The First World War Was Fought Primarily For Capitalism

Among all the conflicts that made an impact on the world population, the First World War was one of the bloodiest and most devastating. While some might argue that there have been other wars that took lives of more people, the greatest tragedy of the WWI is that it was not fought for the ideals of freedom and democracy, no matter how distorted they got in the interpretations of some politicians. The First World War was fought over some petty capitalist ideas and blatant power struggle between incompetent European political leaders of that time.

One of the things that will provide you a key to understanding the driving power behind the First World War lies in the economic model that prevailed in Europe in the beginning of the XX century. The vast majority of economists of that period were supporting the ideas of mercantilism. Their position got weakened due to the Industrial Revolution that introduced and actively promoted capitalism. However, the influence of mercantilists was strong. This turned out to be one of the most powerful driving forces that caused the war.

Mercantilism is an economic model that relies on belief that the amount of wealth that exists in the world is limited. Therefore, in order to become wealthier, one must take someone else’s assets. This idea seems completely sound, though rather immoral from the point of view of an average person today. At that time, it was the prevailing economic system that had the support of the wealthiest people in Europe. This means that economies of European countries of that period could prosper only by taking the wealth of their neighbors.

The ideas of capitalism are completely different from the narrow minded ways of mercantilists. They are based on private ownership of businesses and free exchange and trade. This model is more practical, but even despite its popularity at that time it could not prevail due to the unwillingness of wealthy entrepreneurs to introduce some competition. This means that one of the major reasons behind WWI was the desire of people to replace an outdated economic model that spelled inequality with capitalism that promised many new opportunities. However, this wish, no matter how noble and practical it is, cannot justify millions of destroyed lives. Every war in existence was driven and won by economic tools, and theFirst World Warwas not an exception.Establishment of capitalism as a leading economic system in European countries was the driving power behind the conflict, but it wasn’t the only reason that caused the war.