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Day 23 – Q 5.How did aggressive nationalism and militarisation in Europe create the platform for WWI? Analyse.

5. How did aggressive nationalism and militarisation in Europe create the platform for WWI? Analyse.  

यूरोप में आक्रामक राष्ट्रवाद और सैन्यीकरण ने प्रथम विश्व युद्ध के लिए मंच कैसे बनाया? विश्लेषण करें।


World War I started on the 28th of July 1914 between two sides – triple alliance and the triple entente. Though the immediate cause was the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand, the war started mainly because of four aspects: Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism and Nationalism.


Nationalism in Europe as a reason:

Nationalism was a great cause of World War one because of countries being greedy and not negotiating. The use of Nationalism gave nations false hope and made them aggressive to win the war.

  • Nationalist groups in Austria-Hungary and Serbia wanted independence.
    • Serbian nationalism: The Serbs wanted to integrate the Balkan areas populated with Slavs into a single Yugoslavia. But that required secession of certain areas from the German empire which had Slav people.
    • Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina to no longer be part of Austria Hungary but instead be part of Serbia.
  • Austria annexed the Ottoman provinces of Bosnia which had significant population of Slavs. As Serbia wanted Bosnia to be a part of Yugoslavia, the enmity between the two widened.
  • Albania was made an independent state with the help of Austria which was claimed by Serbia. This further embittered its rivalry against Serbia.
  • France wanted Alsace Lorraine back from Germany who was lost in 1871 Franco-Prussian war. This was a nationalist pride for France.
  • Finally, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Serbia by the nationalist terrorist group Black Hand.

Militarization in Europe as a reason:

Militarism rised mutual suspicion and led to to the naval and arms race. The main event of Militarism causing World War one was the naval rivalry which was made after 1900.

  • Naval race: The new Keiser Wilhelm announced his intention to build a bigger German navy than Britain. Britain felt very threatened by this.
  • Arms race: Threatened by the naval race between Britain and Germany, major powers on mainland Europe were also building up their armies.
  • Russia mobilized its troops as a precautionary measure on German border due to the rising tensions. This was seen as a sign of military aggression by Germany which came up with Schlieffen Plan which was the main reason for Britain to declare war on Germany. 
  • Increased military control over civilian government: The German army was called ‘state within a state’ and controlled almost all the decisions related to security with civilian government having limited say.
  • Rise in military expenditure: which increased drastically after 1910 with Germany – 73%, Russia – 39% and so on. This in turn increased the tensions across Europe.
  • Army conscription: was adopted by almost all the European countries. This increased the standing forces, arms procurement etc., which fueled further militarism.


Thus, Nationalism was a prominent force in early 20th century Europe and a significant cause of World War I. Adding to it, militarism in Europe increased the rivalry between nations. It increased the confidence of every country to win war which led to a large-scale war.

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