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Many believe that the sole contributor to the outbreak of war was when Gacrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austrio-hungarian throne Archduke Ferdinand However I disagree with this hypothesis and prepose that the war was caused by a number of complex and interwoven factors which I will discuss throughout this essay Before World War I Europe experienced a period of peace Throughout this time there was rapid industrial and commercial changes happening all over the world with many of the western powers expanding their trade and empires of colonies However national rivalries gradually grew and alliances emerged between many of the great European powers Economic competition and arms race also became intensely heated Finally war broke out in 1914 a war which was unexpectedly disastrous and destructive I feel that one of the key explanations for the explosive beginning of WWI was Militarism and the Arms Race The arms race was a destabilising cycle of weapons acquisitions by rival countries The accumulation of these arms by European powers created a sense of vulnerability among neighbouring European countries After 1870 the atmosphere of war was provoked by secret alliances such as the alliance between Russia and Serbia The consequence was acquisitions of advanced military equipment During this period France increased their defence expenditure by 10 Britain by 13 Russia by 39 and Germanys budget was increased by 73 The arms race caused relations between countries to become militarised and inflexible A well-known example of the arms race in World War I was the British-German naval rivalry between 1900 and 1914 Expansion of the German navy involving the construction of powerful battleships was met with the launch of the British Dreadnought class of naval vessel after 1906 a warship which revolutionised naval warfare As a result of the armaments race all the European powers were prepared for a war by 1914 Nationalism was an important factor in the outbreak of World War
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