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

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

Questions using, 'assess' are not looking for a one sided argument, they are implying that there is more than one answer and asking you to evaluate which you would consider more important. 

With questions which introduce directly three causes you can approach it in a number of ways, by evaluating them seperatly in differnt paragraphs, although this technique may lead to a formulaic and un-integrated argument without follow of comparison. Chosing one you think most pertinent, and then using the following paragraphs to compare in order to assert why the other causes aren't as important. Or you could even take a flowing approach seeing it as a narrative, and assessing them individually but lonking each by giving the causes a chronologial order of impact.

Regardless of how yuo chose to structure your introduction, you must be able to concisely present this in your introduction. Using markers such as, 'firstly, next, moreover, therefore, secondly, and finally in order to sign post your arguments course. Remember to answer the question breifly in the introduction, although this seems strange it proves to the examiner that you have considered the point and know how your argument will develop. 

Initially, make a mind-map, bullet points, or just a couple of sentences that detail what your argument is, and which of the three causes you consider to be the most significant factor. You can also argue that the factors are important in different ways, your assessment can therefore take the course of an exploration of each cause.

For example, Economic factors can be closely linked to empire and the disputes these casued as nations tried to build the most profitable and expansive empires at the expence of each other. This can be identified as background issue that introduced tension and conflict within Europe.

Whereas Balkan nationalism is a more immediate and contentious cause, inspired partly by imperial empire, the BAlkans question casued unrest and disquiet in the region, which nearly came to ahead multiple times across the ecade before the erupted. 

It was the nationalistic inclinations of many that led to the terror attack in the form of the assassination of Arch-Duke Frans Ferdinand. Revenge in the context of this incident was used as an explantion for the agressive actions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire against the Balkan nationalists in Serbia. Therefore, revenge is ultimately the trigger but it cannot be seperated from economics and nationalism, the driving factors which led and escalated the revenge sought following the assasination. 

This is only one interpretation, and as long as you are able to justify your argument you should folllow whatever cause you think is best. As long as you always remeber to justify it! 

Although not essential, introducing historiography into your essay is a really clever way of showing the examiner that you have read around the topic and that you have formed your opinion based of investigation of the topic. You don't have to chose a historian that agrees with your point, you can use one which counters you rargument to show engagement with other ideas, but be sure to explain why you don't agree with their argument and why your is a more reasonable explanation. Remember be critical of the historiography, such as whether its a contempory spurce and implications thereof. 

Conclude by summerise your argument, and reiterate your assessment of the causes. 

Jenevieve T. 11 Plus English tutor, 13 plus  English tutor, GCSE Engl...

5 months ago

Answered by Jenevieve, an IB History tutor with MyTutor

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


£24 /hr

Shani T.

Degree: History and English Literature (Masters) - Glasgow University

Subjects offered: History, English and World Literature+ 4 more

English and World Literature
English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“I am a first-year student currently studying English Literature, History and Politics at the University of Glasgow, working towards a Masters in History.English Literature and History are both huge passions of mine, both being subjec...”

£20 /hr

Matthew F.

Degree: Medieval History (Masters) - York University

Subjects offered: History, Law+ 4 more

Classical Civilisation
.TSA. Oxford.

“About me I am currently studying for a masters degree in Medieval History at the University of York. Before I started studying again I qualified as a solicitor, and practiced law in the city for four years. I’ve always been passionate...”

MyTutor guarantee

£20 /hr

Michael J.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered: History, Biology+ 1 more


“About Me: I am a History student at UCL. My interests in History are mainly modern, focusing on the Russia and the Cold War and more recently the history of political thought and tea. I also have a love of Science from my A-levels. I ...”

About the author

£22 /hr

Jenevieve T.

Degree: BSc International Relations (Bachelors) - LSE University

Subjects offered: History, Maths+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language

“I am a second year student studying International Relations at the London School of Economics. My degree has allowed me to get into a subject that I love, there is no easy answer and there is always room for another opinion, fo rme th...”

You may also like...

Posts by Jenevieve

‘UN unveils plans to eliminate child labour by 2020’ by Randeep Ramesh. What do you understand from the article about the issues of child labour?

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

In this passage, how does the author present the love/death/anger, of the character in the work? Refer closely to the passage in your answer.

Other IB History questions

How do you write an introduction to an History essay?

Evaluate the reasons for the collapse of the Provisional Government in November 1917.

How would you structure an argument for a question on the Causes and Origins of the Cold War? (Paper 2)

What is a useful approach while analyzing an HL Contemporary History essay question?

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