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Who was to blame for the start of World War One?

? Lesson overview. Historians have several theories about what caused the start of WWI, which they often group into 3 categories: trigger events, short-term

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Who was to blame for the start of World War One

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Who was to blame for the start of world war one l.jpg

Who was to blame for the start of World War One?

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 Lesson overview

Historians have several theories about what caused the start of WWI, which they often group into 3 categories: trigger events, short-term & long-term causes.

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Alliance system

Military build-up

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Why was the Archduke assassinated?



To identify 3 mains causes of the outbreak of WWI

To write a newspaper account of the outbreak

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Who was the Archduke?

How far is this empire from East to West?

What problems might an emperor have in controlling his empire?

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Film clip of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand & his wife Sophie taken moments before his death

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What happened on 28 June 1914?

On a bright summer’s day, 28 June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, heirs to one of the wealthiest empires in Europe got into their car and drove through the elegant streets of Sarajevo in Bosnia. The couple were extremely happy that day – it was their wedding anniversary.

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Map showing the Archduke’s journey through Sarajevo

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Artist’s impression of the moment when Gavrilo Princip stepped forward to the car and shots the Archduke in the chest, and Sophie in the stomach.

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Both died within minutes from their wounds. Two bullets were about to lead to the deaths of a further 20 million men!

Gavrilo Princip, Serbian terrorist

Archduke’s bloodstained jacket

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How did the Alliance system lead to war?

Triple Entente

Triple Alliance

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

Russia mobilises its army & declares war on Austria-Hungary

Germany helps its ally, Austria-Hungary & declares war on Russia

France & Britain help their allies and declare war on Germany & Austria-Hungary ….







& Serbia

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How did military build-up cause war?

Some historians think the causes of World War One go back even further, to the late nineteenth century when countries like Germany & Britain were building up their empires and their armies and were determined to show the world who was boss!

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 Extension task

Discuss with your partner what you think was the most significant cause of the war.

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 Your task

You are going to hold a debate on who or what was most to blame for starting the First World War. Divide into 7 groups. Nominate a person who will be your representative in the debate. 1 group will suggest the assassination was the cause, another group will argue it was the alliance system, the other groups will suggest it was the military build-up and political ambitions of their opponents.

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starter activity

You are about to hold a class debate on who was to blame for the start of World War One. How can you ensure your team wins the debate?

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Possible ways

  • Make sure everyone in the team is clear about their role

  • Make your points using clear and convincing language

  • Use lots of factual examples to back up your points

  • Think about what points your opponents may use to undermine your arguments and have ready-made responses

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 Homework

  • Produce a newspaper front page describing the outbreak of WWI. Decide if you are a quality or tabloid newspaper. Refer to all 3 major causes and indicate you think most explains why was has broken out.

  • You may wish to include interviews with eye-witnesses or refer to background events in the news too.