The world has, since time immemorial, known a large number of

calamities. Indeed, human conflict has been part and parcel of human
history. Needless to say, there have been variations in the varied human
conflicts especially with regard to time-frame, magnitude and even the
impacts. However, while there are notable human conflicts in the
contemporary human society, none comes as arguably more remarkable than
World War 1.
Also referred to as the First World War, World War I underlined a
global war that had its epicenter as Europe starting from 28th July and
lasting up to 11th November 1918. Since its occurrence to the beginning
of World War 2 in 1939, the World War I was simply referred to as the
Great War or World War. Underlining its seriousness is the magnitude of
damage it caused not only to human lives but also to economies,
geography and industries (Horne 13). It is estimated that World War I
resulted in the deaths of over 9 million combatants, which was mainly as
a result of geographic stalemate, immense industrial advancements, as
well as over dependence on human wave attacks (Tucker and Priscilla 24).
While it may have marked its place as the First World War, World War 1
is ranked as the fifth-deadliest conflict in the history of the globe
clearing the way for fundamental modifications in the global politics
including revolutions in a large number of countries that took part in
the war.
Trigger of the World War I
There exists no argument or controversy as pertaining to the immediate
cause of the World War 1. Scholars and historians agree that the World
War 1 was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of
Austria- Hungary. The Balkan states of Herzegovina and Bosnia had
previously been annexed from Turkey, after which they had been taken to
the Austro Hungarian (Horne 16). This move had been met with strong
opposition from a large number of Croats and Serbs, resulting in the
formation of a nationalist group referred to as The Black Hand. On 28th
June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria had decided to inspect
the Austro-Hungarian soldiers in Bosnia alongside his wife (Willmott
13). It is worth noting that the date that had been chosen for this
inspection was a Bosnian national day. A group of students had been
supplied with weapons by The Black Hand aimed at carrying out an
assassination attempt so as to mark the national day (Horne 16). In this
regard, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by
Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist student, after their car stopped
at a corner while heading out of the town. This assassination was in
protest against the control of Austria-Hungary in the region (Willmott
13). The assassination triggered a cycle of events. First,
Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia in an effort to avenge the
assassination. This caused Russia to undertake mobilization of its
weapons and human resources as a result of its alliance to Serbia, an
action that caused Germany to declare war against Russia. This started
the rapid expansion of the war leading to the inclusion of all countries
that were taking part in the mutual defense alliances. Since France had
been called upon by Russia to mobilize, Germany chose to declare war
against France, with the German soldiers also pouring into Belgium
(Horne 18). Britain demanded the Germany withdraws her troops from the
neutral Belgium, a demand that was not met. This led Britain to declare
war against Germany. Japan, on the other hand declared war against
Germany due to the former’s alliance to Great Britain. Russia also
declared war against Turkey due to the help that the later had afforded
the Germans, with Britain and France following suit.
Causes of World War 1
While World War I was triggered by the single act of the assassination
of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, it was more complicated and
complex than a list of causes. Indeed, scholars have acknowledged that
there existed a high likelihood that war would eventually break out
thanks to a number of predisposing factors (Collins 43). On the same
note, as much as there may have been a chain of events that directly
resulted in the fighting, the real causes of the war run much deeper and
have been the subject of continued discussion and debate.
One of the key causes of the war was the mutual defense alliances. Over
time, a large number of nations all over Europe had crafted mutual
defense agreements that would essentially pull them to wars. In essence,
if a particular county suffered an attack, allied countries had a duty
and obligation to defend them through declaring war against their
attackers. Prior to the start of World War I, a number of alliances had
been crafted (Horne 23). These included Germany and Austria-Hungary,
Russia and Serbia, Britain France and Belgium, France and Russia, as
well as Japan and the Great Britain. In essence, once Austria-Hungary
attacked Serbia, Russia moved in to defend Serbia. Germany declared war
on Russia upon seeing the later mobilize, with France moving in against
Austria-Hungary and Germany. Germany, therefore, attacked France via
Belgium, which caused Britain to move in to defend Belgium. Japan moved
in against Germany on account the alliance of the former with Great
Britain, after which Italy and the United States moved in on the side of
allies (Horne 26).
In addition, the World War 1 may have occurred as a result of increased
imperialism. This occurs in instances where a country gains increased
wealth and power through acquiring additional territories under its
control. Prior to World War 11, European nations were experiencing some
contentions on account of Africa and some parts of Asia. By the start of
the 20th century, the British Empire was controlling more than five
continents, while France controlled a large portion of Africa (Willmott
21). The rise of industrialism necessitated the creation of new markets.
The territories under the control of France and Britain heightened the
rivalry with Germany, as the later had entered the scramble for colonies
a bit late, in which case it had only some minute parts of Africa
(Collins 54). These colonies were also sources of raw materials. The
heightened competition, as well as desire for larger empires resulted in
an increase in the confrontation that pushed the globe to World War 1.
On the same note, scholars have opined that the militarism and arms
race of early 20th century caused World War 1. At the beginning of 20th
century, the world saw an increased build up of arms and weaponry.
Researchers note that Germany, as at 1914, had undergone the highest
buildup or increase in its military might. Germany and Great Britain had
experienced immense increase in their navies at this time (Tucker 42).
On the same note, the military establishment had started having an
increased influence in the countries’ public policy. This was
especially so for Russia and Germany. Underlining the immense armed race
is the skyrocketing of European military expenditure from 1900 to 1914
(Collins 57). Scholars have noted that the six great powers (Russia,
Italy, Britain, France, Austria-Hungary and Germany) had a combined
military spending of 94 million pounds as at 1870. This amount, however,
quadrupled by 1914 to 398 million pounds, with Germany military
expenditure undergoing a 73% increase unlike the 13% and 10% increase
for Britain and France (Tucker 43). This increased the conflicts among
the nations involved and made an all-out war inevitable as each country
sought supremacy.
How did World War 1 end?
The end of the World War 1 can be attributed to the declaration of war
on Germany in 1917 by the United States. Prior to this time, the United
States’ participation was limited to the supply of weapons and other
supplies to the allies. This, however, changed on 2nd May 1915 after
Germany sunk a British passenger liner leading to the death of 1195
passengers including 128 Americans. The United States was engulfed in
anger with Americans calling for the involvement of their government in
the war. At first, Woodrow Wilson sought peaceful resolution of the
conflict (Tucker 44). However, Germany declared unrestricted submarine
warfare campaign in February 1917, stating that would sink any ship that
approached Great Britain, be it a supply ship, passenger ship or
military ship. Wilson announced the entry of America on 3rd April 1917
in an effort to restore peace in Europe, before declaring war on Germany
on 6th April 1917. Indeed, its fresh troops joined those of Britain and
France in the summer of 1918 and proved invaluable in the defeat of
Germans (Tucker 45).
While the United States may have played an immense role in the defeat
of the Germans and bringing closure to the World War 1, other factors
may have contributed to the same. For instance, the Germans, despite
initial success in their offensive, were pushed back by the allies who
held their ground. On the same note, Berlin and other cities suffered
immense protests against the effects that war had on the population by
1918 (Tucker and Priscilla 33). This is especially considering that the
British naval blockade on the German ports resulted in the starvation of
thousands. This resulted in the resignation of one of Germany’s most
remarkable generals named Ludendorff in 1918, followed by the mutiny of
the German navy and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II on November 9th
1918 (Tucker and Priscilla 34). This led the leaders from the two sides
to hold a meeting on 11th November in Ferdinand Foch’s railway
carriage headquarters in Compiegne, and the signing of the Armistice at
6 am, which was enforced five hours later, bringing the First World War
to an end.
  In conclusion, World War 1 was arguably one of the most fundamental
conflicts in the history of the globe, ranked the world’s
fifth-deadliest. It was triggered off by the assassination of Archduke
Franz Ferdinand of Austria- Hungary, which resulted in Austria-Hungary
declaring war against Serbia (Tucker and Priscilla 34). Their allies
joined in the war in an effort to protect each other leading to an
all-out war. However, the assassination was simply a trigger, with
varied underlying causes of the war existing, including the arms race at
the beginning of 20th century, increased imperialism, and the mutual
defense alliances. The entry of the United States in the conflict marked
the beginning of the end of the war. This was coupled by the increased
deterioration of conditions in Germany, which caused immense protests,
resignations and mutinies by the military, leading both sides to meet
and come up with a resolution on 11th November 1918.
Works cited
Collins, Ross F. World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 to
1919. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008. Print.
Horne, John. A Companion to World War I. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons,
2008. Print
Tucker, Spencer, and Priscilla M. Roberts. World War I: Student
Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print
Tucker, Spencer. World War I: Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif:
ABC-CLIO, 2005. Print.
Willmott, H P. First World War. New York: DK Publishing, 2003. Print.

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