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Causes of World War I. The Great War. Causes of World War I. In your notebook, write today’s date and the lesson title: Causes of WWI. The Causes - Overview. Historians usually cite the following as causes of the war: Rivalries among the great powers and other European countries caused by

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Causes of world war i

Causes of World War I

The Great War

Causes of world war i1

Causes of World War I

In your notebook, write today’s date and the lesson title: Causes of WWI

The causes overview
The Causes - Overview

Historians usually cite the following as causes of the war:

Rivalries among the great powers and other European countries caused by

History (Resentment and Hatred)




Alliances brought about by the rivalries

A spark (the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne)

The rivalries
The Rivalries

We will focus on the following major rivalries:

Germany and France

Austria and Russia

Great Britain and Germany

Serbia and Austria

Let’s learn about what caused them

Discussion one
Discussion One

From the section of the text entitled “Rising Tensions in Europe” (pp. 841-842) answer the following questions :

What led to the rivalry between France and Germany?

What led to the rivalry between Austria and Russia?

How did imperialism contribute to the tensions between the European countries?

What is “militarism”?

How did militarism contribute to the tensions between European countries?

Causes of world war i2
Causes of World War I

  • Militarism and Arms Race

Causes of wwi
Causes of WWI


Causes of wwi1
Causes of WWI

  • Fervent Nationalism and the Romanticizing of War.

Primary sources germany
Primary Sources: Germany

Read the two primary source handouts:

Kaiser Wilhelm’s “A Place in the Sun”

Bernard von Bulow’s “Hammer and Anvil”

Answer the following questions in writing:

What is each man calling for in his speech?

What might a non-German European be afraid of listening to the two speeches?

Primary source great britain
Primary Source: Great Britain

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Kaiser Wilhelm “began a tremendous shipbuilding program in an effort to make the German navy equal to the mighty British fleet” (text 843)

Does this come as a surprise after your last reading? (it shouldn’t)

Read the primary source handout “Sir Edward Grey’s Speech to Parliament” and answer the following questions in writing:

What was his reaction to the German shipbuilding program?

What does he call for in his speech?

Why do you think naval superiority was important to Britain?

Based on the three sources you’ve read, what is the nature of the rivalry between Germany and Great Britain?

Consider the following 1
Consider the Following 1

In 1871 Prussia (the most powerful German state) soundly defeated France in a war

During the war Prussian forces captured the king of France, Napoleon III

At the end of the war Prussian forces took Paris and Versailles, the symbol of the French monarchy, where they made France sign an unfavorable peace treaty

The war resulted in the unification of Germany and the crowning of Kaiser Wilhelm which took place at Versailles

The terms of the treaty made France give up two provinces – Alsace and Lorraine – whose population was largely German but which were important economically to France

How do you think the French people felt about these events? How do you think they felt about Germany? What do you think they wanted in the future?

What is the nature of the rivalry between Germany and France?

Consider the following 2
Consider the Following 2

Ethnically, Austria is German

Ethnically, Russia is Slavic

Ethnically, the people living in the Balkan peninsula are Slavic

Ethnically, many people living under control of the Austro-Hungarian empire were Slavic

Russia has no open warm water western ports

For the Russian fleet to have open access to the west, it had to exit the Black Sea through the narrow passages of the Bosporus and Dardanelles

The Balkan peninsula controls these narrow waterways

What do you think these facts have to do with the Russian-Austrian rivalry?

Primary source serbian nationalism
Primary Source: Serbian Nationalism

Read “The Crisis in the Balkans – A Restless Region” on p. 843 of the text and answer the following questions in writing:

Describe the factors that created the “crisis in the Balkans”

How was the crisis related to nationalism.

Then read the primary source handout “The Narodna Obrana” and answer the following questions in writing:

Who did the Serbs see as their old enemy?

Who do they see as their new enemy?

What is the goal of the organization?

Consider both sources and answer the following question:

What was the nature of the Serbian-Austrian rivalry?

Group discussion 1
Group Discussion 1

Review all group members’ answers to the questions from the 3 reading assignments.

Clear up all questions (get help from Mr. Austin if you need it)

Then discuss each rivalry (French-German, Austrian-Russian, Austrian-Serbian, German-British) in light of the six social studies perspectives:

How might each rivalry be seen from each of the social studies perspectives (economic, political, cultural, sociological, psychological, geographic)

Group discussion 2
Group Discussion 2

In light of the rivalries we have just read about, what would you have sought to do if you were the leader of each country?





Great Britain

Discussion follow up
Discussion Follow-Up

In fact, the countries sought defensive alliances (was that what you would have done?)

Read about them (Tangled Alliances pp. 842-843) and in writing:

Describe the alliances that existed between European countries during the period before the First World War. (you can do this individually or as a group)

Causes of wwi cont
Causes of WWI (cont.)

  • A Tangled Web of Alliances

Pre wwi european events
Pre WWI European Events

January, 1871 Prussia and the German kingdoms are united into a single nation.

May, 1871 France is forced to sign a humiliating treaty with Germany that ends the 1870-71 Franco Prussian war

1892 France and Russia form an alliance the Duel Alliance. aimed specifically at counteracting the potential threat posed by the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy

1902 Great Britain, seeing Germany’s military gains, forms a military alliance with Japan, aimed squarely at limiting German colonial gains in the east

Other relationships affecting europe
Other relationships affecting Europe: the Triple Entente

  • Russia and Serbia were traditional allies.

  • 1839 Treaty of London called for Great Britain, France, Austria and Prussia (Germany) to defend Belgium’s neutrality

Reading assignment 5
Reading Assignment 5 fight Bulgaria off.

The Spark that Caused the War

Read “A Shot Rings Throughout Europe” (p.844) and “The Great War Begins” (p.845) and answer the following questions in writing:

Who was Gavrilo Princip, what did he do?

Describe how his act led to war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary.

How did the war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary lead to World War I?

In June of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand traveled to Sarajevo for an official visit.

Ferdinand was shot by Serbian terrorist Sarajevo for an official visit. Gavrilo Princip immediately following a reception for the Archduke at Sarajevo's Town Hall, setting off the chain of events that led to the outbreak of war in late July 1914.  (

June, 1914: Sarajevo for an official visit.