Megan Elliott, Erin Gunn, Tooba Khan
Causes of WWI Assignment
Attraction of War
Immediately before and during the first few months of World War One, enlisting in the war was
generally portrayed as the best choice. Propaganda was used to encourage soldiers to “serve their
country” and “make their women proud”. The general public was reported to come forth with
expressions of national pride and love for their government at the beginning of the war, thinking
that it was worth it and would be over soon. This was a technique applied in order to increase
numbers when it came to mobilization. Countries required a certain number of men to enlist each
day in order to keep the war going, and so used attraction of war methods to meet these figures.
This was, obviously, a very good reason to begin the war. The general public was already eager
to start fighting, and the government had no reason to disappoint.
Mobilization is expensive. Countries would have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on
preparing their countries and troops for war time. They would have not wanted all this money to
go to waste, and so war became inevitable.
Conscription is when citizens of a country are not encouraged but rather forced to join the armed
forces by law. At the beginning of World War One many countries began to adopt conscription,
such as Australia and Canada. This, similar to attraction to war, was another way to meet the
numbers required to keep the war going. Conscription ensured mobilization, as any person who
was required to enlist that did not was simply breaking the law. Now that the government has
this many participants, why not start a war? There was nothing standing in their way.
Complications (with plans to mobilize)
Russia mobilized at a very rapid speed, gaining ground, getting closer and closer to Berlin which
scared the Germans into increasing their troops in order to defend the eastern side. The delay
caused by Belgium and The British gave France time to get ready for the German attack which
Germany had underestimated, troops were sent to Alsace-Lorrain to defend against the
The Schlieffen Plan
The Schlieffen Plan was Germany’s plan to go to war. They planned to go through Belgium and
surround Paris, basically defeating France in six weeks, they then planned to take all their troops
and go to the Russian front. The main idea was to avoid fighting a war on two fronts.
The Schlieffen plan was significant because it was Germany’s secret plan for war, they wanted to
mobilize and be ready to attack before anyone else could get ready. The element of surprise was
crucial, however they did not take into account how quickly Russia would mobilize. In the
Schlieffen Plan they assumed it would take six weeks when in reality they mobilized much
This was France’s plan for war, if it came to it. It was originally made as a defensive plan after
the Franco Prussian war, but was adapted later in the event that Germany attacked them. Plan 17
concentrated all its man power on the Alsace and Lorraine areas, which is the areas that then
Prussia had taken over in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.
Plan 17 is significant because it shows how France was prepared for war and the mistake they
made. They assumed that Germany would come through Alsace-Lorraine and concentrated all
their man power there, in reality German troops came through Belgium and the French were
unprepared for this.
Mobilization in Austria after the assassination
After the assassination of Austria-Hungary Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian-Hungarian
government sent an ultimatum to Serbia, if Serbia did not agree on all the points then they would
be attacked. Serbia did not accept all the terms and Austria Hungary began mobilizing for war.
This caused Germany to mobilize as well since they had issued a Blank Check to Austria
Hungary. This is significant because the assassination is the cause for all mobilization, because
it’s what triggered the war. Serbia began to mobilize and so did Germany and Austria Hungary,
it was a sign to the rest of the countries in the alliances to begin mobilizes since war was now
Complications with supplies
The Germans had believed this plan to run through in a short period of time, they also believed
that it would take Russia sometime to mobilize but Russia mobilized at such a rapid pace that
France had not been defeated and German troops had to be sent to the Russian front while they
had not yet received their supplies to handle taking on Russia and France at once. Also the delays
and increase in conflict caused their food supplies to run out before they had even entered France
and arms had been used to fend themselves and attack the British and Belgium, by the time they
got to France, France had mobilized enough to present a good defence and Russia entered the
war before the German’s were ready.
Mobilization can be seen to be a cause of World War One for many reasons. Countries like
Germany and France had made plans to prepare for war, in them they planned out mobilizations
of troops. Plans like the Schlieffen Plan and Plan 17 showed that the countries believed war to be
imminent and mobilization was already ready to happen before war was even declared this type
of mentality just made war more likely and showed that the countries thought peaceful solutions
weren’t likely to work.
They also had to take into account any problems that might occur during mobilization; they had
to think about cost, problems with supply routes and so on.