West European Studies
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The World War I (WWI) took place between 1914 and 1918. It caused a severe destruction and deadliest conflicts in different countries. In 1914, the Central Powers Austria, Hungary, and Germany declared war on Serbia. In addition, the German army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium. In a short time, the Central Power military forces moved towards the other European countries. Therefore, Russia, France, United Kingdom, and few other European countries united to control the invasion. Thus, the WWI became a severe destructive event, and it caused major political and social changes. The following paper discusses the causes of World War I and describes the victors’ assumptions at the Treaty of Versailles.
Causes of World War I
The experts consider that the immediate cause of WWI was the assassination of the Royal Prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Spielvogel, 2014). During the early 20th century, Austria and Hungary had control over Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Serbian nationalist communities protested this ruling system and assassinated the Hungarian Royal Prince in June 1914 (Suddath, 2010). As a result, Austria and Hungary declared war against Serbia and the WWI started in a short time. Also, different long-term and short-term military operations of defense alliance system, imperialism, and nationalism policies caused WWI.
First of all, during the 19th and 20th century, the European countries made mutual defense agreements that forced some countries to take part in the war. For instance, Serbia, Russia, France, England, and some other nations made treaties that bound these countries to support each other during violent events and wars. Therefore, when Austria and Hungary attacked Serbia, Russian army supported the Serbian forces. On the other hand, Germany had defense agreements with Austria and Hungary. Hence, the German army started to invade the Russian Empire. Thus, these countries involved in a severe war, and it caused serious crises.Secondly, in past centuries, imperialism was the major cause of war and terror. In the late 19th century, the Central Powers including Germany, Austria, and Hungary wanted to increase their power and territory (Suddath, 2010). Besides, before WWI, the European empires controlled African and Asian countries to increase their wealth and business. As a result, the European countries were competing with each other, and finally it caused wars and violence. Thirdly, in the 20th century, the German and British Government strengthened their armed forces and improved military equipment. Germany created new, advanced and deadly arms that caused terror all over the Europe. Nevertheless, the nationalist mentality and desires caused civil riots in different Slavic countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of the Bosnian people did not want to be the part of Central Powers (Spielvogel, 2014). Hence, they supported the Serbian laws and protested against the Austria and Hungary’s control. Thus, these conflicts initiated WWI.
The Victors’ Assumptions at the Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles ended the WWI, and it helped various countries to initiate peace process. The allied powers including Great Britain, United States, and France compelled Germany to accept the responsibility for loss and damage. The victors made several key assumptions in peace process to control the German terror. They restricted Germany’s military strength. According to the treaty, Germany was allowed to hire 100,000 men in military force (Magana, 2003). The former soldiers were not allowed to rejoin the forces. Also, the treaty prohibited Germany from regulating the air force. Furthermore, the authority reduced the naval forces, military schools, and training grounds. Before WWI, a large number of civilians worked and supported the arms factories and military offices. However, the treaty forbade civilians and paramilitary forces to attain military works. The allied states prohibited Germany to perform the arms trade including chemical weapons, fighter planes, shhips, and armored vehicles. Furthermore, Germany had to pay for the loss, destruction, and reparation. The allied nations asked German Government to pay 20 billion gold marks as well as military equipment, ships, arms, and other goods (Magana, 2003). The allied power asked Germany to make territorial changes. The treaty instructed German Government to leave a large tract of their territory to the neighboring allied countries. As a result, 7 million people got back their properties (Magana, 2003). Besides, the neighboring Poland gained about 20 thousand square miles of land (Magana, 2003). Similarly, Belgium and France also returned their old territories. In Eastern Europe, Germany recognized the independence of several Eastern European countries including Czechoslovakia. Article 22 of the peace treaty ordered Germany to transfer their control over the former colonies to the Allied States (Spielvogel, 2014). Therefore, different allied nations including France, Japan, and Great Britain gained German colonies. Germany had to compensate the French coal destruction by ceding the output of Saar coal mines to France for fifteen years (Spielvogel, 2014).
In conclusion, the WWI created severe social and financial crises in the early 20th century. The war killed millions of military forces and civilians. Different internal, external, long-term, and short-term political issues initiated WWI. The mutual defense treaties and alliance system forced various countries to join the WWI. However, the immediate cause was the assassination of the Royal Prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After this conflict, the Central Powers attacked Serbia, Russia, and other European allies. Furthermore, imperialism and nationalism initiated violence and terror. In the end, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles. This mutual agreement helped allied nations to get compensation for their loss and damage. The peace treaty reduced the German military power. Also, it aided the neighboring countries to get back their lost properties. Thus, the Treaty of Versailles helped Allied States to control the German invasion.
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