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Word Count: 1,191
The onset of WWI marked a turning point in the history of mankind dramatically redefining the nature of warfare The brutal restructuring of national policies to involve the entire nation from industrial production to unwarranted assaults upon civilians represents a tragic shift The severity of this change warrants examination of both the general historical factors and specific events that produced such dire consequences as well as speculation on whether WWI may have been avoided Historians largely look toward two general trends of the late 19th and early 20th centuries The rapid economic development and industrial growth that occurred in the 19th century coupled with the diminishing availability of abundant resources fostered a high sense of nationalism among Europeans Economics and politics became intertwined with pursuit of further economic growth intensifying political tension among neighboring countries Nationalistic rivalries appeared throughout Europe Britain jealously guarded its diminishing status as the world power harboring much negative sentiment towards prosperous Germany Meanwhile under the lead of the militaristic Kaiser Wilhelm II Germany attempted to rush its own emergence as an economic powerhouse Kaiser Wilhelm both jealous of being shut out of the colonial race and hoping to preserve Germanys rise cultivated a large naval fleet This only served to increase tensions with the British as well as to threaten the French and drive them into a favorable relationship with Britain Austria-Hungary an empire rapidly losing its respected status was also swept up in the nationalistic fervor with Archduke Franz Ferdinands visit to Bosnia largely intended to assert his nations power The nationalistic fervor was fed by the absence of a large war involving any of the great powers in over fifty years Even the most prominent political and military leaders lacked a true sense of what combat entailed Most viewed war as some idealistic entity nothing more than a way to heroically promote their interests Through development of massive armies and acquisition of advanced weaponry a
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