The Road to World War I: From Colonial Conflicts to Global Conflict

Posted by peter1212 and classified in History

Written at on English with a size of 4 KB.

Colonial Conflicts

The Berlin Conference (1885) attempted to establish rules for the colonization of the African continent by European empires. However, the rise of powers such as the German Empire reopened conflicts between European countries. At the beginning of the 20th century, Morocco was the main scene of international tension, as European powers competed to control it. The possibility of war was constantly present.

Rivalry Between Powers and Nationalism

European powers became increasingly nationalistic to defend their interests in Europe and their colonial empires. Some Europeans had nationalist aspirations, while others wanted to defend their great empires. The Balkans became a center of heightened tension. There was also significant rivalry between the British and German Empires.

Balkan Wars

Austria-Hungary wanted to gain power over the Balkans, while Russia and Serbia also wanted to gain influence there. The annexation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary caused more tension, and in 1912, war began. Serbia and Russia won, leading Austria-Hungary to join forces with Germany.

Military Alliances

  • 1882: Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary formed the Triple Alliance.
  • 1907: France, Russia, and Great Britain signed the Triple Entente.

Phases of World War I

Outbreak of the War

The concrete cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

The War of Movement

Germany suddenly attacked France through Belgium and Luxembourg (the Schlieffen Plan).

Trench Warfare

The major powers needed allies to provide more soldiers, leading to a stalemate and trench warfare.

1917: Germany Surrenders

Germany surrendered due to revolts in the German army and worker demonstrations.

The Great War (1914-1918)

This war involved most of the male civilian population and saw the rise of a new type of national army. It was considered "great" because there were no restrictions on location or weapons.


Propaganda generated feelings of patriotism and hatred towards the enemy. It was a way of engaging the entire population in the conflict.

Russian Revolution (1917)

The Russian Revolution transformed the country's economic, political, and social system.


  • Russia had a Tsar with absolute power.
  • The aristocracy, who owned the land, was the dominant social group.
  • Opposition to the regime first developed among the peasants.
  • The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was divided into Mensheviks (minority) and Bolsheviks (majority).

February Revolution

  • A large demonstration in Petrograd in February 1917 was followed by a general strike and riots.

October Revolution

  • In October 1917, the Bolshevik-led Red Guards seized power.

Consequences of the Civil War

  • The civil war brought great misery to the people, who suffered food shortages and a high number of casualties.
  • In 1921, the Red Army won the war.

Europe at the End of the War

Demographic and Economic Impact

  • The war resulted in a demographic step backward, with many soldiers and civilians dying from combat, malnutrition, and disease.
  • The European economy was devastated, with industry reduced by 40% and agriculture by 30%.
  • All European countries were in debt, having taken out large loans from the United States.

League of Nations

  • The League of Nations was created to guarantee peace and cooperation between states.
  • It ultimately failed because Germany, the other defeated powers, and the USSR were initially excluded.

Post-War Disputes

  • New disputes arose after the peace conference, including uprisings in Germany and Hungary.
  • The war also led to a new conflict between capitalism and communism.

Entradas relacionadas: