Since wars are extremely expensive, almost all wars have economic reasons: destroying or conquering a competitor or securing the supply of pivotal raw materials are two of the most common. World War I was no exception. After Germany was unified in 1871, it experienced a rocket-like ascent as a world power, threatening the colonial dominance of the British, French and Russian world empires. When Germany surpassed Britain in coal and steel production around the turn of the century with economic growth rates many times higher than the British, the dice had been cast…

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