No one event or person caused the Great War. There were many factors that contributed to mobilization of the belligerents. With a rapidly expanding European economy, people demanded social and governmental changes: British suffragettes fought to win British women the right to vote; socialists called for reforms, uniting laborers to demand that the wealth and power of a nation be used to benefit the majority. While in Russian, Tsar Nicholas II held fast to an autocratic old-world view.
On June 28, 1914, Serbian fanatic, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated Archduke Franz-Ferdinand of Austria, causing Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany to support Austria in punishing the Serbs, setting the stage for Russia - backing Serbia - and her allies France and Britain to go to war.
In the weeks after the assassination, none of the critical leaders had the power or will to slow down the decisions, actions, reactions and attitude shifts of key government and military leaders. By August, millions of Europeans -- especially the military and diplomatic leaders of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia -- saw war as the way to save their honor, as well as to solve the internal and international problems that needed to be resolved.
Top Photo: German troops mobilizing