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Causes of World War One


A. Economic

Imperialism at home and abroad - In one generation

Africa - direct possession (1902: only Liberia, founded by former American slaves remains independent)

Asia and Near East: economic and diplomatic pressure

Economic concessions and extra-territorial privileges: Ottoman Empire - most vulnerable; China - most vulnerable; Japan - modernizing rapidly; India - firmly in British hands;

Importance to Europe: keeps fat on European economy; colonial rule a reproach to democracy; encouraged feelings of national and racial superiority;

"Pan" movements - a form of imperialism

Technology and science: materialism

B. Social

Human welfare: serfdom gone (except in Russia); surgery and anesthetics perfected; life span longer; Victorian middle class morality in decline; spread of literacy.

Peace movements: "pipe dream of peace".

Aristocratic remainders.

Neglect of the proletariat.

C. Intellectual

1. European cultural heritage

2. Ideologies of progress:

conservatism - delaying action not progress (aristocracy)

liberalism - freedom, law, representative government (upper middle class)

radicalism - remove class distinctions, anti-clerical (lower middle class)

socialism - collectivist doctrine (city workers)

new left - syndicalism

D. Political

1. the nation-state: language and race

2. parliamentary government

3. parties:

tied to class and ideology

lack of responsibility

too many of them

4. Differing forms

separation of powers only in the USA

king or president a figurehead in Britain and France

search for majorities in parliament

Britain: the cabinet held the whip

France and Italy: parliament held the whip

5. Extension of the suffrage

6. Exceptions to democratization

Germany: only has external form of it, the Reichstag is a "debating chamber"

Austria-Hungary: maintaining monarchy in polyglot confusion

Russia: a struggle between Duma and Ministry

E. Military

1. popular militarism

Boer War




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