To do this essay, you will have to talk about all the five long-term causes of the war, AND ALSO - since the date given is 1914 - mention the crises in the decade before 1914.


Because it is the first essay in the syllabus - and because it is so long and difficult - I have done the first few sections for you.   Notice how I have used the 'hints' in what I have written.


Use this writing frame to build your essay.  

Instructions are in red bold.

Mouseover the maroon text for hints on what to say.



How was a 'climate for war' created by 1914?

The opening sentence sets the scene, saying:

'There were five long-term causes of the First World War and a number of events which created a 'climate for war' by 1914.'


Paragraph 1

The first paragraph outlines the first point: Awful governments

It starts: 'The first long term cause of the war was the poor quality of governments in Europe at the time.   Turkey was falling apart - the 'sick man of Europe'.   Austria-Hungary - the 'polyglot' empire - was in danger from growing Panslavism in the Balkans.   Wilhelm II of Germany was unpredictable and confrontational.   Nicholas II of Russia was dominated by Rasputin - the 'mad monk' - and had just been defeated in a war by Japan (1904).'

... and then explains how these bad governments made war more likely

thus it continues: 'Europe was thus in large part ruled by weak, stupid autocrats - mad or bad - who still worked by the old rules of dynastic ambition, and who didn't need or think to care about what was best for their people.   War was far more likely in a Europe like that - Emil Ludwig believed that Europe was hounded into war by 'a few dozen incapable leaders'.'


Paragraph 2

The second paragraph deals with the second point: Nationalism

Start with the words: 'Secondly, nationalism created a climate for war.   The British sang Rule Britannia and the Germans Deutschland uber Alles.   The French wanted revenge for their defeat by Germany in 1870.   Meanwhile, the Slav races in the Balkans wanted to rule themselves (e.g. the Serbs in Bosnia).'

Now YOU can explain how nationalism created a 'climate for war'



Paragraph 3

Write a sentence or two outlining the third point: Imperialism

Start with the words: 'Another...'

... and then explain how Imperialism brought war closer



Paragraph 4

Write a sentence or two outlining the fourth point: Militarism

Start with the words: 'A fourth...'

... and then explain how Militarism increased the likelihood of war



Paragraph 5

Write a sentence or two outlining the fifth point: Alliances

Start with the words: 'Fifthly...'

... and then explain how the system of alliances created a 'climate for war'



Paragraph 6

Write a sentence or two outlining the sixth point: the crises of 1900-1914

Start with the words: 'Finally, a series of events created a climate of anger and hostility.'

 ... and then explain how these events got the world ready for war




And, finally, end with a paragraph making a general point summarising what you think.

Start with the words: 'Overall, the...'



Your name:


Your form:




1 Awful governments
I have
mentioned Turkey, the 'sick man of Europe' - mad Wilhelm II - 'polyglot' Austria-Hungary - Russia (Nicholas II and Rasputin/ defeated by Japan 1904)

1 How did bad government bring war nearer?
I have
mentioned that autocracies don't need public support - territorial ambitions - stupid rulers - Emil Ludwig's judgement

2 Nationalism
I have
mentioned Rule Britannia - Deutschland uber Alles - French hatred for 1870 - Serbia wanting Bosnia.

2 How did nationalism bring war nearer?
Perhaps mention that it made countries like Britain and France more aggressive - panslavism would mean the destruction of the Turkish and Austro-Hungarian empires

3 Imperialism
Perhaps mention the British empire covered a fifth of the globe - Germany's desire for a 'place in the sun'

3 How did imperialism bring war nearer?
Perhaps mention tension between colonial powers - confrontations such as Fashoda (1898) and Algericas (1906) - made worse by Wilhelm wanting an empire (Moroccan crisis and Agadir)

4 Militarism
Perhaps mention size of armies - size of navies - Germany's Navy Law and Britain's Dreadnought campaign - army control of government - Moltke's statement: 'war the sooner the better'.

4 How did militarism bring war nearer?
Perhaps mention that it gave the nations the means to make war - increased fear - Britain's fear of Germany's growing navy - Germany's fear of Russia's growing army - Austria's belief that she could crush Serbian nationalism by a war

5 Alliances
Perhaps mention Triple Alliance - Triple Entente - Serbia and Russia - Britain and Belgium (1839)

5 How did alliances bring war nearer?
Perhaps mention that it pulled countries into war 'like climbers tied to the same rope' - encouraged countries to be 'braver' (eg Austria's 'blank cheque' from Germany in 1914)

6 List of events
Mention Boer War - German Navy Law - First Moroccan Crisis - Daily Telegraph article - Bosnian crisis - Agadir Crisis - Balkan Wars - Assassination at Sarajevo

6 How did these events bring war nearer?
Perhaps mention growing anger - also mention that, each time a country was thwarted, it vowed never to lose again (eg Russia in 1908, Germany in 1911).   There was a sense by 1914 that war was unavoidable.