Was the Outbreak of the First World War Primarily a Result of the Alliance System?

The First World War broke out in 1914. Among the underlying causes leading to the outbreak of the war, the alliance system ( was / was not ) the most important cause, (State out your standpoint clearly) so the First World War primarily ( was / was not ) a result of the Alliance System. Main body I (Alliance system): Background of the system The alliance system was first formed by Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany.

He formed it since he would like to use it to prevent the revenge of France after her defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. As a result, Germany formed the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1882 so as to isolate France. France, later, broke her own isolation and formed the Triple Entente with Britain and Russia in 1907. The most important term of the alliances was that the members of the same alliances agreed to support their allies if they were attacked by other countries. Impact of the system on the outbreak of WWI Use a topic sentence like this to highlight that you are going to discuss the impact of the system) The alliance system contributed to the outbreak of the First World War in some ways. First of all, (Another topic sentence) it turned a local conflict into a general conflict more easily. As mentioned above, the members of the same alliances would support their allies when they were under attack. (Give examples to support your arguments) For example, if Austria-Hungary was attacked or, even, in conflict with other countries, it was very likely that Germany would help her.

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It was more or less the case after the Sarajevo Incident as Germany agreed to give ‘unlimited support’ to Austria in sending an ultimatum to Serbia. In the example, the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia ended up involving Germany and also other Powers as well. (Another example) Also, in the two Moroccan Crises in 1905 and 1911, the initial conflicts between Germany and France led to Britain’s involvement since Britain would like to support her ally France. Link the examples to the question: how the alliance system led to WWI) These examples show that the scale of the conflicts was enlarged due to the alliance system and it made a large-scale war more likely. Secondly, (topic sentence) the countries became less willing to settle disputes through peaceful ways due to the alliance system. It was because the countries knew that if they had military conflicts or even wars with others, their allies were likely to support them, thus refusing to settle disputes through negotiation. Give examples to support your arguments) It can be shown in the example of the two Hague Conference in 1899 and 1907. In the two conferences, the countries just refused to disarm and it was partly due to the fact that they were not afraid of fighting in a war. (Link the examples to the question: how the alliance system led to WWI) Therefore, the system made them mot dare not to start conflicts with others and the war became more likely. Main body II (Other factors): Other than the alliance system, the First World War was also caused by other underlying causes and crises.

For example, (mention the first other factor) extreme nationalism became more and more influential before WWI. (e. g. and impact of the factor) It led to the tension between Germany and France (revengeful feelings of France) and between Russia and Austria-Hungary (Pan-Slavism versus Pan-Germanism). (mention the second other factor) Also the arms race developed among the Powers, (e. g. ) the naval race between Germany and Britain was especially keen as they competed in building dreadnoughts. (impact) Thus, the war was more likely as the Powers were more ready militarily. mention the third other factor) The colonial rivalries, similarly, led to conflicts among the Powers since when they competed to get the same places as colonies, conflicts among them arose. (e. g. ) It was the case in the two Moroccan Crises as both France and Germany wanted to control Morocco, (impact) resulting in the worsening of their relations. Main body III (Explanation of your standpoint): Among the underlying causes leading to WWI, the alliance system ( was / was not ) the most important. (state out your argument) It was because… Because of this/these reason(s), WWI ( was / was not ) primarily a result of the alliance system. E. g. of arguments supporting the question It was because the alliance system worsened the situation after the Sarajevo Incident, the trigger point of the war. Without the support of her ally Germany, Austria-Hungary would not have sent the harsh ultimatum to Serbia which resulted in the war between the two countries. It was possible that Austria-Hungary would send a more lenient ultimatum to Serbia without the support of Germany and Serbia might have accepted it, thus preventing the war from breaking out. Compare it with other factors) Comparatively speaking, the other causes just increased the tension among some countries but leading to no real military conflicts among them. E. g. of arguments opposing the question It was because (Compare it with other factors) the alliance system was just a product of the extreme nationalism and the armaments race. As mentioned above, the Triple Alliance was formed due to Germany’s fear of the revengeful feelings of France and the Triple Entente was formed as France wanted to find some allies to help her take revenge.

Moreover, Britain joined the Triple Entente as she was having intense armaments race with Germany and, under such military threat from Germany, she decided to break her self-imposed isolation to join the alliance. The above examples show that without the two underlying causes, there might have been no alliance system. You could include some counter-arguments to make your argument more convincing (mention others’ argument) Some might argue that the alliance system was important as it turned the local war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia into a general war.

They suggest that Germany gave unlimited support to Serbia as they were members of the Triple Alliance, thus Germany was obliged to support her ally. (your counter argument) However, it was very likely that Germany did it since people of both countries belong to the same race – German – and she did it out of Pan-Germanism, not the alliance system. (Conclusion) It shows that the system was less important than extreme nationalism. Conclusion To conclude, (mention your standpoint again) the First World War ( was / was not ) primarily a result of the alliance system. *The words in ( ) are suggestions / guidelines