Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
World War I has often been described as an “unnecessary war.” Why? Do you agree?
World War I has been called unnecessary because the original dispute that triggered the conflict was limited, yet it triggered a massive, global war. In short, the conflict stemmed merely from Austria-Hungary and Serbia’s disagreement over how to handle the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand: the Austro-Hungarian government believed that the Serbian government was connected with the assassination and therefore demanded to be involved in the investigation and judicial process within Serbia. No other countries had a direct interest in the matter. Russia and Germany were the next to get involved, not because of animosity toward each other but because of their intentions to protect Serbia and Austria-Hungary, respectively. France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire had even less interest in the matter. Thus, one could argue that much of the war could have been avoided if Russia and Germany had simply kept out of the matter.
On the other hand, real tensions existed among many of the principal nations prior to the war, and these conflicting ambitions contributed to the war’s escalation. In particular, the naval arms race between Germany and Britain was intensifying, and growing German colonial ambitions raised the tension level further. Additionally, the spread of nationalism in southern Europe was destabilizing Austria-Hungary, making the country dangerously vulnerable to minority uprisings. Thus, many observers and strategists felt that an armed conflict between the European powers was inevitable; the disagreement over the archduke’s assassination simply provided a spark and an outlet.
2. What, if any, are the connections between the causes of the war in 1914 and the reasons that the war was still going on in 1918?
In many ways, World War I in mid-1914 and World War I in mid-1918 are unrelated. What started as a local conflict over a political assassination had become an unbelievable bloodbath: the Indian troops fighting in Mesopotamia, the Australians fighting in Gallipoli, and the Americans fighting in France had little invested in the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. The same was largely true at the government level in many of the warring nations. For the Allied Powers, the fight was mostly about Germany, not Austria-Hungary. By 1918, those who were still fighting were doing so because they could not find a way to stop without facing unacceptable losses.
On the other hand, some of the roots of the original conflict—factors that predated Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination—were still present and still unresolved. Nationalism, which was spreading rapidly through southern and eastern Europe, became the major cause of mutinies in the Austro-Hungarian army. Ultimately, these mutinies caused Austria-Hungary’s collapse, isolating Germany and helping bring about the war’s end. Thus, one could argue that the same problem that had started the war was at least partly responsible for ending it.
Consider the role of diplomacy in World War I. How was it a positive influence? How was it a negative one?
Although diplomacy traditionally is used to prevent armed conflicts from happening, in the case of World War I, it in many ways played the opposite role, whether intended or not. Few of the combatant nations in World War I were directly interested in the disputes between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, and in many cases they became involved only because of treaties obligating them to defend other countries. Although some of these treaties were publicly known, many had been made in secret, preventing potential enemies from ascertaining the consequences of their actions.
This opaqueness of diplomacy was arguably one of the main factors that led Germany to make such aggressive moves early in the war, as many German leaders believed that Britain would never enter the war against them. Russia likewise pursued a number of secret treaties and agreements both before and during the war. Italy even went so far as to shop around secretly when trying to decide which side offered the greatest potential benefits. Ultimately, these secret diplomatic maneuverings escalated the war to catastrophic levels. As a result, one of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points policy was that henceforth, all treaties and trade agreements between nations be held with full public disclosure.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What is trench warfare, and why was so much of World War I dominated by this method of fighting? Consider such elements as technology, strategy, attitudes of leaders, and any other factors you can think of. How did trench warfare affect the duration of the war?
2. After the war, Germany was punished much more severely than were the remnants of Austria-Hungary. Do you think this was reasonable? In your answer, consider the roles each country shared in starting and escalating the war. Also consider the roles of Serbia and Russia.
3. How did the use of new technologies during World War I influence the war? Which sides benefited the most from which technologies? Did any of them play a role in either lengthening or in shortening the war? Which technologies were the most important?
4. Discuss the U.S. policy on American troops serving in Europe during World War I. Why do you think American commanders were hesitant to allow U.S. soldiers to serve in British and French regiments? What effect did this policy have on America’s relations with the other Allied countries?
5. What was the Schlieffen Plan and why was it unsuccessful during World War I?
Effects and Causes of the Cold War Essay: Topic Ideas and Summary
World War II ended in the mid nineteen forties. While it was wonderful that a violent, global conflict had come to an end, the world would be entering a new set of tensions. The cold was began just after the end of the ward, and involved non violent conflict between the Soviet Union (Warsaw Pact) and the United States and their Allies (Nato). A cold war is defined as conflict that does not include any battles or military actions between the feuding nations. While the Soviet Union and the United States never used military force against one another, multiple wars during the time of the cold war happened as a direct result of the cold war conflict. These include both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Other actions taken during this period that had far reaching effects included trading arms for hostages and the sale of arms to Middle Eastern Forces. Most historians agree that the cold war officially ended in the early nineties. Due to the fact that the cold war lasted so long and had economic, political, social, and cultural impacts world wide, there are many topics on which you can base a cold war essay. It is precisely that large selection that could trip you up. This is why we have come up with a list of essay topic ideas that we are confident are sure winners. Feel free to take any of the suggestions to use as is, or modify any of these in order to come up with a custom topic idea.
Cold War Essay Questions, Prompts, and Topic Ideas
- Write an essay describing the influence of the Cold War on the Vietnam War
- What actions did the United States take that caused the Soviet Union to feel as if their interests were being threatened?
- How are the citizens of North Korea still impacted by the events of the Cold War?
- How did the actions of Russian policy makers cause United States Officials to feel threatened or concerned?
- Write an essay that explains the Domino Theory
- Write an argumentative essay about who started the cold war. Defend your position with solid evidence.
- The reunification of Germany was a major indicator that the cold war was over. Write an essay describing the events around the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
- How did the Cold War play a role in the Korean War?
- Explain what happened during the Cuban Revolution and how it was related to the Cold War
- What was the impact of the cold war on pop culture throughout the decades?
- Does Ronald Reagan deserve the credit he received for engineering the end of the Cold War?
- Explain the Red Scare
- Write a DBQ essay about the three most important events of the Cold War
- What is containment? Write a detailed essay about the topic?
- Why was the Cold War such a driving factor behind the space race?
- How did actions taken during the Cold War impact the current situation in the Middle East?
- Discuss the nuclear arms race and the ways in which the Cold War has caused many volatile nations to have nuclear weapons.
All of our writers agree that these are great topic ideas and that students could pick any one of these questions or ideas and write an excellent essay. However, any student who would like additional help should contact us. There are writers on staff who have backgrounds in Foreign Policy, and World History who have the skills and talents to help with any essay related to the Cold War.
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