Causes of WWI

Contributor: Sarah Lerdal. Lesson ID: 11015

Why should we care about a war that happened 100 years ago? Many of the M.A.I.N. factors that started the war exist today. Watch the videos, chart your observations, and evaluate today's conditions!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Have you ever been in a physical fight? If not, are there any circumstances that could cause you to fight someone? Now think on a broader scale. List some reasons why a country might decide to go to war against another country.

  • Can you think of any causes for the many wars in which the United States has been involved?

The Great War, or World War I as it is now known, lasted from 1914-1918 and started for five main reasons.

Some of those reasons are still plaguing countries today. During this lesson, see if you can identify how some of the causes of World War I have impacted warring countries in the 21st century.

  1. Read the article 5 Key Causes of World War I by Martin Kelly for ThoughtCo. As you read, take notes and find the definitions of the following words: militarism or mobilization, alliances, imperialism, nationalism.
  2. Notice that together these words spell out "MAIN." They are the first four main causes of the war.
  3. Those first four reasons of MAIN become MANIA when you consider the last "A," assassination.
  4. In your notes, identify who was assassinated and how that contributed to the start of war.
  5. There were two main alliances during WWI: the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance. Research and write down which major countries were in each alliance.
  6. Finally, add to your knowledge of those five terms by watching this nine-minute video, How World War I Started: Crash Course World History 209:

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Now that you have learned about those causes of WWI, let's see if you can recall them before moving on to the Got It? section!

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