Did the assassination of Franz Ferdinand make the war inevitable?
The murder in Sarajevo was a very important short term cause, since it was the last one. However, I would like to call it the spark that lit the bonfire. Because between 1900 and 1914 various incidents took place before, which gradually raised the temperature in Europe and made the tension grow. There were long and short term causes that led to World War 1.
One of the long term causes were the alliances. There were different alliances between the Empires. To begin with I´m going to talk about The Dual Alliance Treaty that was made in 1871 to protect Germany and Austria-Hungary Empire, from a possible Russian´s attack,. Another alliance was the Franco-Russian military convention made in 1892, to give military assistance to each other in case of war. By 1914 the six most powerful countries in Europe were divided into two opposing alliances, they were Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the Triple Alliance and Britain, France and Russia which formed the Triple Entente. But in the middle of the war, Italy changed sides. Another long term cause were the main concerns, the plans and the ambitions of each country and their leaders. This was a significant cause because it created rivalries among countries in Europe. For instance, The Balkans, a very unstable area and two great powers Russia and Austria’Hungary wanted to control the area because it gave them access to the Mediterranean. So, Russia wanted to make the Slavs form Austria-Hungary independent, and that would make Austria-Hungary very angry because she wanted to keep the fragmental Empire together. Another example was Germany challenging Britain by building a powerful navy. This made Britain angry because the country had always ruled the seas without a challenge, and, since she had a very powerful fleet and was smaller than the other countries, her advantage was to go overseas to conquer. Another cause was the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. Alsace-Lorraine was an industrial and valuable area of France that Germany had taken in 1870. This was important because we can understand why Germany and France were rivals.
Now I´m going to talk about the short term causes. The first short term cause that I will explain is the first Moroccan crisis which started in 1905 when France wanted to conquer Morocco. Germany defended her independence, to have an opportunity to get it. Great Britain helped France because she wanted to stay as the dominating power of Africa, and didn’t want Germany´s growth. To solve this, the countries involved, attended a conference in Algeciras in 1906, made by Theodore Roosevelt. This was a cause that led to World War 1 because the countries involved made allies and enemies, for example, Britain sided with France so tension grew with Germany. The second Moroccan crisis was in 1911. The countries involved were the same as in the first crisis. France sent troops to control Morocco, so the sultan got angry and violated the terms of the Algeciras conference. When this happened, Germany moved the Panther, which arrived in the port of Agadir on May 21. Finally, France kept Morocco. It was an important cause that lead to World War 1 because it shows the betrayal of France by putting troops in Morocco and the Alliance between France and Britain in action. The Naval Race between Germany and Great Britain was also an important short term cause of the First World War. This race was to see who had the largest amount of ships. Britain won with 38 dreadnought’s. Both countries spent millions with the purpose of, having more power and to frighten the looser. Also to be superior, to show to the other countries that they have to be afraid of you, that they have to fear you Also there was an Arm´s Race. The Arm´s Race was a competition between Germany, France, Russia and Great Britain to see whose army was the best . These causes were important because they created huge friction among the most powerful Empires. Another cause was the Balkans crisis. Balkans is a peninsula in southeast Europe composed by different countries. At that time it was a very unstable area because different nationalities were mixed together. It started in 1908 when Serbia opposed the fact that Austria took over the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia sided with Serbia and Germany with Austria-Hungary. Serbia was getting the most powerful country in the Balkans so in 1914 Austria-Hungary was looking for a good excuse to crush Serbia. With the Assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which I describe below, Austria found an excuse to blame the Serbian government. In July 1914 they presented an ultimatum demanding Serbia to become part of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire. Serbia didn’t accept it, Austria-Hungary did not give Serbia time to answer really, so, as an anticipation of the war, she mobilized her troops. On July 28 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and all the countries joined their alliances. It was important because this murder provided Austria-Hungary an excuse to attack Serbia. So, the last cause that lead to World War 1 was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. It was the excuse found when war was inevitable. In 1914 in Sarajevo, the Archduke, nephew of the Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was murdered with his wife by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist. Ferdinand was there, in Sarajevo, to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These provinces were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbians nationalists who believed that they should become part of the Serbian nation. This murder was important because it brought about many events. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and peace in Europe´s greatest powers collapsed. Russia, Belguim, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and the World War 1 began, in 1914. People thought that it would be until Christmas of that year, 1914, but it ended about the end of the year, 1918. These are all the causes that helped the development of World War 1. All the causes were important, some more extreme and immediate than others. But the war started with the murder of Sarajevo, because of the other previous causes mentioned above that helped to create hate, rivalry and tension. Moreover, as this was the last one, it was used the excuse to start the war. On the other hand, maybe all these causes were only excuses and the real aim of the countries was to control the growth of the others Empires, to flex their military muscle and have more countries and war was the way to achieve their aim.
In conclusion, the murder of Sarajevo was an important cause, since it was the last straw that broke the camel´s back, but not a crucial one, because it wasn´t the only cause that led to world war 1.