Introduction - WW1 MilitarismMilitarism was one of the major causes of World War One. Militarism is the belief within a country or state that a strong military is important in order to defend the country and to promote national interests. Militarism is usually accompanied by a desire of the people within the country to prove the strength of the military and to resolve problems with other countries through military action. Strong feelings of militarism existed within all the major European powers prior to the outbreak of World War One. On this page we list interesting facts and information about how militarism was involved in causing WW1, where militarism was the strongest, and why Europe countries felt strong feelings of militarism.
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Interesting World War One Militarism Facts
- In examining the major cause of World War One, which most experts agree, are nationalism, imperialism, and militarism you see that they are all intertwined. Feelings of nationalism often bring on desires to build up the military to prove national superiority where as a strong military often brings national pride. Imperialism often brings on feelings of national pride and also has to be accomplished and supported by a strong military.
- The Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 - May 1871) was a major reason for the rise in militarism in Europe in the decades leading up to World War 1. This war ended as a crushing defeat of the French by several unified German states. With their victory the various German states unified and became the undisputed military power on the European continent. This struck fear into its neighbors who rushed to improve their military capabilities. France especially felt a need to build up its military in order to avoid such future defeats and in hopes of someday regaining the Alsace-Lorraine territory Germany took from her as a result of the war.
- Prior to WW1 the major European powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Russia and Italy) increased military expenditures drastically. Germany increased expenditures by over 70 percent.
- Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Russia and Italy all started or increased compulsory enlistment (conscription) of men into the armed forces in the years before WW1; vastly increasing the number of soldiers in their armies. It is a little known fact that in 1913 and 1914 alone Germany increased the number of full time soldiers by an amazing 170,000.
- Militarism led to an arms race among the major European powers in the years leading up to the World War 1. During this time not only were the quantity of weapons increased but new and improved weapons were invented. An improvement in artillery was especially notable.
- Militarism in Russia was, in a large part, fueled by their defeat in 1905 in the Russo-Japanese War. Their embarrassing defeat against the Japanese resulted in Russia spending a huge amount of money on its military to avoid such future disasters.
- Militarism led to a naval arms race between Britain and Germany prior to the war. Germany began construction on numerous new battleships and submarines. This alarmed Britain prompting it to build up her navy in an attempt to maintain her military dominance of the sea.
- In the early 1900s the Royal Navy was the world's strongest navy. It was utilized to protect shipping and to protect the British empires vast locations. Fearing loss of that dominance the slogan "We want eight and we won't wait" was used in 1909 by those people in Britain who wanted eight new battleships built quickly.