The disputes that led to the outbreak of World War I were festering long before the first shots were fired on the battlefields of Europe. Imperial, commercial, and military rivalries between the major European empires had escalated dramatically as each struggled to assert its strength. Meanwhile, the people of Europe embraced nationalist ideas and became increasingly disinterested in compromise or reconciliation. The latter half of the 19th century had seen the development of the strong alliances and deep hostilities that eventually escalated into war in 1914. But why did the politicians and monarchs of Europe believe that war was inevitable? How was the public persuaded that war was necessary? And what events preceded the declaration of war?
Contains essays that examine twelve elements of World War I, discussing events leading up to the conflict, the start of the war, the first years on the Western front, the expansion of the war, war at sea, the home front, and other topics; and includes photographs, maps, a time line, and research and activities ideas.