The murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand became the immediate cause of the war.
Causes of World War I
- Division of colonies in Asia and Africa created conditions of war.
- In the last quarter of the 19th century, Germany became the main competitor of England.
- In 1882, Germany, Austria and Italy signed the Triple Alliance pledging mutual military assistance against rival powers.
- England, Russia and France signed the Triple Entente in 1907.
- Emergence of two mutually opposed groups divided Europe into hostile camps leading to tension and conflicts among European powers.
Course of the War (1914-1918)
World War I which started in August 1914 continued till November 1918. The year 1917 saw two important developments - one was the entry of USA in the war in April and second was the withdrawal of Russia from the war in November.
Immediate Consequences of World War I
World War I was one of the most disastrous and frightening events the world had witnessed. A million people including innocent civilians lost their lives.
The League of Nations
The League was the first international organisation set up in 1920 with its headquarters at Geneva. Its main aims were to maintain peace and security in the world, prevent future war, promote international co-operation, settle international disputes peacefully and improve the conditions of labourers in member countries.
World between the two World Wars
- The Growth of Fascism and Nazism.
- England and France too had to face severe economic crisis, scarcity and unemployment.
- Soviet Union emerged as the first Socialist State of the world. It was the only country to remain unaffected while all the Western capitalist countries suffered due to the Economic Depression in 1929.
- After the end of World War I, USA suffered the worst economic crisis in 1929 due to overproduction.
- Japan was the only country in Asia which emerged as an imperialist country. During the two World Wars, Japan became a strong military power and supported Fascism.
World War II
- The League of Nations failed in its aim of preventing future war, World War II started in 1939.
- Both the Fascist (in Italy) and Nazi (in Germany) Parties glorified war and promised to their people that they would bring back the lost glory of their countries through war.
- Being capitalist countries, Britain, France wanted to check the spread of Communism by the Soviet Union. So they adopted a systematic policy called Appeasement Policy favouring Italy and Germany.
Consequences of the War
- The war came to an end in September 1945.
- The German Jews were either exterminated or sent to concentration camps.
- The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were almost wiped off when atomic bombs were dropped on them.
- USA and Soviet Union emerged as super powers.
- UNO (United Nations organization) was set up with the major objective of maintaining international peace and security.