Assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 at the hands of a Serbian nationalist secret society set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world’s first global war. Since then Balkan crisis is seen as one of the several reasons of the outbreak of world war one. To determine whether this factor over whelmed other reasons we have to examine both the long-standing rivalries between the powers and also the situations in Balkan during the time.
At first going through the long-standing rivalries between the great powers it will be seen texpansions in Asia and Africa. In the late 19th century European nations started to realize the necessity to put formal political control on their semi-autonomous, and independent colonies. The motive for such action was partly the rise of nationalist feelings amongst the native population and partly the growths of industrialization in Europe, which required new markets for manufactured goods. In Africa su t examples of Imperial tensions.
According to historian A. J. P Taylor Germany during this time tended to intimidate Britain in Asia and in Africa to compel Britain to accept greater German dominance in Europe, thus suggesting a link between imperial conflicts and rise of tension in Europe. However such increase in tensions resulted into formation of new alliances, threatening already prevailed balance of power between exitinsystem, on one hand Franco-Russian alliance formed in1893, and on the other hand Austro-Hungarian alliance formed in 1879.
The alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary already harbored tensions between her adversaries, as it was not provoked by any particular circumstance and also due to its secretive nature. And later when two anti Germanmany’s fear of being encircled by ‘enemy’ on both side. Germany’s fear reached its peak when German attempt to build alliance with Britain failed, and few years later another such attempt with Russia was in vain. In early 1900 long possessed British policy of splendid isolationism was coming to an end, as Britain realized the need for an ally.
The reason for such ally seeking although was not anti Glliance with France it increased Germany’s already existing feeling of vulnerability. Looking at Britain’s motive it will be seen that the reason for alliance with France was mainly her weak economy compared to Germany, and also an effort to solve Imperial pe other hand being French ally became automatically a part of Entente, while combined German alliance of Italy, and Austro-Hungary remained as weak as before, thus intensified Germany’s fear.
But it is perhaps Germany’s wrong perception regarding the alliance of her adversaries, as they were not as morally each other. From the report o the conversation between British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey and the French ambassador, e possibility to give military assistance to France in the event of possible German attack would be revealed. The alliance system could be seen as not responsible for the events of Balkan in June 1914 as Britain did not rush tothe Belgium neutrality was threatened.
And in fact alliance system seem to deter Austria-Hungary and Russia from conflict in Balkan during 1912-13. Some historians saw Germany’s long-term motive for world domination was one of the main factors for the outbreak of war. Germany’s adop industrial boom, and increased popular opinion for imperial expansion. Industrialization also necessitated the search of new markets for manufactured goods and source of raw materials leading to colonial expansion in Africa. According to the interpretation of Historian Fischer, ‘Weltpolitik’ was a three-part plan and a response of post industrialization time.
The three-part plan included; creation of German empire in central Africa, creation of economic control over central Europe and build ustorians also highlighted German popular desire for territorial possessions in post unific situation. Historians like Berghahn and Geiss argue it was a mean to divert attention from rise of socialism at home. They criticized Fischer’s view and according to them there seems little co-ordination between these three parts plan. They also have questioned Fist-industrialized Germany.
Despite economic growth during this time government structure remained extremely authoritarian in nature, with Emperor and the military initiions regarding limiting Navy size held in 1909 between Germany and Britain. Germany’s motive in Agadir crisis was also rather ambiguous. She might have tried to pressure France into conceding African territories in return for French protectorate in Morocco, or may be wanted to test the strength of Anglo-French Entente. These incidents further increased ongoing Naval race between Germany and Britain.
To determine to what extent the world war was a result of mismanaged Balkan crisis, we have to go through the situations in Balkan during this time. Decline of Ottoman empire in early 20th century lead to emergence of different nation states throughout the Balkan. This caused regional conflict between diffenot get involved during the time, partly because of the perception that involvement of one side would inevitably lead the other side and as well as allies in to the conflict. But in June 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand great powers at last n June 28th Austria- complete.
On the other hand Germany Allied to Austria-Hungary viewed the Russian mobilization as an act of war, and after scant warning declared war on Russia on 1st august. France as a Russian ally responded by announcing a war against Germany by extension, on Austria-Hungary. Germany promptly responded by invading Belgium soLooking at the whole scenario we would see Germany couldn’t stop Austria-Hungary to go to the war so as France and Britain failed to restrain Russia. Also Britain’s ambiguous position regarding taking action against Germany in the event of an attack on France actually helped Germany to take action.
Possibly if Britain had made their position clear Germany would have put effort on Austria-Hungary not to annex Serbia and she would not go to implement Schliffen plan. Analyzing Germany’s motive for supporting Austria-Hungary two reasons could be revealed, firstly the fear of losing her last ally, and secondly she might have felt the time was now opportune to goFrance’s response against Germany couldith Germany, but as result of Germany’s rejection Britain had to take the action, and could be argued for her alliance system was not the main factor.
Also Italy although being allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary, was able to avoid entering the fthe long-standing rivalries and Balkan situation it could be concluded by saying that althustro-Hungary during the war was obviously a result of long standing rivalries. But we could also argue that if the Balkan crisis would have been solved the final Serbian problem would not have emerged, and at least more time could be gained in order to settle the long-standing disputes between great powers.