|Military Buildup||Defense Alliances||Nationalism||Colony Disputes|
If any of the causes were greater than the other, the increasing sense of nationalism amongst the populace and elite of society would be the largest of them. In this, patriotism is taken so far as to demote other countries via excessive pride. The peoples of the countries would live in the mentality that their country was in ways better than the others. This manifested itself in the growing militarism and increased spending on such endeavors.
Although it makes sense that nationalism might be at least visible among the higher authorities of a country, the problem was that nationalism seemed into the minds of the common people. The notion that the parent country was unbeatable or better than other countries became common thought, and it disguised itself as a form of simple patriotism.
The idea of nationalism in Germany actually received a name. It became known as Weltpolitik, definitively the idea that Germany should and would become a world power. In other countries, nationalism was a little different. The French people wanted to avenge Alsace and Lorraine; the British people believed in a British Empire. The nationalism in this way increased tensions among the people causing any form of manifestation of the nationalism to be in suspicion. Furthermore, it encouraged countries such as Germany to desire more power, especially in the form of land.
The problem only became worse when the prospect of nationalism spread to the commoners. The common thought would be that war would be discouraged among the people since it brings hardship and destruction. However, the idea of war was encouraged by the people because they wanted their country to prove superiority. War only came more naturally with the lack of resistance by the main body of the states in that time.
Overall, this led to development of many plans that were meant to achieve power in some way. The most famous of these plans was Germany's Schlieffen Plan which entailed defeating France and Russia through shear force.