Rival sovereign states: Europe was divided into different sovereign states. Often there was a lot of competition among them for power, influence and domination within the continent. When they did not achieve this by peaceful means, they had to often go to war. E.g. the French government’s desire to avenge its defeat at the hands of the Germans in 1870-71. Austria’s conflict with Russia over, which of them should have the greatest influence in the Balkans. Germany’s challenge to the naval and economic power of Britain, all these rivalries resulted in to a major war. This all are the causes which lead to the world war one.