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World War I: Causes and Consequences

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World War I: Causes and Consequences

World War I, also known as the War of Secret Alliance and the world’s first global conflict. Also called the “Great War” and “War to End All Wars.” The First War began on July 28, 1914, and ended on November 11, 1918.

It was extremely bloody and was fought between Allied Powers and the Central Powers. Here is the chart of those countries that fought in World War 1.

World War 1 participantsCause of World War I

The list below provides an overview of the causes of WWI.


World War I: Militarism

Maintain a strong military, increase military forces and weapons to prepare for war (Arms Race).


Nations signed treaties or defense agreements to protect each other if war broke out. European powers formed rival alliances to protect themselves.


Control or dominance over another country politically and economically. After 1870, the European nations started to acquire colonies in Asia and Africa.


World War I: Nationalism

Love of country and sacrifice for it. Extreme pride in your country but in WW1, nationalism became aggressive because every country in Europe wanted to be independent and most powerful.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

World War 1: Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a member of a Serb terrorist nationalist organization called the “Black Hand.
And that was the immediate cause of WWI because Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for Franz Ferdinand’s death and declared war on Serbia.

  • Russia sent troops to defend Serbia because Russia had a treaty with Serbia.
  • Germany declared war on Russia because Germany had a treaty with Austria-Hungary (The Triple Alliance).
  • France declared war on Germany because France had a treaty with Russia (The Triple Entente).
  • Then Germany invaded Belgium to attack France.
  • Britain declared war on Germany because Britain guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium.
World War I: Alliances

And so the war begins!

Consequences of World War 1

  1. More than 9 million soldiers were killed in WW1.
  2. Four Empires collapsed such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, Türkiye and Russia.
  3. New nation-states were formed. Such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Hungary.
  4. New ideologies emerged.
  5. Unemployment and inflation.
  6. Changes to Society — Many soldiers were killed in the war so women had to run businesses and give equal rights and equal opportunities to women.
  7. Many people suffered from the disease.
  8. New Boundaries created problems.
  9. League of Nations was formed.
  10. World economy damaged.


In the final analysis, we can say that WW1 was also known as the War of Secret alliance because in WW1 every country had secret agreements with other countries. Basically, aggressive nationalism became the reason for WW1 because every country in Europe wanted to be independent and every country wanted to be the best and most powerful so they began to acquire colonies and ultimately it led to World War 1.

So, World War I also became the reason for World War II because Germans believed that the treaty of Versailles treated them too harshly and imposed heavy reparations after WW1. So that was the major factor in the outbreak of World War II.

Iqra is from the IR Department of the University Of Sindh, Jamshoro.

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