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All Quiet on the Western Front Journal 5/11/06
Andrew Kokanoutranon

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All Quiet on the Western Front Journal

1. What were the underlying causes of WWI?
2. What was the specific cause of WWI?
3. How did the soldiers react as they went off to war? Why?

Many different causes led to WWI. Militarism around the world was a major problem, the British had a large army and navy so the Germans wanted to build an even bigger army. This “arms race” continued on all through Europe, each country tried to raise nationalism and gain support for their new found and grander military. A tangled alliance between the Allies and the Central Powers also created tensions. The need for more natural resources lead to increased imperialism, countries wanted to expand their borders and gain more resources to become wealthy. The governments and militaries craved for more nationalism too, they need people to join the armies and support their troops. Each country had its only special way for spreading nationalism, such as propaganda and glorifying war.

One specific cause of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophia. The Austrians held the Serbians responsible for the killing and they wanted Serbia crushed because of past incidents that had lead to tensions between the two. Austria, with the help of German, demanded Serbia to follow strict and shameful laws. With the backing of Russia, the Serbians went to war with Austria and Germany. A few weeks later, the French and British armies allied with Russia and Serbia because of growing tensions and fear of invasion. Later in the war, Italy decided to join the Triple Alliance with the French and British for strategic and defensive reasons only. The Germans were left with Austria to fight a difficult two front war with the Russians on the Eastern Front and the Triple Alliance on the West. The Germans went on and lost the war and had to pay large reparations.

The soldiers going into war had the feeling of excitement and joy. They were brainwashed by government and persuaded by others to join the army and fight a glorious war. Europe hadn’t witnessed a war in over a hundred years since the Napoleon Empire. The generation going into war believed it was a glorious opportunity that every teenage boy should go through and down the path to manhood. The elders told young men to join because they thought it would be a pleasant experience even though they never experience the life of war. The high spirited and newly trained troops marched into battle with the feeling of invincibility and that nothing could take them down. Only when they see the front lines, their minds change drastically. The horrors of war changed the lives of the “lost generation,” they were scarred for the rest of their lives.

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