The cause of World War One is multiple. There are broad causes prevalent
almost everywhere in modern times and then, of course, the events. Among the
nationalism and socialism seem like disjunctive evils at this point in
history. Socialism was making for revolution while nationalism was making
The cause of World War I has been around most of the 20th
century. Actually, there were several of them. They include:
Social Darwinism--an application of
Darwinism to society that
glorified the survival of the fittest, aka Social Darwinism gloried war
Cultural malaise--a feeling that there was something wrong with
society and that war would be the way to purge society of its
poisons. Perhaps, per this cultural malaise, war was inevitable.
Speed: Decisions were made with great speed, without proper time for reflection.
Perhaps some of the most fateful errors were caused by nothing more
complex than lack of sleep.
Perhaps the most frightening cause of World War I, in the
context of contemporary American politics: The polarization of
Right and Left in the politics of European nations. This
polarization destroyed the reliable center. As a result, we have the
Left pushing for revolution and the Right pushing for war and
nothing in the middle to restrain either force. Pre-war governments
responded to superpatriotic brandishment. As a result, this tendency
pushed the center in European politics toward the Right.