Despite of the fact that the assassinations of influential and high-profiled individuals are no longer extraordinary historical narratives, the unforeseen and unexpected death of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 resulted to a seemingly unstoppable pandemonium that would put militaristic skills and alliance loyalty into the test. Murdered by Gavrilo Princip, the demise of the Austro-Hungarian successor triggered the rise of the First World War. However, such an unfortunate event cannot be automatically dismissed as the root cause of World War I. Instead, such occurrence simply awakened the politically-motivated agendas of countries which participated in World War I. With proper timing combined with hostile events falling into their proper places, Franz Ferdinand’s assassination ignited the strong need to conquer, divide and dominate. World War I was a product of an intense desire of European superpowers to advance their militaristic aims, widen their imperialistic scope and assert their position within the social and political hierarchy.
If one has to take a closer look into the matter, Serbia’s nationalistic aims can be fairly considered as a contributing factor to World War I’s occurrence. Serbia’s unfulfilled dream of enjoying sovereignty and reclaiming its identity generated certain uprisings as well as the establishment of the militant group known as “Black Hand (Welch 109).” However, it is also important to note that this kind of nationalism is not exclusive to Serbia alone. France felt the same sentiment when it lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Yet, upon a critical examination of the situation, it can be observed that Serbia and France’s patriotism was readily taken advantage by countries who want to retain their power and authority within the European terrain. The nationalism shown provided opportunities and avenues for other European nations to develop connections and form alliances that could very much tighten their grip of the whole continent. With Serbia pleading for Russia’s assistance and Austro-Hungary seeking Germany’s support, Serbia’s feat rapidly transformed into a major international concern. Major alliances were formed and soon Serbian nationalism and patriotism opened the gates for imperialistic gains and benefits.
Indeed, imperialism was instrumental in the First World War. The one who holds the widest sphere of influence can guarantee its authority and control within the whole region. Needless to say, imperialism offers a wide spectrum of “rewards” and advantages. First of all, imperialism offers direct control over trade and commerce. Secondly, imperialism provides protection and security from foreign invaders. Lastly, and perhaps one of imperialism’s outright benefits is the social and cultural overtake—a concrete manifestation of ideological and hegemonic rule.
Along with imperialism is militarism’s overt growth. Germany, France and Russia, to name a few, have directed much of their attention in building massive armies and formulating strategic war plans. Militaristic expenditures also witnessed an apparent increase. While this could be easily described as a way of ensuring safety and security, it cannot be denied that militarism’s absence could readily jeopardize the personal interests of those who wanted to rule and dominate. As each nation prepared their respective battalions, the tension continued to increase. Unexpected military invasion continued to present a threat which further justifies the need to take up arms and invest in military machineries and services.
On the other hand, unlike the exploration days wherein kingdoms and monarchs focused on discovering new lands and territories, World War I was highly characterized by discovering new allies and supporters. With modernity at hand, World War I participants became specifically concerned in choosing the best partner that could help them ensure triumph and victory. Those nations equipped with sophisticated armories and of course with sufficient funds gathered together and prepared for the upcoming war.
Evidently, World War I is the offshoot of hidden interests and agendas that are related to acquiring power and control. The participation of each nation was highly expected since whoever wins the war could readily assert their positions within the social, political and economic ladder. Critically speaking, it can be argued that imperialistic concerns are still the primary reasons behind World War I’s eruption. The participants simply needed the proper timing and conditions so that the battle could begin. Peace and diplomacy have been always an option, yet war as a solution was readily chosen since this could advance certain self-vested interests and benefits.