Causes of World War 1 – French Nationalism and Revanchism

Causes of World War 1 – France
Let’s now briefly discuss some of France’s contributions to the outbreak of the First World War

In France, there was a general feeling of revenge and an expectation of war with Germany in the future after France was defeated during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871.

This defeat of a France that was led by Emperor Napoleon III was a great humiliation that also led France to lose Alsace-Lorraine to Germany.

This resulted in France searching for allies in Europe against a future war with Germany.

France’s alliance with Russia gave her the confidence to wage a war with Germany expecting that Germany would be easy to defeat when she fights Russia from the East and France from the West at the same time.

It was France’s confidence in Russia that led France to give Russia a blank cheque in 1914 in Russia’s war against Germany.

France promoted Russia for she had her national interests.

Such national interests of France included reclaiming her Alsace and Lorraine territory that was left to Germany as well as defeating Germany with the assistance of the Triple Entente.

France also needed to restore her great power status in the navy and economic arenas which were lost as a result of Germany’s rise to power.

France’s existence resulted in Germany’s aggressive foreign policy.

For instance, before 1914, France had a military program that she was offering to Russia which was to make the Russian military more powerful, efficient, and fast by the year 1918.

This military program brought fear in Germany’s military leaders since a stronger Russian military was to threaten Germany after 1917.

This explains why Germany’s military leaders were ready to wage war in July 1914 to avoid a stronger Franco-Russian military defeat.

France can mainly be blamed for offering Russia a blank cheque in 1914.

This gave Russia more confidence if she was to face Germany in a war.

Above all France was suspicious of Germany and feared another military defeat by the Germans

France, therefore, contributed to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to protect her national interests and national security as well as to ensure her survival as a state in Europe
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