A Prelude to War?

World War didn’t begin in Europe. It started in Africa.

By the time the shooting erupted in 1914, in fact, a retrospective analysis of the conditions that led to war had lent credence to the conclusion that a great clash was almost inevitable. Germany’s perceived “encirclement” and that resurgent nation’s belief that they had been unfairly cut off from their share of colonial possessions in Africa led Berlin to embrace bellicosity. Germany forcefully protested France’s subjugation of a Moroccan rebellion and subsequent occupation of that territory in 1911 — a territory that Germany coveted. Paris’s move prompted Italy to declare suzerainty over the state of Libya, leading to a war with the Ottomans for control of that North African nation. After the Turks had lost control of the North African coast, the race was on to divide the spoils of the Ottoman Empire’s Balkan possessions, culminating in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. By the onset of August Crisis in 1914, the world had already been at war for the better part of three years.

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