Essay Example on WWI: Origins Explained - Imperialism, Power & Conflict

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1494 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


World War I happened between July 1914 and November 1918. There are several causes that could explain better the origins of World War 1. The rise in imperialism is an event that prompted the First World War (Joll & Martel, 2013). Imperialism happens when a state augments its authority and capital by acquiring more colonies under its control. Before the War, Africa and several parts of Asia were potential targets of some powerful European nations such as Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and Portugal. These parts had attractive raw materials such as mines, gold, oil (Herwig & Hamilton, 2003). Therefore, an augmenting rivalry among the powerful nations to acquire more colonies inevitably led to World War 1. The cause of World War 1 can also be drawn from the idea of militarism, which was on the rise in the 20th century. By 1914, Germany had the greatest military force. An increase in militarism meant that each nation had to prove itself in terms of having the best military troops, and the confrontations in one way or another led to the First World War (Joll & Martel, 2013).

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The final reason that might have contributed to the inevitable development of the First World War is mutual defense alliances. Many nations in entire Europe made mutual defense pacts that would have created a war. The treaties formed meant that if one nation was confronted, associated countries would come to the aid of the attacked country (Herwig & Hamilton, 2003). The agreements that occurred included; Russia and Serbia, Germany and Austria-Hungary, France and Belgium, Britain, France, and Belgium, and Japan and Britain (Herwig & Hamilton, 2003). When Austria-Hungary proclaimed war on Serbia, Russia came to the rescue of Serbia, and on seeing Austria-Hungary being ganged up, Germany joined in the War and that is how the First World War emerged. The killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria also prompted World War 1 to begin. The murder triggered the July Crisis, which developed a local conflict in European continents and then into a world war (Herwig & Hamilton, 2003).

Explain if it was possible for the United States to maintain Neutrality in World War 1

At the beginning of 1914, President Woodrow Wilson urged the Americans to embraces the neutrality policy in thought and action (Keene, 2014). The head of state advised the government and citizens to refrain from forming alliances with the nations that were participating in World War 1. However, they were not able to maintain their impartiality, and in 1917 the Congress avowed war on Germany (Keene, 2014). The Americans argued afterward that neutrality did not mean total lack of involvement in the war. In the years drawing towards the war, progressive reformers had launched a complex reform movement known as "Progressivism", a local campaign against political corruption, the power of monopolies, and the factory situations that left many working-class struggling to make a living (Keene, 2014). The wealthy Americans traveled to Europe during World War 1 not to be involved in the war, but to help civilians trapped in the war. The Committee for Relief in Belgium (CRB) took the lead in focusing Americans' attention on the plight of civilians in German-occupied zones (Keene, 2014).

Should have the United States Entered World War 1 to Make the World Safe from Democracy?

Since the United States had not formed defense alliances with other nations, it was fair that they would "join the war to ensure the world is secure from democracy" (Keene, 2014). They were playing a neutral role; therefore, it would have been fair to have an impartial reason for joining the war. In 1917, the then President Wilson appeared before a combined assembly of Congress to ask for a Declaration of War against Germany so that the world would be secure for egalitarianism (Keene, 2014). A few days later, Congress ruled on the vote of declaring war, with six senators and fifty house members ruling against the bill. The President told the congress that the world should be made safer for democracy (Keene, 2014). The virtue of peace must be inculcated upon the tested backdrops of dogmatic freedom. He reiterated the nation had no selfish motives or positive allegiances. While ruling on the case, Congress established impartiality was not practical and desirable in restoring democracy in the world (Keene, 2014).

Was the Treaty of Versailles Fair and Effective Settlement for Lasting World Peace?

The Treaty of Versailles is also known as the "Treaty of Peace with Germany" (Sayoye, 2009). It was appended at Versailles on June 28, 1919 (Sayoye, 2009). The Treaty of Versailles was unable to lead to an effective settlement of world peace and it is one of the contributing factors of World War 2. As an outcome of its role in World War 1, America emerged as a dominant global power in economic, military and political aspects (Sayoye, 2009). The U.S. President Wilson was heavily entangled in deliberating the pact which affirmed his earlier vision, isolationist in the US Congress demonstrated to be a major stumbling block towards its approval. The Treaty was unable to fully establish a lasting world peace the moment Adolf Hitler ascended into power, and his administration started to violate the contents within the Treaty. Not only did Hitler proclaim a freeze on all debt expenditures and stop making compensations, but he began to create the German armed forces in earnest and this led to the Second World War. The deliberation of the Treaty was also weakened by the absence of other significant nations. Russia had battled as one of the Allies until the end of 1917 when its new Bolshevik administration backed down from the conflict. The Bolshevik choice to renounce Russia's unresolved fiscal arrears to the Allies and to circulate the texts of the undisclosed pacts between the Allies regarding the "Postwar" phase infuriated the Cronies (Sayoye, 2009). The Allie authorities declined to recognize the new Bolshevik administration and hence did not welcome its legislatures to the peace conference (Baldwin, 1998). The cronies also omitted the conquered Central supremacies such as Germany, Turkey, and Bulgaria. The French and Britons wished the Treaty would subject Germany to strict punitive measures (Baldwin, 1998). The treaty needed the new German administration to surrender an estimated 10 percent of the terrain they had acquired before the war and all of its foreign possessions (Baldwin, 1998).

Explain if the United States Senate Should Have Approved the Treaty of Versailles

The United States Congress should undeniably have ratified the Treaty of Versailles and joined the League of Nations (Sayoye, 2009). The nation fought in World War I and many Americans lost their lives while trying to defeat the Germans and their associates (Sayoye, 2009). The war had a terrible effect not only on European nations but also the United States. It is only prudent that America does everything possible to avert another major war (Baldwin, 1998). Europeans had been fighting among themselves for several decades, and it was time for that battle to end. With the League of Nations, President Wilson would assist to ensure the world will live in peace and harmony (Baldwin, 1998). If all nations of the world worked in a concerted effort, then there would be no reason to fight against each other. If it was signed, the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles would bring to an end the ravaging war. It would have also helped to end the reign of empires that were driven by greed and convectional mindset of trying to fight for colonies (Baldwin, 1998). The Treaty of Versailles would have helped to restore peace and guarantee even better peaceful moments in the world, during the future years to come (Sayoye, 2009). However, this was an intense debate, that included the isolationist, who stated that the founding president of US had warned them against forging alliances with other nations since it would have brought adverse outcomes on the nation (Baldwin, 1998). They also concurred with their proponents that the Treaty of Versailles was good but if they decided to sign it, they would be compelled to join the League of Nations, which they did not want (Sayoye, 2009). The League of Nations would compel them to join the war, while initially they had opted to go with a policy of neutrality.


Baldwin, F. (1998). The Treaty of Versailles: a reassessment after 75 years. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from:

Herwig, H. H., & Hamilton, R. F. (2003). The Origins of World War I. Retrieved from:

Joll, J., & Martel, G. (2013). The origins of the first world war. Routledge.

Keene, J. D. (2014). Americans Respond Perspectives on the Global War, 1914-1917. Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 40(2), 266-286. Retrieved from:

Sayoye, A. (2009). Treaty of Versailles. Academia. Retrieved from:

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