This military build up made countries weary of war and according to Weede, they maybe even wanted war.
The Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance 1880-1914: a Collective Goods Approach by John A. C. Conybeare, University of Iowa
The Origins of World War I by Samuel R. Williamson, Jr.
Arms Race and Escalation by Erich Weede