A Copse, Evening, 1918 by A.Y.Jackson

The Origins of the First World War

Tensions increased rapidly beween 1911 and 1914. The Second Moroccan Crisis which breaks out in the summer of 1911 between France and Germany in North Africa sets off a series of crises which lead to the outbreak of war in 1914. Once the Moroccan crisis is resolved between France and Germany it however sparks a war between Italy and the Ottoman Empire which in turn sparks a series of wars in the Balkans as small Balkan states; Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria seek to throw off the yoke of Ottoman rule as they see it. This in turn puts pressure on the whole European state system so that many of the factors which had maintained peace before 1914 have now been considerably weakened by this series of crises so that when the July Crisis breaks out in 1914 the major European powers are much less convinced that peace can be sustained and therefore there are more incentives for their leaders to choose the path of war.

Dr William Mulligan

World War I was a seminal global catastrophe. In a podcast for the History Hub.ie podcast series Dr William Mulligan (UCD) explores the complex origins of the conflict, which was the product of a series of international crises. He explores the roles of imperialism, European strategic alliances, rising military capability, the influence of public opinion on foreign policy and the impact of the global economic climate on policy and politics.

William Mulligan is the author of The Great War for Peace (Yale University Press), The Origins of the First World War (Cambridge UP) and The Creation of the Modern German army: General Walther Reinhardt and the Weimar Republic, 1914-1930 (Berghahn).

To subscribe to the History Hub.ie podcast series just follow the links below (iTunes/RSS).

Image: A Copse, Evening, 1918 by A. Y. Jackson. Canadian War Museum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons