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The question on each of these men’s mind was why and who had let this happen.
They only knew what their governments had told them – so what were the driving forces behind the fatal decisions to go to war in 1914, and why had they been made?
With militarism comes nationalism, another commonly cited reason behind the outbreak of WWI.
There is certainly no denying that Europe was growing increasingly militaristic in the years leading up to the outbreak – in August 1914, Russia had an army of 5,971,000 men, Germany 4,500,000, France 4,017,000, Austria-Hungary 3,000,000 and Great Britain 975,000.To understand the motives behind the war it is vital to know the history behind the history – to comprehend the existing tensions between countries, the mind-set of the time, and, most importantly, where the power actually lay.The Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote “There is deceit and cunning and from these wars arise”, whilst the American historian Howard Zinn argues that “historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience”.With the single exception of France, monarchies supported by a small group of wealthy individuals were the sole decision makers in the European powers.The power that could be exercised by such a monarch is often underestimated, in particular if they freely go against the wishes of their people.