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Issues led to World War I in 1914 (Coursework Sample)


The purposes of each case study assignment include the following:

  • To hone your abilities to research using scholarly sources
  • To advance critical thinking and writing skills
  • To compile a response to the prompts provided
  • To explore a historical topic and make connections to change over time

Pick one (1) of the following topics. Then, address the corresponding questions/prompts for your selected topic. Use at least one (1) documented example of the corresponding primary source in your writing.

Option 1: Big Business (Monopolies) and Exploitation of Workers


Institutional Affiliation

World War I

A host of issues led to World War I in 1914. The conventional view is that World War I broke out for structural reasons, an argument centered on the idea that any little disturbance in the European balance of power would tip the system off kilter. The assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand did exactly that, leading to a chain reaction of war declarations that effectively ended the Concert of Europe established upon the downfall of Napoleon 100 years previously. It has also been argued that nationalism sparked the conflict over the question over Serbian sovereignty in contested areas of the Western Balkans , notably areas like Bosnia that remained under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many other studies of the war's cause look to economic and political disputes between the European powers, including issues over the control of commercial routes. Countries such as Germany wanted to redistribute world economic power, something that could not be achieved without confronting both Britain and her allies (eventually including the United States). Yet another major catalyst of the war was the poorly conceived frontiers of many European countries. These boundaries, set by centuries old multi-ethnic empires, cut across the fabric of European societies, dividing many national groups between states. Any peace treaty would have to address this complex set of causes, if it was to succeed in preventing a similar cataclysm from again ripping across the continent.
By the end of 1917, the United States entered the "War to End A

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