CAIRO – 1 August 2021: In August of 1914, the world witnessed the outbreak of a catastrophic world war by all standards.
It is the First World War (1914-1918), in which all combatants lost and major empires were completely destroyed. But what pushed Europe to give in war?
According to the book "World War I...Scientific Scenes" by Simon Adams, the division of Europe was a major cause for war.
As Adams explains in his book that at the beginning of the 20th century, hostility was increasing between European countries, as Britain, France and Germany competed to impose their control over trade and extend their influence on the high seas, while, the ambitions of Austria-Hungary and Russia were manifested in an attempt to control the Balkan countries in southeastern Europe.
Military tension between Germany and Austria-Hungary on the one hand, and Russia and France on the other hand led to the formation of strong military alliances. The context of naval armament also helped increase this tension.
In the period between1912-1913, two major wars broke out in the Balkan countries, as the warring countries tried to divide the lands under Ottoman control among themselves.
By 1914, the situation in Europe was very critical, but only a few believed that a continent-wide war was inevitable.
On June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated. Bosnia was part of Austria-Hungary from 1908 until neighboring Serbia claimed it. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia and accused it of masterminding the assassination. Then, on July 28, it declared war on it, and what seemed to be the Third Balkan War soon turned into a European war. Russia supported Serbia, Germany supported Austria-Hungary, and France supported Russia.
On August 4, Germany, on its way to France, invaded neutral Belgium. Germany was aiming to defeat France before turning its attention to Russia and thus avoiding war on two fronts. But Britain had pledged to defend Belgium's neutrality, and it also declared war on Germany, and so the Great War had begun.