Free Essay in History: Why World War I Was Unavoidable

Published: 2022-10-19
Free Essay in History: Why World War I Was Unavoidable
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  World War 1
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 867 words
8 min read

World War I Was the war that started on 28 July 1914 and lasted for four years as it ended on 11 November 1918. There were series of events which culminated into this great war, but it is the 28th June 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, by the Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip that triggered the war ( Tension had been brewing before this time when the troubled Balkan states (particularly Bosnia, Serbia, and Herzegovina) drove out Turkey from their territory before fighting one another on who to occupy which area. When Austria-Hungary intervened and forced Serbia to surrender some of its acquisitions, a tension between Serbia and Austria grew higher after they had previously also taken former Turkish province of Bosnia in 1908. The Serbians felt the area was rightfully theirs.

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The assassination of Franz Ferdinand during his visit in Sarajevo to inspect the Austro-Hungarian imperial armed forces prompted events to escalate rapidly ( The Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government and used the incident to solve the rapidly growing Serbian nationalism once and for all. At this time, Serbia had an alliance with Russia. Therefore, Austro-Hungarian leaders feared that an attack on Serbia would cause intervention from Russia and after that Russia's ally France and Great Britain as well. They resorted to getting support from Germany with whom they also had an alliance.

After getting an assurance of support from Germany, they issued a harsh ultimatum to Serbia which they knew Serbia would not meet. Having received the ultimatum, Serbia mobilized their army and reached out to Russia for support.

On 28th July 1914, Austrian-Hungarians declared war on Serbia, and after a week, Allied Powers (Serbians, Russians, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Romania, Japan as well as the United States) had lined up against the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire) making the World War.

Factors that made the War inevitable

Though there is still debate on whether or not the World War I was avoidable, there are factors which made the War inevitable. Some of the factors are as discussed below.

Mutual Defense Alliance Systems

Prior to World War I trigger events, countries throughout Europe made mutual defense treaties which meant that in the event one was attacked, all allied member countries would intervene and offer support. Some of the alliances before World War I included: between Serbia and Russia, Germany - Austria-Hungary, France - Russia, Great Britain - France - Belgium, Japan - Great Britain among others. Therefore, such alliances made it impossible to stop any war affecting either member. Therefore, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, it was automatic that Russia would get involved which would also make Germany get involved, and the chain to continue.


Counties tend to increase their power and wealth by adding territories, a phenomenon called Imperialism. Before the First World War, most European countries were in contention of Africa and other parts of Asia. Tension always ran high in these regions due to their richness in raw materials. The desire to expand empires between these countries made World War I unavoidable despite calls from various players to call off the war. European countries viewed the war between Serbia and Austria-Hungarian as an opportunity to exercise their might.


An arms race had started during the early years of the 20th century. Germany and Great Britain had increased their military build-up. Countries like Russia began to have military establishment on their public policies. By 1914, these countries had established themselves which it made difficult for such countries to give up easily and fail to showcase their might on each other.


Bosnia and Herzegovina were no longer interested in being part the Austria-Hungary and instead opted to be part of Serbia. They started nationalism movements as a result of the oppression from the Austria-Hungary which masterminded the death of the Australian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This was the immediate cause of war, and given the allies behind them, it resulted into bigger war than expected. Besides, nationalism existed in many European Countries at this time.

After looking at the reasons that made World War I inevitable, it is essential also to remember that there are key policymakers like the German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II who ought to have stopped the onset of the war. This is not denying the tension that existed between different countries. European countries like Great Britain and Germany used this as an opportunity to show their naval and economic powers. Looking back at the core of the war, that is, Russia and Austria-Hungary tension, their interest lied in the Balkans. These were pushing for their agendas. Therefore, it appears that the war could have been avoided.


The World War I came with a lot of effects to the lives of civilians as well as the. There were factors which lead to the escalation of war and made it inevitable, though there were also key policymakers who would have prevented the War from occurring.

Works Cited

Knighton, Andrew. 9 Reasons World War I Became Inevitable, 2015.

MacMillan, Margaret. How close did the world come to peace in 1914,, P. Johnson. World War I, History 102.

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