128: The Causes of World War I (From the Congress of Vienna to Franz Ferdinand & the Marne)

History That Doesn't Suck

Feb 27 2023 • 1 hr 11 mins

“Sopherl, Sopherl! Don’t die on me. Live for our children.” This is the 99-year story of Europe’s descent into total war. The Napoleonic Wars devastated Europe. The continent’s five great powers responded by meeting in Vienna in 1815 to establish a balance of power between them. In the future, no single power should be able to lead the continent into war. They also agree to meet as a “Concert of Europe” to hash out future developments. The years give way to decades. The Concert endures the rising pressures of industrialization, rising nationalism, New Imperialism, militarism, and a few smaller localized wars, particularly three conflicts engineered by Prussian Minister-President Otto von Bismarck. He isolates France to maintain peace, but after his departure, rigid alliance systems with secret clauses fully displace the flexibility of the Concert. And without that flexibility, a minor event could spark an outsized reaction. It’s in this situation that Austria-Hungary’s heir presumptive travels to the unstable Balkans and meets disaster in the streets of Sarajevo. ___ 4 Ways to dive deeper into History That Doesn’t Suck Join our growing facebook community Get our weekly newsletter, The Revolution Become part of the HTDS Patreon family Subscribe to Greg’s monthly newsletter, Connected History Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices