If Franz Ferdinand hadn’t been killed, World War One would not have happened’
This essay will be discussing the question ‘If Franz Ferdinand hadn’t been killed, World War One would not have happened’. History points out many causes of the First World War, history sources both primary and secondary are split on the idea that the killing of Franz Ferdinand was the most important cause. In, this essay therefore the causes of the First World War will be looked at and a conclusion will be drawn up whether in essence the killing of Franz Ferdinand started the war.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the presumed heir to the Austrian and Hungarian crowns, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian patriot. The leaders of Austria-Hungary were sure the Serbian government and ultimately the Russians were responsible. Austria-Hungary prepared for war, and this time the Germans were willing to support them. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
What made this war perhaps an international war were the alliances made prior to it. The Triple Alliance of 1882, the most famous of the triple alliances, was by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The terms for this alliance were laid in 1879, when the German chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck negotiated a secret defensive pact with Austria-Hungary, in case of war. A counter force was organized Triple Entente, this was alliance that developed between Britain, France, and Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century.
It was designed to counter the military coalition known as the Triple Alliance. The French government approached Russia, and in the late 1880s a Franco-Russian military pact was concluded in January 1894, and in 1895 the conclusion of an alliance was publicly acknowledged. However a few years into the war Italy swapped sides and became part of the Triple Entente. These two alliances may not seem to be relevant to war, however looking from sources from primary sources from inside Germany, it is clear to see the formation of the Triple Entente angered the Germans.
As far back history records people have gone to war for money, power and land and here it is no different. Here, the Triple Alliance thought it was an excellent excuse to go to war, beat the Triple Entente, and seize control of their military and land. This could be categorized under the broad category of imperialism (the belief of building and expanding an empire).However a interesting comparison can be made to a controversial theory about the 9/11 bombings. This theory surfaced in History journal ‘Modern History’, says that a secret organization in Austria paid Princip, to kill Ferdinand and under this pretence, blame Serbia and go to war with them. This theory hasn’t been accepted much, however as the journal very rightly says ‘History uncovers more and more, until what is that to be truths turn into gross misconceptions.’
Overall after looking at the causes of the First World War, a conclusion can be drawn up that because of the growing enmity between Serbia and the Austro-Hungary empire, a war would have happened, and the killing of Franz Ferdinand was a mere excuse or a pretence to go to war, the question still remains whether this would have been a World War.
The answer would be yes, if Franz Ferdinand had not died and there had been a war but a little later on, other countries would have still got involved, because of the alliances formed earlier on. However, famous history magazine, ‘History and theory’ said in a few years ago in a publication, that if Franz Ferdinand had not been killed the war would have started, but because the Triple Entente was a very wooly and loose alliance, England and potentially France would not have got involved.
What is certain however that there would have been a war, the scale of which remains to be seen. Alas, World War I in all of its horror was a matter of choice, not fate.