What was the Scientific Revolution?

The Great War, later coined as “World War I” refers to the most significant and devastating series of events that took place from 1914-1918.

Its impact, only eclipsed by its successor, World War II, continues to be felt to this date. The causes of this massive war are as intricate as they are, involving a complex web of political, social, and economic factors that historians continue to study and debate. In this article, we will explore the various causes that led to the disruption of World War I, as well as its short-term and long-term effects.

The Underlying Causes

The onset of a significant conflict is rarely abrupt; instead, it emerges as a climax of various factors that contribute to a volatile environment. Economic tensions, territorial disputes, ideological differences, and power struggles served as underlying causes that led to World War I. The following factors played a pivotal role preceding the declaration of war:


Imperialism, defined as the expansion of nations into empires through colonization and conquest, played a significant role in global dynamics during the 1900s. At this time, world power was concentrated among several European empires. Notably, the British and French empires were the most dominant, possessing colonies in India, various African regions, and Vietnam. This surge in dominance heightened tensions in other empires, such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire.


Nationalism was a pivotal force propelling the world towards war. Following the unification of Germany in 1871, a surge of nationalism strengthened public support for the monarchy. This newfound sense of national pride encouraged Germany to assert itself among the great powers of Europe, to establish itself as a world power.

Serbian nationalism is directly linked to the spark that ignited World War I. The desire for a unified Serbian state, including regions like Bosnia and Herzegovina, intensified after 1878. The heightened nationalism contributed to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist, in 1914 – an act that dramatically escalated tensions and led to the outbreak of the war.

Each of these inventions played a critical role in the Scientific Revolution, facilitating discoveries like the rings of Saturn by Gian Domenico Cassini and the detailed observation of the moon’s surface by Johannes Hevelius. They were more than just tools; they were windows into previously unseen worlds and catalysts for scientific exploration and understanding.


The formation of alliances among European nations before the Great War was a critical factor contributing to the extensive scale of World War I. The most substantial of these alliances included:

Treaty of London – Established in 1939, the treaty was signed by the major powers of Europe at the time (Prussia, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and Austria), the United Kingdom of Netherlands, and Belgium. This treaty guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium, which had broken away from the Netherlands. The violation of Belgian neutrality by Germany in 1914, in breach of the treaty, directly obligated Britain to intervene in World War I.

Dual Alliance – A treaty between Germany and Austria-Hungary created in 1879. It guaranteed the benevolent neutrality of both nations and pledged intervention if either was attacked by Russia.

Franco-Russian Alliance – During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Russia received financial support from France for the completion of railways and ports. These ties eventually culminated in the Franco-Russian Alliance, a military pact formed to counter potential German aggression, pledging mutual support in case of an attack by Germany.

Immediate Causes of WWI

The Assassination of the Archduke of Austria can be pinpointed as the event that triggered the declaration of war. Soon after the incident, Austria issued an ultimatum to Serbia, and upon rejection, Austria declared war on Serbia. Followed by the alliance Germany pledged to support Austria. Russia followed to support Serbia, and from here other empires declared war consequently based on their alliances.

The Effects of World War I

Various regions around the world directly engaged in the war and thus faced its immediate consequences, while neutral nations still grappled with trade disruptions, leading to extended effects. Notably, some countries, such as the United States, emerged from the Great War in a better state than when it began.

The "Lost Generation"

The Great War was so devastating with over 18 million deaths, and over 20 million wounded. Adding to the tragedy, in 1918, the Spanish flu spread globally, reaching the United States and other parts of the world through soldiers deployed in Europe. This led to a widespread pandemic, claiming the lives of over 50 million people worldwide.

Division of Nations

The period that followed after the end of the war changed the world map significantly. The Austria-Hungary Empire, facing defeat, dissolved into several independent states, including Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Austria. The Ottoman Empire also underwent a complete dissolution, giving rise to the Republic of Turkey and several mandated territories under the British and French empires. Russia transformed into the Soviet Union, losing Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Finland, which emerged as independent countries. The Treaty of Versailles imposed various territorial concessions on Germany, including the cession of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the redistribution of several regions to newly formed nations such as Denmark and Poland.

Aftermath of World War 1 in Germany

At the end of the war Germany underwent a socialist revolution and it became the Weimar Republic. Compelled to sign the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was assigned blame for the conflict. Germany was imposed substantial reparations payments, and permanent reductions in its military capacity, including the destruction of its tanks, airforce, and other war equipment.

Innovation in Technology and Medicine

The competition to achieve an upper hand in the war and minimize damage during the war gave rise to new mass production techniques and innovations in the medical field. Significant technological advancements were made in the development of submarines, aircraft, and weaponry, propelling society forward in terms of technological progress. Furthermore, blood banks and skin grafts were introduced during the war to help millions of veterans and those injured in combat. These advances shaped modern surgery and also helped revolutionize other industries.

Rise of the United States

After the war, as Europe’s major powers weakened both economically and militarily, the United States experienced a sustained period of prosperity, becoming the world’s largest creditor nation. The U.S. also gained increased influence in global politics, playing a pivotal role in the founding of the League of Nations. It spearheaded foreign policy initiatives aimed at disarmament and establishing stability in Europe.

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