Furthermore, it also prevents the onslaught of another great war as leaders of the world will be able to learn from the mistakes of the past. This is also one of the main objectives of studying history in general.
Although it can be said that World War I is a topic that has been reviewed, analysed and debated upon over and over again, a discussion of why it started in the first place is still and will forever be relevant in the study of World History (Hamilton and Herwig, 2003, p. 1). Why is this so? While this task is quite daunting, it is necessary simply because the First World War has engendered, not only a transformation of Europe’s political map, but more importantly, a creation of a legacy that has changed the world (Pearce, 1997). The legacy of World War I includes and is not limited to World War II, the termination of Europe’s reign of supremacy, the emergence of Fascism, Nazism and Soviet communism, America’s rise as a “top nation,” and even the Great Depression (Pearce, 1997). In short, it is pertinent to history as it brought about a great change in the world—an event that is still making its presence felt through its ramifications. It is therefore highly significant to study the First World War and who is responsible for it in order to fully understand the start of Western “modern consciousness,” and as mentioned earlier, to be able to avoid committing the same mistakes critical to ensuing another world war (Pearce, 1997).
However, the impossibility of pinpointing a single and definite cause that led to World War I—as there are a combination of factors that can be traced decades before it happened—is a reality that cannot be ignored when attempting to answer the “why” aspect of the great war. And so, in order to fully present a logical, although contentious, analysis of the events that ultimately led to the First World War and