The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

Living Edition
| Editors: Immanuel Ness, Zak Cope

First World War and Imperialism

  • Jacques R. PauwelsEmail author
Living reference work entry



Imperialism, the worldwide expansion of capitalism, motivated by the lust for raw materials such as petroleum, markets and cheap labour, involved fierce competition among great powers such as the British Empire, czarist Russia, and the German Reich, and thus led to the Great War of 1914–1918, later to be known as the First World War or World War I.

The First World War was the product of the nineteenth century, a “long century” in the view of some historians, lasting from 1789 to 1914. It was characterized by revolutions of a political, social, and also economic nature, especially the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, and ended with the emergence of imperialism, that is a new, worldwide manifestation of capitalism, originally a European phenomenon. This essay focuses on how imperialism played a decisive role...

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TorontoCanada