HISTORY REVISION – ARRRGHH!
LESSON 1 – Causes of World War
Causes of WW1 summary
This is a PAPER 1 topic for your exam on 3rd June.
You will need to revise the following:
1. Long-term causes of the war
2. Incidents that increased tension
3. Assassination at Sarajevo
4. The Schlieffen plan
5. The steps to war in 1914
1) Long-term causes of the war
• Nationalism – A belief that ‘our country is better than
• Alliances – The triple alliance (Germany, Austria-
Hungary & Italy) and the triple entente (Britain, France
• Colonies – German was jealous of other countries
possessions abroad and wanted to extend it’s empire.
• Arms Race – German competed with Britain and
France to see who could build the biggest army & navy.
2) Incidents that increased tension
• First Moroccan Crisis (1905) - Kaiser Wilhelm promised to
support the sultan of Morocco against France's attempts to take over
• Bosnia (1908) - Austria annexed Bosnia in the Balkans from
Turkey. This annoyed Serbia, which had wanted to take over the
area. Russia wanted to help Serbia, but had to back down.
• Agadir (2nd Moroccan Crisis 1911) - There was a revolution in
Morocco, so France sent an army to take over. Kaiser Wilhelm sent
the gunship 'Panther', but Britain and France forced him to back
• Balkan Wars (1912-1913) - Serbia and other countries in the
Balkans conquered most of Turkey's land in Europe. Serbia became
a powerful country, and said Austria-Hungary was its next target.
3) The assassination of Franz Ferdinand...
On the morning of 28 June 1914, a failed assassination attempt led Archduke Franz Ferdinand
to try to abandon his visit to the Sarajevo. However, by a stroke of bad luck, he came face to
face with another assassin on his journey to the railway station and was shot dead.
1. Sarajevo was in Bosnia, the province that - to Serbia's anger - had been annexed by
Austria-Hungary in 1908. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was heir to the throne of Austria-
Hungary. He was inspecting the army in Sarajevo with his wife Sophie. The royal couple
arrived by train at 9.28am.
2. The first conspirator who tried to kill Franz Ferdinand was Nedeljko Cabrinovic - he
threw a bomb at his car. He missed and was arrested.
3. The Archduke escaped unhurt and went to the town hall. He decided to abandon the
visit and return home via a different route to the one planned. The royal couple left the
town hall immediately.
4. No one had told the driver the route had changed. On the way back, therefore, the driver
turned into Franz Josef Street, following the published route and, when told of his error,
stopped the car to turn around. Unfortunately, the car stopped in front of Gavrilo
Princip, one of the conspirators, who was on his way home thinking he had failed.
5. Princip pulled out a gun and shot at Franz Ferdinand, hitting him in the jugular vein.
There was a tussle, during which Princip shot and killed Sophie. By 11.30am, Franz
Ferdinand had bled to death.
4. The Schlieffen plan
• The plan was drawn up by
General Von Schlieffen.
• German troops would suprise
the French by attacking Paris
• It was thought the Russians
would take weeks to organise
• Little resistance expected, plan
was to capture Paris in 6 weeks!
• The French surrender would
allow the Germans to move
troops to the Russian front.