Emilija Manić

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Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade.


Geopolitical and Geoeconomical Causes of the First World War

Although the whole century has gone since the First World War, the immediate cause and reasons for its beginning has been again in the centre, not so much of scientific objective research, but in the centre of contemporary, political changeable relativized research of those who were challengers and those who were induced. In the order of that aim are the efforts to rename the Sarajevo assassination, which is undoubtedly determined as the direct cause of the War, into its reason, which essence is much more complex. The real reason for the beginning of the First World War should be looked for in the confrontation of the great European and world powers – the process which had lasted at least half century before the War actually began. Basically there is an expansionism of two complementary Central European countries: the Austro Hungarian Empire and Germany. The Austro Hungarian Empire, in which the Slavs were majority, had been trying to strengthen the ethnical-political cohesion within its boundaries, while the foreign political aim was to penetrate to the Aegean port Salonika at the eastern Mediterranean. Serbia had been perceived as “disruptive factor”, especially after the expansion achieved in the Balkan’s wars. Germany, since it had united only in the second half of the XIX century, has been unsatisfied with the established colonial division of the world. It couldn’t be a concurrent to France, Great Britain and Russia such territorially squeezed in the Central Europe. Because of that, Germany had decided to take “Drang nach Osten” as its geopolitical and geoeconomical orientation (“The Bagdad Idea”). The realization of this plan would represent the continental competition to the Great Britain marine “The Big Imperial Way” and the cutting the Britain imperia into two parts. In that context, Serbia was identified as “The Gatekeeper of the Orient” to the British, and to the Germans was the only obstacle on its “strategic diagonal” from the North Sea to the Persian Gulf. Preparing for the War, the great powers, in accordance with their own geopolitical and geoeconomical interests, included small countries in their military alliances, which they formed many years before the 1914.