Politics and Warfare
There have been existing arguments on the causes of both, the First and the Second World War. Each of the argument has had its evidence. However, in this paper, the structuralism explanation will be best employed and will bring forth all the reasons and backups as to why other claims seem to be just but one of the minor causes found within structural explanation. Firstly, the paper outlines the course of the war before analyzing the structural application of the causes of the First World War that took place in 1914 and shook the world until 1918.
The First World War began on July 28, 1914, and came to an end on November 11, 1918 (Fromkin, 80). The war was majorly fought in Europe and incorporated the world's greatest powers, which had formed two major alliances opposing each other. On one hand, there was the alliance that was based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, Russia and France (Dowswell, Brocklehurst, and Brook 57-59). On the other hand, there were the Central powers which consisted of the Tipple Alliance of Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary.
The alliances were not inclined to the six countries exclusively. With time, more and more nations joined the war expanding the alliances even further. Also, the alliances reorganized themselves as time went by. In the final analysis, the war attracted over 20 million soldiers across the world with Europeans constituting a larger percentage (Duffy).
The origins of this war can be attributed to a myriad of both, long-term and short-term causes in world history. As such, the long-term factors include a variety of conflicts and hostilities that had marred the European nations prior to the war. This includes the imperialist foreign policies that had dominated the European great powers including the Russian empire, the French Republic, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the British Empire as well as Italy.
However, the most immediate cause of the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was an heir to the Austria-Hungary throne. According to Duffy, the assassination occurred on June 28, 1914. Following this tragic assassination, a series of wars were triggered. To begin with, there was a Habsburg ultimatum against Serbia. Consequently, the alliances which had been established earlier on were greatly invoked. Thus, within the next few weeks, the worlds major powers were at war with each other. This occurred in an unprecedented sequence. Apparently, one thing led to the other.
In July 1914, Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia; Germany invaded Belgium a few weeks later and then followed France and Luxembourg. Russia was prompted to attack Germany (Fromkin, 89-90). Afterward, the Russians attacked Austria-Hungary. Other forces joined the war. For instance, Ottoman Empire joined the war in late 1914. Bulgaria and Italy also followed suit in 1915 and were later joined by Romania.
Meanwhile, there was a revolution in Russia in October 1917 following the collapse of the Russian empire. This compelled Russia to withdraw from the war. Ultimately, the United States was forced to enter the war in 1918, following a German offensive. This empowered the Allies who successfully launched a series of attacks on German allies. At the same time, Germany was experiencing hurdles with revolutionaries on its territory. Thus, on November 11, they agreed to end the war, marking the victory of the allies. Of course, there are different contentions about the causes of the First World War. However, this paper will explore the structuralism explanation of the causes of the war in 1914.
Fromkin (37) states that structuralism was among the main causes for World War 1, as no one should accept that any individual was singularly at fault for the First World War. It is not acceptable that any individual made a special effort to deliberately bring about the First World War. A combination of both is the reason for the flare-up of war in 1914. However, structuralism is to be faulted more than individuals and the government. No individual set out to bring about a war and subsequently, no individual is exclusively at fault for World War 1. Moreover, nobody thought that structuralism was singular to be faulted, or that either structuralism or internationalism could have brought on the war without the other guide. The War would not have taken place if either structuralism of internationalism had been truant. Structuralism played a bigger role in bringing on the war than internationalism did.
While beyond any doubt no African emergencies were sufficiently extreme to begin a moment war, the rubbing made could represent conduct in dealings with future issues, for instance, the Russian treatment of Austria-Hungary as to Bosnia. There were additional occurrences in Europe which created pressure that could be named a structuralism contention. Austria-Hungarian and Russian enthusiasm for the Balkans additionally expanded strain between the two domains, as did the Balkan League and Balkan wars. The past examples were of foreign Structuralism contentions, however, there were additionally local structuralism foundations for the war. Before the war, a few legislatures were encountering local troubles. Russia had encountered unrest in 1905 and Great Britain's Liberal government was additionally having issues with Ireland. An 'Energetic Jolly War' would have been ideal for restoring confidence and prominence in temperamental governments. Germany's aggressive legacy likewise had an influence in bringing on the war. Amid the unification of Germany, the country got to be acclimated to war as a method for attaining to objectives or settling the debate, rather than if all else fails, which made war appear to be more satisfactory, and accordingly the administration would have been less reluctant to join the war in 1914.
The First World War was one of the most bloodstain wars in the history of the world. The war that began in Europe was later spread to the entire world dividing the world nations into two blocks, the triple alliance, and the triple entente. The alliances aimed at defending a number of countries that were under attack. This murder led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, thus, officially beginning the First World War. However, one of the major issues that scholars debate was the structural explanation of the actions of Austria-Hungary during this war.
Doyle, (40) asserts that the structural variable also called multipolarity (as opposed to bipolarity) implies that great powers seek allies and fear isolation. Such concerns are due to the feeling that a group of two or more other great powers can threaten the security of a state that is isolated. Structuralism is established on the balance of power (Doyle, 45-46). Within this school of thought, stable balances create self-enforcing peace thus the cost of war becomes greater than the cost of peace. Accordingly, unstable forces can cause war, and the rising powers trigger preemptive wars. Due to such threats of survival, the states prefer war to anything else even death. Structuralism is premised on dichotomous order and whenever there is order, peace is assumed to conquer. The second premise is that states are actors, and they can make choices as rational beings. Such rational decisions can be rational self-interest, self-help, or distrust. For self-help, the formation of alliances becomes a necessity as this paper is to demonstrate later in the case of world war one. Also in anarchy distrust becomes a rational strategy.
Multi-polarity and perceived offense dominance combined, explain why European states especially Austria-Hungary and Germany were so fast to escalate in the summer of 1914. Firstly, it was threatened by Serbian ambition in the tumultuous Balkans region of Europe, Austria-Hungary decided that the right action to the assassinations at Sarajevo was to plan for a possible military invasion of Serbia. The action was also driven by the fact that Australia was assured of the unconditional support of its powerful friend, Germany. Accordingly, given this support Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a rigid ultimatum on July 23, 1914, demanding, among other nine grievances that Serbia should stop all publications attacking Austria, that all anti-Austrian propaganda within Serbia is cleaned up, and that Austria-Hungary should be given an opportunity to carry out its investigation into the archduke's killing. Though Serbia accepted all of Austria's demands except for one, the Austrian government ruined diplomatic relations with Serbia on July 25 and went forward with military plan measures. In the course of this project, alerted to the upcoming conflict, Russia, Serbia's mighty supporter in the Balkans started its initial steps towards military mobilization against Austria. Alerted by this, Austria-Hungary, considered the newly enlarged and Russian-supported Serbia to be to its security primary threat. The former was so because Serbian military intelligence supported anti-Hapsburg groups and activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dimitrijevic, head of Serbia's military intelligence was under the alias "Apis" also head of the society Union or Death, which was pledged to the pursuit of pan-Serbian ambition. Motivated by nationalism, he was one of the chief plotters and instigators of the assassination. However, it should be noted that Austrian plans after the assassination had an element that showed a slight interest in peace. When the Congress of Vienna first considered the merits of a military response, it looked for the reaction of the German ally.
Germany indeed had a variety of reasons to take part in the warfare. First, the assassination at Sarajevo was an indication of Hapsburg's loss of control. If Austria was to assume Germany's offer, Germany would be immensely surrounded by enemies. Further, Germany assumed that Russia would step down as it had in 1908 when Austria had captured parts of Serbia. The main difference from the earlier crisis was that in 1908 Russia was also suffering from a revolution. However, by 1914 Russia had stopped the revolution and recovered enough to fight against Germany and Austria. Also, Germany had recently made an alliance with Turkey, and that made them assured that they could conquer any European country. Germany was advantageous also in that England would be involved in the war only if the aggressor was Russia. Nonetheless, little did Germany knew that the consensus around Europe was that even if Serbia had been involved in the assassination, this was just but a scapegoat and could either be to permit it or evade it. In the summer of 1914, Germany was ready, at the very least, to take the risk of causing a hegemonic war. When Australia declared war on Serbia, Germanic officials issued the famous blank cheque on 6 July, offering unconditional support to the Austrians. Germany took entry into World War I as the only way of breaking up the Entente. This was based on the assumption that France and Britain might refuse to support Russia. Furthermore, the desire to unify the nation behind the government may have been an agenda. Accordingly, the desire to strike against Russia before it had finished rebuilding its military strength after its defeat by Japan in 1905 was another factor for Germany's actions. It is also imperative to take note that Germany was bound to support Austria-Hungary in the event of war thus could not stop supporting its ally in 1914 when the war broke out. Additionally, Germans were tired of being bullied by the rest of Europe. Britain was ready to go to war since Germany was building their navy. Britain possessed the world's most powerful navy at the time thus did not like Germany's presence on the block. Britains feeling was based on the given fact that Germany was not independent until 1871. France was also readily armed to start a fight. The French were behind revenge for losing the Franco-Prussian War, which they started. Russia wanted land and was ready to take parts of the Balkans and eastern Germany for themselves. With such a kind of environment, Germany was always surrounded by enemies (Doyle, 87).
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In conclusion, all the participants of the war were either allied to the triple alliance or triple entente. It is also important to note that such alliances were made for self-interest, self-help, and due to distrust that had culminated among European nations. However the main reason was that German was surrounded by enemies, thus, the formation of an alliance with other nations such as Turkey and Austria were the only way that Germany had to survive, thus, entering into the war against Serbia.
In a nutshell, after examining the structuralism causes of the war, it is clearly convincing that the war was caused more by structuralism than internationalism. However, no one structuralism cause was to carry the blame. Significantly, the war was an outcome of a majority of varied long-term structuralism causes (Fromkin, 92). There was a minor internationalist influence on the war outbreak in 1914.
Social as well as political structures set the framework for the individual and behavior of the group and are destined to deliver the resources society requires to survive. This was the case in these alliances that felt their needs were not deal with accordingly. The way the alliances acted and lived was shaped in large part by the social structures in which they found themselves. Social integrity was, in part, a matter of ensuring that these structures and institutions do in fact content basic human wants. Therefore this context clearly establishes the long-term structural causes of the war.
Basing on the foregoing discussion, it can be concluded that the First World War had a plethora of differences with reference to its origins. The origin of the first world is greatly attributed to both long-term and short-term causes including the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which triggered the war these causes are more or less of structuralism than any other causes. The war was both pioneered by Germany and they both were fought in alliances that comprised a grouping of various states. It is recommended that for one to have a valid and more logical argument on the cause of the First World War, one should opt to use structuralism as it has some weight and supporting explanations. This is basically on the fact that social structuralism allies in this case whereby the society is in search of its basic needs. However, in that course, some of their encounters are harsh because they tend to have diverse needs. Therefore it should be noted that the society is not homogenous hence the likelihood of eruption of conflicts as explained in the social structuralism. Structural explanation on the root cause of not only the First World War but also the second world with than any best suits the context rather than other blame causes are often laid forth.