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The Cause of World War One & The Western Front (Two essays)
What factors precipitated World War I in the summer of 1914? As one of the greatest killers of humanity, one that caused seventeen to eighteen million deaths, the belligerency gave to the world catastrophe misery, destruction, and a frightening new terror in less than one generation. While historians agree that Franz Ferdinand’s assassination on June 28, 1914, propelled the conflict, known at the time as simply the Great War, post-revisionists in recent years have looked closely at other aspects of the conflict. Discuss previous events and sentiments, individuals, diplomacy, internal struggles facing nations, prior periods of warfare, militarism, internal public opinion, etc. In the end, could war have been averted? Please explain.
World War I, indeed a global war fought in Europe, Africa, Asia, and in the Pacific, mobilized sixty-one million troops, including seventeen to eighteen million soldiers (and civilians) who lost their lives. The numbers of casualties are startling—forty million. For example, the small nation of Serbia, which had a total population of four million at the start of the war, eventually lost 30 percent of its overall population, including 55 percent of all males in the country. Russia lost four million, Germany lost three million, France lost two million, and Great Britain, which suffered one million deaths, lost almost 10 percent of its male population. France and Germany lost 20 percent of their male populations. No wonder the United States, which did not ratify the peace treaties that ended the conflict in 1919, wanted nothing to do with the League of Nations. It lost 117,000, a figure somewhat reminiscent of the United States Civil War, which had ended fifty-four years prior to the end of the war. Like the Civil War a half century earlier, World War I devastated many. Even the living found themselves in a comatose state of mind, unable to transition back into civilian life after the war.
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What factors precipitated World War I in the summer of 1914? As one of the greatest killers of humanity, one that caused seventeen to eighteen million deaths, the belligerency gave to the world catastrophe misery, destruction, and a frightening new terror in less than one generation.