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A Structural Explanation of the Behavior of Austria-Hungary and One Other Major Power in 1914

Free History Essays Politics is all about how power, resources, and life are organized in the society. It involves leadership and decision making processes. Politics is, therefore, a very critical component of societal development and should be handled with a lot of care to ensure the well-being of the society in terms of political, social, and economic rights. In addition, politics goes hand in hand with warfare in the sense that bad politics may lead to war that could degenerate into adverse implications for the population in general. Politics involves a lot of things that may, like corruption, use propaganda to achieve personal interests as well as destructive force, which causes negative impacts on the prosperity of the society. For example, any war results in destruction of physical property as well as loss of lives.


Austria-Hungary was a nation in central Europe. It had a diverse population and large army that enabled it to participate in wars with other nations. The state bordered Germany to the North, Italy Southwest, Russia Northeast, Serbia and Montenegro Southeast, and Switzerland to the West. These were the nations that Austria was involved in war with. Certain factors necessitated the start of wars among these states. For example, issues concerning assassinations of political officials in Austria created unrest among its citizens (Harrison 14). Those who were assassinated in most cases were the political leader who led the others in mobilization processes in an attempt to fight for their rights. They anticipated the moment when it would be possible to gain control and guide the huge army in any war battle that required proper supervision to enhance their success. On reaching the place of assassination, these political leaders were killed as this was the only way of getting rid of their productive activities in the society. By such means, they were stopped from mobilizing the citizens for solving certain political issues. This greatly affected the population, hence, calling for war was regarded as a way of fighting for their rights. Also, Bosnian crisis of 1908-09 led to the World War 1 that started in 1914 and ended in 1918 (Stevenson 17). These were the major push factors that provoked Austria to involve in war with other countries, mainly with Russia and Serbia (Stevenson 22).

The Behavior of Austria-Hungary

The assassinations of political leaders in Austria and the Bosnian crisis drove the nation into the war with other states like Serbia and Russia. After the murders of the major politicians, like archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by the government of Serbia, Austria-Hungary decided to start up a battle with Serbia, as a result, it had cost the nation its active political leaders (Harrison 16). It decided to demand of ten things from Serbia and failure to satisfy them, which would provoke the nation into engaging in the war with the state. Serbia failed to fulfill the ten demands from Austria and only responded to eight of them. The remaining two incited the country to involve in war with Austria, as there was no way for complying with what Austria demanded. This would have meant profound implications for Serbia as a nation. Austria- Hungary used propaganda to ensure that its needs were fully achieved (Harrison 29). Serbia chose war over death.

Serbia had a good army. It was experienced compared to that of Austria-Hungary due to the fact that it had been participating in the war with the Balkans in the past two years. Consequently, the soldiers were tired and poorly equipped. They did not have the required weapons to fight the Austrians. There was a lot of destruction as a result of this war. Ordinary soldiers, officers as well as civilians lost their lives because of the war between Serbia and Austria (Stevenson 31). There was also dramatic loss of property in terms of physical infrastructure and personal possessions. In addition, there was massive displacement of people from their areas of settlement. Austria mainly wanted to destroy the part of Serbia:.. natural resources and strong armed forces that the country used to fight in wars.

Austria-Hungary, on the other hand, had a large army that was of poor quality compared to its enemy. It was not experienced . Most of the army leaders were illiterate and could understand neither Germany nor Hungarian (Harrison 33). This made it very difficult to communicate, slowing down the activities they were expected to carry out. Moreover, .they faced transportation problems that restricted the access to Serbian territory. The nation also lacked reserves and replacement troops. This led to a massive decrease in the size of the army that was in the field. As a result, armed forces experienced chronic shortages in manpower that was required to facilitate the achievement of desirable results. The attempts to address the shortages in the army were made by replacing the troops with underage or overage men (Harrison 33). Such an endeavor was undermining the well-being of the society. It also implied weakening the strength of the army in comparison to what other countries had. The nation also faced financial constraints (Harrison 41). It had inadequate financial resources, hence, was unable to finance the its army. The state could not purchase enough necessities, like uniforms and all the equipment that were required to fight well in the war battles. This fact meant that the soldiers were not comfortable with what the country was offering them, contributing a lot to the vast losses of lives in the war. They also lacked modern weaponry that could help them to fight more successfully (Harrison 43). This problem was related to the lack of appropriate technology and inadequate financial resources that could have been used to facilitate the purchase of necessary weapons. These drawbacks affected the performance of the Austria-Hungary army in the war with Serbia and other nations, like Russia, which had the largest army in the word by then and was constantly strengthening and enhancing its performance.

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The Structural Explanation of World War 1

The fighting countries, Austria and Serbia, were not willing to decline their sovereignties in place of the other. Neither Austria nor Serbia was willing to bargain at its own expense as it implied that by doing so, either side would have endangered the lives of its people. One state would have won. In this case, if Serbia would have accepted to respond and comply with all the demands of its enemy, then it had lost to Austria. It also meant that Austria would have won. This scenario could have been accompanied by serious political and economic complications for Serbia (Harrison 44). That is why, it decided not to comply with the ten demands of Austria, choosing the war with Austria, which meant its own death too. Serbia refused hegemony due to the fact that, if it had fulfilled all the demands, it would have empowered Austria to rule over the whole nation . It also meant that the population would become slaves. In other words, Serbia had to sell its citizens to Austria-Hungary.

Austria also resorted to direct political threats to fight for its rights. This could be seen from the way it used the assassination issues as the key point to embroil other countries in war . It deployed this technique by demanding ten things from Serbia, failure to comply with them meant a serious war (Harrison 45).

Austria rationally chose to involve in the war with Serbia because the country had a lot of unsolved political issues. Austria-Hungary took advantage of the assassinations in order to entangle Serbia in a military conflict because it did not want to fulfill all ten demands. There was also the aspect of mobilization; people were manipulated into working or moving towards a certain direction with the belief that it would benefit the society (Stevenson 37). This was very evident in Austria, where the mobilizers were assassinated with the view of terminating their productive activities. Mobilization was also a way of initiating structural changes in the society. Most of the political leaders who guided the mobilization processes were more experienced than the natives; hence, they could generate good results whenever they conducted war.

There were no international bargaining institutions between Serbia and Austria-Hungary to intervene or mediate in order to prevent them from engaging in war. Serbia had earlier fought with the Balkans and could not support it in any way. Austria, on the other hand, was extremely aggressive and could not be trusted by either Russia or the Balkans to intervene for them because of the threats it used against other countries. These circumstances led to the development of World War 1 (Harrison 49).

One Major Power in 1914

There existed great powers during World War I that exercised considerable influence over other nations in terms of how they carried out their activities politically, socially, and economically. These states could control others due to the great opportunities, military power, and economic position. These factors allowed them to control and influence other states in the whole world. This implied that great powers could guide and manipulate other countries into what they wanted, depending on their interests. They could easily seize much more opportunities compared to those with less potential (Stevenson 51). In this situation, there was the aspect of power imbalance that could easily contribute to problems in the society. An example of the major power in that context, which is the focus of analysis in this section, is Great Britain or England.

England gained the position at the top of the hierarchy as its status was very high due to enormous influence over other states. It was able to exercise power, using its great potential. England had a lot of opportunities that enabled it to be very powerful with regard to others. For example, the availability of capital in the nation makes it grow fast. Great Britain acquired a lot of capital and technology to finance all its activities at that time. The country could purchase the necessary weaponry for conducting warfare. This helped it in winning most wars it engaged in. The explanation for such success was the fact that Britain was so strong that it managed to acquire a lot of colonies and, as a result, could use their infinite capacity. The capital allowed to employ technology that enabled the state to make modern weapons that was a very crucial aspect during war. Consequently, the country was able to acquire a lot of colonies (Harrison 53).

Another source of its power was the size of the population. England had a huge population that enabled it to strengthen the capacity of its army. A large number of citizens also provided labor force that was used to perform specific tasks.

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Availability of raw materials contributed to the country’s strength too, in the sense that raw materials were being used to make weapons . Materials like iron, steel, and coal facilitated production processes. Coal was used as a source of energy to heat water that generated steam to drive machines, which enhanced production and transport processes.

There was also political stability and equal distribution of power in England. The state played the sole role in maintaining the stability. This was done by formulation and implementation of laws that protected all of its citizens. England suffered fewer injuries as a result of its political stability (Harrison 66). There was fair distribution of power in the sense that there was a very narrow gap between the rich and the poor. The government implemented patent laws that encouraged a lot of investments from other nations that offered employment to the citizens.

Availability of transportation networks in England facilitated easier connection between nations. For instance, navigable rivers and canals enhanced faster shipping and access to other countries (Stevenson 69). It was also cheaper as transportation costs were not high. This enabled Great Britain to conquer many countries due to easier access to them. This was the reason why Britain had a lot of colonies compared to other powers like Serbia and Austria that faced transportation problems.

The topography and geographical location of England also contributed to its great power during World War 1 (Harrison 71). Since the country was an island, it accommodated a lot of ports and harbors. This also fastened the transportation of the army from one nation to another. England had a central location; hence, it was very easy for it to obtain more colonies than other powers. The state was the major power, whereas the colonies were minor powers and Great Britain could easily exercise authority over them. The colonies could resist this influence through demonstrations, work strikes, and wars . There was loss of lives and property as people fought for their rights.


Political issues are very sensitive and that is why they should be tackled with a lot of care so as to reduce adverse impacts that has always been imposed on the societies. Warfare is a serious implication that is supposed to be addressed cautiously to avoid loss of lives and property. It should be settled in order to enhance and observe the well-being in the society . Power distribution can be used as a weapon to start war. Power should be divided equally in the society to avoid the conflicts that may arise from the development of classes or major and minor powers. Such differences create clashes, especially when it comes to access, control, and use of the available resources. Those with more power tend to dominate the society by owning more resources, easily becoming authoritative. This aspect may provoke the minor powers to act violently, applying force that might cause war between these two classes. The state can also create favorable environment for everyone regardless of their status in the society. This can be done by enhancing political stability of the nation.

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