Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Brian McEvoy gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘The Causes of World War 1’.

It is difficult to separate fact from fiction on the causes of this war but recent research has uncovered a lot more information.  Bismarck foresaw the danger of war but after his dismissal by the Kaiser in 1890, the German alliances Bismarck built up were neglected and fell apart.  Meanwhile alliances were developed between France, Britain and Russia.  The launch of the first Dreadnought battleship in 1906 led to a naval arms race with a later build-up of European armies.  All the major European countries were afraid of the others becoming bigger and better.

Serbia was what would now be described as a terrorist state and France financed the expansion of its army.  The extreme nationalist ‘Black Hand’ assassinated the Austrian imperial heir which sparked off the War.  Germany was ineptly led by the prevaricating Kaiser as was Russia by the Tsar.  Austria-Hungary was a large and complex Empire with many ethnic groups and languages.  Once Russia decided on war in late July, an European conflagration became inevitable.  Germany’s ultimatum to Belgium led to Britain’s involvement.  Britain at first considered not taking part but quickly decided it would lose out if it stood aside.


The Causes of World War One by Brian McEvoy