IMPERIALISM AS THE CAUSE OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Imperialism was one of theMain causes of World War I, which began in July 1914, after whichAttempted Assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In fact, historians consider it one of the four most important long-term causes of war, along with:militarism,alliance systemsjnationalism. Imperialism was a particularly important causeFirst World War. For example, it caused European nations to compete for territories around the world, heightening tensions. These tensions caused European nations to build up their armies and set the stage for war.
EUROPEAN IMPERIALISM BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Imperialism is a term that refers to when a country extends its political, economic or cultural authority over another country or region. This process involves dominance by the dominant country over the other through direct invasion and political control, or by gaining authority over the other country's economy. Imperialism has historically been a foreign policy practiced by many different nations, but it is most commonly associated with European countries, particularly during theage of imperialism.
Imperialism was carried out by powerful European nations against the rest of the world in the decades leading up to the outbreak of World War I. For example, in the 19th century, European nations waged massive campaigns of imperialism against regions of Africa in an event known asfight for africa. The dispute over Africa led to the start of World War I because rivalry between European nations increased as they fought each other over territory in Africa and for control of various regions.
Scramble for Africa map (click to enlarge)
Otto von Bismarck divides Africa between the European colonial powers. (French cartoon 1885)
In general, European imperialism in Africa created tensions in the sense that Germany felt excluded from the territory of the region. For example, in 1884, the German leader Otto von Bismarck called for theberlin conferencewhich brought together the European powers to discuss the division of Africa into regions controlled by European nations. The objective of the meeting was to avoid the beginning of a major European conflict and to reduce tensions, since the struggle for Africa generated intense rivalry and distrust between the European powers. The peace made at the Berlin Conference did not last, as rivalry between the European powers increased as 1914 approached. This caused tensions with Germany. Germany was furious that it did not have the colonies in Africa (as well as Asia) that Britain and France had, and resented its overall role in Africa. For example, in 1914 Great Britain had a total of 56 colonies worldwide; France had 29 colonies and Germany was limited to just 10 colonies. This anger at Germany led to two major crises. This included theFirst Moroccan Crisisit's atSecond Moroccan Crisis.
FIRST MOROCCO CRISIS
The event that triggered theFirst Moroccan Crisiswas a visit by German Kaiser Wilhelm II to Morocco on March 31, 1905. Also known as the "Tangier Crisis", it took place from March 1905 to May 1906 and led to rising tensions between European powers France and Germany. . In fact, the two European nations disagreed over the status of the African nation of Morocco and who should have influence over the region.
Morocco is a nation in northwest Africa. At the beginning of the 20th century, this region of Africa was under the influence of French imperialism. As such, France viewed Morocco as its "sphere of influence". When German Emperor Wilhelm II arrived in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1905, France's anger was ignited. This situation lasted until the Algeciras Conference, which was convened to resolve differences.
SECOND MOROCCAN CRISIS
ANDSecond Moroccan Crisis(or the "Agadir Crisis") began in April 1911 in the midst of a rebellion against the Moroccan Sultan Abdelhafid. Moroccan people began to revolt against the sultan after his government accused them of torture and other horrific acts. In fact, the rebels were so successful that they managed to corner Abdelhafid in his palace in the northern Moroccan city of Fes. Believing that Morocco was falling under its imperialist influence, France sent troops to bring the situation under control. This act by France angered Germany as it resented French success in Africa.
Germany responded to France's military involvement in Morocco by dispatching the gunboat SMS Panther to the Moroccan coastal city of Agadir during the uprising. Similar to the First Moroccan Crisis, German actions in Morocco led to increased tensions between European nations. More specifically, France and Great Britain allied as part of the Entente Cordiale.
In July 1911, both France and Germany began to seek an end to the crisis. As such, Germany presented France with a set of terms that would end the Second Moroccan Crisis. In the agreement, France would assume Morocco as a protectorate, but would have to cede part of its territory in the French Congo to Germany in compensation. A protectorate is a term used during the era of European imperialism to describe a nation that maintains control of its own affairs but is ultimately dependent on a European power for economic, political, and military support.
Finally, on November 4, 1911, France and Germany concluded an agreement called the Franco-German Agreement. Overall, France agreed to give up some of its territory in the Congo in exchange for German recognition of France's status in Morocco.
HOW DID IMMERIALISM CAUSE WWI?
European imperialism how profound impact on the outbreak ofFirst World War. As noted above, in the decades leading up to World War I, imperialism was waged by powerful European nations against the rest of the world. For example, in the 19th century, European nations waged massive campaigns of imperialism against regions of Africa in an event known asfight for africa. The dispute over Africa led to the start of World War I because rivalry between European nations increased as they fought each other over territory in Africa and for control of various regions.
For example, Great Britain and France were the two European nations that controlled the largest regions of Africa during the Scramble for Africa and this created tensions with Germany. Germany was furious that it did not have the colonies in Africa that Britain and France had, and resented its overall role in Africa. This anger at Germany led to the two Moroccan crises before World War I. Ultimately, these tensions created a sense of anger and mistrust between the European powers that helped set the stage for war in 1914.
Furthermore, imperialism, along with the other main causes of World War I, initiated the war. As mentioned above, these causes include:militarism,alliances, imperialism etc.nationalism.
World War I causes infographic (click to enlarge)
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