100 years ago today, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated which was the catalyst for the Great War.
That prompted someone called Night-Gaunt49 to comment on the Candorville comic strip of 27th June 2014 to say:
Seems insane that the murder of one person would start a global war, but it did. The stupidity of “entangling alliances” that Washington warned us about did them end.
The “entangling alliances” view is from pro-German revisionist thinking of the 1960s. Academia is now reverting back to its view of the time that it was about the unified Germany’s rapid growth and expansion not being matched by having a presence on the world stage. Germany would have started a war before 1918 whatever happened. The death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was merely a conveniently timed catalyst. It was used by Germany as an excuse to push the Austro-Hungarian Empire to start a war (it mattered not with who) so that Germany could conduct either an expansion to the East, or, if necessary, follow the Schlieffen Plan to quickly defeat attack France and then Russia. Either would have achieved the desired effect and likely given Germany diplomatic presence on a par with France, England and Russia.
The Schlieffen Plan was ‘improved’ by a committee which reduced the size of the attacking force, which meant the German forces failed to sweep through Belgium and France as quickly as intended. That resulted in the trenches and the machine-gun meat-grinder that killed millions.
It was not one murder that started the Great War. That was just one tiny step in a long succession of events and circumstances.
It was not inevitably a global war. That was caused by Germany not following their well-designed plan, resulting in them being delayed by defensive forces, which allowed time for lots of other states to pile in to see what land or diplomatic advantage they could grab in the process.