The First World War Dissertation Topics

Although the war was ostensibly a global one, it predominately took place in Europe after a chain reaction of war declarations, leading to war on several fronts. It broadly encircled the European continent with an astronomical loss of life that was only ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The First World War is a major part of history that we have all heard about, however may not know all of the details. For your history dissertation you could research further into one of these topics:

  • Of the following events – (a) The Morocco Crisis (1905-1906); (b) The British agreement with Russia (1907); (c) The Bosnia Crisis (1908); (d) The Agadir Crisis (1911); (e) The Balkan Wars (1912 and 1913); and (f) The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand – evaluate which led to the start of the First World War?
  • Was any one party to blame for the First World War, if so, who and why?
  • Why was there so much unrest and rivalry amongst the European nations in the early part of the twentieth century and how could this be said to have led to the outbreak of war?
  • Why did Gavrilo Princip assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand? Was the reasoning for this decision misguided?
  • Why were the great powers of Europe able to contain the Balkan crises of 1912 and 1913, but unable to prevent this developing into a European wide war in 1914?
  • Why did German attitudes change towards Austria during this period? How could this change in attitude be said to have led to the outbreak of war?
  • How did events going on in the rest of the world at this time lead to the outbreak of war in Europe?
  • “Now we know where our enemy stands. Like a flash of lightning in the night, these events have shown the German people where its enemy is When the hour of decision comes we are prepared for sacrifices, both of blood and of treasure” (From a speech made in the German Reichstag in November 1911 in Balfour. M The Kaiser Cresset (1964)) – How could it be argued Germany’s entry into the war was based on paranoia within government that influenced the general public in their push towards war?
  • “The British Government cannot undertake to declare war, for any purpose, unless it is a purpose of which the people of this country” (Note to the Cabinet from the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, in May 1901) – What were the reasons why Britain entered the war and were they the right ones?
  • Did the war achieve anything? Was it successfully resolved?

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