Causes of World War 1 – Russian Nationalism

Let’s now focus on some of Russia’s contributions towards the outbreak of the First World War

Russia’s mobilization makes her be blamed for causing the first World War.

One may justify Germany’s declaration of war on France and Russia on the fact that Russia wanted to attack and defeat Austria-Hungary which was the only ally Germany had in 1914.

The defeat of Austria-Hungary would have led Germany to remain without allies and weak.

The mobilization by Russia, therefore, triggered Germany to protect her allies since Germany felt she was surrounded by enemies like France, Russia, and Britain who were most likely to attack her in a future conflict due to the arms race and naval race.

Therefore, besides Germany, Russia is also to be blamed for causing the World War.

On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that Tsar Nicholas II of Russia had asked Germany and Austria-Hungary to use diplomacy and not war in July 1914.

Russia felt justified to protect her fellow Slavic state Serbia. Russia’s support for the Balkan League in 1912 is also to blame for threatening stability in the Balkans.

The Balkan League threatened both Austria-Hungary and Turkey for it wanted the independence of the numerous ethnic groups in both Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empires.

This partly explains why the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire were at the side of Germany against the Triple Entente during the First World War.

Russia’s involvement in the First World War was also influenced by her ally France.

France wanted to revenge Germany over the loss of Alsace and Lorraine.

France initiated the Franco-Russian alliance and had long-term plans to fight Germany in a future war with France being supported by Russia.

France gave Russia a blank cheque in 1914 largely because France wanted to revenge Germany and was afraid of Germany’s aggressive foreign policy.

It is important to take note of the influence of France in the decisions Russia took in July 1914.
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