How did World War 1 begin and what happened as a result of the war? It all

started over the ownership of Bosnia. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

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and Serbia wanted to reunion the Bosnian people and lands with Serbia. What sparked

the war was the assassination of the Archduke (Franz Ferdinand) of Austro-Hungarian by

a group of Serbian nationalists called ”The Black Hand.” Gavrilo Princip was the man

who shot the Archduke and his wife. This event initiated the struggle between Serbia and

the Austro-Hungarian government. Rivalries started to form and tension between

European countries were about to take off. Lines were being drawn and stakes were high,

Europe was heading toward war. The atmosphere was extremely tense. Europe’s greed

led to infighting for resources in their respective colonies and the development of

independent countries soon took sides and two opposing groups emerged.

Entente Powers: Britain / France / Russia / (later the US)

Central Powers: Germany / Austria-Hungary /Ottoman Empire

Germany therefore supported its ally Austro-Hungary in the war effort and Russia had

Serbia’s back covered. These alliances led a ripple effect and other players like France,

Belgium and Great Britain became entangle in the war. Great Britain’s empire was the

strongest, largest, wealthiest and had the most sophisticated navy on earth. Germany,

strategically built up their empire to compete and challenge Great Britain’s platform.

Germany had conquered two French provinces and this caused a bitter rivalry between

France and Germany.

As a result of the war, it had produced advances in military artillery, nerve

gas (Mustard and chlorine), weaponization of airplanes, the effective use of submarine

as commerce raiders, the machine gun, the mechanization of the tank, the use of radar,

the extensive use of radio and the advent of cryptography. Then from a geography and

political perspective, the war ended colonialism, the fall of empires such as the Ottoman,

czarist Russia, Austro – Hungary and the development of distrust of U.S towards

Europe. The U.S practice of isolation was dissolved.

There were also the economic consequences like the bankruptcy of England, Germany,

France, the civil war in Russia and then The Great Depression. The effects of World War

1 helped Russia become the world’s first Communist state, leading to a civil war which

killed millions. Later on, they become the main opponent to Nazi Germany, and then the

US during the Cold War. Germany forms a strong sense of Nationalism that begins, after

what is seen as an unfair settlement especially the crushing reparation payments and the

shrinkage of their military power as well as the lost of land. The Treaty of Versailles

humiliated them and they become increasingly furious and wanted someone to fix the

problem. Adolf Hitler gave rise to the nazi party and Germany found its way out of the

ashes. This all would culminate to start World War ll. The war caused about 16

million deaths of both military personnel and civilians. The Great War changed how war

was fought.


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