What are the main factors that caused World War I (1914-1918)?

In order to better understand the causes of WWI, we use the following acronym- ANIMAL, which stands for

Alliances: Triple Alliance (1882) of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy vs Triple Entente (1907) of the UK, France and Russia. Other alliances: Franco-Russian Alliance (1894), Entente Cordiale between France and Britain (1904)

Nationalism: France's resenment towards Germany the loss of Alsace-Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) 

Imperialism: 'The Scramble for Africa' (1884), Kaiser Wilhelm II's desire (Weltpolitik) to expend the German colonial empire at the risk of alienating Britain and France. Prime example: Morrocan Crisis of 1905/1911

Millitarism: naval arms race between Britain and Germany with the battleship 'Dreadnaught' as a product of that race. Increased milllitarisation in major European powers in preparation for an inevitable war. 

Autocracy vs Democracy: Germany was an autocratic monarchy where the Kaiser was responsible for making the final decision. Britain was a parliamentary democracy where political decisions, especially regarding millitary involvement, were shaped by public opinions.


List of events: notable events include 

The Morrocan Crisis of 1905/1911

Bosnian Crisis (1908) 

assasination of the archduke of Austria-Hungary Franz Ferdinand (June 1914) 

July Crisis (1914) 

Nghia T. IB History tutor, GCSE History tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Nghia, an IB History tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Isabel A. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, 13 plus  French tu...
View profile
£20 /hr

Isabel A.

Degree: BA French and Spanish (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered: History, Spanish+ 5 more

English and World Literature
English Literature
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
-Personal Statements-

“I am in my final year of a French and Spanish degree at UCL, and have tutored for over three years now. I have spent the last year studying at universities in France and Uruguay, which have only strengthened my enthusiasm for language...”

MyTutor guarantee

PremiumJack Robert C. GCSE English tutor, GCSE History tutor, A Level Histor...
View profile
£22 /hr

Jack Robert C.

Degree: Masters of Letters in Intellectual History (Masters) - St. Andrews Unversity University

Subjects offered: History, Politics+ 2 more


“The beckoning of an authentic life shattered my soul around the age of twelve, falling into anabyss where the light of Philosophy and study of the academic disciplines redeemed my existence and became my redemption. I am now happy in ...”

Paulina W. IB History tutor, IB Biology tutor, IB Spanish tutor
View profile
£20 /hr

Paulina W.

Degree: International Relations (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: History, Spanish+ 1 more


“About me I am a 2016 IB Diploma Programme alumni and first year International Relations student at the University of Exeter.I am very passionate about subjects I am teaching and I hope to pass some of my love for them to you. I a...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Nghia T. IB History tutor, GCSE History tutor
View profile
£20 /hr

Nghia T.

Degree: History MA (Bachelors) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered: History


“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other IB History questions

Assess the role of each of the following in causing the First World War (1914–1918): the desire for revenge; economic motives; Balkan nationalism.

How could I structure an essay on the causes of the Cold War?

How do I approach a question where I need to analyse the effectiveness of a 20th century leader like President Johnson's presidency?

The Cold War: To what extent was Germany the cause of East-West disagreements between 1945 and 1961?

View IB History tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss