Nations raced to gain an advantage with new technology and better armaments
There are many tangled causes for World War I, fought from 1914 to 1918. Historians cite the alliance system, imperialism, nationalism, and the social shifts caused by modernity and industrialization. Rival nations raced to build more efficient and effective weapons and ways to control sea, sky and land. Countries also raced to develop the military systems to wield these weapons and industrial capacity to supply them. There is something of a chess game in watching the buildup of Germany’s zeppelin fleet in an attempt to gain an advantage over Britain’s battleship fleet, or seeing French aircraft industry as it was built up to gain an advantage over the German land war capability. Perhaps one reason that the public and governments were keen to go to war was a severe underestimation of the damage and casualties that massive numbers of these weapons could cause.
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