World War 1 and Archduke Ferdinand
How did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 lead to a war?
Determining the significance of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the larger chain of events that lead to World War I (WWI) requires an understanding of the larger political climate of late 19th century Europe. There are a three key terms that should be clarified before attempting to understand the complex interaction of events that lead to both Ferdinand's assassination and one of the bloodiest wars the world had ever seen. The terms are:
1. Balance of Power
2. "Eastern Question"
... alliances based solely on maintaining this equilibrium. The years leading up to Ferdinand's murder saw Europe and Great Britain forming alliances in an effort to contain the power and reach of Russia without having to resort to military solutions.
To best understand this 19th and early 20th century reality, compare the relationship between Britain, Russia and France from 1815 to 1914 with the relationship between Germany and Austria-Hungary during the same period. You will begin to see that maintaining a strategic alliances and the power equilibrium was beginning to fail and was causing border tensions.
Another important structural condition during the years leading up to WWI concerns the Eastern Question. The Ottoman Empire was heading towards collapse, which meant that territories in the Balkans would be left in the vacuum. Examine this factor to best understand the imperialistic intents of Austria-Hungary, Russia, Serbia and Germany in the pre-war period. Rule over the Balkan territories was a contentious issue between Russia and Germany. The ...