Europe on the Eve of World War 1

Europe on the Eve of World War 1
Europe on the Eve of World War 1

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Europe on the Eve of World War 1

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Week 1
Europe on the Eve of World War 1

There is a fairly common view of Europe as a “powder keg” on the eve of World War I, to which the assassination of the Grand Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo merely provided a “spark.” Professor Merriman veers toward this point of view. For this first week’s discussion I would like you to take the role of an American diplomat who resides in the capital city of one of Europe’s great powers (London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, or St. Petersburg) who is called upon to report on the situation there in May 1914. What issues are stoking fears of war and what factors are pointing toward preservation of peace? Please do not jump ahead to the Summer of 1914.

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Europe on the Eve of World War 1 Essay

The current situation reflects a world in which the desire for power is overwhelmingly discernible. Residents in Austria are worried about what could happen and many speculations linger regarding a potential war. Issues stocking fears of war include the current political atmosphere, given Europe’s willingness to defend its national interests even if it means going to war and the issue of balance of power in Europe. This can be explained by imperialism which has affected Europe’s balance of power and thus impacted on the system rendering it unworkable (Martin, 2017).

This means that in pursuit of power, competition is apparent and this could be a sign of a pending war. There exists a security dilemma in which nations must be prepared for war just in case it happens (Schroeder, 2000). With such kind of preparation characterized by the organization of troops, strategy development and investment in war weaponry, nations are effectively prepared to handle war and therefore more likely to engage in war unlike if they were not prepared. The existence of alliances is by far an indication that war is a possibility (Cornish, 2018).

It can be interpreted that each of the alliances is willing to protect its interests and that if this means war, this is what could result (Clark, 2013).  Territorial differences that were unresolved also present possibilities of war as each territory seeks to protect its interests. The alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary for example led to the creation of tension between Europe and Germany, following Germany’s development of a battle fleet that led to some kind of competition in naval arms development (Imperial War Museums, 2018).

Such relationship strains present vulnerabilities that may result in war if they are further provoked. Another example is the strain between Austria and Serbia, with Serbia being considered a threat to Austria in terms of multi-ethnic empire stability…..

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